Why were Wehrmacht Logistics so bad?

Tin Tức



Now, one common joke about the Wehrmacht is that their logistics were bad, especially when it comes to Operation Barbarossa. And this is usually explained with the lack of trucks, hubris and other aspects. Yet, I think, that this view is might be a bit too simple and does not encompass the whole situation. So, I think we need to take a look at the bigger picture and by this, I mean let’s look at the globe and also expand the timeline.

Cover colorization by vonKickass.

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Groß, Gerhard P.: Mythos und Wirklichkeit. Die Geschichte des operativen Denkens im deutschen Heer von Moltke d. Ä. bis Heusinger (Zeitalter der Weltkriege, Band 9). Ferdinand Schönigh: Paderborn, 2012. (ENGLISH VERSION BELOW)
Groß, Gerhard P.; Zabecki, David T. (Ed.): The Myth and Reality of German Warfare: Operational Thinking from Moltke the Elder to Heusinger (Foreign Military Studies), University Press of Kentucky, 2018.

Creveld, Martin van: Supplying War. Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2004

Cambridge History of the First World War. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2016 (2014).

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Murray, Williamson: The Luftwaffe Experience, 1939-1941. In: Cooling, Benjamin Franklin (ed.): Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support. Office of Air Force History: Washington DC, United States (1990), p. 71-113

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Citino, Robert M.: The German Way of War. From the Thirty Years’

Ou, Si-Fu: China’s A2AD and Its Geographic Perspective

Scholik, Nikolaus: Seemacht im 21. Jahrhundert – Handbuch & Lexikon

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37 thoughts on “Why were Wehrmacht Logistics so bad?

  1. Well you’re so negative about Germans,dude.German infantry divisions were heavily relied on horses,that’s ok but German Army still had 300.000 motor vehicles(plus more than 500.000 horses)in the beginning of WW2.Also majority of armies in WW2 relied on infantry divisions but British and American ones were fully mechanized and had not any horses.92 divisions of US Army in WW2 consisted 66 infantry and 16 armored while British Army had 41 infantry and 11 armored divisions.So saying just %10-20 of German Army consisted mechanized divisions is very false,comparing number of motor vehicles per division is lot better.And Germans weren’t lacked in industrial capacity,German industry and national income was World’s 2nd largest of the World after USA’s on paper and Germany was World leader in chemical and electricity industry with US too.
    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=161189&sid=b1b4d32c4cf47c1f46dd4cf4486d346f&start=570(Heer’s motor vehicle inventory)

  2. I heard a reference somewhere to the Germans trying to obtain Diamond T and M9 trailer tank transporters via a Swiss intermediary.Which might have worked with the Mk 4 and Panther but probably no chance with Tiger.Also all bets being off when Russian distances and lack of roads are factored in.How many German Generals probably said we've almost reached Moscow now how far to the Pacific coast.

  3. I see nothing in WWW ll that disproves the logistic over tactics argument. Quite the contrary if , obviously, an oversimplification. Perhaps one could argue pre Barbarossa tactics could overcome logistics but after it was tactical futility in need of its logistics.

  4. Over bloated Arrogance is the reason they screwed up, an even bigger fault since they had Napoleon's example a century before.

  5. the logistics problems were a result of the German military culture that valued combat troops over support troops. commonly disrespecting non-combat ranks. Scientists and engineers were held in low regard, often not wanting their rating displayed on their uniform as having a technical rating meant being disrespected by combat officers, even when outranking them. Hitler himself said "The war will not be lost because of a supply problem!" somehow believing it could be fixed simply by ordering it to be so. The biggest problem was that the German high command learned exactly the wrong lesson from the war with France. The 1st great blunder was in turning away from Dunkirk to march on Paris. This only worked because Paris was so close to the sea, effectively cutting France into pieces. It was simply not possible to drive the panzers to the pacific. The engines would not hold up, even if they could be supplied with fuel. Notice also that while German planes, tanks and other equipment was the best of the era, once it broke down, there were no parts available to repair it. Most planes ending up abandoned, so too with panzers, once the transmission blew out there was none to replace it with. Both the T-34 and the Sherman showed the advantage of building lots of inferior tanks fast over custom panzers that could not be repaired or replaced.

  6. I feel the japanese hardly thought about logistics. The territory they cover was vastly larger than the german military, and a lot more water!

  7. This is 2019, shouldn't Stahel's 3 books and the Germany and WW2 v4 be used in this video? Though the two Davie Journal papers were cited as reference, but the contents were barely touched.

  8. It is because motorized armies was still a new concept. The only countries that fully motorized before ww2 was America and England. They were able to do this because of their easy access to oil or trade for it. Everyone else meh we do a few motorized units with some oil reserves from trade. But remained mostly foot soldiers because that was the only guarantee they had for a safe army in times of war where oil access could be eliminated. IE Germany and ITALY with the 4th largest navy that no tales of Italy navy battles is talked about hardly in ww2 because they stayed in the docks the entire war . Italy would been better off keeping their ships on the coal standard to at least had something in the sea. It would had required a lot more guile and leadership skill to compete with a navy running on fuel but was doable. They all used the same guns. Just dont fight on the open ocean. Use land to restrict ship movements to try to keep the fight almost even.

  9. The German fuel supply was insanely precious for a country trying to fight a World War! And so was their domestic production of vehicles! Before the war they put tarrifs on fuel imports so they could set up viable synthetic fuel plants. They converted all their train engines to run on coal! After Poland they took as many military vehicles as possible for their own purposes. All WV that civilians had ordered were transferred to military use. And they used over 600,000 captures vehicles from the BAF and France in the war against the Soviet Union. Most of these vehicles quickly broke down and couldn't be repaired since they had no replacement parts. They used Czek built panzers on the Eastern front too! Despite all this the Army was still reliant on horses for 70% of their transportation.

  10. No "bigger picture" needed. The only ones calling it "bad" are the ones who foolishly seem to think everybody had access to the same resources and industrial output. Nazi Germany went to war primarily (as did Imperial Japan) because they felt their natural resources were way too small – and that wasn't such an absurd belief considering the immense resources their rival powers had at their disposal (pardon my sarcasm).
    Throughout the war Nazi Germany always had a shortage of something and brilliant war tactics/allied incompetence/pure luck gave them the initiative. The longer the war went on the clearer it would get – and this was well known by the Germans after the bitter loss in WWI already – that Germany could never hope to win a long war of attrition.

    What "bigger picture" is needed. The economy of Nazi Germany, its resources, industrial output and manpower could never compete in a long war of attrition.

  11. Germany, and particular Hitler, made the fatal mistake of assuming that they could win the war quickly, and that the enemies would stay defeated. They completely underestimated the tenacity and resistance of both Great Britain and Russia.

  12. In WW2, German Field Operations used almost exclusively HORSE TRANSPORT because of the fuel shortage. Horses just cannot compete with trucks, which is why horses were phased out by everybody that could do so. Yes, Allies did use horses occasionally, but Germany used them EXCLUSIVELY once forces had to dismount from the trains.

    This shows the utter insanity of attacking the USSR which had been the principal supplier of liquid fuels to Germany until June 22, 1941. Germany had ALREADY WON WW2 until June of 1941. Germany controlled the entire continent of Europe either directly, through allies, or friendly border states (Spain). Their back was secured by the USSR's Red Army, and essential supplies, especially oil, were in plentiful supply from USSR. Germany was in the "Catbird Seat" and threw it all away for the delusions of a madman.

  13. Germany didn't have enough fuel for the number of trucks complete mechanization would have demanded, hence the reliance on horse-drawn transport. This affected the rate at which supplies could be brought up. The German Army also operated with a much smaller 'tail' (admin & logistic troops) than the British and US armies. It is ironic that this meant they depended on quick victories and extended conflicts usually resulted in their defeat, In Barbarossa, they had enough supplies for only a relatively short period, after which the offensive came to a halt..France collapsed before the German ran out of supplies, although it was close and communications were better. North Africa shows the effect of the supply difficulties, With Rommel being forced back every time he ran out of supplies,

  14. The fact is USSR would possibly crumble in a few months if Germans would have approached the war differently and acted as liberators in Ukraine, Belarus and Baltics, instead of conquerors. And would have tried to sell the same to Russians. Of course they kinda tried, but it was fake and soon mass executions started, and it wasn't really possible with the terrible doctrine Hitler had regarding the East, lebensraum etc. But if Germans offered a solid future to Russians, with land reform (abolishing collective farms), as Lenin did in 1917, the plan could have worked. I doubt the average Russian in 1941 had a lot of loyalty to the Soviet regime. Just that nazis proved that as bad as Stalin could be, Hitler was worse… so they started resisting.

  15. Some more data, details, numbers and comparative stats would have made this video more informative.

  16. Hans, since we uze horses they are bette ja?
    Ja, they can eat off the ground
    The grounds in Russia: Frozen and Muddy

  17. If in 1941 the germans had gone for caucasus, they could have used the black sea to re-supply their troops, once they destroy the russian navy, or just take all black sea ports

    As there is unlikely to be partizans on a supply route through the balkans, or in the black sea. And less need to convert the railway gauge on this route

  18. Well a lot of Wehraboo's don't really appreciate just how dysfunctional the logistics situation was; which is why they focus so much on "What if" gay black Hitler counterfactuals where a German victory would've required a completely different and improbable historical context to be plausible.

  19. @10:20 The U.S. was hours away from invading and (by all experts' calculations) conquering Canada several years ago. The U.S. force had been assembled near the border in a number that was estimated to overwhelm the entirety of the Canadian armed forces including reserves and emergency conscripts. The U.S. finally had to abandon the plan when the entire invasion force could not acquire authorization to proceed. The parents of all 36 members of the high school JROTC unit that made up the invasion army refused to sign permission slips allowing them to travel to Canada.

  20. The German military grossly misjudged the CCCP. They should have developed Strategic bombing as well as Blitzkrieg and a Naval blockade then they should destroyed the allied troops at Dunkirk instead of stopping and giving the allies breathing room…..then the Germans should of and could have bombed London into submission using long range bombers then sent in ground troops……..they could have repeated the same process in Russia…..by bombing Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad……simultaneously into submission then committed ground forces after using Blitzkrieg tactics…..

  21. Buy a tee shirt that hangs gracefully off your body …….
    Can you get a wardrobe deal ? Cross advertise, etc ?

  22. İf Wehrmacht’s logistics was so bad,what about Japanese?Their logistics was 10 times worst than the Germans.

  23. The Wehrmacht's logistics issues were to some degree typical of a rapid advance regardless of the country involved. The US paused in the invasion of Iraq (2003) to refuel and rest.

    Of course, the Wehrmacht was destined to fail in a long, protracted engagement with an enemy such as Russia or the United States. They needed quick victories to be sucessful or the issue of natural resources, personnel, and and war weariness would become problems for them.

  24. It was because they LACKED, "Tracked Supply Vehicles" . . . they SHOULD have adopted the "Older" panzer's, to fill this roll.

  25. I thought was that Hitler started WWII 10 years early , that the German Military wasn't ready.
    If their wonder weapon development had started earlier could have taken over perhaps half of the world perhaps depending on how China and Japan resisted them.Provided they had taken over Britain right after France .

  26. I have heard, and will again track down the details, that there was in the 1860s in the US a railway executive who was quickly brought on by the Union Army and given charge of trains and logistics. One of those people who "won the war but got no fame". I will track down his name because I have heard, that he was brought to the Germanies after 1865 and paid well to do for German logistics what he did for the Union.
    If so, your comment about events in 1848 in the Germanies, and that, make some sense. Also "war of interior lines" would make a connection to the US Civil War.

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