With the exception of warships, Soviet war production rate ratios were in their favor for the 1940-45 timeline. Each weapon or platform type had their unique up and down ratio trends but overall the production trends were upwards for the USSR.
Table of Contents
Manufacturing Production Philosophy
“Quantity has a quality all its own.” It is debated if Stalin ever said this, but it was an operating principle for Soviet production. The Soviet Union maximized quantity produced over almost over all other production concerns. Whereas for most of the war the German approach optimized design excellence, development of the next generation of weapons, and specialized items fulfilling unique scenarios.
The Soviet’s production philosophy was to keep the number of model types down, simplify manufacturing thereby requiring low skilled labor, and keep design change activity to a minimum while implemented those changes as a block. Germany’s production philosophy until 1943 was the opposite in that they had many model types, a complex manufacturing environment requiring skilled labor, and continuously incorporated design changes so that very few products in the field were identical thus complicating logistics. It wasn’t until the Speer reforms fully took effect in 1943 that Germany’s model types were reduced to a level commensurate with the Soviet Union allowing them to streamline their production processes.
The Soviet Union and the Germany saw the upcoming war very differently and their industrial mobilization reflected their visions. Germany foresaw a series of short wars or political takeovers of states in one-on-one actions. During the 1930s Germany more so than any other European nation mobilized their military and industry for war.
German self-sufficiency was a key principle in their war preparations which included construction of synthetic fuel and rubber plants, prioritizing military over civilian economic policy, and stockpiling raw materials. Germany’s vision required industrial and military mobilizations but not that of total war. Accordingly, Germany’s early war aircraft production was running two shifts for five days a week. The Soviet Union foresaw a long war and mobilized its industries and military accordingly with factories running around the clock seven days a week.
Prior to the Speer reforms, Germany produced 26 different types of artillery while the Soviets produced five, Germany produced 12 types of antitank guns and the Soviets two, Germany produced ten types of antiaircraft guns and the Soviets three, Germany produced 18 types of tanks or armored vehicles and the Soviets six, and Germany produced 42 types of aircraft and the Soviets twelve.
Germany submarine production totaled 905,400 tons during the 1940-1945 war years. While the Soviet Union could focus totally on the land war against only one enemy and therefore only produced a handful of coastal surface ships.
German Soviet War Production, 1940-45 Data
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|6||German||Tanks and SPG||2.0||4.0||6.0||11.0||18.0||4.0||46.0|
|8||German||Warships, units Submarines||40.0||196.0||244.0||270.0||189.0||0.0||939.0|
*Ground and air munitions, thousands
Source: Harrison, Mark “Industrial mobilisation for World War II: a German comparison*.” Page 14, https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/mharrison/public/opk2000mobilisation.pdf, Data accessed May 20, 2022, *This paper appeared as a chapter in The Soviet Defence Industry Complex from Stalin to Khrushchev, pp. 99-117. Edited by John Barber and Mark Harrison. Basingstoke and London: Macmillan Press, 2000
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