weapon cost

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by drgslyr, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    From: Product prices

    The tables below illustrate the price of a multitude of goods, to give an idea of the price levels during the war, as well as a way to compare the costs of weapons with that of everyday goods. While the exchange rate between USD and Reichmark changed during the war, the level was around USD 0.4-0.5 for one Reichmark. One Danish Kroner was fixed at 0.5 Reichmark by the Germans on 1940-04-09.



  2. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    The above site has more interesting info.

    The table below shows the exchange rates used by the Wehrmacht, as of 1942-04-15. For many of the occupied counties, the Germans could also draw on the RKK (Reichkreditkasse), which basically worked as a gigantic credit on each nations central bank, so that the Germans bought goods and services in each country for the countrys own money (which, of course, was never repaid). The official ISO currency codes for each country have been used below, except for Hungary, which used Pengö at the time in stead of Forint. RM means Reichmark.
    <table class="large_text" align="center" border="0" width="90%"><tbody><tr><td>
    </td> <td align="left"> [​IMG]

    And German salary rates
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Good stuff, got a facsimile of the bill to the Japanese government breaking down why they charged so much for the Tiger, seem to remember it was a bit cheeky, especially considering it was never delivered; scanning backlog building up.
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Attached Files:

    • t082.pdf
      File size:
      172.4 KB
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Just a few off the cuff.

    Spitfire as agreed, £5000

    Lancaster £35000.

    Sten gun 1£, mind you that would have bought at least 40 pints of
    best bitter at the time
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    An M1A1 could be produced in half the time of a M1928A1, and at a much lower cost. In 1939 Thompsons cost the government $209 apiece. By Spring of 1942 cost reduction design changes had brought this down to $70. In February of 1944 the M1A1 reached a low price of $45 each, including accessories and spare parts.

    The Unofficial Tommy Gun Page
  7. freebird

    freebird Senior Member


    P-40E "Warhawk"<o></o>
    Cost: $45,000<o></o>

    I guess it also depends who is buying...

    I have in my aicraft book listed for the P-40 that the US War dept. ordered 524 P-40s in 1939, and the congress was upset that it cost the huge sum of $12,872,898 or $24,566.60 per plane.

    Maybe they should have saved some money by buying used surplus WWI bi-planes?
  8. magoo

    magoo Junior Member

    According to Len Deighton (Blood, Tears and Folly, paperback edition pg 353):

    "By the time war came, 299 Spitfires had been built using 24 million man-hours while 578 Hurricanes had been produced from only 20 million man-hours."
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Reading an old article in CMV and was surprised by this.

    BMW R75 or Zundapp KS750 Combinations cost 3185 RM each!

    The article compares this to (roughly)
    1000 RM for a Beetle.
    1600 RM for a Kubelwagen.
    30,000 RM for a bf109.

    At c.18000 of each type built that's very roughly 114,660,000RM on these machines alone, not including spares and support.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Excuse me straying slightly off thread here as I am talking about the cost of eating rather than the cost of weapons.


    In July 1947, having been discharged from the Army for some months, I received a Postal Draft from the War Office for the grand sum of Six Shillings & Four Pence.

    The accompanying slip (see photo below) told me this consisted of two days ration allowance at Three Shillings & Two Pence per day bcause I had been away from my then unit for the purpose of escorting a prisoner from Lincoln Jail.

    It would appear that the Army considered this was enough cash to keep a serviceman alive in those days !

    Attached Files:

  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Would you be able to approximate how much in US coinage of the day that would be, Ron?
  12. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Would you be able to approximate how much in US coinage of the day that would be, Ron?


    We'll have to see if we can work this out :)
    Three Shillings, at the time when the UK went Decimal,equated to 15p.
    The US Dollar, postwar, was (I think) equivalent to 25p.

    Anyone who's maths is better than mine (that probably means most of you !) is welcome to give Jeff the more correct figure.


  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Close enought, I think I can figure it out. Appreciate it.
  14. guaporense

    guaporense Member

    Well, the 100.000 RM average for Panzers makes perfect sense, since in 1944, Germany made 19,000 panzers, if we have the cost of 100k each, this implies in 1.9 billion RM expenditure for panzers.

    Second to Goldsmith (1946), Germany had a total expenditure in munitions in 1944 of 17 billion 1944 dollars, with are equivalent to 13,6 billion in 1939 dollars, with are equivalent to 34 billion RM (1939 prices), or 36,38 billion RM in 1944 prices (second to consumer price index in War and Economy in the Third Reich). For comparison, total war budget in 1943 was about 110 billion RM (The Economics of WW2), on average the Germans expended 20% to 30% of the military budget in munitions (compared to about 45% for the US).

    Second to the American strategic bombing survey, in 1944 Panzers accounted for 6.5% of total expenditure in munitions, or 2,365 million RM. Quite close to the 1.9 billion number. However, since they planned to make 40% more tanks than they did make, because of bombing panzer production was reduced, so increasing from 19,000 to 26,600 to adjust for bombing implies in an average panzer cost of 88,900 RM. This decrease in cost was made possible by gains of productivity in war production during the war (in War and Economy in the Third Reich, Overy compares the cost of a aircraft engine in 1942 and 1944, and notes a 40% decrease in production cost).
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Interesting to see this thread get another showing.

    From 1946 to my demob in 1947 I found myself in the role of Tech Corporal for an armoured squadron of, amongst other vehicles, Sherman tanks.

    I asked and was told that their approximate value was £30,000 each.

    On one occasion, one of the troops in my Squadron had to swap their Greyhound armoured cars for Shermans and during the process I had to sign for these six Shermans.

    I remember thinking at the time " Bloody hell Goldstein !!!!!!...... you've just signed for £180,000 worth of equipment for which you are personally responsible until you can get them signed for by the individual car commanders"

    Just a thought........

  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Pioniersturmbrigade 627 got some of the first “Goliath”. Only a few “Goliath” E-Motor were put into action, because the charge was too small to make enough effect and also the price of a Sd.Kfz.302 was about 3000,-RM (Reichsmark), which was expensive and was one of the main reasons that production was to discontinued by January 1944; and also to speed up the development of a cheaper carrier with a combustion engine.

    The price of this type of “Goliath” was only 1000,-RM, which made it much cheaper than the “Goliath” with electric motor.

    Got nothing else to verify those figures I'm afraid, but they come from what seems a nice page:
    German Remote Control Weapons « War and Game
  17. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    The problem with thinking about wartime weapons production in terms of monetary cost is that the major combatant nations had effectively suspended normal budgeting rules for the duration. In Britain, for instance, the government controlled all procurement and supplies and manpower, and simply mandated what it wanted produced and how much it was willing to compensate the manufacturers and employees for their work. The only meaningful measure of (say) a Churchill tank's 'cost' was how many man-hours it took to build it and how many of the nation's resources had to go into building it.

    Best, Alan
  18. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    An interesting thought and probably correct, it was a question of whatever it cost it simply had to be produced.

    What I still wonder about is, were the Sherman's at £30,000 and presumably bought under the Lend-Lease, eventually paid for ?

  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The problem with thinking about wartime weapons production in terms of monetary cost is that the major combatant nations had effectively suspended normal budgeting rules for the duration.

    Indeed so if you only want to consider the grander picture of production economics conflict-wide. But collating the official internal cost applied to machines by nation at least still gives some indication of the relative value that nation applied to each product, arbitrarily or not. The difference between internal official price and export price to friendly/satellite nations is also quite interesting, as in Japan paying through the nose to lay hands on a Tiger.

    What I still wonder about is, were the Sherman's at £30,000 and presumably bought under the Lend-Lease, eventually paid for ?
    I believe so?
    Didn't we finally settle up with the US last year?
    There's a thread or two somewhere.
  20. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Indeed I think Britain cleared WW2 debt last year (or possibly year before) and is I think the only country to have fully repaid their war debt to USA.
    At risk of offending our many septic friends I was surprised that at least the last few years weren't wiped off the ledger. The terms of the lease/loan/repayments brought a country already on it's knees after WW1 and 2 into an even deeper financial plight and partly contributed to food rationing still being in place into the 50's.
    Some might say this was perhaps a deliberate policy to ensure the end of the British Empire. I couldn't possibly comment, but I am sure Britain (and the Commonwealth) would not have been able to continue any but a very limited resistance post 1940 without massive American assistance. But it cost us almost everything whilst the US, despite their own massive costs (financial and in lives), actually came out of the war relatively well off.
    Open for debate?


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