German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 23 Mar 2016 11:40

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Railway Traffic in the East during the Second World War

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 23 Mar 2016 12:03

"Eisenbahnverkehr im Osten in zweiten weltkrieg" R5 Anh II/50

R5 Verkehrministerium Anh II is held at Berlin Lichterfelde but there is no index held on Invenio.
This is from the collection of Oberreichsrat Kreidler who commanded Mineis (L) during the latter stages of the war and is a primary source of material on railways as he went around collecting material much of which he published in his book:

Die Eisenbahnen im Machtbereich der Achsenmächte während des Zweiten Weltkrieges : Einsatz und Leistung für die Wehrmacht und Kriegswirtschaft

Author: Eugen Kreidler
Publisher: Göttingen : Musterschmidt, ©1975.
Series: Studien und Dokumente zur Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges, Bd. 15

https://www.worldcat.org/title/eisenbah ... ef_results

He wrote a second book
Die Eisenbahnen im Zweiten Weltkrieg : Studien und Dokumente zur Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges

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"Eisenbahnverkehr im Osten in zweiten weltkrieg" R5 Anh II/50

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:46

This document is a real gem. Collected by Kreidler post-war it is the record of an interview with a former high official of the Gedob (Ostbahn railway of the Government General) regarding traffic crossings between the Government General (Poland) and the Eastern Territories (Russia) and the traffic within Russia. It is one of the very documents to describe railway traffic levels across the whole of the German occupied Soviet territory.

Railway-Traffic in the East in the World War II
Synopsis

A. What were railway traffic conditions like after the occupation?
(a) after the Poland-campaign 1939
(b) after beginning of the Russian campaign 1941
B. How many trains could travel in the Eastwards direction over the whole of the Eastern border of the Reich during the occupation in individual years?
(a) The performance demanded on the "transportation-routes" for the period from the 10.2.1941
(b) number of the Wehrmacht - schedules and the 'on demand'-freight train-schedules of the timetables of the Eastern Railway (Ostbahn)
(c) number the locomotives handed over the Eastern border of the Eastern Railway travelling eastward
(1) the border crossing points of the Eastern Railway to the Eastern Districts (of Russia)
(2) the total-performance of the border crossing points
(3) the share of the individual border crossing points of the eastward headed trains
(d) the civil goods-traffic with the Eastern Districts
C. Which was the Transport Peak and over which time period?
D. Did standard timetables exist or were Train Dispositions organised from day to day?
E. Was Rolling Stock sufficiently available?
(a) locomotives
(b) wagons
(c) special wagon types
F. Main difficulties with the deliverance of the traffic-tasks, caused by:
(1) through lack of materials (coal, water)
(2) through Rolling Stock shortages
(3) through lack of personnel
(4) through climatic influences
(5) through outside effects
a) in the Home Area
b) in the Eastern Area through hostile armed forces or partisans
G. Which organization was there to control the entire war traffic? What were the share of the trains for the different consumers:
(a) front-supply
(b) civilian clothes-supply
(c) food-trains
(d) supplies of the Organisation Todt
(e) supplies for the railway
H. Which organization - or other mistakes emerged with reference to the smooth handling of the trains:
(1) How far could this be stopped?
(2) How would these mistakes have been avoided?



A. Which traffic condition was then determined on the occupation?
(a) In the Polish Campaign 1939

Despite the short duration of the campaign in Poland the war damage to the railway facilities and vehicles were material. The Polish army had to be a master in destroying important parts of the train station and most of the bridges, including all with greater range, proven. The German Luftwaffe and the short siege of Warsaw had severe devastation in important railway junction. eg. Warsaw, Skarzysko = Kamienna and Petrikau and blocking the routes to Warsaw by air raids caused to railways and trains driven close together. In addition, many important machines or machine parts of the mechanical equipment repair workshops, depots and stations were removed from the Poles and returned or been blown up. The recycled parts fell to the advancing Russian hands, further expansions during the brief occupation of the territory between the Vistula and Bug, especially in area Siedlce and Lublin, for that all portable railway material was taken away.

The result was that in addition to all the great track and river bridges, numerous buildings, water stations, roundhouse, turntable, points and tracks were destroyed and the workshops and depots were often without materials; Telephone network and signaling systems were useless; Hundreds of thousands of locomotives and passenger and freight cars were burnt out and can not be restored or been transported to the East.

The area East of the Vistula was initially only reached in the northern part after a few weeks, via the southern Warsaw railway bridge, while the bridges at Deblin and Sandomierz could only be operated in the spring of 1940 again. The area west of the Vistula was isolated by the destruction of Pilica Bridge in Tomaszow and Warka until the spring of 1940 in two parts that had to be operated independently, and only on the distance Częstochowa - Petrikau - Warsaw (with the already mid-September 1939 provisionally restored Warthe Bridge at Radomsko) as well as the soon to be passed to the RBD [Opplen] the railway line "Kohlenma Magistrale" were connected with each other. [This was the French built Coal line connecting the coalfields of Silesia to the port of Danzig]
To restore the structural works, the Eastern Railway has contributed about 60 million Reichsmarks.

With the German occupation of railway lines immediately repair the railways began with great energy and made to order as soon as possible to begin operations run unhindered. First, the activity of Railway Pioneers and Military Pioneers and collated from railway building crews enabled a makeshift operation. At the same time, and then increasingly German companies involved in construction, civil engineering and bridge construction and repair of safety and telecommunications equipment. But above all, the German railway workers and Polish railway workers laboured diligently with the restoration of the full capacity of the Eastern Railway. Therefore, almost the entire network was limited operational in the winter of 1939-40. In early 1940 the restoration works were long delivery times practically completed by the final restoration of some major current bridges and replacements of equipment and materials.

(b) After the beginning of the Russian campaign in 1941
The railways in Galicia (Lemburg district) were already property of the Ostbahn (Eastern Railway) on 1.8.1941, the head of transport in the OKW admitted it but only at 5.12.1941, the Ostbahn took over the leadership of the operation on the their newly assigned routes (cf. also section H (b)).
The state of the railways of the area immediately after the occupation has therefore become known only patchy: all routes were operated by the Russians in broad gauge; [the Soviets had been very slow in regauging the occupied Polish areas due to shortages in their own rolling stock fleet and had completed it only in the Summer of 1941. Upgrading and repair of the line was planned but uncompleted at the time of the German attack.] they had the most plants at some level of operation for servicing the locomotives, the repair works less thoroughly destroyed, fewer of the existing tunnels and numerous bridges had been blown up.
Initially in Galicia Field Grey Railwaymen [FEDko] were used and then the Blue Railwaymen, later Directorate Kiev [RBD Kiev and later HDB Kiev] have to rebuild the rail network but this met with little interest and carried out only the most urgent work to implement the reconstruction of the main railway routes.


When operations were taken over by the Eastern Railway the only routes were
Przemysl - Lemburg - Krasne - Tarnopol / Brody and
Lemburg - Stanislav - Sniatyn
had broad gauge lines converted to standard gauge, the stations here were only converted to the extent that allowed only a very modest operation.
On the route Krasne - Tarnopol was continued the Russians construction effort of a second track. The remaining tracks were not restored yet nor been re-gauged and also occupied a considerable extent with broad gauge wagons. Maintenance workshops [RAW] and Workshop depots [Bw] were only so far restored that the first legitimate demands of the Wehrmacht were just met. The repair of the great river bridges and tunnels was extremely behind. The end of August was added a heavy flooding that at the bridges - had caused greater damage than before the enemy - especially in the Carpathians. Of particular concern was the low progress in the restoration of security and telecommunications equipment.

Although in December 1941, the work then immediately started with all the forces, using the material already provided, it was clear from the start that until the winter ended no thoroughgoing success could be achieved. Ostbahner from the original district, mobilized local forces from the district of Lemberg (L'vov) as well as German and Polish entrepreneurs competing in the gauging of lines, stations and vehicles and in the restoration of bridges, tunnels, railways, buildings, security and telecommunications equipment. The early eruption of severe cold in the last third of December 1941 made it impossible to make up for lost months by the strongest labour usage.
The repair of war damage and the gauging of the total network were completed by and large in the summer of 1942. The costs have amounted to approximately 40 million Reichsmarks.

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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:48

B. How many trains could, in each year of the occupation to the East cross over the entire Eastern border of the Reich?
Because of my documents I can do not answer this question completely, but only temporary information for the network of Eastern Railway. [This excludes the traffic crossing the border from East Prussia.]
Hence conclusions on the overall traffic to the East can be drawn in that - until the end of 1942 - in practice, about 2/3 of the total traffic for the Eastern Districts ran on the Routes of the Eastern Railway.

(a) Required Performances on the "Transport Routes," according to the position of 10 February 1941
table a.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:49

(b) The number of the Wehrmacht schedules and the number of required freight train schedules (in parentheses) in the schedules of the Eastern Railway
table b.jpg

On the railway maps along the Eastern border also record of railway level crossings Vlodava (at the bend between Brest-Litovsk and Dorohusk) and Stoyanov (along the route Lemburg - Kiwerce - Sapiezanka), as far as I remember, has not been put into operation.
As I remember, the operated border crossings, such as Husiatyn was only allowed to operate half trains, due to the low capacity of the surrounding lines and has been used because of the need for multiple rail heads for local border traffic, but rarely for the provision of transport to the East. Practically for through traffic to and from the Eastern districts there were only 9 border crossings to be taken into consideration.

Of these Malkinia and Platerow serve exclusively as transport to the Army Group Centre region. The vast majority of this is also true for the crossing Terespol, but this was occasionally used for transport to the southern sector too. Transportation programs in the east-west direction into the southern areas, however, have been carried out as planned using Terespol on several occasions. The connection to the southern sector was carried out for the rest on the crossing points Dorohusk, Hrubieszow, Ulwowek, Brody, Zbaraz and Podwoloczyska.

2) The overall performance of border crossings
As I recall, the target number of trains that were to be passed daily for all border crossings to the Eastern districts, was for a long time in the region of around 200 trains. At the end of 1942 I have the number of 240 trains in mind. Over the Eastern border crossings of the Government General I would put it initially about 100, later going up to 170 trains daily. I also believe that the requirements of the Wehrmacht have not gone up in the years 1943 and 1944 from these figures.

These figures include all kinds of trains (eg. Front leave trains, civilian passenger trains, hospital trains, troop transport, Wehrmacht supply trains of all kinds, trains with construction materials, economic trains, economic coal trains, railway service coal trains and freight trains of public transport).

According to my records, I have depicted in Appendix 1 at week averages, how much trains in the period from the 49th week of 1941 (taking over the operation in the district of Lemberg (L'vov) by the Eastern Railway) up to the 20th week 1943 were daily handled by the border stations and handed over to the Eastern districts. (1)

The minimum is at an average of 34 trains / day in week 52 of 1941; similar low values are still present in the first two exceptionally cold months of 1942. (If, as once happened in early February 1942 for two consecutive days only 34 or 35 trains were delivered, it evoked in the Wehrmacht extraordinary agitation.) The maximum for this time period was in the 17th week of 1943 which reached 147 trains / day, after the performance had moved several times already to almost the same level in the summer of 1942. The drop in performance from autumn 1942 to spring 1943 is likely to be due mainly to lower requirements of the customer and only a small part to the difficulty in railways; since the winter of 1942-43 was very mild, and the railway had put its building programme, its operation and also its locomotive service behind the needs of the Eastern campaign.

There were observed in the first 20 weeks of 1943 a daily traffic of 124.8 passed trains leads to the conclusion that at that time have located the average total benefits for the Eastern districts was by no means over 200 trains / day, an average number of trains of 400 trains / day would meet together in both directions.
The total absolute numbers, the one for the three periods of time "last 4 weeks, 1941", "1942" and "first 20 weeks of 1943" are obtained when adding the daily average values for the appropriate column and multipling by the number of days of the week, found in the last line of the table in Appendix 2.

Then in the last 4 weeks of 1941, 1330, in the year 1942, 38556 and in the first 20 weeks of the year 1943, 17472 trains crossed the border of the Eastern Railway in an easterly direction. In 75 weeks, this adds up to 57,358 trains, or an average of 76, 5 trains per day.
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:50

(c) The number of trains passed over eastern boundary of the Eastern Railway headings eastwards

(1) The border crossings of the Eastern Railway to the eastern districts
Listed from north to south, the Eastern Railway had the following 10 eastern border crossings in operation:
table c.jpg


On the railway maps along the Eastern border also record of railway level crossings Vlodava (at the bend between Brest-Litovsk and Dorohusk) and Stoyanov (along the route Lemburg - Kiwerce - Sapiezanka), as far as I remember, has not been put into operation.
As I remember, the operated border crossings, such as Husiatyn was only allowed to operate half trains, due to the low capacity of the surrounding lines and has been used because of the need for multiple rail heads for local border traffic, but rarely for the provision of transport to the East. Practically for through traffic to and from the Eastern districts there were only 9 border crossings to be taken into consideration.

Of these Malkinia and Platerow serve exclusively as transport to the Army Group Centre region. The vast majority of this is also true for the crossing Terespol, but this was occasionally used for transport to the southern sector too. Transportation programs in the east-west direction into the southern areas, however, have been carried out as planned using Terespol on several occasions. The connection to the southern sector was carried out for the rest on the crossing points Dorohusk, Hrubieszow, Ulwowek, Brody, Zbaraz and Podwoloczyska.

2) The overall performance of border crossings
As I recall, the target number of trains that were to be passed daily for all border crossings to the Eastern districts, was for a long time in the region of around 200 trains. At the end of 1942 I have the number of 240 trains in mind. Over the Eastern border crossings of the Government General I would put it initially about 100, later going up to 170 trains daily. I also believe that the requirements of the Wehrmacht have not gone up in the years 1943 and 1944 from these figures.

These figures include all kinds of trains (eg. Front leave trains, civilian passenger trains, hospital trains, troop transport, Wehrmacht supply trains of all kinds, trains with construction materials, economic trains, economic coal trains, railway service coal trains and freight trains of public transport).

According to my records, I have depicted in Appendix 1 at week averages, how much trains in the period from the 49th week of 1941 (taking over the operation in the district of Lemberg (L'vov) by the Eastern Railway) up to the 20th week 1943 were daily handled by the border stations and handed over to the Eastern districts. (1)

The minimum is at an average of 34 trains / day in week 52 of 1941; similar low values are still present in the first two exceptionally cold months of 1942. (If, as once happened in early February 1942 for two consecutive days only 34 or 35 trains were delivered, it evoked in the Wehrmacht extraordinary agitation.) The maximum for this time period was in the 17th week of 1943 which reached 147 trains / day, after the performance had moved several times already to almost the same level in the summer of 1942. The drop in performance from autumn 1942 to spring 1943 is likely to be due mainly to lower requirements of the customer and only a small part to the difficulty in railways; since the winter of 1942-43 was very mild, and the railway had put its building programme, its operation and also its locomotive service behind the needs of the Eastern campaign.

There were observed in the first 20 weeks of 1943 a daily traffic of 124.8 passed trains leads to the conclusion that at that time have located the average total benefits for the Eastern districts was by no means over 200 trains / day, an average number of trains of 400 trains / day would meet together in both directions.
The total absolute numbers, the one for the three periods of time "last 4 weeks, 1941", "1942" and "first 20 weeks of 1943" are obtained when adding the daily average values for the appropriate column and multipling by the number of days of the week, found in the last line of the table in Appendix 2.

Then in the last 4 weeks of 1941, 1330, in the year 1942, 38556 and in the first 20 weeks of the year 1943, 17472 trains crossed the border of the Eastern Railway in an easterly direction. In 75 weeks, this adds up to 57,358 trains, or an average of 76, 5 trains per day.
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:54

3) The proportion of each border crossings on the passed Eastward trains
How does the Eastbound traffic has distributed in the three periods indicated above percentage on each border crossings, is also shown in Appendix 2, in each case at the relevant time periods in the right column.
For the contiguous 75 weeks, for which the documents obtained for each border crossings to the total number of transferred trains and the percentage thereof of total traffic, the following image, which is supplemented by specifying the rank they occupy in border traffic.
table d.jpg
With a commanding place at the top of the list, with a quarter of the total traffic (25.1%) carried is Terespol with the highest performance at the eastern end of the two-pronged Eastern Railway route and at the same time at the beginning of the main line of the Centre area.
In second place with 17.4% at the border crossing is Malkinia which also has a very powerful twin-track main line Warsaw - Bialystok.
Brody takes the third place on the two-pronged supply line (main line) over Krakow - Lemberg (L'vov) to the Ukraine with 16.0%.
It must be considered together with Podwoloczyska, which accounts for a small distance in fourth place 15.2% of cross border services. Because the Government General was used throughout the route for these two crossing points, right up to the frontier crossing point at Krasne, this station carried a heavy traffic of 16.0 + 15.2 = 31.2% of all crossing trains. The route to Podwoloczyska was originally only double track between Krasne and Zloczow. The two-pronged expansion to Podwoloczyska begun by the Russians, had been terminated by the Eastern Railway in 1942. In contrast to the other crossing points, the Eastern Railway had at first great difficulties in performing the handover requirements here. Because of the importance of this crossing for the southern part of the South area, the requirements of the Wehrmacht often exceeded the level that was able to be carried by the still single track, while at the same time, convert it to double track and the initial lack at every point of machines operating facilities to enable a normal service. Since at that time, the track in the eastern area had a low performance, the situation was often worsened by the disagreements that occurred as a result of operating difficulties,

With 11.3% the fifth placed border crossing was at Platerow, thanks to the good pre-flood situation in the direction of Lida never had crossing difficulties, although the two-pronged Eastern Railway route Siedlce - Platerow was operated as a branch line.

The crossing at Dorohusk occupied sixth place with 9.3%, the situation was that on the Eastern Railway side of the route the service did not run satisfactorily to my recollection, until the completion of the building project to double-track the main line along the section Deblin - Lublin - Dorohusk , which followed after the connecting section Dorohusk – Kowel to the eastwards was double tracked.

Compared with the previously treated 6 double-track crossing points, the remaining three single-track crossing points, namely Ulwowek (7th with 4, 6%), Hrubieszow (8th with 0, 8%) and Zbaraz (9th position with 0, 3%) were only of secondary importance. They all lay on branch lines. Around Ulwowek hardly carried any Wehrmacht trains, but almost without exception ran service trains of which the major portion were service coal trains which accounted for the major part of the railway. All the time Hrubieszow carried local freight train runs regularly to the East, whereas according to my records the situation at Zbaraz was that it only operated from the 19th to 44th week of the year 1942.
Throughout the time period considered here, there were no shift in the order of the border crossing points with regard to transfer rates, only the percentage of total services changed a little.

An overview of the various border crossings minimum, average and maximum transferred train numbers (in week averages) is shown in Appendix 3. The most important finding likely to be taken from this compilation is that from 1942 to 1943, the variation between the minimum and maximum numbers of transferred trains became very much smaller. In my view this shows that the railway operation has become much less sensitive to disturbances caused by the structural perfection of the railway facilities and was adapting to its tasks over time.
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:57

(d) The public freight transport with the Eastern districts

For public freight traffic to the occupied Russian territory on the purpose-built crossings of Eastern Railway (Terespol, Colm / Dorohusk, Brody, Podwoloczyska and occasionally still Husiaty) I have the figures for October 1942 to represent typical values. In the above crossing points heading towards the East 7,627 wagons crossed over with 133,890 t and from the East 26,136 wagons with 335,150 t crossed. Trains heading in the direction towards the East carrying coal were approximately of 70,000 t maximum, while in the opposite direction (without Terespol) 93,000 t ore, 43,000 tons of scrap, 36,000 tonnes of cereals and 30,000 tonnes of livestock are the main classes of goods.
table e small.jpg
+) The crossing Zbaraz was used from the 19th to the 44th week of 1942.

If these figures should be compared with those having from sources other minor differences, this can be due to the method of calculation of my values for which the output values, namely the weekly averages of daily passed to the border crossings train numbers, are given in whole numbers.
table f small.jpg

+) The crossing Zbaraz was used by the 19th to the 44th week of 1942. During this time there was 1 train passed in the average day.
++) The minimum and maximum values are obtained by summing the individual values for the 9 border crossings not the numbers "together all crossing points" herein, as the minima and maxima did not occur at all border crossings at the same time.
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:57

C) What was the transport peak and over what time?
(Is the figure 800 trains a day in both directions of travel?)

To answer this question, I refer primarily to my comments in section B and the facts contained in this material. Without being able to obtain exact values, I would estimate the transport peak at about 500 trains / day. 800 trains a day in both directions together, I think in my experience is very unlikely. Because then on all routes almost every existing timetable must be run at a maximum. This is to my knowledge, never even remotely occurred and practically not possible.

D. Use of fixed timetables or people found train dispositions daily; each day a new place?
In answering this question, I will confine myself to a brief fundamental discussion, since I assume that it will be reviewed by better-informed sources.
The table of the Eastern Railway timetables contained plans for regular daily passenger trains, on demand passenger trains, regular daily freight trains, on demand freight trains and still had to include Wehrmacht plans. The proportion of the latter in the total number of schedules created on routes ranged between about 40 to about 70%.
Depending on the daily "call" to the Wehrmacht and the economic trains passed through Wehrmacht control points by the Gedob Bbv-Büro office , a corresponding number was assigned to the on-demand as well "occupied" by potential adaptive Wehrmacht plans and the timetable sheets for that day, accompanied by the drive numbers were marked with coloured pencils.

For transport trains that went from the Reich through the Government General afterwards to the Eastern districts, this was done for the entire transfer line, in those trains who came from the Reich and were initially stopped in the Government General, from the frontier to the siding, and finally for transport trains in Government General which were stopped and should now continue to the East, from the sidings to the Eastern border. In addition, ongoing numerous army transport trains arrived that were moved within the Government General from a station to another.

So there were "fixed schedules" in the timetable documents, of which daily changes were compiled with respective Train Dispositions using a corresponding number. Individual plans were used with great regularity, after experience had shown that they were particularly well suited for the provision of transport (short length trains on the re-gauged railway stations, low susceptibility to interference from Regular train schedules etc.).

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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:58

E. Position had enough rolling stock available;
a) Locomotives
b) Wagons
c) Special wagon_types?
(The questions a) to c) are not separately answered)


In my response, I would like start by making the observation that the performance of the rolling stock park of a transportation company very much depends on how long a wagon is used for a single transport run, ie how long it takes until it becomes available again for a second transport run. When the wagon is referred to this time between two loadings as "Turnaround time". It can readily be seen that a doubling of the freight fleet is the same when the average round-trip time of the wagons can be reduced by 50%. For example, the German Reichsbahn 1945-1948 suffered from a chronic lack of freight cars. At that time, the turnaround time was 9 to 11 days. This lack of coaches ceased despite approximately equal delayed transport services and car number unchanged when they succeeded by various measures, to bring the wagon turnaround time worth almost 5 days. Apart from during Autumn traffic a large number of freight wagons are now permanently made redundant.

Of these phenomena the fundamental difference was the real scarcity of Wagons of certain types that are not present in sufficient numbers in the rolling stock park to address particular transport tasks due to lack of foresight of the planning agencies. What applies to carriages, similarly applies to locomotives: When as a result of operational stoppages the "out of service times" of the locomotives between two uses on some of the rosters was considered beyond the minimum required so that the same number of locomotives could no longer cope with an unchanged transport performance. Then speak of a so-called "fake" Locomotive deficiency.

In the vehicle industry, the same wartime phenomena as were seen in the Eastern Railway occurred everywhere in the railway network operated and controlled by the Deutsche Reichsbahn as there was close cooperation in this field. Although the Eastern Railway had its own locomotive park of 1250 this grew in the period before the Russian campaign to 1750 pieces and later quite consistently held in the order of about 2500, but was supported by the Deutsche Reichsbahn for specific tasks and emergencies and temporary staff where possible.

As for the passenger carriages I can not remember that there would have ever occurred a serious crisis. The Eastern Railway allocated carriages park (2485 carriages before the Russian campaign) was sufficient in number, but had a large numbers in a relatively poor condition.
Wagons were managed jointly with Deutsche Reichsbahn, so that deficiencies in the area of Eastern Railway had an impact in the same manner as in the rest of the network.

In Locomotive service there existed until the end of 1942 often a spurious Locomotive deficiency. This was caused for a long time by slow operations mainly on the route Upper Silesia - Deblin - Przemysl and to a lesser extent, on the route through Upper Silesia. This arose mainly due to the very extensive construction work that had to be performed to increase line operations in service. Real locomotive shortages occurred in the winter of 1941-42 in the Galician area due to the severe cold with daily large numbers of locomotives rendered unusable because of there almost total lack of covered storage facilities so that the repair of the breakdowns could not keep pace. The German Reichsbahn could not step to help at this time because they had to throw all their reserves into the Soviet Union because the prevailing conditions were worse there. As far as I know it gave the Eastern Railway no more locomotive troubles since 1943, when the supply of War Locomotives (series 52) began in large numbers and the structural improvements were substantially complete.
Basically, the fact is particularly noteworthy that in an allocation for normal operating conditions, the number of locomotives becomes no longer sufficient if the proportion of special trains to the total number of moves is very high, the fact that many empty Locomotive journeys are inevitable and the formation of economic rosters is only very limited. This was true of the Eastern Railway to a great extent: in 1942, there were 66% of all train kilometres driven were “special” train services, while in the same year in the network of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, only 25% were special services driven. In peacetime, the value is considerably lower.
On the wagon sector, although there it was never abundant, alarming crises occurred only at the start of larger transport in the Eastern area, since at this point the "turnaround times" abruptly went into the air. Then there was the always the situation of numerous supply trains on their way to their destination were turned off into sidings for long periods of time, thereby the traffic lost a significant amount of wagon space. Through tight organizational measures this crisis had been resolved in the summer of 1942, essentially.
The lack of wagons was the whole time at the G-Wagen larger than the O-Wagen. On the deficiencies in the special wagons, I can no longer remember much in detail. (Editor: G-Wagen are covered Goods Wagons while O-Wagens are open topped goods wagons.)

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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 08:59

F. The main difficulties in overcoming the transport tasks, due to:
1) Lack of material (coal, water)

The supply of the Eastern Railway service with coal, which was fed from the Upper Silesian mining area, was at times a very scarce. However operations never ceased due to shortage of coal.
Whereas before the First World War it was the requirement that in case of war, locomotive coal Service Supplies for 42 days had to be kept undisturbed, during the Second World War in general, as long as the reserves were 6 to 8 days this was sufficient. Without that I could specify the exact time, I remember that even a short time, the average coal stock of all Engine Shed (Operating Depot) (Bw) was the Eastern Railway 3 or even only 2.7 days stock. A number of Engine Sheds (Bw'en) then had no more coal stocks. They helped themselves from Engine Sheds who still had coal, of which small amounts - even down to individual wagon loads – were sent to the needy Engine Sheds. Sometimes it happened that coal trains that were destined for other recipients were rescheduled with or without the consent of the relevant Control Posts for all or part of the coal Supply Service.
In my experience, I would say that the difficulties begin to manifest themselves for the Operations Office once the Service Coal stocks fell below an average of less than 4 days' rations.

2) Rolling Stock shortage of material
In section E the description of a shortage of rolling stock had meant that certain sectors of economic activity in the GG were at times inadequate or did not operate. The harvesting of the crops has indeed for example, suffered significant delays, but to my knowledge there was no spoiled food and feed for this reason. The supply of the economy of the GG with coal was often hammered, but then the production plans of the government have been adapted to the prevailing conditions.

3) Lack of staff
Workers to carry out operational tasks have always been in short supply for the Eastern Railway, so there were no significant difficulties encountered in areas of personnel.

4) By climatic influences

The organizational errors in the transfer of the Galician rail network to the Eastern Railway, which are presented in Section H, have had the consequence that in the winter of 1941-42 in area Lemberg (L'vov) almost no covered Engine Sheds were available for the covering of locomotives. Despite the great sacrifice of the German and also the local railway workers, who had for weeks maintained the locomotives outdoors at 25o C and more cold weather, the operation at the border crossing Tarnopol - Podwoloczyska came to a virtual standstill on a daily basis (early February 1942).
Snowdrifts mainly occured during the winter of 1940-41 in area of Debica (route Krakow - Przemysl) Lysa Gora in the (route Olkusz – Deblin) and given on occasion, given rise to short-term interruptions on the Biskiden stretch.

5) By Enemy Action

a) In the Home Area

Until the end of 1942 enemy actions have not affected the Eastern Railway Stations operating in the home.

b) In the Eastern Districts of enemy armed forces or partisan
As long as one could speak of a regulated rail operations in the East Railway, it has remained almost completely spared from the Partisan activity. There were only a few isolated track explosions (eg on the Krakow – Przemysl route), the consequences of which were resolved always within 24 hours. As far as I had reported to me, only at the time of the Russian advance in area Krakow (Jan 1945) there have been a large number of track explosions, which however did not seriously affected the railway sidings clearance efforts, because they were already essentially closed at this time.
The operational difficulties that emerged through the lively partisan activity in the Eastern Districts, have transferred themselves several times to the Eastern Railway network. In such cases, mainly at the border crossing Terespol, trains could not be transferred at the designated times and in the intended numbers scheduled for the Eastern Districts. Operations by the Eastern Railway were not in any meaningful way affected.

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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 09:02

G. What organization was to control the entire war movement?
What were the proportions of the trains needed for various types of support:
a) Front supply
b) Civil Supply
c) Board Trains
d) replenishment of the OT
e) supplies the railway itself
(Questions a) to e) are not separately answered)

Since the procedure, which was finally introduced after various experiments to solve this problem and proved its worth, a detailed description of directly participating page is included, I will not address this issue in detail, but content myself with stating some facts and experiences.
To answer, the sub-questions a) to e) I refer to Annex 4 to the copy of the Eastern Railway Train Dispatcher Sheet (Zugverteiler) valid from 2.11.1942.

The Train Dispatcher (Zugverteiler) set the target of the number of trains to be handed over the western border of the Eastern Districts every day and their distribution which was needed for varying long periods of time, usually for one month, determined by the Wehrmacht based on the individual needs for support and the available border crossings.
Shown in Appendix 4 are the division of demand support for two time periods from 1.10. to 11.1.1942 and 2.11.1942 and this can be regarded from the division to be fairly typical: The army took usually about two-thirds of the normal traffic itself, and the remaining third was made up by more than half, (ie 1/6 to 1/5 of the total reserve requirements) from the regular railway Service Coal supply.
The comparison of the Train Despatches this time with the corresponding total numbers of hand overs as they are shown in Annex 1, provides evidence for this time that the intended target figures have not been achieved at the handover by a long way. Also this would otherwise been the rule according to my memory. This could have two reasons:
(1) In the time when the railways were not developed to its full potential and if the railway operation was hampered by unfavorable weather conditions, particularly by persistent severe cold, the railway was unable to make up the required number of trains (eg Winter 1941-42);
(2) When the network was filled to capacity and the instructed number of trains available was their allocated quota often not fully exploited by the needs of carriers, either because not enough material was ready for loading or the actual requirement was left pending.

Basically, the trains had priority for the needs of the front before any other replenishment and supply trains. Also it was preferred to prioritise trains for other carriers whose transports had special passwords, for example, "Peter", "Arrow" and "Spear" were introduced, which should then be transported as a Front Supply train. Such arrangements lost their original punch shortly after its introduction. The 'Wehrmacht initially had little understanding of the need for the replenishment of the railway itself. Examples of the need for this soon emerged in critical situations in the Locomotive coal supply and shortage of construction material on the work sites of the railway. In response, the attitude of the Wehrmacht improved compared to the transports for the railway. But the Wehrmacht used to complain even later, once the target forWehrmacht trains were not met and it was found that at the same time transports for the railway network in had been carried out in allegedly high numbers.

Train Despatches effective from 2.11.1942
(Type and number of trains that are to be transferred from the Gedob over to the Eastern Districts)

table g small.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 24 Mar 2016 09:03

H. What organizational or other errors interrupted the smooth running of trains:
1) How far could these be stopped?
2) How could these errors be avoided?
In this section, I want in the first place about
a) the relationship between Wehrmacht and Railway Technical Terms
and touch then three more issues, showing the stark opposites, namely
b) Organization error in Galicia after the beginning of the Russian campaign, c) parked trains and d) operating difficulties.


(a) The relationship between the Wehrmacht and Railway
Until late 1944 showed the beginning of the onset of the disintegration, the railway has played a crucial role in warfare. However, their performance did not relate to their position in relation to the Wehrmacht.
In the period before the war, the railways were granted quite inadequate powers to meet the extended planned tasks, so that they were poorly prepared for war and to meet the face the transport crises and the measures for reconstruction of destroyed railways in newly conquered territories. For example, a sufficient supply of major bridge units would have made much earlier a possible resumption of the operation on the Polish rail network. The critical lack of permanent way materials, could only be compensated by the reduction of less important tracks in the whole area dominated by Germany, could have been avoided with appropriate foresight.
In the collaboration between the Wehrmacht and the Railway during the war, the representatives of the Deutsche Reichsbahn in Wehrmacht service were ranked consistently too low to represent the interests of the railway with the necessary emphasis. Instead of being equal employees, they were considered as order takers. Not through a corresponding rank of official position, but they only had at their disposal, the weight of their personality - mostly poorly - to stress the objective requirements of the railway.

It must be admitted that some improvement of this situation has been achieved during the course of the war. But the railway, for example, had not made any material preparations in the railway sector for the Eastern campaign and everything had to be improvised.
The planning of the Wehrmacht submitted in Spring 1941 allowed for railway preparation only to the German-Russian border and up to the Bug- San line. As a particular case, I would just like to pick out what was needed under all circumstances to avoid the great majority of German wounded in the Winter Campaign 1941/42 to lie in the deepest cold weather in unheated G-Wagen for 72 hours and longer on the network before they could be admitted to a hospital.
It is fruitless to consider how this could have been avoided under the prevailing system and how these defects could have been avoided.

b) Organization errors in Galicia after the beginning of the Russian campaign
As I pointed out in Section A (b), the operational management of the district of Galicia was transferred to the Eastern Railway on 05.12.1941, while it was already since 01.08.1941 the owner of the railway. The reasons which led the Transportchef in the OKW to delay the transfer of the operation to the Eastern Railway as long as he did, as I recall, has never been explained. To the railwaymen, this measure has remained obscure, but it had a downright disastrous impact on the management of the supply transport in the southern part of the Eastern Districts in the winter of 1941-42. Since, as I have also mentioned, the units and services of the railway have performed limited restoration work on the operations of the Galician routes until 05.12.1941 and then the Eastern Railway with the greatest energy has undertaken reconstruction in the last third of December 1941. As a result of the months of bitter cold, especially the over 140 km long stretch of Krasne to Podwolocyska meant that they were unable to meet the extra demands placed on them in any way. The poorly repaired telephone lines were disrupted continually, whereby the operating performance was extremely difficult. But even more the complete lack of any covered locomotive stands along the whole route was keenly felt. Therefore, the operations on a daily basis almost completely rested on this important connection to the southern Eastern Front in February 1942, has already been said in Section F 4).
The Eastern Railway strongly demanded from August 1941 that it be handed over the operation on the Galician routes but, Transportchef has not complied with this request. In my opinion, this error of his had so serious consequences that could only be avoided or mitigated by the Reichsbahn having a significant involvement into the decision as an essential question. (Compare this Section H (a)).

c) Parked trains
During the war, the "parked trains" composed of freight trains of all kinds, which could not be driven because of routing difficulties or because of congestion on the outgoing routes, and additionally of Wehrmacht and other supplies trains had indeed been loaded and set in motion but were, stopped on the way and stopped because unloading difficulties in the target area or because the receiver for the load in question no longer needed it. With the appearance of “parked trains” the districts of the Eastern Railway has actually always had at times to suffer alarmingly.
While you looked at the home area, the operating position even when critical, at the stations of the Deutsche Reichsbahn there were more than 1, 000 trains were parked, the number was for a long time regularly at 200 on the Eastern Railway and reached at the end of November 1942 at one time the maximum value of 492 trains. Bearing in mind that the track length of the Eastern Railway at about 7000 km was only about 1/10 of the overall track length of the Deutsche Reichsbahn and that the number of parked trains here was usually 3 to 5 times as high relatively as in the Reich and the fluidity of operations management was affected very severely.
The reason for this phenomenon is seen the fact that the network lying between the home country and the Eastern Districts of the Eastern Railway was probably abused by the adjacent Reichsbahn divisions tot he west as well as by the railway directorates of the Eastern Districts to free up their own routes.
Despite the effect of the extension of the railway works of Eastern Railway at a cost of many 100 million Reichsmarks, the newly created numerous storage facilities were insufficient to accommodate the blocked trains on it, so that less important routes for traffic had to be used to store the parked trains and used to prepare such moves as had to be made.
The representations made by the Eastern Railway to the Highest Operations Manager (Oberste Betriebsleiter) of the Deutsche Reichsbahn in this matter was a thoroughgoing failure, so that they had to put up with the difficulties. A balance would probably have been possible if the Highest Operations Manager would have intervened more vigorously on this issue with respect to the operations managers in the directorates in the RVM (Reich Transport Ministry).

d) Operational difficulties
The situation for parked trains as described under (c) above, applies similarly for operating difficulties in a district in any other form. This can be solved quickly, if the managers of neighbouring districts to the troubled district take regard of the fact and not send down more trains than it can handle according to the respective situation. The understandable selfish desire in itself, of every manager to protect their own district from the difficulties, is contrary to that overall operations law. Here a higher manager must intervene with appropriate measures over single district's arrangements. During the Second World War, the Highest Manager in the RVM has unfortunately made use of his powers of decision only in rare cases.

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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 30 Mar 2016 06:49

Map showing the relevant area and crossing points from the Gedob to GVD Osten
German Railway Network in Russia (2).jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East (Wartime Documents)

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 17 Jun 2016 13:00

Continuing our study of railway bridges, there is an interesting document at http://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/de/n ... ect/zoom/7
Bridge 1.jpg
Bridge 2.jpg
Bridge 3.jpg
Bridge 4.jpg
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