German Railways in the East

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Der Alte Fritz
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German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 09 Nov 2013 12:22

I want to start a general discussion covering the German railways in the East; Soviet Union, Baltic States, Poland, etc.

This has already been covered to some extent before see:
Deutsche Reichsbahn
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=82145
Rolling stock of DRB
http://www.axishistory.com/about-ahf/16 ... reichsbahn
German logistics in the East
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=186134
Germany & railway bottlenecks in the east
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=51767

There are several references available such as the FMS series:
D-139 Transportation system in Southern Russia
D-369 Rail transport for Operation Zitadelle
P-041R OKH Transportation Service
P-041S Field Transportation
P-041T Planning for Chief of Transport
P-048 Transportation system in Poland and the Baltic
P-198 Destruction and reconstruction of roads and railways

Alfred C. Mierzejewski, Pottgeisser and other German railway books.

To start with I would like to know who ran the railways in the ReichsKommisariat Ukraine and RK Ostland.
My understanding is that these areas were covered by the HBD (Haupteisenbahndirektion) Riga, Minsk, Kiev and Poltava which was part of the Reich Ministry of Transport (RVM) Operations Section under Joseph Muller. What I am unclear about is the relationship to the DRB itself (from where the personnel had been transferred to either the HBD or FeDko - Blau or Grau Eisenbahner)

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 09 Nov 2013 18:14

And this is a useful post giving good maps of the Soviet Union's rail network.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5&t=197864

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 13 Nov 2013 09:10

Here is another question - how was it that German units in the East felt themselves to be short of supplies and to have a shortage of railway capacity (Hermann Teske among others) when they maintained a force of 3 million men but did not run an economy in any real sense (50% of all railway trains were for the military) while OVER THE SAME RAILWAY NETWORK the Soviets managed to maintain 6 million men and run a large wartime economy?

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by LWD » 13 Nov 2013 14:23

Was it really the same net though? The Germans never controlled extensive portions of the Soviet net. There's also the question of effort devoted to rail repair and regaugeing (I have no real idea who had the greater demand or put out the greater effort in this regard but it is important with respect to the question asked).

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 14 Nov 2013 09:57

Well by 1.1.1943, the Germans controlled Belorussia, the Ukraine and a good portion of Western Russia. According to Kovalev, the Germans controlled 48% of the pre-war Soviet network (106,100 km inc Baltic, Western Poland and Bessarabia) which is 50,000 km. According to Pottgeisser the figure for RVD Osten plus the FEKdos 30,904km. The difference is due to changes in borders plus under counting by the Germans of the low grade local networks.
The Soviet network had its highest density of rail in the west and by 1943 all they have left is the area around the hub of Moscow with one line running to Kharkov, one to Stalingrad and the Caucauses and 4 lines running to the Urals and Siberia. The Germans have the rails around the Donbass, the main lines from Brest to Smolensk and Rostov. So there is an argument that they controlled the better half of the network.

Regauging is not a serious problem after the initial advance as over and was expected to be carried out at 20km (Halder war diary) but in reality they achieved higher than this around 25km a day per Eisenbahn Battalion (Halder). Soviets achieved 30km a day with their Railway Brigades. He has 6 regiments of Eisenbahnpioniere so can allocate 2 battalions to each Army Group in 1941 (to convert their two main lines) with the rest being deployed to re-build bridges. Typically the railways are opened for the first train 2-6 weeks behind the advancing troops. By end of 1941 they had converted 15,000km (Pottgeisser) and by mid-end 1942 they had re-gauged all they wanted which was the above mentioned 30,000 km. Mid 1942 the first Ostbau programme starts to up grade key lines from 36 trains a day to 48 (Brest to Rostov line) and includes main and secondary lines using OT and engineers from the DRB brought in from Germany. Workforce at a maximum of 70,000 for a few months.

There is a difference in work force, the RVD+FEKdo employ 615,455 (1.1.1943 Pottgeisser) of whom 104,899 are German plus the Organisation Todt force (unable to get a figure of how many employed in Russia but the total for OT is around 1.8 million across Europe doing a whole variety of construction projects) plus 6 Regt Eisenbahnpioniere . The NKPS employed 2.7 million pre-war and around 4 million during the war (compared with 1.4 million in the Deutches Reichsbahn during the war) plus 30 brigades of railway troops (250,000 men on railway re-construction).

On their half of the network the Germans are running a small service as they only operate 4,671 locomotives and load 13,012 wagons daily (the DRB has 28,630 locomotives and loads 157,572 wagons daily (a good proportion of these are coal wagons for power stations) while the Soviets have 26,000 locos and load 45,700 wagons of freight daily) which perhaps shows the limited economic activity in the area and the fact that the flow was either from military supplies Germany into Russia or taking raw materials from Russia to Germany.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 17 Nov 2013 09:27

The Ministry of Transport had direct control of "Ostbahns" and "Generalverkehrsdirektion Osten" (the railway administration in the Eastern territories). These German central government interventions in the affairs of the East Affairs by ministries were known as Sonderverwaltungen (special administrations).

This followed a pattern of administration followed since the annexation of Czechoslovakia.
The RVM (Reich Ministry of Transport) set up semi-independent railway operating companies under various titles:

HBD Haupteisenbahndirektion:
EBD Eisenbahnbetriebsdirektion (5 in Bohemia, 11 France, 1 Belgium)
HVD Hauptverkehrsdirektion (1 Belgium)

Gedob Generaldirektion der Ostbahn
OBD Ostbahn (betriebs) direktion (6 in the Government General)

GVD Generalverkehrsdirektion Osten
HBD Haupteisenbahndirektion / RVD Reichsverkehrsdirektion (5 in Russia)

WVD Wehrmachtsverkehrsdirektion
FEDko Feld-Eisenbahnkommando (Field Railway Commands - vary due to operational demand)

By and large the HBD's took over existing foreign railway companies and their rolling stock and staff such as the SNCF in France and simply put in a layer of management over the top to administer them. However this model did not work in Poland as the West of Poland was taken into the Reich and the railway sin this area were subsumed by the DRB. The railways in the Government General contained around 6,000km of track and some rolling stock but in line with racial policy towards Poland, a completely new company was set up and run by Germans. However they could not recruit enough railway men and so started to recruit Polish railway workers to actually do the manual work on the railway. Hans Frank's General-Gouvernement owned and ran the company and took the profits.

In Russia as in Poland, policy dictated the railway higher functions be run by Germans and Ukrainians, White Russians and Russians did the manual work but the railway never came under the control of the Reichskommissariats as it remained under military and then RVM control due to the continuing military operations. Haupteisenbahndirektion (HBD) Mitte and Reichsverkehrsdirektion (RVD) Mitte. Until January 1942, the HBD was under military control, even though its personnel consisted of railroad officials and employees. This control was exercised by the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH)/Chef des Transportwesens (General Rudolf Gercke) through his Betriebsleitung Osten, under Ministerialdirigent Dr. Joseph Müller, in Warsaw. The HBD Mitte, which was one of several in the newly occupied territories of the USSR, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Transport Ministry in January 1942. The same transfer affected the other HBD's and the Betriebsleitung Osten became the Generalverkehrsdirektion (GVD) Osten.

http://www.bahnstatistik.de/AbkDir_besetzt.htm
For United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives see http://www.ushmm.org/online/archival-gu ... 3002M.html

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 17 Nov 2013 10:13

The difference between the Blau Eisenbahner and the Grau Eisenbahner was that the former worked for the HBD and the later were conscripted under military discipline and worked for the FEDko. The Eisenbahnpioniere - a military unit ran the railways in the zone of operations.

In all cases as far as I can discover the German personnel were drawn from the Deutches Reichsbahn - which lost men a) to the Wehrmacht in conscription (and provided men to the Eisenbahnpioniere) b) to the Wehrmacht FEDko (as para-military forces?) c) to the RVM to man the EBD and HDB. The DRB replaced these men as far as possible with retired DRB men and also women but later with the usual crop of forced labour as was common in German industry.

The DRB in 1.1.1942 had a workforce of 1,415,869 personnel but lost 7,000 to the Ostbahn and 104,899 (Pottgeisser) to GVD Osten but had to meet the extra work of wartime so these losses were not inconsiderable especially as they took the younger men.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Dieter Zinke » 19 Nov 2013 18:24

I'm interested in the bio (and also a pic) of
Ministerialdirigent/Ministerialdirektor Dr. iur. Joseph (Josef ??) Müller !
* 06.11.1944 Weinheim
Was he a Wehrmachtbeamter in the rank of Generalmajor/Generalleutnant beim Chef des Transportwesens/OKH ??
Or was he a Ministerialdirigent/Ministerialdirektor of the Reichsbahn ?? Or did he hold both positions at the same time simultaneously ??

Anyway - he was decorated with the Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkreuzes (without swords) on 12.09.1944


Dieter Z.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 20 Nov 2013 08:06

My understanding is that he would have been part of the Reich Ministry of Transport and Ministerialdirigent Dr. Josef Müller as the Eastern Railways were not part of the DRB and not part of the Heer either. However both Dorpmuller and Ganzenmüller held both Ministry of Transport and DRB posts at the same time (Ganzenmüller - Staatssekretär des Reichsverkehrsministeriums und stellvertretenden Generaldirektor der Reichsbahn.) so Müller was probably the same with the title Ministerialdirektor der Reichsbahn

There is this diagram from FMS D-139 Transportation in Russia - the original colouration has been lost but I have replaced it with what I think correct. The red lines show the civilian chain of command from Warsaw to the HBDs (marked Operating Divisions) and their mirrors in the military chain of command.
Page 45.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 20 Nov 2013 08:15

The relationship between the DRB and the RVM is described here:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichsverkehrsminister

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesetz_zur ... Reichsbahn

Mit dem Gesetz zur Neuregelung der Verhältnisse der Reichsbank und der Deutschen Reichsbahn vom 30. Januar 1937 übernahm das Reich die Reichsbahn wieder in seine direkte Verwaltung. Die bisherigen Reichsbahnvorstände wurden als Abteilungsleiter ins Ministerium übernommen, womit die Zahl der Abteilungen deutlich zunahm:
Verkehrs- und Tarifabteilung (E I, Leitung Paul Treibe)
Betriebs- und Bauabteilung (E II, Leitung Max Leibbrand)
Maschinentechnische und Einkaufsabteilung (E III, Leitung Werner Bergmann)
Finanz- und Rechtsabteilung (E IV, Leitung Alfred Prang)
Personalabteilung (E V, Leitung Hermann Osthoff)
Kraftverkehr (K, Leitung Ernst Brandenburg)
See- und Binnenschifffahrt (S, Leitung Max Waldeck)
Wasserbautechnik (W, Leitung Johannes Gährs)
Hinzu kamen zwei direkt dem Staatssekretär Wilhelm Kleinmann unterstehende Gruppen:
Gruppe A, Allgemeine Gruppe, für Personalfragen der höheren Beamten, internationale Angelegenheiten, Kabinettsangelegenheiten, Propaganda (Leitung Theodor Kittel)
Gruppe L, Landesverteidigung und Eisenbahnwehrmachtliche Angelegenheiten (Leitung Friedrich Ebeling)
Bis zum Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs veränderte sich die Struktur nur mehr unwesentlich. 1940 wurde die Abteilung für See- und Binnenschifffahrt aufgeteilt, die neuen Abteilungen S I (Wirtschaftliche Führung der Seefahrt) und S II (Verbindung Seeschifffahrt-Marine) wurden dem Unterstaatssekretär Paul Wülfing von Ditten unterstellt, die Abteilung B leitete weiterhin Max Waldeck. Bereits 1939 neu eingerichtet und aus der Abteilung E II abgespalten wurde zudem eine Eisenbahn-Bauabteilung (E VI, Leitung Willy Meilicke), von 1940 bis 1942 durch eine zweite Bauabteilung E VII verstärkt.

With the Act revising the conditions of the Reichsbank and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of 30 January 1937 took over the kingdom of the Reichsbahn into its direct management. The former Reichsbahn board members were taken as a department head at the Ministry, bringing the number of departments increased significantly:
Transport and Tariff Department (EI, line Paul overuse )
Operating and construction division (E II, line Max Leibbrand )
Mechanical engineering and purchasing departments (E III, line Werner Bergmann )
Financial and Legal Division (E IV, line Alfred Prang )
Human Resources (EV line Hermann Osthoff )
Road transport (K, Ernst Brandenburg line)
Maritime and inland waterway (S, line Max Waldeck)
Hydraulic engineering (W, Conductor Johannes Gährs)
There were also two direct the Secretary Wilhelm Kleinmann Subordinate Groups:
Group A, Group General, Personnel Issues for the higher officials, International Affairs, Cabinet Affairs, Propaganda (Line Theodor coat )
Group L, national defense and Eisenbahnwehrmachtliche Affairs (line Frederick Ebeling )
By the end of World War II , the structure changed only marginally. 1940, the Department for sea and inland waterway transport has been divided, the new departments SI (Economic management of navigation) and S II (connection Maritime Navy) was the Undersecretary Paul Wülfing of Ditten assumed that Department B headed further Max Waldeck. In 1939 newly decorated and split off from the Department of E II is also a railway construction division (E VI, line was Willy ORGA ), 1940-1942 reinforced by a second building department E VII.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 21 Nov 2013 20:22

Before proceeding to examine the performance of the HBD in Russia, I think it would be worth while to define some items. One of which is 'What is a "train" so:
Handbook on German Military Forces: TM-E-30-431

6. Supply Movement
a. RAILROAD SUPPLY TRAINS. 
(1) Standard supply trains. German logistical manuals outline the use of standard rations, ammunition, and fuel supply trains with a maximum net load of 450 metric tons (or approximately 500 short tons)
on a standard gauge (4 feet 8 1/2 inches) railway. The text-book theory has generally been followed out in practice, although in some cases two or more locomotives have been sighted pulling unusually long fuel trains, and in some areas standard rations trains seldom are used. Standard equipment supply trains, with great variations in net loading weights, also are employed. In most cases, however, equipment of all kinds is loaded on the same train.
(2) Rations supply trains (Verpflegungszüge), with an average of 40 cars per train may be composed as follows:
(a) Iron rations: 300,000 full and 300,000 half iron rations, totalling 442 metric tons.
(b) Full rations with fodder: 180.000 human and 40,000 animal rations, amounting to 454 metric tons. These may be loaded into three parts, each containing 3 days' supplies for 20,000 men and 4,000 animals.
(c) Full human rations with no bread but only baking materials: 300,000 rations, totaling 450 metric tons.
(d) Flour train (Mehlzug): 833,000 rations, amounting to 450 metric tons.
(e) Oat train (Hafersug): 90,000 rations, totaling 450 metric tons.
(f) Animal trains (Viekzüge): 360 cattle weighing 180 metric tons, 1200 pigs weighing 120 metric tons, or 1800 sheep weighing 72 metric tons.
(3) Ammunition supply trains (Munitionszüge), with an average of 30 cars per train, are of three types:
(a) Unit-loaded trains, loaded according to the proportion of different types of ammunition needed by a particular division.
(b) Caliber unit trains, in which each car is loaded with approximately 15 metric tons (161/2 short tons) of ammunition of a specific caliber.
(c) Single caliber unit trains, in which all cars are loaded with ammunition of the same caliber.
(4) Fuel supply trains (Betriehstoffzüge) of two types are used:
(a) 20 gasoline tank cars, holding between 340 cubic meters (around 89,800 gallons) and 440 cubic meters (around 116,200 gallons) of fuel.
(b) 25 cars, holding gasoline in 200-liter (53-gallon) and 20-liter (5-gallon) cans and carrying 400 cubic meters (105,600 gallons) of gasoline, and five cars with oil, engine oil, gear oil, paraffin, and (in winter) anti-freeze barrels and cans.
(5) Horse supply trains (Pferdersatzzüge) consist of 55 cars, each holding eight riding or light draft horses per car or 440 horses per train; six heavy draft horses per car or 330 horses per train; or four very heavy horses per car or 220 horses per train.
(6) Signals and engineer construction materials trains (Baustoffzüge) average 40 cars, of which 39 are open cars, with a net tonnage of about 820 metric tons (900 short tons).
(7) Tank trains carrying up to 25 medium tanks or up to 8 heavy tanks have also been reported. The average number of cars per tank train is about 33, with widely varying net loads.
(8) Mixed equipment trains are very frequent and may contain from 25 to 60 cars with a total net tonnage of up to 850 metric tons.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by LWD » 21 Nov 2013 21:12

Der Alte Fritz wrote: ...
(4) Fuel supply trains (Betriehstoffzüge) of two types are used:
(...
(b) 25 cars, holding gasoline in 200-liter (53-gallon) and 20-liter (5-gallon) cans and carrying 400 cubic meters (105,600 gallons) of gasoline, and five cars with oil, engine oil, gear oil, paraffin, and (in winter) anti-freeze barrels and cans.
....
When it says "5 cars with oil" is that diesel?
Was there any standard mix of the various types of oil along with paraffin and anti-freeze?

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 21 Nov 2013 22:07

Oil means oil or grease type lubricants, engine oil is the lighter kind which you our into engine and paraffin in this case is the more solid wax used for protection, not the thin kind you put into lamps.
I think diesel would be substituted in certain wagons for gasoline. Depends on the vehicle mix in the unit as to what was ordered.

Handbook on German military forces Chapter VI:
2. Rail Transportation

a. MAIN MILITARY ROUTES. German railways generally are used jointly for military and civilian traffic, although military trains are given priority. Perhaps the only instances of railways designated solely for military uses are found in the combat zone, either on already existent railways or on railways constructed by the Army.

Normally double-track standard-gauge (4'812") railways have a daily capacity of 30 military trains in each direction, while single-track standard-gauge railways can move 10 trains a day in each direction. Air damage can materially decrease these capacity figures.

b. STANDARD TROOP TRAINS. The Germans have found it desirable to use troop trains of a reasonably constant composition. The standard trains found in the Balkans, Italy, and Norway are composed of fewer cars than the base types in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands which are described below. All types are designed as far as possible to carry a self-contained unit such as a company or a battalion. Non-standard trains also may be used for troop movements.

K-Trains (Kraftfahrzüge) - avg. 51 cars per train, carries c. 250 soldiers, 20 heavy vehicles (but no tanks), 20 light vehicles and other equipment.

S-Trains (Sonderzüge), for tanks - avg. 30 to 35 cars, carries from four to eight tanks, 125 soldiers, and other equipment. Tanks are distributed out along the entire length of the train.

Sp-Trains (Sonderpanzerzüge) - avg. 33 cars, carries approx. 20 medium tanks, as well as personnel and other equipment.

I-Trains (Infanteriezüge) - approx. 55 cars per train, holds about 350 soldiers, 10 light and 10 heavy vehicles, 70 horses, as well as other equipment. Up to 800 men can be carried in this train type if equipment carried is cut back to a minimum.

Replacement troop trains with 50 to 60 cars per train can hold over 2,000 replacements. The Use of this type of train probably has been discontinued.

c. ENTRAINMENT AND DETRAINMENT. Troop trains generally are formed at railroad stations. The speed with which entraining can be accomplished varies according to the number of units being loaded, the number of stations used, the facilities available at the stations, and the importance attached to speedy loading. Depending on these conditions, loading of a single train can be accomplished within 2 to 12 hours. If all the unit trains can be loaded simultaneously at the entraining stations, an entire division can be loaded within that time. In practice, however, the time taken to assemble trains and troops and the limited number of entraining stations will materially increase the loading time of divisions.
It is estimated that a troop train can be unloaded in about half the time taken to load. Detrainment of infantry units may occur far forward, while armored units usually are detrained in rear areas.

d. SPEED OF MOVEMENTS. The average German movement appears to average from 150 to 200 miles per day for long movements within Germany, and about 60 miles daily in areas near the combat zone.

e. TRAIN REQUIREMENTS. At present the number of trains required to transport an infantry division is about 35 to 40. An armored division needs about twice that number. If a large number of divisions are being moved, additional trains will be necessary for corps and army units.
FM-E-30-451-Chapt 06 German MIlitary Trains.jpg
JonG gave these figures in an earlier post:

Maximum vehicle weight in non-S and Sp trains is stated as 22 tons. Additionally, trains would carry Flak flatcars, and a guard (?) car at the end of the train.
For example,
a Sp-Train would consist of locomotive, followed by two 22-foot flatcars, followed by seven 35-foot flatcars, then four 26-foot boxcars, a 22-foot AA car, and finally 18 27,6-foot flatcars with stanchions, finally a 27,6-foot 'guard car' (=caboose with soldiers?) apart from the AA car, this train seems to be made up of standard stock railcars -

the S-Train, on the other hand, would include special 36,7-foot flatcars for 'Tiger' tanks (These are the famous SSYs and SSyms flatcars)
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 21 Nov 2013 22:16

This is quite an interesting selection of photos: "The General of the Railway Troops on mission on the Eastern Front"
http://www.bundesarchiv.de/oeffentlichk ... -0.html.de

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 11 Dec 2013 07:32

Interesting info! Thanks for that.

As you already pointed out - back in 1941 - re-gauging was not a serious problem.
But there were others, not counting war damage.
Re-gauging meant that all remaining Russian gear was useless. So Germans ended up with thousands of kilometers of new railroads, but number of locomotives and wagons did not change. In order to cover this shortage they moved stock mainly from France causing a major problems there.
Smaller locomotives (on re-gauged tracks) had shorter range than wide-gauge Russian ones.
Additional depots had to be build - on average one between two already existing ones. Until new depots were setup, trains had to be shorter. Further to that, in Nov-Dec 1941 when temperatures dropped, most of those French locomotives were blowing off boilers...
If we become increasingly humble about how little we know, we may be more eager to search.

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