The use of 100 Octane Fuel in the RAF pt 2

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Glider, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    All
    The previous thread was closed in unfortunate circumstances but I was just finishing the additional research that I promised to undertake. I feel that what I have goes some way towards addressing the outstanding questions and for completion is worth putting it on the forum.

    For ease of reference, I will start by reposting the basic timeline that I posted at the start of the last thread which remains basically unchanged. This will be followed by the outstanding questions as posted in the last thread and then the new papers that I have found in the National Archives.

    16th March 1939 Meeting
    Held to consider the question when 100 Octane Fuel should be brought into use in the RAF and the number and type of squadrons involved.

    There are three main parts to this.
    i) It is true that at this meeting authorisation was given for 16 fighter squadrons and two twin engined bomber squadrons be converted to be use 100 Octane fuel by September 1940. The change over to start at the end of 1939 and the ACAS would select the squadrons.
    ii) It was anticipated that these units would use 10,000 tons of fuel over a twelve month period and this would slow down the aim of achieving an 800,000 ton reserve.
    iii) The AMPD asked that he should be kept informed as to the progress of the production of the 100 Octane fuel in order that the change over of squadrons could be kept under review in the light of any acceleration or diminution in Supplies.

    General Points
    A number of differences are apparent.
    - Clearly this is a peace time plan, the war hadn’t started, 18 squadrons would use a lot more than 10,000 tons over twelve months when at war. It is certain that when war started there would be changes.
    - It covers both fighters and bombers
    - They were not defined as being Blenheim just twin engined bombers of which the RAF had a number of types.
    - The 18 squadrons wasn’t a fixed number, it was open to change.

    14th November 1939 letter
    The tests of 100 Octane in the Hurricane and Merlin
    In this letter it mentions:-
    i) That the tests were successful
    ii) The policy of immediately going over to the use of 12 lbs boost is being strongly urged by Fighter Command
    iii) The decision is dependent on the availability of sufficient stocks of 100 Octane but that it is understood that there are adequate reserves for this eventuality

    7th December 1939 Letter from FC Admin to HQ
    This letter starts going into the nuts and bolts of how the change from 87 to 100 Octane would need to be handled. It’s the sort of information any change of this magnitude will need.
    The most interesting part is that it lists the 21 operational stations at which the fuel will be required in the first instance.

    12th December 1939 Letter from Director Of Equipment re Issue of 100 Octane Fuel
    Letter confirms that 100 Octane Fuel is approved for use in Spitfire, Hurricane and Defiant aircraft. Issue to be made as soon as the fuel is available at the distribution depots servicing the fighter stations concerned. Some bomber units may be given priority.
    The date of use is dependent on when the fuel can be put down in bulk at the distribution sites and the relevant stations. Re the latter as a station empties a tank of 87 Octane it will be replaced with 100 Octane.

    Observations
    Clearly this is a change to the March notes. Certain aircraft are included and other aircraft in Fighter Command are excluded, no Blenheim fighter units are included or are any Gladiator units.
    There is no limit set to the number of squadrons or area such as 11 Group, or any reference to specific squadrons. The RAF decided to use the 100 Octane and instead of limiting it to a number of squadrons, have decided to limit it by type of aircraft.

    In my opinion, the statement of relevant stations can only mean those with Hurricanes, Spitfires or Defiants as defined as needing the fuel in the first instance.

    18th May 1940 Summary of Conclusions of the meeting of the Oil Co ordination Committee
    The key points here are:-
    i) The Committee took note that the position of the use of this fuel in Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft had been made clear to Fighter Command.
    ii) Satisfaction was expressed that the units concerned had been stocked with the 100 Octane Fuel
    iii) The Minutes were to reflect the appreciation of the work of the Petroleum Board and that the Air Ministry had been impressed with the manner in which the work had been executed.

    1st August 1940 Memo from Downing re the Handling of the Merlin Engine
    This note is advising the pilots that there is an increase in engine failures in the overuse of the emergency 12lb boost.
    The interesting thing is that this memo was sent to ALL fighter groups. Had we been talking about the 16 squadrons or less this would not have been the case. It would have been sent to the squadrons involved.

    7th August 1940 Note confirming that the Use of 100 Octane had been authorised for all Commands.This speaks for itself.

    Consumption Information
    The following information are the consumption details of fuel during the BOB period. This information has come from the War Cabinet Oil Position Monthly report that is available from the National Archives.

    Consumption of Aviation Spirit
    The following figures are for the Air Minstry and are the Average Monthly Consumption

    September – November 1939 16,000 tons
    Dec 1939 – February 1940 14,000 tons
    March 1940 – May 1940 23,000 tons
    June 1940 – August 1940 10,000 tons (100 Oct) 26,000 tons (87 Oct)
    Sept 1940 – November 1940 15,000 tons (100 Oct) 18,000 tons (87 Oct)

    Point of Interest
    The total Usage of fuel for June – August 1940 period and Sept – Nov 1940 period is essentially unchanged allowing for the reduction in daylight fighting and the reduction of the raids on the Barges by night. However there is a clear increase in the use of 100 Octane that can only come from the release of the fuel for other commands.

    Reserves Information
    The following information are the reserve stocks of 100 Octane fuel during the BOB period
    This information has come from the War Cabinet Oil Position Monthly report (a) that is available from the National Archives, as well as Gavin Baileys paper(b) and Wood and Dempster(c).

    Stocks of 100 Octane
    30th September 1939 153,000 tons(b)
    27th February 1940 220,000 tons(b)
    31st May 1940 294,000 tons(a)
    11th July 1940 343,000 tons(b)
    31st August 1940 404,000 tons(a)
    10th October 1940 424,000 tons(c)
    30th November 1940 440,000 tons(a)

    Point of interest. From the start of the war until the end of the BOB the reserves never dropped and continued to increase. There was never any danger of the supply of the oil running out.

    In this summary I have not touched on the other papers, sources links that exist and support the view that Fighter Command was effectively fully converted to 100 Octane by May 1940. They were posted on the Me110 Hurricane Thread and we know they exist.
     
  2. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    #2 Glider, Aug 8, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
    Outstanding Questions

    I believe that there are two outstanding questions

    1) Some people believe that the RAF fought the BOB with 18 squadrons of fighters using 100 Octane and that nothing put forward before changes this view.

    2) That this is supported by the statement in the meeting of the 7th Meeting of the Oil Policy Committee where it states that the use of 100 Octane Fuel had been made clear to Fighter Command

    Item 1
    In the 5th Meeting of the Oil Policy Committee held on the 24th February 1940, there is the attached page which is included as item 9 of the Summary of Conclusions.
    It clearly states that Fighter and Blenhiem Squadrons should start to use 100 Octane fuel.
     

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  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The follow on from this covers Item 2 the clarification of the use of 100 Octane to Fighter Command

    6th Meeting of the Oil Committee 6th April 1940

    Initial Papers Actions Arising from the 5th Meeting.
    As you might expect these papers relate to the previous actions and are linked to item 9 of the Summary
    What I wasn't expecting was the confusion in Fighter Command about the changes needed to the Fighter Engines before the 100 Octane could be used.

    Fighter Command are asking for clarification on the changes needed
     

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  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    6th Meeting Continued

    Clearly the people in the Meeting are confused by Fighter Commands Statement and in the Meeting Mr Tweedle explained the situation.
     

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  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    6th Meeting Summary of Conclusions

    These papers show that the distribution of 100 Octane should continue based on what the meeting had been told and that Mr Tweedle should clarify matters with Fighter Command.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    7th Meeting of the Oil Committee 18th May 1940

    This you will have seen before but I add it for completion. The use of the Fuel has been made clear to Fighter Command and the distribution of the fuel has gone well.

    What is interesting is what isn't in the file and its a big file. At no stage is any concern expressed about any shortage of 100 Octane Fuel the level of stocks or any lack of supply. There was never any mention of capping distribution or shipping stocks from one station to another or sector.

    There was concern that the USA might embargo the shipping of 100 Octane Fuel but other sources of fuel had been identified and as a back up 35,000 tons of 100 Octane was to be produced in the UK to see if we could supply it from our own resources. This was done but the plant (Billingham) went back to the processing of 87 Octane when the test was completed. Cost was the reason, it was more expensive to produce 100 Octane in the UK.

    Cost was a theme in all discussions even to the point where the committee was deciding if a team of workers at one refinery should be paid a weeks overtime. I wish our current leaders were as keen to save money.
     

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  7. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Good job man !!


    Kris
     
  8. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    It means what it means. Bring on the facts, everything else is irrelevant: if you want to claim that every Station was supplied with 100 octane fuel, you better be prepeared to show the evidence for it.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I'm going to let Glider to continue to support this argument. So far I've seen nothing that Glider posted to convince me that all of fighter command was not operating with 100 octane fuel at all fighter groups and for the most part I've just been reading and watching what goes on here as a bystander.

    Until you could come up with documented evidence to show the opposite, I believe that Glider has done his job. With that said I will not put up with hidden underlying insults that discredits someone hard work and actually taking to time to post historical documents on this site. I'm only going to say this once.
     
  10. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    An interesting statement from you Kurfurst, the man who has supplied nothing, absolutely nothing, to support his side of the arguement.
    Even if you do (and thats a big ' if') supply this paper from Australia you keep quoting, the whole basis of his arguement ie that this limitation was caused by a shortage of fuel is clearly wrong.
     
  11. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Magnificent article Glider. :occasion5: Do you mind if I post and link to your post on other boards?

    That is 'hands and feet above and beyond' any proof Kurfurst has ever shown with regard to the 4 Gruppen of 109K-4s that were suppose to have been using 1.98ata boost. Kurfurst has yet to show proof that any of the bases where these fighters were stationed even had C3 fuel.

    All anyone sees from him is ie, ' I. / JG 27 Bf 109 K-4 no change, boost increase to 1.98 ata'.

    The best he can do with regard to C3 fuel is:

    "On April 22 1945 Luftwaffenkommando West reported the following fuel stocks on airfields in Bavaria (note that this is the immidiately available stocks on bases, not the main stores) Apparently the availability of B-4 and C-3 was similar.

    B-4 = 350,000 liters
    C-3 = 284,000 liters
    J-2 = 1,897,000 liters"


    :toothy7::toothy7::toothy7: Priceless Kurfurst.
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    No problem, feel free to use this information and that goes for anyone. A number of people helped me with the first posting and its the least I can do.
    I have tried to ensure that all the postings tie up and you will see that where it relates to to say item 9 of a summary of conclusions, then item 9 has been posted. I could see one line which I knew Kurfurst would almost certainly leap on and could have left it out, but that would have broken the train so I kept it in.

    The item that I wasn't expacting was the production of 100 Octane in the UK . I only copied the one paper that is attached but what impressed me was that considering the average consumption of 100 Octane was 10,000 tons a month at the hight of the BOB this trial produced 33,000 tons in four months. The paper may be of interest as it gives some clues at to what was needed and other material required.
    This trial was completed and as mentioned before the refinery switched back to normal production.
     

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  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #13 FLYBOYJ, Aug 10, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
    10,000 tons = 20,000,000 pounds = 120,000,000 gallons (anyone please check my math) in a months' time.

    BTW - Kurfurst will be allowed back in 30 days. If he could put his money were his mouth is without discrediting some one else's research and doumented evidence, he'll remain as a participating member. Additionally it is also evident that using profanities against any mod on this site is a loosing battle.

    With that said, please press on with this interesting thread.
     
  14. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The numbers are in British measurements so 10,000 tons is 22,400,000 pounds. The 10,000 tons being the average monthly consumption during June to August 1940 of 100 Octane.

    What that relates to in gallons I don't know. However the thrust of Kurfursts case is that there was a shortage of 100 Octane in May 1940. However on 31st May the British stockpile was 294,000 tons of the stuff and it was increasing, so there wasn't a shortage, unless of course you consider a 2 1/2 year stockpile, a shortage.
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Very interesting information and documents Glider. Thanks for posting.

    Just a word of advice to everyone. This thread is a great thread and it and other threads can remain great places for debate. Whether one side is wrong or not, in the end good information and reading comes out of it, and everyone learns from it.

    But when people start insulting others because they don't agree with their research, that is bullshit! It ruins threads and will not be tolerated.
     
  16. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    for true "will be about 33,000 tons" this a preventive report we don't know the actual production, almost not from this doc
     
  17. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    I read the docs in none it's write that 100 octane was in use in all the stations/squadrons (for hurri and spits), the docs clear that all spist and hurri can use the 100 octane fuel also with the engienes were not modified (but with no benefit). if i miss some show me.

    Adler you write this
    "But when people start insulting others because they don't agree with their research, that is bullshit! It ruins threads and will not be tolerated."
    i want notes that kurfurst not insulted the glider research or person but him referee at a not gentle comment of lesofprimus
    "And look who the fu*k is asking for the evidence now, the guy who couldnt prove his own allegations with evidence.... I love how uve twisted everything around Kurfurst to make everyone run for u, its hilarious...."
     
  18. fass

    fass Member

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    If I may join the fray: I've picked up (most of) Glider's story quickly but this is evidently first-class historical research. Of course your location is advantageous, Glider!
    However, I think it would be a good thing to keep emotions - and associated language - in check on a forum characterized by scholarship rather than acrimony.

    Consider the following question:
    Suppose 100 octane were exclusively distributed to certain stations, other stations being restricted to 87 octane. Normally, a squadron is stationed on a certain station (that's why it's "stationed"...) as its home base. But any senior commander will be aware that in wartime squadrons are rotated, can be suddenly posted to a different station and that aircraft unfortunately do not always land at their home base for a variety of reasons (battle damage or just getting lost...). So in no time you'd be having umpteen fighters with engines tuned for 100 octane being stranded on 87 octane stations, and vice versa. A logistics nightmare and one supposes the RAF might have thought of that?
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Speaking in general terms, the use of a lower octane fuel isn't necessarily going to ground an aircraft in an emergency situation and the same holds true for using a higher octane rated fuel on an aircraft fated for the lower fuel if it’s just a matter of re-positioning aircraft. One would have to be careful with CHT temps, mixtures and detonation.
     
  20. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    You are correct when you say this is a preparitory document. There were other papers that covered the end of the production and the switch back to normal production.

    It was an experiment and as such it worked but wasn't repeated as it wasn't needed. Shoud I go back to the National Archives I am more than happy to look into this in more detail.
     
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