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Interesting article on Soviet oil

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by Za Rodinu, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    The article argues for the first time that the Luftwaffe could have dealt the Soviet economy a major blow, from which it would have taken at least several months to recover, if Hitler had not been so obsessed with Stalingrad and wasted his airpower assets on its destruction. During August and early September 1942 the Luftwaffe possessed the means to inflict heavy damage on Baku, the Caucasus oil metropolis that alone accounted for 80 per cent of all Soviet production. The Luftwaffe still possessed a strong bomber force and airfields within striking range and the Soviet Air Force's presence in the Caucasus was still relatively weak. By October, however, when Hitler finally ordered attacks on oilfields, the Luftwaffe's eastern bomber fleet was much reduced and most forward airfields had been badly damaged by Soviet air forces which were then far stronger. The conclusion is unmistakable: Hitler had missed a golden opportunity to hurt the Soviet economy and war effort.

    http://www.freewebs.com/joelhayward2/luftwaffeversussovietoilf.htm
     
  2. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Great article thanks Za
     
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    This certainly puts the entire 1942 Stalingrad-Caucasus campaigns under an interesting light. Hitler said his generals had no idea of the meaning of economic factors in war, but he wasn't much better in his grasp of practical matters.

    Throughout this period Hitler and his military advisers apparently never discussed in detail the important question of how Caucasus oil would be transported to the Reich. A quarter of a century earlier, this problem had also vexed General Ludendorff and the German High Command, who never arrived at an adequate solution.

    My very first post in this forum was centred on this matter, and it seems I'm still right after these years :D

    Hitler had almost certainly not read the March 1941 report by Lieutenant General Hermann von Hanneken of the War Economy and Armaments Office, which was appended to a letter sent by Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) Keitel to the High Command of the Army (OKH). This report warned that, even if the Caucasus oilfields could be captured intact, very little oil (only 10,000 tons per month) could be carried overland to Germany. Moreover, even if the Black Sea could be made safe for shipping, there would be no ships available for the transport of Caucasus oil up the Danube because the Danube river tankers were already working to capacity transporting Rumanian oil.

    This is the result of planning made on whims, with no basis on solid facts. Sure there was plenty of oil in the Caucasus, bringing it over was an entirely different matter. Same thing with the Donbass mine fields, enourmous amounts of manganese etc ores underground, but in the end only ridiculous amounts were able to be extracted.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Indeed Hitler never thought much further once he had a brilliant idea. But if the oil could have helped even the movement of Army group South then that might have been of big help.Otherwise the tanks etc just stood there...

    Also I read that the Donbass coal was not usable per se and not sure what had to be done but it seems it would have taken time to make it usable as an energy source.
     
  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Oil has to be refined to pass through a tank engine, I think... Refined where and by whom?
     
  6. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    This is the dynamite I like to read.

    Splendid Za!

    I wonder if the Fuhrer had any personal view on sending forth refineries or how he was going to extract usable fuel from the region.

    After all the german industry was geared up to use synth. fuels. Would they have any machines that could ave helped them out, or would they have to nick equipment from Ploesti?

    Does anybody know who made the machinery in Ploesti? Perhaps the Germans did?

    If not, then the Germans were truly utterly inapt at strategic planning.

    The only solution to attack in the south would be to conquer airfields to attack the oilfields. And damage the USSR indirectly.

    Tsk tsk tsk.
     
  7. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Simple, use some Triumph des Willens stuff and all problems are solved.

    I don't know where the capital and drilling know-how came from, I never had thought of this, but at the time the two big oil nations would be the US and UK. Ploesti was the only significant field west of the Causcasus, and it's most likely that ownership (beside the Romanian government tranche) would be American or British, I can't know for sure at present but I can't see any reason for it to be German.

    Aha! God bless the Internet!

    Ploesti refineries:
    Romano-Americana refinery: 1.25 million tones/year
    Concordia-Vega refinery: 1.5 million tones/year
    Standard-Petrol refinery and Unirea-Speranta refinery: 1.3 million tones/year
    Astra Romana refinery: 2 million tones/year
    Columbia-Aquila refinery: 0.3 million tones/year


    At least the three first names point to American origin, this is flimsy but with time I may find more.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    At least with the Maikopi fields they used the Brandenburgers and managed to get pretty far but could not stop the oil fields and equipment from being exploded.
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    That's one of the points, Kai: the Germans were unable to extract anything; the other point is even if they managed to they couldn't take it anywhere. Same problem with the hypothetical Rommel dash to Iraq that crops up here once in a while (don't mention the distances involved!): if he could get there and manage to exploit the wells, he would have no way to get a drop back to the Reich.
     
  10. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Well if people are able to embrace this info, it is going to be a tall order to write new 'what if...... would the Germans win the war?' nonsense.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Found this:

    http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1981/jul-aug/becker.htm

    Grozny and Baku, however, were never captured, and only Maikop yielded to German exploitation. As was the case in all areas of Russian production, the retreating forces had done a thorough job of destroying or dismantling the usable installations; consequently, the Germans had to start from scratch. In view of past experience with this type of Russian policy, such destruction was expected, and Field Marshal Hermann Göring’s staff had begun making the necessary preparations in advance. But a shortage of transport that was competing with military requirements, a shortage of drill equipment as well as drillers, and the absence of refining capacity at Maikop created difficulties in getting any oil. ( in Jan 1943 at Maikopi they did get some minor amounts for a short time ).
     
  12. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Very good article you found Za, if the Germans went head and bombed the oil production sites would this bought Hitler time to think as it said in the article.

     
  13. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Jaeger, you will always find people seeing things through rose tinted glasses, more interested in their phantasies, whereas the real subject itself is so rich, has so much to look into that these wet dreams are shown to be totally devoid of any relevance.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Despite the delay at Voronezh, the German forces continued to round up thousands of prisoners as they push further into the south of Russia. Operation Blue was going so well. Hitler decided that the 4th Panzer Army was no longer needed to capture Stalingrad. He gave orders to detach it from the drive to the Volga, and join the assault upon the oil fields with Army Group A.

    The 4th Panzer crossed over the 6th Army’s line of march. The ensuing traffic jam took several days to untangle. When it was sorted out, the 4th Panzer had also commandeered a large proportion of the fuel intended for the 6th Army. Paulus’s armour stalled for lack of fuel, and logistical problems kept the drive halted for nearly 2 weeks.

    Hitler subsequently changed his mind again, and ordered the 4th Panzer Army to rejoin the 6th Army.

    http://www.flamesofwar.com/Article.asp?ArticleID=469

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    Does not sound like the work of a genius really...

    And why take the 4th panzer away if the Caucasus was his key target??
     
  15. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    1 thing I don't understand : after having witnessed Stalin scorched earth policy at the begining of the war, how could Hitler expect he could capture oifield and put it into service ?
     
  16. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    You might also note that the Germans formed a specialist unit (Oil Brigade Caucasus) with a strength of 10,704 men, including many specialists, 1142 vehicles, and 6 aircraft. This unit was held in reserve with AGS for the eventual use in repairing these oilfields.
    The problem here is that this unit took a huge chunk of the available specialist engineering manpower, motor transport, and other equipment and put it essentially out of use by AGS at a time when the entire Group had only sufficent motor transport to supply a single army's advance. The typical infantry division at the time had virtually no motor vehicles as these were stripped to support the single Army advance. Such was the shortage of trucks in the Wehrmacht.
    One more example of short-sightedness on the part of the Germans. In this case putting the cart before the horse.
     
  17. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    For all the vaunted German tactical genius, I have noticed a lack of cooridination in almost every battlefield. Even before Hitler's takeover of the planning, it was apparent that many of their plans were not made for long term eventualities.
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    We also have realized that for Blitzkrieg the co-operation between the land forces and air forces is essential. Just imagine how much the Luftwaffe can do when the land forces are spread in a huge area between Stalingrad and Caucasus....In the book " Stopped at Stalingrad " the area was considered the size of the Reich itself...
     
  19. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Yes good article Za. Supports points I made in the past here.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I suppose Hitler should have bombed the baku etc area to kingdom come as the operation Blau begun. By thus the results would have shown 6 months later at the 1942/43 year change and the Soviet troops could only march forwards. Instead of bombing Stalingrad in Aug-Sept or earlier bomb the baku oil refineries and fields.
     

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