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Thread: Stretching German Gasoline Supply.

  1. #1
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Stretching German Gasoline Supply.

    Shortage of high octane gasoline was the single greatest obstacle to Luftwaffe effectiveness. Historically Goering recognized this to some extent with the largest synthetic fuel program in history. However the historical German efforts were inadequate for fighting a protracted war.

    What might Goering have done differently as head of the German economic plan?

    My ideasÖ..



    Build two additional large hydrogenation plants. Theoretically Germany could produce an unlimited supply of synthetic gasoline from their bottomless supply of coal. However these plants were expensive to build and operate so two are probably the practical limit. This will significantly increase the aviation gasoline supply but it wonít solve the entire problem. Germany must find other ways to reduce dependence upon gasoline.

    German Army adopts diesel engines en mass for trucks, half tracks, field generators etc. This will make Daimler-Benz happy as they were the world leader for diesel truck engines during the 1930s. More importantly, diesel engines are inherently more fuel efficient then gasoline engines so the existing supply of petroleum will go further. This frees up a bit of low octane gasoline suitable for use in primary training aircraft.

    Aerodynamics to lower drag and thereby increase fuel mileage becomes a major criterion to determine which aircraft enter mass production. Light weight also becomes more important. He-100 is likely to be an early beneficiary. So will the DB603 engine, at the expense of the large and heavy BMW801 radial.

    Development of diesel aircraft engines receives the highest priority. Perhaps they will be suitable for transport aircraft and heavy bombers. Any 4 engine aircraft that doesnít use diesel engines is unlikely to be approved for mass production. The 26 liter Jumo 208 aircraft diesel program starts in 1936 (3 years earlier then historical) and is pushed to completion (if it works). I suspect Daimler-Benz would also compete for the aircraft diesel contract. If one of these powerful aircraft diesel engines works they will power the He-177B heavy bomber (4 engines). Otherwise the He-177 program will be shelved in favor of a DB603 powered Do-217.

    Jet engines use low octane fuel so jet engine development receives the highest priority. The Jumo 004A engine will enter mass production during 1943.

    What are your ideas for reducing the German aviation gasoline shortage?

  2. #2
    Senior Member michaelmaltby's Avatar
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    Postpone Barbarossa and continue to receive Caspian crude from the USSR.

    MM

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    Senior Member TheMustangRider's Avatar
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    I would go on the same lines as Michael, do not get overstretched early in the war by opening multiple fronts and, on the wake of the already running British bombing campaign and America's potential entry into the war against Nazi Germany, make an effort if possible to move the chemical and manufacturing industries underground.

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    Senior Member Elmas's Avatar
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    Defeat the U.S.S.R. and obtain an unlimited supply of crude oil......

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Postpone Barbarossa

    Nice try.

    The head of the Luftwaffe and German 4 year economic plan is responsible for preparing the Luftwaffe for any likely contingency. Your influence on German foreign policy is minimal.

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    One reason synthetic fuel is so expensive is that it uses a lot of coal. Though Germany may have had a lot of coal, in the ground, unfortunately, it doesn't mine itself. In that era it was a very labor intensive process. Goering couldn't just wave his marshals wand and say, " more coal, make it so"
    Germany needed more coal mines, and more coal miners, or the other users of coal , explosives producers for instance, would have a shortage. For a country gearing up for war, solving the coal miner shortage might have presented a bigger problem, than opening more coal shafts.

    Since this is prewar, slave workers isn't a solution.


    As for diesel aircraft engines, Germany and other countries were experimenting with them in the 30's. One big problem they had, was for the same power as a gas engine, they were grossly overweight. Even modern diesels are still quite a bit heavier than their gasoline powered equivilents.

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    Senior Member vikingBerserker's Avatar
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    Interestingly enough, I just read last night In Luftwaffe Over American that one of the reasons for the use of rocket assist take off was to help conserve fuel when an aircraft took off



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    I see a few problems with this idea

    first, having only one or two sources of gas makes those sources immediate high priority taregets for bombing or sabotage. Loss of either or both plants means immediate critical suply issues.

    second, can and will the army except the performance trade off of using diesel engines. It's Blitzkreig tactics are predicated on rapid movement, not the forte of the diesel engine. It also enormously complicates cold weather usage.(and that would include tactical aircraft)

    finally, aircraft design is a tradeoff. If you reduce wieght it must come from somewhere, will it be ammo load?, number of guns? smaller bomber load? reduction in range? or a mixture of all of the above. That means you need more aircraft to get the job done so you create strains in other areas, more rubber needed, more ball bearings, more critical machine tools and operators for them and more critical high quality ores imported from neutrals.

    the devil is in the details and I don't see this as a pancea to suddenly make the German war effort a sucess. my two cents

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    Senior Member michaelmaltby's Avatar
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    "... Your influence on German foreign policy is minimal."

    And that's why you're doomed to lose.

    MM

  10. #10
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    For a country gearing up for war

    1936 Germany was not gearing up for war. If they had been they would have simply paid the price to build as many hydrogenation plants as deemed necessary to support a Wehrmacht with 10,000 tanks supported by 10,000 combat aircraft. Hence the emphasis of this discussion is how to make the best use of limited fuel supplies.

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    A country gearing up for war is still limited by what it can afford. The factories have be built with material and by people, neither of which come free.

    And in 1936 Germany certainly was gearing up for war, in Hitlers mind, the best defense was a offense.

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    The He 100 was not a wunder plane, it made some rather significant trade-offs to get it's performance. It's ability to be upgraded to any great extent is highly suspect.

    The Junkers diesel topped out in service versions at about 1000hp for 1430lbs or about the same weight as a later Jumo 211, While the fuel economy is great the Jumo 211 was giving about 1300hp for take-off (30%) more. You would need 4 diesels to equal the take-off power of 3 Jumo 211s. by the time you are done with propellers, radiators and such you are about 1 ton heavier. Or you have 77% of the power of a 4 engine plane with 211s.

    Perhaps you can get the diesels to put up with the demands of combat planes but they worked a lot better on transports (less time at full throttle and more time between throttle changes.) Transports used what percentage of German Aviation fuel?

    Many German vehicles used rather small engines derived from commercial designs ( part of German tax code?). Not a knock on the Germans, the French and British had similar problems. Germans didn't really have a full range of diesel engines available for all classes of vehicles. And certainly didn't have production lines set up for large numbers of diesels. You can't wave a magic wand and turn regular car engines into diesels as GM found out back in the 70s. Even small diesels need crankshafts, connecting rods and pistons of high performance quality to stand up to the higher peak pressures in a diesel cylinder. many small engines can use cast iron crankshafts, most diesels are going to need forged crankshafts for instance.

    Perhaps the Germans could have "dieselized" but the disruption caused by the retooling would have been considerable.

    Considering the difficulty they had just trying to build "military" trucks compared to civilian trucks (painting a truck grey, slapping flat fenders on it and maybe a wooden cab DOES NOT make it a military truck.) I rather doubt the German ability to change a large portion of the motor industry to diesel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyrodtom View Post
    A country gearing up for war is still limited by what it can afford. The factories have be built with material and by people, neither of which come free.

    And in 1936 Germany certainly was gearing up for war, in Hitlers mind, the best defense was a offense.
    Quite right, the notion that Germany in 1936 was plodding along, spending small sums of money of purely defensive weapons/forces is simply preposterous. Germany was trying to build one of the largest air forces in the World( well behind the Russians but who were even in the top 5 spots?), Their orders for MK I tanks put them in the top 5 for armored vehicles and so on.

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    disruption caused by the retooling would have been considerable

    A 1936 order for use of diesel engines would allow three or four years to build engine factories before German half tracks, Panzer III, Panzer IV and 4WD cargo trucks enter mass production. No disruption to historical vehicle production.

  15. #15
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    He 100 was not a wunder plane

    I agree. However it was fuel efficient which would make it look more attractive in this scenerio.

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