British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Politician01
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British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Politician01 » 19 Mar 2020 15:09

I came here from the "What If" section where some posters claim that Great Britain had untapped Manpower reserves, enough to increase the size of their armed Forces and their labor force even in 1944. Does anyone have Sources supporting this claim? Considered that British AFV production collapsed from 8500 to 4500 between 1942 and 1944 because there were not enough Workers, and considered the following Information presented below, how wrong is this claim?


Indeed, in the summer of 1943 it became apparent that Great Britain had reached the limits of mobilisation; during the rest of the year recruitment from the non-industrial population would not be sufficient to offset the normal wastage from industry. Before long the labour force would decline. In any case, supplies of labour in the last nine months of 1943 would be less than had been expected.

The demands of the Services and industry for the last nine months of 1943 added up to 912,000 men and women; the prospective supply was 429,000. once more ruthless cuts would have to be imposed. The Service demands could not possibly be met in full;

As previously forecast, wastage from the country's labour force was bound to exceed new intake. Even without battle casualties, the total occupied population of the United Kingdom would fall by about 150,000 in 1944. The manpower was no longer one of closing a gap between demand and supply by subtracting at the demand end and adding at the supply end. Nothing was left to add. The country was fully mobilised and all that remained was to change the distribution of manpower as the strategy of war demanded

www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/UK-Civil ... on-15.html

In 1944, the United Kingdom was facing severe manpower shortages. By May 1944, it was estimated that the British Army's strength in December 1944 would be 100,000, less than it was at the end of 1943. Although casualties in the Normandy Campaign, the main effort of the British Army in 1944, were actually lower than anticipated, losses from all causes were still higher than could be replaced. Two infantry divisions and a brigade (59th and 50th divisions and 70th Brigade) were disbanded to provide replacements for other British divisions in the 21st Army Group and all men being called up to the Army were trained as infantrymen. Furthermore, 35,000 men from the RAF Regiment and the Royal Artillery were transferred to the infantry and were retrained as rifle infantrymen, where the majority of combat casualties fell.[18][19] In addition, in the Eighth Army fighting in the Italian Campaign of the Mediterranean theatre several units, mainly infantry, were also disbanded to provide replacements, including the 1st Armoured Division and several other smaller units, such as the 168th Brigade, had to be reduced to cadre, and several other units had to be amalgamated. For example, the 2nd and 6th battalions of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were merged in August 1944. At the same time, most infantry battalions in Italy had to be reduced from four to three rifle companies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_A ... _World_War

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Mar 2020 11:53

Hi politician01,

The UK was suffering from imperial over reach even before the war and its resources were spread very thin anyway. It then had to divert many of its resources into the Navy for defensive reasons and was obliged to carry the offensive mission for much of the war largely on the backs of the air force. The result that it fielded a very small number of army field divisions compared with many other countries. France had around 100 divisions in the field by 1940, whereas I doubt the UK had half that number available as late as 1944.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by OpanaPointer » 20 Mar 2020 12:01

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 20 Mar 2020 17:57

By 1944 there weren't many men or women in the British Isles not already involved in war work. That isn't quite the whole scope of British manpower. Britain ruled an empire of some 300 million. It only mobilised a modest fraction of its colonial resources. The self governing Dominians of Australia Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South Africa were not as fully mobilised as the British Isles. Canada sent more soldiers to Europe in WW2 than in WW1, but only volunteers served overseas. Australia pulled its troops back to the Pacific where, after 1942 there was little direct threat. By and large the white dominion did their bit, though all were reluctant to sign up for the butchers bill of a long campaign in Europe.

There were two under utilised resources. The 2.5 million men of the Indian Army was the largest all volunteer forces ever formed. Mosdt of it was maintaining law and order in India in the face of opposition to the war by Gandhi's National Congress party. More troops could have been available had British accepted that Indian self rule was inevitable, and trade self rule post war in exchange for full co-operation.Britain was reluctant to recruit black African troops. Two divisions served in Burma. The British made extensive use of Indian troops in Italy and Black Africans in supporting services, but they did not want to deployed black African or Asian troops in Northern Europe. It was an inconsistent policy as around 15,000 West Indians served in Britain during the war in civilian industry and in the RAF as officers as well as airmen.

There is a cynical explanation. By 1943 it was clear we were going to win the war, but the dominant forces would be the Soviet and the American. The objective of deploying British forces was to be sufficiently engaged to justify a seat at the victors table at the Peace, while retaining as much of the Empire as possible, I.e we would fight to the last Ivan or Yank...

It was not that there wasn't the manpower, it was that the British government did not want to pay the political price.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by OpanaPointer » 20 Mar 2020 18:20

Subdas Chandra Bose didn't cause any problems?
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by rcocean » 21 Mar 2020 15:10

Politician01 wrote:
19 Mar 2020 15:09
I came here from the "What If" section where some posters claim that Great Britain had untapped Manpower reserves, enough to increase the size of their armed Forces and their labor force even in 1944. Does anyone have Sources supporting this claim? Considered that British AFV production collapsed from 8500 to 4500 between 1942 and 1944 because there were not enough Workers, and considered the following Information presented below, how wrong is this claim?

The reduction of the British infantry divisions in the 1944, was ultimately a POLITICAL decision, not a military one. Churchill decided to built up the Navy, and keep the RAF at a fairly large size, while industrial/Farm production was kept at full blast. The Army, especially the infantry was given low priority. The British had perhaps 20 divisions (UK Only) fighting on the Western Front and Italy. Compare that to WW 1, where you had 50 UK Divisions on the Western Front alone in 1918. And this was after, the British army had suffered 500,000 KIA in 1914-1917. Throw disabled through wounds and POW's and the Uk permanent losses up through 12-31-17, must have been at least 1,000,000. Yet, the British maintained 50 infantry divisions and fought massive battles in 1918, including the German Spring Offensive and the final 100 days.

Compare that to 1944-45, where the permanent Army losses were only 250,000 through May 1944. And KIA in the NW Europe Campaign were only 30,000. The British had gone to war in 1939 on the understanding there would be no more Sommes or Pascahandeles. And Churchill was willing to take only a certain amount of Army losses. The other point, which someone else made, is that given the much larger size of the Soviet Army and the US army, it made no sense for England to twist itself into knots trying to put another 10 Divisions in the field. Better to just concentrate on the Navy and RAF and keep up the standard of living.

In the name of "allied unity" this wasn't really reported in the USA during or even after the war. Instead all the Generals and Pols would talk about "England being worn down after 5 years of fighting could only put 13 division in the field" etc.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 21 Mar 2020 15:55

OpanaPointer wrote:
20 Mar 2020 18:20
Subdas Chandra Bose didn't cause any problems?
Much less, I suspect, than anyone feared. Bose had fallen out with Gandhi and the Congress party who dominated Indian politics. His clerarly Japanse backed political movement did not gain traction inside India. At peak strength the INA had around maybe 50.000 troops under arms. Like the Hiwis many of them were recruited from PW camps where the alternative was starvation and ill treatment. The 1944 U-Go offensive had the INA as flank guards so they were not leading a Liberating army

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 Mar 2020 17:09

Politician01 wrote:
19 Mar 2020 15:09
I came here from the "What If" section where some posters claim that Great Britain had untapped Manpower reserves, enough to increase the size of their armed Forces and their labor force even in 1944. Does anyone have Sources supporting this claim? Considered that British AFV production collapsed from 8500 to 4500 between 1942 and 1944 because there were not enough Workers, and considered the following Information presented below, how wrong is this claim?
A minor point. British AFV production did not collapse between 1942 and 1944 "because there were not enough Workers", but because they had access to American AFV production. It came back to bite them in the ass in late 1944 and 1945, but that is a different matter.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Andy H » 21 Mar 2020 18:26

Politician01 wrote:
19 Mar 2020 15:09
I came here from the "What If" section where some posters claim that Great Britain had untapped Manpower reserves, enough to increase the size of their armed Forces and their labor force even in 1944. Does anyone have Sources supporting this claim? Considered that British AFV production collapsed from 8500 to 4500 between 1942 and 1944 because there were not enough Workers, and considered the following Information presented below, how wrong is this claim?
Hi

Ellis (The World War II Data Book) Pg277, lists UK AFV/SP production as:-

1939=969
1940=1399
1941=4841
1942=8611
1943=7476
1944=4600

As Richard states,this was mainly down to the standardisation around US AFV's plus the cessation of older and outdated British models.

Regards

Andy H

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by OpanaPointer » 21 Mar 2020 18:33

Sheldrake wrote:
21 Mar 2020 15:55
OpanaPointer wrote:
20 Mar 2020 18:20
Subdas Chandra Bose didn't cause any problems?
Much less, I suspect, than anyone feared. Bose had fallen out with Gandhi and the Congress party who dominated Indian politics. His clerarly Japanse backed political movement did not gain traction inside India. At peak strength the INA had around maybe 50.000 troops under arms. Like the Hiwis many of them were recruited from PW camps where the alternative was starvation and ill treatment. The 1944 U-Go offensive had the INA as flank guards so they were not leading a Liberating army
Thanks. Seems some folks inflate his influence for their own goals.
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 22 Mar 2020 21:08

Politician01 wrote:
19 Mar 2020 15:09
I came here from the "What If" section where some posters claim that Great Britain had untapped Manpower reserves, enough to increase the size of their armed Forces and their labor force even in 1944. Does anyone have Sources supporting this claim?
Sources?

You can to find your own self on internet populations of countrys in British empire. You can to find also datas on how many from those populations was in militarys forces and how industrys and other things.

It is easy to see that Britain had many untapped manpower reserves. Choose not to tap them is not same as not exist.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Politician01 » 22 Mar 2020 21:30

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
22 Mar 2020 21:08
Politician01 wrote:
19 Mar 2020 15:09
I came here from the "What If" section where some posters claim that Great Britain had untapped Manpower reserves, enough to increase the size of their armed Forces and their labor force even in 1944. Does anyone have Sources supporting this claim?
Sources?

You can to find your own self on internet populations of countrys in British empire. You can to find also datas on how many from those populations was in militarys forces and how industrys and other things.

It is easy to see that Britain had many untapped manpower reserves. Choose not to tap them is not same as not exist.
The very first post of mine has two sources that show Britain was sraping the barrel. If you have sources that show that Britain had many untapped manpower reserves and just didnt use them, I would like to see them - that was the purpouse of this thread.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 22 Mar 2020 22:01

Politician01 wrote:
22 Mar 2020 21:30


The very first post of mine has two sources that show Britain was sraping the barrel. If you have sources that show that Britain had many untapped manpower reserves and just didnt use them, I would like to see them - that was the purpouse of this thread.
Do you be troll or do you not understand subject?

You want evidence for untapped manpower and give evidence for manpower shortages. Do you not understand that evidence of shortage of workers is England is not evidence of not untapped manpower in Empire?

Example.
Factory in England was want 500 unskilled workers. Government was allocate unskilled 300 workers. Shortage in factory was 200 unskilled workers.
Same time, 500,000 unskilled workers in Southern Rhodesia have no job and nothing to do.
= same time shortage in factory in England and untapped manpower in Empire.

When you do own research on internet for datas you can to understand how big was untapped manpower in Empire.

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Politician01 » 22 Mar 2020 22:06

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
22 Mar 2020 22:01
Do you not understand that evidence of shortage of workers is England is not evidence of not untapped manpower in Empire?
Do you have Sources that prove:

1. That there was untapped Manpower in the Empire?
2. That this untapped Manpower could have been used in Europe en mass?
3. That this untapped Manpower would have been willing to be used in Europe, en mass?

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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 22 Mar 2020 22:37

Politician01 wrote:
22 Mar 2020 22:06
Ружичасти Слон wrote:
22 Mar 2020 22:01
Do you not understand that evidence of shortage of workers is England is not evidence of not untapped manpower in Empire?
Do you have Sources that prove:

1. That there was untapped Manpower in the Empire?
2. That this untapped Manpower could have been used in Europe en mass?
3. That this untapped Manpower would have been willing to be used in Europe, en mass?
Do you have Sources that prove:

1. That Manpower in the Empire was complete tapped?
2. That this Manpower could not have been used in Europe en mass?
3. That this Manpower would not have been willing to be used in Europe, en mass?

I imagine somebody in every country in Empire was write history of contribution of country to war.

Very quick on internet l was find datas for Southern Rhodesia, Basutoland and Bechuanaland.

It is very clear every countrys in Empire was tapped for to manpower but simples math to understand tapping was not much big.

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