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Presented by Jonathan Parshall at the “2013 International Conference on WWII,” The National WWII Museum,
Presented by Jonathan Parshall at the “2013 International Conference on WWII,” The National WWII Museum,

Presented by Jonathan Parshall at the “2013 International Conference on WWII,” The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, November 23, 2013.

Why Tanks?

Why Tanks? So, why discuss tanks, and tank production, beyond the obvious that tanks are big,

So, why discuss tanks, and tank production, beyond the obvious that tanks are big, bad, and bodacious?

Most of us probably began learning about WWII by reading books about famous generals
Most of us probably began learning about WWII by reading books about famous generals

Most of us probably began learning about WWII by reading books about famous generals

or accounts of the common soldiers
or accounts of the common soldiers

or accounts of the common soldiers

or books about our favorite tank or ship or airplane
or books about our favorite tank or ship or airplane
or books about our favorite tank or ship or airplane

or books about our favorite tank or ship or airplane

and then finally progressed into a study of the famous battles of the war. And
and then finally progressed into a study of the famous battles of the war. And
and then finally progressed into a study of the famous battles of the war. And

and then finally progressed into a study of the famous battles of the war. And for many people, this remains the corpus of their understanding of the war.

But most of us would acknowledge at some level that WWII was a much larger
But most of us would acknowledge at some level that WWII was a much larger

But most of us would acknowledge at some level that WWII was a much larger affair, and that at it’s core, it was really a clash of systems.

At the level of the battlefield, we have competing systems of doctrine
At the level of the battlefield, we have competing systems of doctrine
At the level of the battlefield, we have competing systems of doctrine

At the level of the battlefield, we have competing systems of doctrine

Command and Control
Command and Control
Command and Control

Command and Control

and military intelligence.
and military intelligence.
and military intelligence.

and military intelligence.

As we work our way up through the apparatus of the state, we begin to
As we work our way up through the apparatus of the state, we begin to
As we work our way up through the apparatus of the state, we begin to

As we work our way up through the apparatus of the state, we begin to encounter things like systems of national mobilization

Logistics
Logistics
Logistics

Logistics

Wartime finance
Wartime finance
Wartime finance

Wartime finance

Scientific research and development
Scientific research and development
Scientific research and development

Scientific research and development

And, of course, a battle between the factories.
And, of course, a battle between the factories.
And, of course, a battle between the factories.

And, of course, a battle between the factories.

And this is a very important battle indeed, because the war of production undergirds a
And this is a very important battle indeed, because the war of production undergirds a
And this is a very important battle indeed, because the war of production undergirds a

And this is a very important battle indeed, because the war of production undergirds a number of these other competing systems.

Industrial “Style”

Industrial “Style” • Tank production serves as an analog for larger national production models • If

• Tank production serves as an analog for larger national production models • If we can understand how these countries manufacture tanks, we can understand how they approached their production wars in general

how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,
how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,
how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,
how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,
how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,
how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,
how they approached their production wars in general As such, if we can understand tank production,

As such, if we can understand tank production, we can get a glimpse into how the major wartime combatants approached their larger wars of production. And that’s the reason for this talk.

Production Figures

Production Figures Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.

In 1940, everybody’s basically pootling along at about 1,000 - 2,000 armored fighting vehicles per
In 1940, everybody’s basically pootling along at about 1,000 - 2,000 armored fighting vehicles per

In 1940, everybody’s basically pootling along at about 1,000 - 2,000 armored fighting vehicles per year. (AFV refers to not only proper “tanks”, but also self-propelled artillery, self-propelled guns, tank destroyers, etc. Anything that is fully tracked, armored, and carries heavy weaponry can be considered an AFV.)

In 1941, production steps up across the board by a bit. You’ll notice that Germany
In 1941, production steps up across the board by a bit. You’ll notice that Germany
In 1941, production steps up across the board by a bit. You’ll notice that Germany

In 1941, production steps up across the board by a bit. You’ll notice that Germany still isn’t producing all that many AFVs, mostly because the Wehrmacht is so much better at the operational level of mobile warfare that they don’t really need that many new vehicles.

Things change drastically in 1942, as the U.S. enters the war, and both America and
Things change drastically in 1942, as the U.S. enters the war, and both America and
Things change drastically in 1942, as the U.S. enters the war, and both America and

Things change drastically in 1942, as the U.S. enters the war, and both America and the USSR put the hammer down in terms of production. Even Great Britain is outbuilding Germany at this point. Yet it is not until September of 1942 that the Germans really push the panic button and start to get serious about producing more vehicles.

By 1943, the U.S. is now fully geared up, and produces the astonishing total of
By 1943, the U.S. is now fully geared up, and produces the astonishing total of
By 1943, the U.S. is now fully geared up, and produces the astonishing total of

By 1943, the U.S. is now fully geared up, and produces the astonishing total of more than 37,000 vehicles. Germany is now out- producing Britain, but still lags far behind its two main competitors.

In 1944, the Germans are now finally producing a respectable total of vehicles. The U.S.
In 1944, the Germans are now finally producing a respectable total of vehicles. The U.S.
In 1944, the Germans are now finally producing a respectable total of vehicles. The U.S.

In 1944, the Germans are now finally producing a respectable total of vehicles. The U.S. actually deliberately cuts back on production, because we realize that we aren’t going to have as many armored divisions in our table of organization as we originally thought.

And the war ends.
And the war ends.
And the war ends.

And the war ends.

Cumulative production of AFVs thus falls very neatly into three tiers. At the top, you
Cumulative production of AFVs thus falls very neatly into three tiers. At the top, you
Cumulative production of AFVs thus falls very neatly into three tiers. At the top, you

Cumulative production of AFVs thus falls very neatly into three tiers. At the top, you have the US and USSR, who each produce more than 100,000 vehicles. In the middle are Britain and Germany, who produce between 36,000-46,000 vehicles. And very much on the bottom rung are Italy and Japan.

Production Inputs

Production Inputs Tank production basically requires four inputs: Money, Labor, Energy, and Steel. Let’s take a

Tank production basically requires four inputs: Money, Labor, Energy, and Steel. Let’s take a look at those.

In terms of money, the U.S. has by far the largest economy on the planet.
In terms of money, the U.S. has by far the largest economy on the planet.

In terms of money, the U.S. has by far the largest economy on the planet. Intriguingly, though, the USSR’s economy takes an enormous hit in 1941-1942, meaning that during this crucial period of the war, the Germans actually have an economy that is about 40% larger than the Soviets.

Population

Population In terms of population, the Russians come into the war with a marked advantage, but

In terms of population, the Russians come into the war with a marked advantage, but by 1942 about 65 million Soviet citizens are behind enemy lines, and thus removed from the labor pool.

Coal Production (mil. metric tons]

Coal Production (mil. metric tons] In terms of coal production, which is another way of quantifying

In terms of coal production, which is another way of quantifying energy usage, both the U.S. and Germany are major coal producers. Germany outproduces the Soviets by better than 4:1 during 1942 and 1943.

Steel Production (mil. metric tons]

Steel Production (mil. metric tons] In terms of steel production, the U.S. is by far the

In terms of steel production, the U.S. is by far the world’s largest producer. Again, the Germans are outproducing the USSR by about 4:1 in this category as well.

Two Questions Emerge

Two Questions Emerge • Why did the USSR over-perform so dramatically? • Why did Germany under-perform

• Why did the USSR over-perform so dramatically? • Why did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR?

did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR? The questions that emerge from the foregoing are
did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR? The questions that emerge from the foregoing are
did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR? The questions that emerge from the foregoing are
did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR? The questions that emerge from the foregoing are
did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR? The questions that emerge from the foregoing are
did Germany under-perform so badly vis-à-vis the USSR? The questions that emerge from the foregoing are

The questions that emerge from the foregoing are basically two-fold. How did the USSR, laboring under such huge disadvantages economically, manage to outproduce the Germans so decisively? And conversely, why did Germany under-perform as badly as it did? Or, put in graphical terms

Why didn’t the picture look more like this, with Germany a clear #2 producer, and
Why didn’t the picture look more like this, with Germany a clear #2 producer, and
Why didn’t the picture look more like this, with Germany a clear #2 producer, and
Why didn’t the picture look more like this, with Germany a clear #2 producer, and

Why didn’t the picture look more like this, with Germany a clear #2 producer, and the USSR relegated to a ranking somewhere closer to Great Britain? The answers to those questions have a lot to do with how Russia and Germany approached the manufacture of their vehicles.

American Production

American Production So let’s take a look at American production.

So let’s take a look at American production.

American Priorities

American Priorities • Unique position of strength • Enormous warmaking potential, but equally enormous wartime demands

• Unique position of strength • Enormous warmaking potential, but equally enormous wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths:

wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths: mass production – – – Long
wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths: mass production – – – Long
wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths: mass production – – – Long
wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths: mass production – – – Long
wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths: mass production – – – Long
wartime demands • We’re going to play to our strengths: mass production – – – Long
mass production
mass production
– – – Long production runs Little variation in models Capital intensive / hard-tooling
Long production runs
Little variation in models
Capital intensive / hard-tooling

Obviously, from the foregoing slide, you can see that the U.S. was in a unique position of strength. Particularly in terms of money, the U.S. could throw piles of money at its production problems, in quantities nobody else could dream of. But we also have enormous demands on that potential, because we need not only a huge army, but also an enormous navy and air force. As such, we’re going to play to our strengths in mass production. And we’re also going to invest heavily in the specialized tools needed to speed up production.

Problem is…

Problem is… • As late as spring 1941, we have zero tank production infrastructure Our biggest

• As late as spring 1941, we have zero tank production infrastructure

spring 1941, we have zero tank production infrastructure Our biggest problem is that up until mid-1941,
spring 1941, we have zero tank production infrastructure Our biggest problem is that up until mid-1941,
spring 1941, we have zero tank production infrastructure Our biggest problem is that up until mid-1941,

Our biggest problem is that up until mid-1941, we don’t have a single factory producing tanks in any real quantity. In June 1940, the Army goes to Chrysler. And Chrysler gives the job to this guy

Albert Kahn, the greatest industrial architect of the 20th Century, and the go-to guy when
Albert Kahn, the greatest industrial architect of the 20th Century, and the go-to guy when

Albert Kahn, the greatest industrial architect of the 20th Century, and the go-to guy when you need a big factory put up fast.

Ground is broken in September 1940. By January 1941, much of the steel is up;
Ground is broken in September 1940. By January 1941, much of the steel is up;

Ground is broken in September 1940. By January 1941, much of the steel is up; in comes the locomotive to heat the place. By April 1941, 1 st prototype tank built.

July 1941, serial production of the M3 Grant medium tank begins. But one modern tank
July 1941, serial production of the M3 Grant medium tank begins. But one modern tank

July 1941, serial production of the M3 Grant medium tank begins. But one modern tank factory isn’t going to get it done, so who do we turn to who also has the large assembly plants, big overhead cranes, and expertise with big heavy castings?

The railroad companies.
The railroad companies.

The railroad companies.

So in 1942, we have an improvised tank production industry composed of re-tooling automotive plants,
So in 1942, we have an improvised tank production industry composed of re-tooling automotive plants,

So in 1942, we have an improvised tank production industry composed of re-tooling automotive plants, and the railroad companies.

By 1944, though, we no longer need to produce as many tanks. And now that
By 1944, though, we no longer need to produce as many tanks. And now that
By 1944, though, we no longer need to produce as many tanks. And now that

By 1944, though, we no longer need to produce as many tanks. And now that Detroit is fully converted, we furlough all the railroad firms except Pressed Steel. Our tank industry is now firmly centered in Detroit, and particularly on the Chrysler Arsenal, which builds more than 25% of our total AFVs during the war.

Shot of the Chrysler arsenal. Classic automotive-style mass production. Huge plant; very well organized.
Shot of the Chrysler arsenal. Classic automotive-style mass production. Huge plant; very well organized.

Shot of the Chrysler arsenal. Classic automotive-style mass production. Huge plant; very well organized.

A shot of one of the machining halls.
A shot of one of the machining halls.

A shot of one of the machining halls.

Russian Production
Russian Production
Russian Production Now let’s look at the Russians.

Now let’s look at the Russians.

The Russians come into the war with the advantage of having a fairly well-developed tank
The Russians come into the war with the advantage of having a fairly well-developed tank
The Russians come into the war with the advantage of having a fairly well-developed tank

The Russians come into the war with the advantage of having a fairly well-developed tank industry. This map shows not only tank assembly, but also gun and armor factories.

Prewar Tractor Factories

Prewar Tractor Factories The Soviets had been very clever in making sure that their tractor factories
Prewar Tractor Factories The Soviets had been very clever in making sure that their tractor factories

The Soviets had been very clever in making sure that their tractor factories could be converted to tank production in time of war. Many Soviet factories were actually built by the Americans. In fact, the Stalingrad tractor plant was built by none other than

Albert Kahn. Work was hard to find during the Depression. Kahn and his firm built
Albert Kahn. Work was hard to find during the Depression. Kahn and his firm built

Albert Kahn. Work was hard to find during the Depression. Kahn and his firm built hundreds of Soviet plants. And the Russians were hiring more than just American architects. They were also bringing over American production engineers and machine tools as well. So, there was a lot of knowledge transfer happening during this time.

The problem for the Russians is that the 1941 invasion rips up their industrial infrastructure.
The problem for the Russians is that the 1941 invasion rips up their industrial infrastructure.

The problem for the Russians is that the 1941 invasion rips up their industrial infrastructure. Scores of Russian factories are thrown on trains, along with their workers, and literally dumped at railway sidings in the Urals. For the tank equipment, most of it ended up in towns that already had an existing tractor or railroad plant.

The same thing, to a lesser extent, happens in 1942.
The same thing, to a lesser extent, happens in 1942.

The same thing, to a lesser extent, happens in 1942.

Russian Priorities

Russian Priorities • Vertical Integration; Centralization • Use American mass-production methods, but take things a

• Vertical Integration; Centralization • Use American mass-production methods, but take things a step further • Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs

• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry
• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry
• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry
• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry
• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry
• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry
• Relentlessly focus on simplicity and driving down costs Leaving the USSR with a tank industry

Leaving the USSR with a tank industry with factories in Gorky, and then four enormous factories in the Urals. At the same time, the extremely heavy strain on the Soviet railway system is driving a need for centralization and vertical integration at Soviet tank plants. These factories can assemble a much higher percentage of the total vehicle than an American or German plant. That’s not as efficient, but it makes sense from the standpoint of taking strain off their railroad network.

• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34
• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34
• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34

• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced

• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34 Medium,
• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34 Medium,
• By 1942, only three types of tanks were being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34 Medium,

– KV-1 Heavy, T-34 Medium, T-60/T-70 Light

being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34 Medium, T-60/T-70 Light • All Soviet tanks and SUs used
being produced – KV-1 Heavy, T-34 Medium, T-60/T-70 Light • All Soviet tanks and SUs used

• All Soviet tanks and SUs used these three chassis for the remainder of WWII

and SUs used these three chassis for the remainder of WWII Soviets strive to simplify their
and SUs used these three chassis for the remainder of WWII Soviets strive to simplify their

Soviets strive to simplify their models. For the remainder of the war, they build all their AFVs on just three chassis.

Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence • A manufactured product has a certain (hopefully planned) lifespan • Putting sub-components in

• A manufactured product has a certain (hopefully planned) lifespan • Putting sub-components in the product that have a longer lifespan is wasteful

in the product that have a longer lifespan is wasteful Another concept the Soviets adopt from
in the product that have a longer lifespan is wasteful Another concept the Soviets adopt from
in the product that have a longer lifespan is wasteful Another concept the Soviets adopt from
in the product that have a longer lifespan is wasteful Another concept the Soviets adopt from
in the product that have a longer lifespan is wasteful Another concept the Soviets adopt from

Another concept the Soviets adopt from the Americans (with a vengeance) is planned obsolescence.

The Russians weren’t dumb. They realized very quickly that the vast majority of their tanks
The Russians weren’t dumb. They realized very quickly that the vast majority of their tanks
The Russians weren’t dumb. They realized very quickly that the vast majority of their tanks
The Russians weren’t dumb. They realized very quickly that the vast majority of their tanks
The Russians weren’t dumb. They realized very quickly that the vast majority of their tanks

The Russians weren’t dumb. They realized very quickly that the vast majority of their tanks were going to end up like this

Not here, in a museum
Not here, in a museum

Not here, in a museum

But like this. They’d done the math, and they realized that the average lifespan of
But like this. They’d done the math, and they realized that the average lifespan of
But like this. They’d done the math, and they realized that the average lifespan of
But like this. They’d done the math, and they realized that the average lifespan of
But like this. They’d done the math, and they realized that the average lifespan of

But like this. They’d done the math, and they realized that the average lifespan of a tank was less than 6 months, and once it was in combat, it was less than 14 hours. These were disposable vehicles with disposable human beings inside them. And once you get your head around that fact, and come to peace with it, it clarifies everything about the design and manufacture of these products.

It makes no sense to build an engine or transmission that’s going to last any
It makes no sense to build an engine or transmission that’s going to last any
It makes no sense to build an engine or transmission that’s going to last any
It makes no sense to build an engine or transmission that’s going to last any

It makes no sense to build an engine or transmission that’s going to last any longer than 1000-1500km. The tank will be wrecked by then. This means you can manufacture those components with lower-quality parts, less machining, lower quality materials, etc.

Driving out Cost

Driving out Cost 770 T-34 parts simplified in 1942 alone Reduction in overall parts: 5,461 Cancellation

770 T-34 parts simplified in 1942 alone Reduction in overall parts: 5,461 Cancellation of 206 outside contracts for sub-components Development of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183

of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183 – Reduction in man hours to
of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183 – Reduction in man hours to
of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183 – Reduction in man hours to
of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183 – Reduction in man hours to
of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183 – Reduction in man hours to
of submerged automatic arc-welding of hulls at Plant No. 183 – Reduction in man hours to

– Reduction in man hours to machine hull from 240 to 80

– Reduction in man hours to machine hull from 240 to 80 The Soviets are maniacal
– Reduction in man hours to machine hull from 240 to 80 The Soviets are maniacal

The Soviets are maniacal about driving cost out of the product. So they’re eliminating unique parts, reducing overall number of parts, etc. At the same time, though, they are experimenting with innovative manufacturing processes--anything to reduce time and cost.

The result is that you see the cost of a T-34 drop by half. Time
The result is that you see the cost of a T-34 drop by half. Time
The result is that you see the cost of a T-34 drop by half. Time
The result is that you see the cost of a T-34 drop by half. Time

The result is that you see the cost of a T-34 drop by half. Time is money, as everybody knows. But the inverse is also true, in that if we’re spending less money on a tank, we’re probably getting it off the line more quickly, too.

Gorky, Red Sormovo Plant No. 112. Note the chain drive on the floor. Classic automotive-style
Gorky, Red Sormovo Plant No. 112. Note the chain drive on the floor. Classic automotive-style

Gorky, Red Sormovo Plant No. 112. Note the chain drive on the floor. Classic automotive-style mass manufacturing.

Probably Plant No. 183 in Nishij Tagil. Note how cramped the space is in comparison
Probably Plant No. 183 in Nishij Tagil. Note how cramped the space is in comparison

Probably Plant No. 183 in Nishij Tagil. Note how cramped the space is in comparison with the Chrysler plant. But still, standard assembly-line style manufacturing.

Most likely Plant No. 183. Note the air quality. These were dirty, dangerous, nasty places
Most likely Plant No. 183. Note the air quality. These were dirty, dangerous, nasty places

Most likely Plant No. 183. Note the air quality. These were dirty, dangerous, nasty places to work, but they poured out the tanks. Plant No. 183 produced more than 5,600 T-34s in 1942 alone.

German Production

German Production And now let’s look at the Germans.

And now let’s look at the Germans.

Here’s a map of Germany’s tank industry.
Here’s a map of Germany’s tank industry.

Here’s a map of Germany’s tank industry.

German Priorities

German Priorities Specifications driven by the military (Heereswaffenamt) Very high quality product Lots of models A

Specifications driven by the military (Heereswaffenamt) Very high quality product Lots of models A preference for “flexibility” in manufacturing Skilled craftsmen for assembly

in manufacturing Skilled craftsmen for assembly German priorities are completely different. The
in manufacturing Skilled craftsmen for assembly German priorities are completely different. The
in manufacturing Skilled craftsmen for assembly German priorities are completely different. The
in manufacturing Skilled craftsmen for assembly German priorities are completely different. The

German priorities are completely different. The specifications for their vehicles are controlled by the military, who want a very high quality product. They have a preference for lots of different models. And they like to work with manufacturers who will be “flexible,” that is, willing to put up with a constant stream of modifications. And they want very skilled craftsmen involved in the process.

Many, Many Models

14 different models of Pz III
14 different models of Pz III
–
Many, Many Models 14 different models of Pz III – largest model run: 2,158 units, across

largest model run: 2,158 units, across six different factories

model run: 2,158 units, across six different factories 10 different models of Pz IV 8 different
model run: 2,158 units, across six different factories 10 different models of Pz IV 8 different

10 different models of Pz IV 8 different models of StuG III 14 different types of AFVs built in 1942

models of StuG III 14 different types of AFVs built in 1942 – smallest run: 16
models of StuG III 14 different types of AFVs built in 1942 – smallest run: 16
– smallest run: 16 units
smallest run: 16 units

Lots of models, and yet very low production per model.

Henschel Facility

Henschel Facility Dr. Erwin Aders, head of Henschel's Panzer program and the Tiger's chief designer, tours

Dr. Erwin Aders, head of Henschel's Panzer program and the Tiger's chief designer, tours shop 5 at the Kassel works with high ranking army officers on Sept. 5, 1942. (Dr. Aders is in the dark suit on the right)

Production Levels

Production Levels On paper, Henschel works should produce about 240-360 tanks / month Highest monthly production

On paper, Henschel works should produce about 240-360 tanks / month Highest monthly production goal was 95 Highest monthly production was 104 What is going on?

was 95 Highest monthly production was 104 What is going on? On paper, this factory should
was 95 Highest monthly production was 104 What is going on? On paper, this factory should
was 95 Highest monthly production was 104 What is going on? On paper, this factory should
was 95 Highest monthly production was 104 What is going on? On paper, this factory should

On paper, this factory should be producing about 240-360 tanks / month, but for most of its career, it’s producing about 60 / month. What is going on with this factory?

Engineering Marvel, but…

Manufacturing nightmare! ~250 modifications during a 2-year, 1,347-unit production run

modifications during a 2-year, 1,347-unit production run – Not including redesigned turret and engine No block
modifications during a 2-year, 1,347-unit production run – Not including redesigned turret and engine No block
modifications during a 2-year, 1,347-unit production run – Not including redesigned turret and engine No block
– Not including redesigned turret and engine
Not including redesigned turret and engine
run – Not including redesigned turret and engine No block phasing of modifications Blizzard of tiny

No block phasing of modifications Blizzard of tiny alterations

block phasing of modifications Blizzard of tiny alterations – Commander’s rain cover, “large truck” camouflage
–
phasing of modifications Blizzard of tiny alterations – Commander’s rain cover, “large truck” camouflage

Commander’s rain cover, “large truck” camouflage mounting points, reshaped turret traverse lever, yada yada yada

points, reshaped turret traverse lever, yada yada yada The Tiger is a fabulous combat vehicle, but
points, reshaped turret traverse lever, yada yada yada The Tiger is a fabulous combat vehicle, but

The Tiger is a fabulous combat vehicle, but it’s a nightmare to put together. With 250+ mods in the course of its production, that means that *on average*, the tank at the end of the line was probably different from the one that was just six units behind it. The Henschel factory was having to deal with a couple design modifications a week. And they weren’t managing these changes in “blocks” or “flights”. From a production engineering standpoint, this is just insanity--these things are practically all being hand-built. And there were other things happening on the shop floor, too

Note the large rolling stairways. This tank isn’t going anywhere for a while, because this
Note the large rolling stairways. This tank isn’t going anywhere for a while, because this

Note the large rolling stairways. This tank isn’t going anywhere for a while, because this is not really an assembly-line process. It’s more what we might term “station-based” or “stand-based” assembly, wherein a group of workers performs a very large number of operations on the vehicle. You typically find this mode of assembly for things like yachts or aircraft manufacturing, which maybe makes sense, because the Germans paid more for a Tiger than the U.S. paid for a B-24 heavy bomber.

Memo to Henschel: If your workers have to scribble notes to themselves on the side
Memo to Henschel: If your workers have to scribble notes to themselves on the side

Memo to Henschel: If your workers have to scribble notes to themselves on the side of the tank, that may be a clue that your manufacturing process is too complex.

Note the large vertical lathe being used to manufacture both drive sprockets and their hubs.
Note the large vertical lathe being used to manufacture both drive sprockets and their hubs.

Note the large vertical lathe being used to manufacture both drive sprockets and their hubs. Now, this may not be a bottleneck in the overall production process. But any time you use a general purpose tool to produce different types of parts, in small batches (as we see here), it’s always the setup times that eat you alive. This is an example of a lack of dedicated tooling, and we see that in the numbers: the Kassel plant had 1,000 machine tools. The Chrysler Arsenal had 8,000.

Further Suspicions…

Further Suspicions… • Very complex assembly Lack of dedicated hard tooling = bottlenecks from tool setups/teardown

• Very complex assembly Lack of dedicated hard tooling = bottlenecks from tool setups/teardown Lots of re-work at the end of the line Lots of fiddling with fit and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput

with fit and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems
•
with fit and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems
with fit and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems
•
•
and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems clear that
and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems clear that
and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems clear that
and finish • ALL of this reduces throughput • • • So, it seems clear that

So, it seems clear that this was a very complex tank to put together. There was a lack of dedicated hard-tooling (which makes sense, given the number of design mods.) I would lay any amount of money that there was lots of re-work happening at the end of the line, to fix problems during assembly (and probably back-fit new design modifications as well). I’d also wager that there was a lot of fiddling around with achieving a perfect fit and finish of parts. All of these things reduce factory efficiency.

Summary Costs

Summary Costs Take these numbers with a large grain of salt, since 1) both the ruble

Take these numbers with a large grain of salt, since 1) both the ruble and the reichsmark were funny-money and not freely convertible, and 2) it’s maddeningly difficult to find decent cost figures for these vehicles. But that said, we know that the contract price for a Sherman from the Chrysler plant was $33,500, and the napkin math says it took about 10,000 man hours to assemble the tank. The Soviets were somewhere in the middle, but much closer to the U.S., and their labor was much cheaper. The Germans, on the other hand, practically brag about the Tiger taking ~300,000 man hours to put together, at a pre-war cost of $320,000. Wow.

Summary “Styles”

Summary “Styles” A summarization of manufacturing styles.

A summarization of manufacturing styles.

Conclusions

Conclusions USA had winning hand; improvised very well Soviet weapons may have been crude, but their

USA had winning hand; improvised very well Soviet weapons may have been crude, but their production strategy was anything but Soviets made the most rational (if callous) assessment of the true nature of the war they were fighting, and built AFVs to match The Germans failed to overcome prejudices against mass production until way too late More important, they failed to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942

to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played
to understand the nature of what the war had become by 1942 Summarization. The Americans played

Summarization. The Americans played their winning had very well. Creating the world’s largest tank industry almost overnight was a tremendous feat. For their part, the USSR’s performance was nothing less than brilliant, particularly in terms of the underlying thought process that went into their production strategy. Meanwhile, the Germans made the wrong calls completely, by not realizing that the scope and intensity of the war had changed completely in 1942, which required a major overhaul to how they produced AFVs. This same “style” of manufacturing applied to many different types of products (particularly aircraft) and it simply wasn’t effective for the sort of warfare that WWII required.

Downloadable at: www.combinedfleet.com/ParshallTankProduction.pdf Thank you! My Thanks To: Randy Talbot (US Army TACOM),
Downloadable at:
Downloadable at:

www.combinedfleet.com/ParshallTankProduction.pdf

Thank you!

My Thanks To: Randy Talbot (US Army TACOM), Eugene Kovalev, Dr. William O’Neill, Alan Hamby,
My Thanks To:
Randy Talbot (US Army TACOM), Eugene Kovalev,
Dr. William O’Neill, Alan Hamby, Patrick Stansell,
Kurt Laughlin, Steven Zaloga