More German Aviation Gasoline

Discussion in 'Technical' started by davebender, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    WWII Coal Production. Millions of metric tons.
    Military production during World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    WWII Germany had essentially an endless supply of coal.

    http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/primary_documents/gvt_reports/MofFP/ger_syn_ind/mof-secta.pdf
    WWII Germany produced 1,950,000 tons of aviation gasoline annually. All but 50,000 tons were produced synthetically via the hydrogenation of coal.

    http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/primary_documents/gvt_reports/MofFP/ger_syn_ind/mof-secta.pdf
    The Gelsenberg hydrogenation plant cost 208 million marks to build during 1939. Annual capacity:
    .....400,000 tons of aviation gasoline.
    .....460,000 tons of motor fuel.

    208 million marks per plant sounds like a lot of money. But consider some naval expenditures that contributed nothing at all to the WWII German war effort.
    http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ships/index.html
    197 million marks. KM Bismarck.
    181 million marks. KM Tirpitz.

    Eliminating the Bismarck class battleship program allows Germany to increase aviation gasoline production by 40% (two new hydrogenation plants). And there are plenty more places to save.

    92.7 million. KM Graf Zeppelin.
    92.4 million. KM Peter Strasser.
    Eliminating the two German CVs purchases a third hydrogenation plant.

    85.8 million. KM Admiral Hipper.
    87.8 million. KM Blucher.
    104.5 million. KM Prinz Eugen.
    84.1 million. KM Seydlitz.
    83.6 million. KM Lutzow.
    Eliminating the five German Hipper class heavy cruisers will pay for two more hydrogenation plants with change to spare.

    Germany laid down 3 x H class battleships during 1939 @ 240 million marks each. They also built the massive Elbe 17 drydock to accomodate these monster ships. The drydock was completed. The 3 H class battleships were stopped after a few months. You can bet this abortive project soaked up at least a couple hundred million marks.

    German aviation gasoline production is now doubled with no negative repercussions. The above naval vessels will not be missed at all.

    So why didn't Germany build 5 additional coal hydrogenation plants during the mid to late 1930s? That's what it would take to double the production of German aviation gasoline. They had plenty of money to build the plants and plenty of coal to operate them.
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #2 tomo pauk, Dec 1, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
    Well, Jeschonek commented "what would I do with 360 additional fighters per month". Added that we know their small numbers of pilots in training in 1st 3 war years, plus the Blitzkrieg mentality, it's safe to say that they didn't think new fuel plants are not needed.
     
  3. Bug_racer

    Bug_racer Member

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    I would have built more U-boats personally and docks to accomodate them . Germany had no chance having enough surface ships to be able to roam the atlantic freely .

    With the gasoline , what are the repercussions with using coal ? Lower octane ? Less hydrocarbons ? hotter burning ?
     
  4. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Had the Germans never experienced any fuel shortages during the war then I think it's safe to say that the Allies would've never reached inside Germany. I am however not certain that 5 extra hydrogenation plants could've ensured this, but who knows.

    Another thing which could've helped the Germans was the relocation of war machine factories into mountains or underground as was done way too late during the war.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I just finished reading David Glanz's book on the Battle of Kursk. He states Luftwaffe units supporting the German attack had only two thirds of necessary fuel supplies. Consequently they operated at full strength and dominated the battlefield only on the first couple days. After that German air sorties were sharply curtailed. Makes me wonder what would have happened if the Luftwaffe could make a maximum effort in this and other battles.
     
  6. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    One can produce all the gas they want but if doesn't get to the end user it is off no use. Germany had a fair bit of avgas at the end but it was sitting in depots or on some railroad track.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It takes time for aviation fuel (and everything else also) to move from the place of production to end users. Are you suggesting that Germany was worse in this regard then Britain, Russia and the USA?
     
  8. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Yes as the German transportation infrastructure had totally broken down. The only disruption of Allied transportation was with the convoys and the volume shipped was enough to keep operations going.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not during 1943 when Luftwaffe units supporting the Kursk offensive had only two thirds of gasoline requirements.
     
  10. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Milosh,

    What Dave is suggesting is an increase in fuel production starting already in 39. This increase in fuel could've ensured a lot of victories on all fronts which otherwise weren't achieved, and could've also made sure that there were enough a/c flying and vehicles moving to successfully protect the supply lines, preventing them from ever breaking down. Having enough fuel is the nr.1 requirement for success in any campaign, without it you're going nowhere.
     
  11. red admiral

    red admiral Member

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    Investing very heavily in synthetic oil plants during the 1930s only makes sense if the Germans can see into the future and predict a long war where fuel shortages will be a problem. In addition to costing a lot to build, the synthetic plants cost a lot to run as well. It is in no way cost effective compared to importing oil from Romania and elsewhere. What has to happen is for the Germans to recognise; that consumption is going to massively increase during a prolonged war, the war is going to be prolonged, supplies will be sufficiently interdicted to make an impact.

    Is more fuel actually going to get to frontline squadrons than from Romania? That depends on where the supply chain is being attacked. The portion from Romania oil fields to Germany is most likely the safest given the simple range to the target (exempting a couple of expensive long range strikes from Italy). The supply chain is being attacked elsewhere.

    Realistically, building synthetic oil plants makes the task of interdiction easier. It concentrates production in a few places, and those places are nearer and so can be subject to more effective strikes. At the same time, the same interdiction strikes further down the supply chain can still be carried out as you still need to get the oil to airfields.

    What would more oil realistically effect? North Africa is out, given lack of shipping capacity and port facilities that are compounded by Allied interdiction efforts. More oil could find it's way to the Regia Marina, which would generally help but is unlikely to change the strategic picture. That pretty much leaves the Russian campaign. Can extra fuel (even supposing extra carriage capacity exists) result in a large enough increase in sorties by aircraft to have a strategic affect? (I personally can't remember any fuel shortages radically effecting ground progress) Personally, I don't think it's a reasonable assumption given the hard limits in aircrew and aircraft. It might delay defeat, but it's not going to change the final result.

    How? It's really quite challenging to see how it would change the result given limitations in aircrew and aircraft. More fuel would only be delaying the inevitable, it doesn't change the strategic picture.

    Now, Japan with an unlimited amount of fuel would have far more interesting implications because increased naval sorties can change the strategic picture in the Pacific.

    Why do you keep on stating this lie after being disproved repeatedly? Please read "The Cost of Seapower" by Pugh. The German surface ships were on a similar level of cost effectiveness to the uboats.

    This of course is assuming that the Mark is actually worth something at this time. Money isn't a good measure of comparison in a bankrupt economy.
     
  12. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    #12 Soren, Dec 2, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2009
    You can't be serious??

    Take a look at how many LW a/c had to just sit on the ground waiting to be shot up by Allied fighter bombers in the period 44 to 45 because the Germans had nothing to fuel them with. Or how about the hundreds upon hundreds of AFV's and other vehicles being torched or blown up by their own crews as they got stranded without fuel?! These could've all been used to fight the allies with, but instead they played no role at all and ended up being blown to bits by their own to make sure they didn't end up in the hands of the Allies. And all this just because they couldn't be fueled.

    Had the Germans had enough fuel then you'd have seen far more LW fighters in air from 43 onwards, plus the German ground forces would've been able to actually complete entire operations and advances without stalling to a standstill midway because of lack of fuel all the time. Take even an offensive as late as that in the Ardennes in Dec. 1944, initially it swept aside all opposition, but then suddenly it ground to a halt, why? NO FUEL.

    In short an ample supply of fuel would've eliminated the following problems for the Germans:
    1. The stalling of major offensives in the East West
    2. The waste of thousands of vehicles being blown up by their own crews because of lack of fuel in the attempt to prevent them getting in the hands of the enemy
    3. Hundreds of LW aircraft standing on the ground unable to take off and intercept enemy bombers because of a lack of fuel
    4. Great problems training new pilots, drivers etc etc because there wasn't any spare fuel to allow the training vehicles to operate.
    5. Massive logistical supply problems on all fronts due to the fact that all mechanised manners of transport lacked proper amounts of fuel to deliver enough supplies and on time.

    A modern army needs fuel to function red admiral, without it it's nothing. Why do think the Allies were so obsessed with bombing the German fuel industry??
     
  13. red admiral

    red admiral Member

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    Do you have any sources for this? Hundreds and hundreds seems like hyperbole.

    So with unlimited fuel the German Army carries on to France crushing all before it? Fuel was a contributing factor, but having the Allies fight back and heavily reinforce the sector can't really be overlooked.

    I'm not arguing that having more fuel wouldn't help, it's just that the end result wouldn't change. The Germans can only build a finite number of aircraft and afvs, and only have a finite number of people.

    At the same time, it's not really clear whether there would actually _be_ more fuel given Allied interdiction efforts throughout the supply chain.

    1. Yes, more fuel would reduce the rate of allied advance. It won't stop it. The numbers are just too much in the Allies favour.

    2 3. Numbers?

    4. Probably one of the most important points, but there still isn't that many aircrew physically. They'd be able to be better trained, not simply more.

    5. Being shot at by Allied fighter bombers probably didn't help either. You're also assuming that there were actually _enough_ supplies to be delivered.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    By 1944 Germany was producing a lot of fighter aircraft per month. Over 1,600 day fighters (1,000 x Me-109 plus 600 x Fw-190). Over 250 night fighters (mostly Ju-88s). Provide them with an adequate quantity of fuel and the allied bombing campaigns will bleed a lot worse.
     
  15. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    You want sources red admiral? Go read one of the many books on the subject, may I suggest Thomas L. Jentz's excellent series of books, the leading expert on German armour.

    You'll probably be stunned to find out that the bulk of the losses suffered by German Tiger tank battalions were due either to Allied air attacks or even more commonly fuel exhaustion forcing the crews to blow up their tanks, the latter esp. being the case when talking about Tiger Ausf.B losses.

    Here's a little excerpt from one of Jentz's books
    "Attached to Panzer Division Herrmann Goering, the 17 Tigers under the 2.Kompanie of the 504th attacked the American landing zone on 11 July 1943, but were neutralized by naval gunfire. Within the first three days ten out of the 17 Tigers were destroyed to prevent capture and a further six Tigers were destroyed later for the same reason. The last Tiger was shipped back across the straits of Messina to Italy."

    Hundreds upon hundreds of German vehicles tanks were lost this way, and so there are plenty more examples to pick from.

    There were also several instances of massive amounts of vehicles and tanks bunched together and torched by the Germans in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Allies. And again because they didn't have fuel to move.
     
  16. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    One of the best books I've read about this is "The Last Year of the Luftwaffe:May 1944 - May 1945" by Dr. Alfred Price. from pg 95-96

    "Compared with the 175,000 tons of aviation fuel produced in April, in August there was only 16,000 tons and in September a mere 7,000 tons. Throughout the summer the Luftwaffe kept going on its fat - the reserve of over half a million tons of aviation fuel it had accumulated previously. But with consumption running far in excess of production, by the beginning of September more than half this reserve had been consumed; from a high point of about 580,000 tons at the beginning of May, stocks were only about 180,000 tons at the end of September.

    Now the harsh realities of the shortfall in fuel production could be avoided no longer. Operations by medium and heavy bombers were sharply curtailed; the use of aerial reconnaissance was limited; air operations in support of the Army were permitted only in 'decisive situations'; and the number of night fighter sorties was cut back. Only day fighter operations in defense of the Reich were allowed to continue at their previous level."
     
  17. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #17 Juha, Dec 3, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
    Hello Soren
    Quote:"Here's a little excerpt from one of Jentz's books
    "Attached to Panzer Division Herrmann Goering, the 17 Tigers under the 2.Kompanie of the 504th attacked the American landing zone on 11 July 1943, but were neutralized by naval gunfire. Within the first three days ten out of the 17 Tigers were destroyed to prevent capture and a further six Tigers were destroyed later for the same reason. The last Tiger was shipped back across the straits of Messina to Italy.""

    Now What happened to 2./504 had nothing to do with fuel shortage. The reason of the losses was low performance of HG infantry, which failed to support the Tigers adequately. And you should know that because it is stated clearly in Jentz book, and in all other books on the subject I'm aware. And also in Ardennes fuel was a factor but far from the only reason of the failure of the attack.

    Juha
     
  18. red admiral

    red admiral Member

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    I'm not arguing that fuel supply wasn't a problem, just that it's not going to change the end result. Do you really think that having a few hundred more tanks and aircraft available is going to change the course of the war?
     
  19. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    In 1944 the US was producing 3000 day fighters a month, England was producing 2167 aircraft per month all aircraft and Russia an unknown huge number. Germany would never be able to out produce the allies. To assume that Germany, with enough fuel, could withstand the unlimited manpower of the Soviet Union and the unlimited war materiel of the US is a daydream. Yes the war would have been extended, but the end was inevitable. In fact, if all allies wanted to do to defeat the Germans was just to pump all the war resources into the Soviet Union and then just stand back and watch the carnage. Of course, the Soviet Union would have gone all the way to Spain.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. In fact I don't know anyone who would argue the point.

    WWII Germany will be a lot tougher if they have enough aviation gasoline for both pilot training and combat operations. I believe that goal to be achievable if Germany makes different economic decisions during the mid 1930s. Fixing the aviation gasoline shortage will have a far greater effect then tweeking the Me-109 or other German aircraft programs.

    And Bronc doesn't need to shoot anyone to make this happen. :)
     
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