WW2 German Production Problems

botully

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
3,546
Amelia, Virginia, USA
Guderian was driven to distraction by the armor manufacturing
the army specialists were always improving and stopping the production to fit some gizmos , the result was a stop and start of the lines and a rather poor standardization
One of the issues the Willow Run plant (Ford Motor Co. building B-24s) had was constant small changes to the planes, most derived from battle experience. This caused delays, and added cost, as the dies would have to be scrapped and remade, etc. Ford complained, but the Army shrugged: The changes might save lives and improve performance.
The solution was to finish the plane to a more basic state, then fly it to a facility where necessary "updates" would be made, ultimately resulting in a flexible manufacturing process.
When Ford contracted to build B-24s, Ford engineers redesigned components, like the landing gear, making it more suited for mass production. They designed and built an enormous jig that turned an operation from 100s of man hours to dozens. This sort of thing was done everywhere. Machine gun design specifies oval vents? Engineers redesign it with round vents, because they are much easier to machine, and time is saved.
The point is that in the US, business was given a free hand to find ways to increase production. Mass production is much more than an assembly line. It is a process, in which an assembly line is only a part. It is a never ending quest for speed and accuracy. That doesn't mean making the workers go faster. That can actually be counterproductive, causing mistakes and powering moral. Speed comes from streamlining the production process. The best ideas flow up. "Lean Manufacturing", "Just in Time" were born in the 20's and matured during WW2.
The Germans did much the opposite. The Nazis were poor war managers, and the Wermacht was no better.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,853
Stockport Cheshire UK
And correct me if I'm wrong (I know that when it comes to planes You're somebody to listen to), but not few of the German war planes started being planned before Hitler came into power.

Am I wrong?
I don't know of any German war planes that date their existence to before Hitler seized power.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,354
T'Republic of Yorkshire
struggling to find good statistics compraiing the mobilization of women, but what I found does not at first glance confirm this contention,. but it's far far from being being definitive.

Poster are making off hand statements asserting this or that. And I really think that they MAY been much of meme about this that has infected most of us. I would like to see some statistical evidence
I have no statistics for you, but I recall the complaint from (I think) Speer's book, Inside the Third Reich.
 
Mar 2019
1,952
Kansas
The point is that in the US, business was given a free hand to find ways to increase production. Mass production is much more than an assembly line. It is a process, in which an assembly line is only a part. It is a never ending quest for speed and accuracy. That doesn't mean making the workers go faster. That can actually be counterproductive, causing mistakes and powering moral. Speed comes from streamlining the production process. The best ideas flow up. "Lean Manufacturing", "Just in Time" were born in the 20's and matured during WW2.
One of my favorite stories of the war was the Bethlehem ship yards. They were contracted to build 12 escort carriers in a year. They found so many production efficiencies and cost savings, they actually built a 13 carrier in the time frame and donated it the US navy.
 
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Dec 2013
45
Finland
So anytime some increases military funding and works to reform an inadequate, tiny military into something better, you call that mobilizing for war?
Discussion was about a particular case?

Now how is that possible if Hitler prepared for war in 1933? Rebuilding a broken military does not equal intent to start a war.
Started preparing to war in 1933, not prepared for war in 1933.

`The entire economic life of the German nation is being organised on a war economy basis' said US Military Attache in 1937 according to Richard Overy ("An Economy Geared to War", History Today vol 51 no 11, 2001).

The intentions of the German rearmament process can be debated, but it seems they wanted to go beyond merely building credible armed forces - just look at their foreign policy in the 1930's. There are also a lot of economic factors (like those discussed in Johnson's article I referenced earlier) that suggest rebuilding was not the sole purpose of German rearmament in the 1930's.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,626
I don't know of any German war planes that date their existence to before Hitler seized power.
By "air mindedness" and air trainng in Russia, glider clubs and such. The German amred forces were trying to train and plan for a air forcee as much as they could before they had one.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,319
By the end they were getting better, close to max efficiency.
Far from it. Peak output occurred around July 1944 after which it tailed off dramatically. The Third Reich resorted to slave labout to maintain production who were not the most willing or efficient workers no matter what threat was made, especially given such 'emplopyees' were not properly fed, housed, or clothed. Also factory premises were increasingly moved to remote locations such as forests or mines, where production conditions were poor to say the least. German military products from the last year of the war are of gebnerally poor quality, including copies of more succesful allied weaponry.

The point about spares above is noted but applied on the basis of German design. In fact, the issue with spares was the plethora of designs they took on service including most of the serviceable vehicles they captured, leading to a catastrophically complex supply situation. There's an anecdote by Captain Eric Brown who was in Germany when war brook out. He was escorted to the frontier and his MG car was returned, unexpectantly. The Germans said they would not keep his car because they had no spares for it.

I do not think that one can state that they were not planning for a long-term war. Instead there are strong indicators that they expected just that, like investing in synthetic fuel production plants.
Hitler was planning re-armament for a strong Germany, not a long term war. His plan was to finish re-armament in 1943, and conquer Russia the year after. However, not convinced that an assault on Britain was workable, given that the BoB was not producing the desired result, he preferred to launchan attack on Russia instead having realised that Soviet strength was a lot less impressive than he had been thinking (because of results in Finland). His generals changed his mind about attacking Russia in Winter 1940, but the operation was scheduled the folling June. Despite the scale of Barbarossa, there was never any intention to fight a long term war. There never had been. Hitler believed in the German ability to launch raids in strength, and against unprepared enemies, he was right. However his policies failed in that regard because Britain did not fall, Russia did not fall, and America supported the Allied cause.
 
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