German Railways in the East

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 05 Feb 2014 01:20

Page 104.jpg
Page 105.jpg
Here is confirmation of German train weights 850 tonnes gross (wagons & cargo without weight of locomotive & tender) and their speeds.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 06 Feb 2014 02:15

There seem to be an awful lot of those P8's in Ukraine...
Here is another one in Cherson (Kherson) Bahnhof.
Local folks taking care of maintenance and 'refueling'...
Coal does not seem to be of good quality?

Source: Eisenbahnstiftung.de
38 2321 in Cherson.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 06 Feb 2014 10:13

This P8 does not seem in the best of health as it has two different buffers and one on the right is cracked.
Notice also the hand loading of coal using a weighted lever. Coal mainly seems to be dust!

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 07 Feb 2014 11:48

The numbers given in this account of 50,000 per Armee Gruppe plus DRB giving a total of 200,00 men plus does not exactly tally with other figures.

The earlier Teske account of AG Mitte gives a total of 133,200 men (Eisenbahnpioniere, FEDko, HDB (DRB), civilian workers, security and signals and 65,000 native workers). This would seem to indicate a total of around 400,000 while Pottgeisers table 2 says 615,455 of whom 104,899 are German and 510,566 are Russian/Ukrainian/Poles/Balts, etc for 1.1.1943 and is the total of all FEDko and RVDs.

We can examine Pottgeiser more closely as he gives figures for
RVD Minsk (RVD is essentially the same as a HBD but the titles seem to change every 6 months!) of 81,486 of whom 20,344 are German and 61,142 are native and
FEDko 2 of 36,964 of whom 11,388 are German and 25,576 are native.
The total of the RVD and FEDko (ie Blau und Grau Eisenbahner) for the AG Mitte area (RVD Minsk and FEDko 2) are 31,732 Germans and 86,718 natives or a total of 118,450.

Teske quotes RVD Minsk 21,000 (this agrees with Pottgeisser's figures for GERMANS but the 65,000 native workers are given seperately)
he quotes FEDko 2 at 22,000 (which does NOT relate to Pottgeissers figure of 11,000 Germans nor the total of 37,000). It may be a mis translation as the total of FEDko 2 and 3 is 22,000 GERMAN railwaymen.

So from this we can see that Teske is counting Germans and only some of the considerable number of native workers while Pottgeisser is counting railwaymen German and native but not soldiers. So a combination of the two would look like this:

Eisenbahnpioniere Bde.2 14,858
Security and Flak troops 8,617 + 600
Signals Regt 1,200
RVD Minsk 81,486
FEDko 2 36,964

Total
Troops 25,275
Railwaymen 118,450 (RVD FEDko and all native workers)
Grand total 143,725 men involved in railways for AG Mitte

This makes Teske's total of 4 Armee Gruppes nearer to 600,000 including the 25,000 native workers missing from each FEDko
While Pottgeissers total of 615,455 needs 25,000 railway troops adding to each of 3 Armee Gruppe making a total closer to 690,000 troops and railwaymen.

These totals do not include construction teams from DRB, OT, RAD and German/Polish companies who came and went as construction projects were attempted. For instance this Steel works train Nr. K4 from HBD Hannover spent from Dec 1941 to Jan 1943 working in the Ukraine
Railway Construction Train from HBD Hannover in Kiev 1942.jpg
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Last edited by Der Alte Fritz on 07 Feb 2014 17:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 07 Feb 2014 12:34

A comparison with Soviet forces is difficult as the organisation is not the same.
The Red Army Railway Brigades numbered 30 and their organisation looked like this:
Railway Bde (translated).jpg
As you can see they deployed 6,306 men, so there were at least 190,000 men which compares directly with the 3 German Eisenbahnpioniere brigades of 15,000 men each.
The NKPS had a total workforce of 1,500,000 (some of whom were in the UVV Construction Brigades) and then around 1,000,000 in the industry supporting the railways, repairs, construction, etc.
Given that the Germans were running a network of 40% of the total Soviet network and the Soviets were running the remaining 60%, the Germans were relatively short of manpower especially German manpower to do technical tasks.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 07 Feb 2014 16:51

GregSingh wrote:There seem to be an awful lot of those P8's in Ukraine...
Here is another one in Cherson (Kherson) Bahnhof.
Local folks taking care of maintenance and 'refueling'...
Coal does not seem to be of good quality?

Source: Eisenbahnstiftung.de
RVD Kiev is listed as having 1016 locomotives on 1.1.1943. so 62 P8 at the Kiev depot seems quite important. I wonder if we could find out the locomotive types from German railway sites?

I would recommend everyone has a look at Greg's link as the "Bildarchiv" is very good.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 08 Feb 2014 12:40

The other topic that we are going to have a look at, is the main German campaign in the summer of 1942. The Germans had had a year in which to get the railways under control and as we have seen in the Ostbau 42 programme had spent a great deal of resources in preparation for the offensive and would spend further resources in hardening the railways in preparation for the winter with the Winter Ostbau 42. So the question is how did the railways perform during the vital campaign and the issues to consider are:
1) The initial campaign advanced only over part of the front - the area of AG Sud, rather than over the entire front as in 1941, so there was less railway network to consider
2) The advance in combat was relatively short around 400km in depth from their positions on the Donets river to Stalingrad. Of course the exploitation down into the Caucuses was a lot further but then it was so rapid that there was less Soviet inflicted damage.

Initial German Campaign in Summer 1942
GermanSummerOffensive(7May-23July1942).jpg
Railway network situation November 1942
German Railway Network in Russia - Stalingrad.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 08 Feb 2014 17:25

Stalingrad detail.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 08 Feb 2014 17:33

From Pottgeisser:
VIII New Tasks
The German front made in the course of 1942, further significant territorial gains and moved to the Wolga at Stalingrad and up to the Terek at the foot of the Caucasus front. Also, the rail network has been extended to the peak operating. Same time, many secondary roads the route were restored in the hinterland away from the main lines and put into operation, for example Kalinkovichi - Ovruch in May and the routes Luniniec - Sarny and Kovel - Sarny - Korosten - Kiev in September 1942. As Figure 6 shows, took the length of the routes operated by the RVDs from March to December 1942 around 11,500 km. The FEKdos end of July 1942 in 3 days over 3,634 cars more than returned because their network increased by 600 km and therefore for further running paths longer wagon turnaround times (note 26) had to be taken into account. Also entered in train traffic temporarily, a significant backlog (note 16), which was due towards the front by new dispositions as well as slow advance in the operating areas. The temporary and existing homeland backlog was caused by slow discharge of the trains with economic goods due to customs clearance difficulties at the border of the GG. On 09.05.1942 a new Main Railway Directorate is built in Rostov. In Kawkaskaja is stationed at 10.10.1942 the Field Railway Command 5.
At the relatively small, only about 1000 km distances comprising HBDistrict Rostov include the most important stations: Jlowajskoje, Taganrog, Rostov, Bataisk and Novocherkassk. 40 to 50 supply trains roll through the district daily on the front lines to Caucasus and the eastern Sea of ​​Azov. Even here, the initial difficulties are still considerable. The big railway bridge over the Don between Rostov and Bataisk is still damaged and can only be driven from January 1943. According to a report from 12.02.1942 the depots are not powerful enough, the Locomotive position is too low, the under repair level is 40%, the construction is started everywhere underway, but there is a lack of wood, glass and roofing felt. 107 locomotive stands are available and 96 under construction or in planning. Nevertheless, the RVD believes until 15.12.1942 the depot constructions have been so improved that even severe frost does not have any failures.
A representative of the Transport Chefs which predominates the District of FEKdo 5, in the broad-gauge operation, travelled to the study of operating machinery and workshop service that: reported it on 21.11.1942 inter alia, the following:
1 German locomotive can steam with Russian coal only after conversion. It is a mixing ratio 2 parts and 1 part German Russian coal, at most, a 1:1 mixture possible.
2 In the Caucasus region, the locomotive were with oil from local mining sites in the Maikop steamed conquered from the Russians fields. Since the mining appears to be possible until February 1943 broad gauge locomotives and stationary boilers must be converted to coal firing.
3 Because of the setting on fuel oil fire boxes are missing in the already
heavily damaged depot facilities for the treatment coal-fired locomotives (coaling, Ausschlack pits, coal storage, etc.). Completion is however hampered by lack of wood.
4 Located between the depot water points are supplied with tender water trains. Particularly hard water is present on the track Salsk-Stalingrad.
5 The Russian staff is mostly good and willingly.
6 The regauging of broad gauge locomotives is in the area of 5 FEKdo almost impossible and uneconomical. For the regauging following sequence is suggested:
1 former Prussian and Polish Standard gauge locomotives,
2 formerly Austrian Standard gauge locomotives,
3 broad gauge locomotives Western European designs,
4 broad gauge locomotives Russian designs.
7 There are differences of opinion between the FEKdo 5 and the Economic Inspection Caucasus over the ownership of the factory "Red Hammer" in Tichoretzkaja, the points, water cranes and other steelwork requirement has manufactured.
8 On the route of Minerany-Wody (Peak operating) to Kisslowodsk consisted of electrical equipment with 15 000 volts DC. An electric-depot with undamaged" Ellokhalle" Electric locomotive shed was found.
North of the RVD Rostov the FEKdo 3 joined whose routes the end of 1942 reached a length of 2800 km. The big Donets bridge at Kamenskaja and Woroschilowgrad that had been blown up by the Russians , could not be rebuilt, so that the leading north to Millerowo and Waluiki routes from the south could only be achieved through transhipment.[/b] Between the lines of Waluiki and Millerowo towards Liski an approximately 20 km long connecting curve was on the right bank of the Don built. Once on 20.09.1942 the great Donets bridge was completed in Belaya Kalitwa, the route was Lidraja - Stalingrad run through to up to the 1000 m long, destroyed bridge over the Don at Chir .
From Chir from the construction of three 140-172 km of narrow gauge railways “Feldbahn” was begun while just 12 trains achieved Route Lichaja - Chir was built for tempo (note18). Beyond the Don a limited shuttle operation was established on broad gauge of Chir to Stalingrad. Stalingrad was the easternmost point that was reached by the German railwaymen.
63


Translater – from Wikipedia.de „During the attack on the Soviet Union in World War II was Belaya Kalitwa of 20 July 1942 to 19 January 1943 occupied by German troops. During this time, in the district Forschtadt ( Форштадт , of German suburb , one in 1912 at the newly built railway station south of the village beyond the Kalitwa incurred and 1925 eingemeindeten settlement [2] [3] ) established a forced labor camp where the German troops from Stalingrad was selected uprooted civilians for labor inputs. Who was not an option for work in Germany, was "sent in the steppe" , formally at a hundred kilometers march towards Kalatsch-on-Don , which was equivalent to a death sentence in the freezing temperatures in the winter 1942/43. „

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 08 Feb 2014 17:52

So in short, the route to the Armee Gruppe in the South follows the blue route from Kiev and gets as far as the bridge over the Don at Rostov and then has to be trans-shipped across the river and then back onto the railway again. Pottgeisser claims 40 trains a day but von Bork claims 24 trains a day, so I think some of the Pottgeisser trains are not getting through the blockage. This situation continues until January by which time they are retreating.

The Armee Gruppe at Stalingrad is initially supplied via this route and up the spur line to Salsk but from end of September the northern red route can be used as the bridge has been repaired at Lichaja but as you can see there is not a direct route from Rostov and a partially repaired route wends it way through Stalino. Even then the line carries only 12 trains a day as far as Chir where it is trans-shipped onto lorries or broad gauge trains to get through to Stalingrad. The Field Light Railway is being constructed to supply the garrisons along the river (Romanians mainly) but is incomplete by Nov 1942.

The bottom line is 2 Armee Gruppes living off 36 trains a day or 16,200 tons of supplies / replacements and new equipment. The gauge has been changed along long stretches of line right down to the south, it is the lack of progress in bridge building that is hampering the logistical effort.

General Gercke had explained all this at the planning stage of the operation but it was not taken into account.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 09 Feb 2014 07:07

It seems that a vital bridge across Don river (east of Tschir station on the line to Stalingrad) was taken intact by elements of German 297.ID on the 26th of July 1942. On the 29th, Soviet counterattack pushed 522.IR/297.ID back to the left, west bank.
This time Soviets completed all necessary tasks and bridge was blown up on the 8th of August after 112 Rifle Division retreated to the east bank of the Don river.

1942 German map of the area from another thread.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 09 Feb 2014 07:27

I found the nice photo of the German constructed railroad from Tschir station to Kletskaya station. (Kletskaya is on Don, north of Tschir). This railroad is marked on the map in the earlier post.

Source: Станица Верхне-Чирская
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 09 Feb 2014 09:53

That is an interesting photograph. In the background you can see military railwaymen in their white coverall building a temporary bridge over the small valley.
In the fore ground you can see a siding with some Koln sized open topped wagons. The wagons that have been pushed off the line look like Soviet broad gauge ones.
In the front part you can see stacked sleepers and new rails (there seems a new section of sleepers a bit further down the line, (they appear paler and sticking out of the permanent way.) Then there is the tiny 'works' engine made by "Jung of Jungenthal" which is probably a Feldeisenbahn diesel tractor - so is this narrow gauge?

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 10 Feb 2014 09:18

Image1.jpg
Die Eisenbhnen - Eugen Kreidler
During the year 1942, approx. 42 000 captured broad gauge wagon converted to standard gauge.
The gradual increase in performance is clear from the increase in the border crossings by Train despatchers 196.
So you can see from the table that there is a steady growth in traffic crossing the Border of the Government General into the Eastern Territories. This is a considerable increase from the 75-100 trains a day that we saw in late 1941. However these were all military trains (with a small contingent of railway service trains) which gave each Army Group 25-32 trains a day or around 14,000 tonnes of supplies/reinforcements. Also we know that each Army Group needed 25 trains a day in terms of SUPPLY alone which netted 11,250 tonnes a day or roughly 225 tonnes per division slice (at 50 divisions per AG). New reinforcements and equipment took up the balance of the trains.

So by the start of the Stalingrad campaign in May, there are 229 trains a day crossing from the Reich but as the table shows 89 of these are building materials and coal for economic or railway use with the returning empties would carry workers or raw materials back to the Reich. This would indicate a potential traffic of around 14.6 million tonnes in carrying capacity. We know from Pottgeisser that in July 1942 there was the following economic traffic:

Direction West-East 16,398 wagons (409 trains or 13 trains a day)
within the area of Russia 38,527 wagons (963 trains or 31 trains a day)
Direction East-West 18,221 wagons (400 trains or 15 trains a day)
The IV quarter of 1942 brought the largest transport performance in economic transports. In this period were promoted:
Direction west-east................................................... 557.192 t economic goods
In the inland transport of the eastern territories.................. 2,400,980 t economic goods
Towards Germany ,................................................... 1,471,808 t economic goods
and 613.900 head of cattle
so this all fits although we have to allow for a considerable number of 'empty' wagons returning to the Reich.

This leaves 140 trains a day for the military or 47 per Army Group. While it might be reasonable to suppose 25 trains for supply, we now have to take into account the fact that the Army was now supplied from the Ost Kommisariat with food so the number of 25 will decline by round 4 trains to account for local food supplies. This leaves a balance of 26 trains a day for reinforcements and new units which is a far better situation than in 1941.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 10 Feb 2014 17:55

Preparation of the summer offensive
Hitler was in the spring of 1942, faced with the difficult question of how he would continue the war against the Soviet Union. 197 For an attack on the entire Eastern Front ranged forces in consequence of the losses suffered in troops and material not. He decided to further offensive in the southern sector, the details in Instruction No. 41 dated 5 4 1942198 were fixed. "The goal is that the remaining kinetic energy to destroy the Soviets finally and deprive them of the war economy power sources as much as possible. Among sticking to the original fundamentals of the Eastern campaign, it is important to at behavior of the army center, in the north of Leningrad case to bring and prepare the land connection with the Finns to force on the southern wing of the army front but the breakthrough in the Caucasus region. "
On 16 2 received the chief of the the transportation order, preparations to meet on the course area for the spring offensive 199 This time, human and material claims were timely provided to the Ministry of Transport. For the company "blue" were in the months of May and June 41 divisions to Army Group South moved, including 21 allied divisions 200 20 000 of the 50,000 tonnes of Heavy Vehicle Transport Column (GTR) should be provided for the Southern Operation 201 On 2.3 informed the Chief of the Operations Division of the General Staff of the Army, General Heusinger, with that the deployment on 10 .7 .1942 will start  202 early September should the North Caucasus, then Batum-Baku be reached 203 Two weeks before the offensive the Quartermaster General Wagner described the stocking generally quite satisfactory in fuel, tanks and anti-tank ammunition as difficult 204
In preparation for the offensive were three rail lines (Dnepropetrovsk-Donets Basin, Kiev-Kharkov and Orel-Bryansk) available, their performance ability was to determine the start of the attack. The Quartermaster General also put available 10,000 tonnes of Heavy Vehicle Transport Column (GTR) 205 A disadvantage for the course of the operation had to be that behind the northern shock wings between the Donets and Don there was no continuous railway line at all and on the south wing resulted in only a performance-limited distance from the Donets Basin towards Stalingrad, while the great railway line of the Caucasus at the Don bridge in Rostov was sustainably broken by the enemy 206
The time before these railway lines were operational again in our own hands, had to be brided by motorized supply 207 The chief of transport considered the supply of both lines of attack by rail not possible 208 Also, the Quartermaster-General was of this opinion. The opinion of Müller-Hillebrand "that the transport and supply regular opportunities for planned major offensive and the performance ability and the enemy's intentions were assessed soberly and carefully,” can no more be accepted as the comments made by Goebbels, who on 19.10.1942 stated: "... so Germany had underestimated the Russian opponent in the previous autumn and had been left behind as a result of this underestimation of Moscow, the more real the military leadership of the Reich have misjudged the difficulty of the attack on Stalingrad undertaking this year,'' 210
The preparations for the operation in the summer of 1942 have been taken after gaining experience in the advance independent of Ostbau 1942. Even with this advance was expected again effective evacuation and destruction measures of the opponent. For the restoration and commissioning of the routes railway pioneers, railroad construction battalions and forces of the Organization Todt and Reich Transport Ministry have been provided building materials for bridge and track materials were brought in near the front depots (Grebenka and Znamenka). The track materials had been developed in Germany and France 211
Overall, the commissioning of approx. 5000 km railway lines provided, including 2 000 for the Field Railway Commands (FEDko) and 3 000 km of the eastern branch of the Reich Ministry of Transport (Osteis). Until 15 5 five field railway machines departments and two field railway workshops departments were established and brought the existing Field Railway Commands (FEDko) on full staff strength. The Reichsbahn had mustered staff for another Higher Railway Direction (HBD Rostov). Overall, the German Reichsbahn had in April. 1942 around 50,000 men ready delivered, before the start of the offensive on a larger scale lines of the South region were handed over by the Field Railway Commands (FEDko) to the Higher Railway Direction Ost in Kharkov. From 15.7. to 29.10.1942, the High Command of the Wehrmacht and the High Command of the Army had moved into their quarters prepared for Kalinowka (Werewolf) and Vinnitsa. A total of 3717 trains were run for the deployment in southern Russia from April till September 213

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