Germany and Oil

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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Bronsky
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Post by Bronsky » 02 Aug 2005 16:37

Shrek wrote:Well I wrote it, not Paul. That aside, IIRC the first incarnation of the German 1942 plan for the east called for a northwards drive towards Moscow after the Volga had been reached at Stalingrad. Essentially the Germans chose to go for strategic materials rather than strategic objectives.


Sorry for the quote - don't know how it happened, wrong copy/paste I presume - but the post-Blau drive for Moscow was conceived as essentially a mopping up action after the back of the Red Army had been broken in the south. Pretty much a repeat of the 1941 concept in that regard.

Grabbing the oil was an objective per se, and over which the Germans didn't expect much resistance. Essentially, Hitler was thinking about his war with the US/UK, for after the Soviet collapse which he judged to be immine

So grabbing the oil wasn't supposed to make the Soviet Union collapse, it was supposed to be the prize after the USSR had collapsed.

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Bronsky
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Post by Bronsky » 12 Aug 2005 14:51

Lars wrote:The problem with Louis Bronsky´s Fall Blue Strategy: To capture or "masking" Stalingrad, then capture Astrakhan, and keep a panzer army in reserve west of Stalingrad to defend against Soviet counter attack, and only then have the infantry armies advance against Baku "in their own good time" is, that "their own good time" would not come until June 1943.


You will have to choose between calling me Louis or Bronsky. That being said, yes, absolutely, no objection. This is a problem.

My point was that I don't think that the Axis could grab the Baku oil in 1942, so they could try a more limited, but more attainable, objective: deny it to the Soviets and capture it later. Getting the oil in June 1943 is still better than being kicked out of the Caucasus without anything to show for it in February 1943.

I fully agree that my proposed strategy was not as sexy as the original Blau objectives, let alone their later expansion by Hitler. As such, it's very unlikely that, had I been in Halder's shoes, I could have persuaded the Führer to go for my "little Blue". For a more "sexy" strategy, I would attack Moscow in 1942. This badly hurts the Soviet economy by removing a major coal source (there were serious coal shortages at the time), a major industrial and manpower center, and a key transportation node. Presumably, it also destroys large chunks of the Red Army as the Soviets will fight for the city and, based on their 1942 combat record and Stalin's direct interference, shouldn't be all that competent. If it works, then Stalingrad and the Caucasus are the Germans' for the taking. Although yet again this will likely not be before 1943.

Perhaps the best way of convincing Hitler would be to strike a deal with Thoma and offer him a promotion in exchange for a memo telling Hitler that Germany could survive into 1943 on existing oil sources... :wink:

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 12 Aug 2005 17:54

Bronsky wrote:
Perhaps the best way of convincing Hitler would be to strike a deal with Thoma and offer him a promotion in exchange for a memo telling Hitler that Germany could survive into 1943 on existing oil sources... :wink:


On paper the German oil situation looked desperate whereas in reality it was only "strained". There was no way that von Thoma or anyone else could produce an analysis that showed that Germany could survive into 1943 on existing oil sources while attacking in the east in 1942. The reason was that as oil was the most critical commodity everybody wanted their share of the minute pie. The way to do that was to under-report your own POL stocks. If you did, a few barrels of POL arrived. If you rapported your true POL stock, the supply went to someone else.

To get Hitler to attack Moscow in 1942- which I don´t deny was probably the better 1942-strategy - you would have to persuade Hitler that the oil situation wasn´t desperate and neither von Thoma nor anybody else could do that. But have a go, Bronsky :wink:

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Bronsky
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Post by Bronsky » 12 Aug 2005 18:07

Lars wrote:To get Hitler to attack Moscow in 1942- which I don´t deny was probably the better 1942-strategy - you would have to persuade Hitler that the oil situation wasn´t desperate and neither von Thoma nor anybody else could do that. But have a go, Bronsky :wink:


Mein Führer, I'm convinced that those conservative wimps who are waging the war from behind their desks rather than gain frontline experience as you did have enough POL to eke them out through 1942, providing a sufficient infusion of national-socialist spirit is injected into the direction of the war effort in general.

If this is the case, then we can finish off the Soviets in 1942 and pick up the spoils later, possibly later this year if Ivan is on his last legs (the latter would be a blatant lie designed to get Hitler's approval), for which you have better information than I. When there's a will, there's a way !

Something along those lines...

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 12 Aug 2005 18:28

Bronsky wrote:
Mein Führer, I'm convinced that those conservative wimps who are waging the war from behind their desks rather than gain frontline experience as you did have enough POL to eke them out through 1942, providing a sufficient infusion of national-socialist spirit is injected into the direction of the war effort in general.

If this is the case, then we can finish off the Soviets in 1942 and pick up the spoils later, possibly later this year if Ivan is on his last legs (the latter would be a blatant lie designed to get Hitler's approval), for which you have better information than I. When there's a will, there's a way !


Very good :)

Somehow I suspect that the counter-question would be "How do you prove that and if you can why aren´t they court-marshalled yet! " and "This is an army plot to get me to attack Moscow. My generals know nothing about economy!".

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Post by brodeur » 19 Aug 2005 09:18

Lars wrote:It was even worse than that. The whole Plan Blue concept was faulty. The Soviets destroyed the oil-wells and the refining capacity and while there was surplus refinery capacity in Rumania (a legacy from Rumania´s higher oil production in the late thirties) there weren´t enough trains, oil-tankers etc. availbale to make the Caucasus oil a meaningfull contribution to the German war effort.

But yes, taking the Caucasus out would place Uncle Joe in a situation similar to the German one after the oil famine really hit from mid-1944. Worthwhile for sure, but the Germans would gain very little real oil by taking the Caucasus. As a German fringe benefit, the Allied oil tanker capacity would be very strained as Uncle Joe would have to get his oil all the way from Texas.


I fail to se the logic, why would they not have gained any oil. I am convinced that properly executed with out going in to the city of Stalingrad the Caucasus would have bin captured. Off course not ready for production but the Germans had the capacity to manage industrial projects and restore production with in reasonable time. They had a special command group for this that would surely have extracted some oil out of the fields they did capture if the only had more time.

Don´t forget the momentum shit, robbing the Russians from it would have bin devastating for there war effort.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 19 Aug 2005 14:11

brodeur wrote: I fail to se the logic, why would they not have gained any oil. I am convinced that properly executed with out going in to the city of Stalingrad the Caucasus would have bin captured. Off course not ready for production but the Germans had the capacity to manage industrial projects and restore production with in reasonable time. They had a special command group for this that would surely have extracted some oil out of the fields they did capture if the only had more time.

Don´t forget the momentum shit, robbing the Russians from it would have bin devastating for there war effort.


I didn´t forget the momentum shit but I looked at what happened. When the Germans took the Maikop oil field on August 9(?)th 1942 at the height of their momentum, the Soviets had thoughoutly destroyed the wells, tools, refineries, etc. The Germans didn´t have the manpower or the equipment to get more than 30 barrels of oil a day while they were there from August 1942- February 1943. Moreover they were plagued by left-behind partisans. There´s no reason to think that the capture of the Grozny or the Baku oil-fields would go any different.

But given enugh time, the oil-fields would of course yeild some amount of oil. But as Joel Hayward points out in "Stopped at Stalingrad" the German oil transporting rail capacity was as low as 10,000 tonnes per month. Even if they produced the oil, it would be very difficult to get the oil transported to Rumania for refining.

Basically, the Germans shouldn´t have asked what the Caucasus oil would do for them but what capturing it would do to the Soviets. The first anwer is "Initially very little" while the answer to the second is "A hell of a lot".

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TEXACO AND OIL

Post by Evian » 04 Sep 2005 02:49

torkild Rieber, Norwegian naturalized American in 1904, ex-captain of an oil tanker, propulsed himself to the head of Texaco where he imposed his iron fist. In 1936, TIME magazine honored him with its coveted cover story. The year after he started to develop Texaco's business with Spain and Germany.

One of the most sympathetic to the Nazis before the war and to their need in oil was the americano-norwegian Torkid Rieber born in Voss (Norway) in 1882 and naturalized American in 1904. He joined the Texas Cy in 1905 and built ruthlessly its tanker fleet during the course of the next 30 years. In 1935, as the pinnacle of his career, he was sacred Chairman of Texaco and developped its business all over the world (Colombia, Bahrein) and professed an overt admiration for the Nazis and General Francisco Franco who was leading the civil war against the Spanish Socialists. Although not an anti-semite, -he always bragged about his friendship with Solomon Guggenheim- he clearly had some admiration for the way Germany was administered and the dictatorial methods of Hitler.

In 1937, out of his support to Franco, he ordered Texaco's tankers to smuggle oil to Spanish Insurgents from Galveston, Texas. Roosevelt disagreed and asked Rieber not to do it again. Rieber bolted and continued to ship oil to Franco this time through italian northern ports. In 1938, a German named Dr. Friedrich Fetzer convinced Rieber that it would be good for Texaco to do business with the Germans. The oil mogul agreed and started once more to ship oil to a fascist country, the oil was paid in Reichmarks onto an account in a German bank in Hamburg.

In spite of the outbreak of the war, Texaco continued its shipping to the Nazis and even defied the British embargo and blockade through the Atlantic. Rieber so much befriended the Nazis that at some stage in 1940 he visited FDR with a peace proposal emanating directly from Marshall Goering whose goal was to keep America out of the war while Germany would settle her differences with England, then with Russia. The US President was infuriated by the bold demand of Rieber and told him with some condescension "to keep out of this thing."

Undeterred by the presidential rebuke, Rieber accepted to finance the "pro-german" activities in the US of a German lawyer named Dr. Westrick who stayed in a Scarsdale (NY) mansion payed by Texaco and was even given a car. Helped by Texaco's money and Rieber's social connections, Dr. Westrick was able to meet Henry and Edsel Ford, James Mooney of General Motors and in June 1940 was capable to wire to Berlin that " an influential group headed by Mooney had agreed to put pressure on FDR to improve relations with Germany by suspending shipments of armaments to Great Britain." Into this group were Col. Sosthenes Behn, CEO of ITT, Ralph B. Strassburger, Pennsylvania financier, James D. Mooney, General Motors Overseas Operations CEO, Edsel Ford, Eberhard Faber and representatives of Eastman Kodak, the Underwood Elliott Fisher Cy. and The International Milk Cy.

But the worst was yet to come. In December 1939, Rieber had met another German named Dr. Nikolas Bensmann who was nobody else than a partner into the Law firm representing Texaco patents interest in Germany, Hermann Bensmann and Co. Unknown to Rieber, Dr "Niko" was also an Abwehr agent under matricule Sonderfuehrer F.2531. Rieber developped a genuine sympathy for this very brilliant man who spoke english without accent and excelled in ridiculing Hitler's antics. More he was an oil expert and knew everything about american oil industry. Thanks to his friendship with Rieber and his social connections, Niko was able to produce first rate intelligence to his masters in Berlin. Furthermore, Niko's contacts with the Abwehr allowed him to do some very big favors to Rieber "in recognition of the considerable services Captain Rieber was rendering to the German cause" : thus the Abwehr notably facilitated the secret release of an oil tanker -the Nuova Andalucia- from German shipyards in barter payment for the shipment of oil.

The ingeniosity and the contacts of Nikolas Bensmann through Rieber were such that he was eventually capable to wire to Berlin a secret coded message reading "during recent visit to FDR, Rieber learned personally from the President that FDR was absolutely determined to keep USA out of war under any and all circumstances. Rieber obtained same assurance from the Presidents of the Democratic and Republican parties."

Sosthenes Behn, CE of IT&T, was on the 26 june 1940 among an array of distinguished businessmen who celebrated the fall of France at the Waldorf-Astoria with a German lawyer named Gerhard Alois Westrick. This array also included tycoons figures as the Fords Henry and Edsel, James D. Moosey of General Motors and Ralph Strassurger, newspapers baron of Pennsylvania. The first meeting between Hitler and I.T.T. officials was reported in August 1933 when Sosthenes Behn and I.T.T. German representative Henry Manne met with Hitler in Berchesgaden. Subsequently, Behn made contact with the Keppler circle and, through Keppler's influence, Nazi Baron Kurt von Schröder became the guardian of I.T.T. interests in Germany. Schröder acted as the conduit for I.T.T. money funneled to Heinrich Himmler's S.S. organization in 1944, while World War II was in progress, and the United states was at war with Germany.

In August 1940 while he was under public scutiny for his leanings and even accused of being "pro-nazi", Rieber swore that "this country (the USA) had honored me with its citizenship and under no circumstances could I be identified with, or sympathetic to, any un-American activity." At the same time, shipments and intelligence to Germany were still flowing secretly from Texaco. The intelligence reports from the "Rieber ring" were invaluable to the Germans. Like pieces of a puzzle, they were feeding the global picture of american oil industry from exploration to research centers and they gave to the Abwehr an extremely accurate image of the american strength in the field. In the summer of 1940 just after France's collapse, Bensmann's reports even provided the actual US capacity of aircraft production : 50,000 units. This figure was synthesized by Texaco's economists who concluded that FRD's plans to produce this quantity was absolutely within the capability of US industry.

When Admiral Canaris, Head of the Abwehr, submitted this terrific information to Hitler, he was rebuked and dismissed with a snarl :"You must be out of your mind to take such crap seriously", snapped the Fuehrer. The "military genius" of Germany never paid attention to intelligence that did not match his prejudices and his intuitions.

However the Rieber's era came to an abrupt end due to the efforts of the british counter-espionnage MI.6 who had enough of the German espionage in America and of the anti-war tycoons propagandists. Their man in the USA, a certain William Stephenson, decided that he would blow up the cover of Dr. Westrick and his link to Rieber whom he did not suspect of any wrongdoings with the Abwehr but he wanted to put an end to Texaco's shipments to Germany. He did not take long to the MI.6 to accumulate evidence against both men and to siphon the intelligence to a reporter of the New York Herald. The scandal that followed the publication of the facts killed Rieber who was forced to resign as chairman of Texaco in August 1940. “If I were dying in a Texaco gas station, a Shell man then said, I’d asked to be dragged across the road.” Some authors even went to say that “Texaco has always taken pride in being the meanest of the big companies.”

Anyway Stephenson was more than happy with the outcome of his attack against the ring but unfortunately the British had no idea of the other involvement of Rieber with the Germans through Dr. Niko and the Abwehr.

Dr. Brensmann quietly continued to call his contacts at Texaco during the Blitz against England, inquiring from Rieber's successor how England's chances of surviving were seen in the US. And they were judged "very very dim". Of course nobody at Texaco suspected the association of Dr Niko with the Abwehr which shows three things : -1 the naivety of American businessmen before 1941 -2 their wrong appreciation of the reality of the Nazi regime -3 the greed of the oil barons and their indifference to moral issues.

It is only in 1941 that Texaco's Vice President C.H. Olmsted decided that "small talks over the phone" should end and that business with Germany should stopped all together." But the evil has been done. The support the Nazis were given by the Rieber ring was invaluable. It lasted until December 1941 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Then what stayed in History as a "day of infamy" changed the course of events for ever and for good. America turned her back to any peaceful idea and it was the end of the Rieber's ring dream of an America out of war.

Torkid Rieber will keep himself busy during the war working for his Guggenheim's friends who were unaware of his contacts with an Abwehr agent as he was himself : he became chairman of South Carolina Shipbuilding and Dry Docks, supervising construction of more than $10 million of U.S. Navy ships, and a director of the Guggenheim family's Barber Asphalt Corporation and Seaboard Oil Company of Ohio. He died in 1968 president of the Barber Oil corporation, an independent oil company created from the Barber Asphalt Corp.

Hopefully for his memoir, the link between Texaco and the Abwehr was never revealead before his death, otherwise he could have been judged for treason.

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Daniel Laurent
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Post by Daniel Laurent » 08 Oct 2005 09:47

Talking about US-German links during WW2 on the oil stories, could you please help me to finalise the list below?

It the list of the refineries of Ploesti, Romania, that were the targets of the USAF raid on 1st August 1943. Who were the "original owners". OK, they were nationalised by the Romanians in 1940, but some people claim that royalties were paid almost all along the war.

Romana Americana = Shell
Concordia Vega = ?
Standard Petrol Block Unirea Speranta = Standard Oil
Astra Romana = Shell
Unirea Orion = ?
Columbia Aquila = ?
Creditul Minier (Brazi) = ?
Red Steaua Romana (Campina) = ?

Thanks in advance
Regards
Daniel

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Post by Paul Lakowski » 08 Oct 2005 18:30

I was reading John Ellis's 'Brute Force'. In the appendix he has a list of stats from WW-II of which Soviet resource production is also listed compared to others [table 46/47/48 & 50].Its clear that the German invasion of 1941 and follow up in 1942 , crippled the soviet resource industry . The blow must have been sever cause they didn't recover production until after the war. Here are some stats...


Coal
1940= 167 million tons
1941= 151 million tons
1942= 75 million tons
1943= 93 million tons
1944= 121 million tons
1945= 149 million tons

Iron Ore
1940= 15million tons
1941= 25 million tons
1942= 10 million tons
1943= 9 million tons
1944= 12 million tons
1945= 16 million tons

Raw Steel
1940= 18 million tons
1941= 18 million tons
1942= 8 million tons
1943= 8 million tons
1944= 11 million tons
1945= 12 million tons

Oil
1940= 31 million tons
1941= 33 million tons
1942= 22 million tons
1943= 18 million tons
1944= 18 million tons
1945= 19 million tons.

Andreas
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Re: TEXACO AND OIL

Post by Andreas » 08 Oct 2005 19:15

Evian wrote:torkild Rieber, Norwegian naturalized American in 1904, ex-captain of an oil tanker, propulsed himself to the head of Texaco where he imposed his iron fist.


Evian

It is considered extremely bad form in general, and plagiarism by me, and it is also against the guidelines to post something like your post without indicating where you copied it from, thereby making it look as if you wrote it yourself.

http://www.angelfire.com/hi5/reichbis/hitler23.html

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* When quoting from a book or site, please provide info on the source (and a link if it is a website)
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Next time provide the source.

Thank you.

Andreas

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Post by Kurfürst » 13 Jan 2006 14:36

Hi,

I am looking for avgas production details, does anyone seen a source about the breakdown of aviation gasoline in Germany, most notably about B-4 and C-3 fuel production?

Thanks!

MilHist BT
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Heeres mechanization

Post by MilHist BT » 20 Jun 2007 02:26

Hi All

Interesting string.

I was under the impression that the Einheitsprograme began in early '34 but was abandoned by mid to late '40 due to the Heeres having to sieze practically anything motorized it could find to compensate for equipment losses due to high failure rates combined with low levels of mechanization to begin with.

If I remember the numbers correctly, when Germany executed Fall Weiss (Invasion of Poland) 01Sep39, something like 65% of all their logistics was still horse drawn, all of their heavy (15cm and larger) artillery was horse towed, and over 80% of their infantry walked.

The apparent reason the Einheitsprogramme was abandoned was that Germany never possessed sufficient vehicle production capacity to mechanize their armed forces to begin with and the Einheitsprogramme, while logical and highly effective, did slow their existing production down a good bit. Even with all the vehicle production capacity Germany took over in the occupied territories, I don't believe Germany even came close to being able to mechanize even 50% of their line combat units.

If someone has better numbers I'd appreciate being corrected here. Haven't really thought the ramifications of this issue through before.

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Re: Heeres mechanization

Post by Jon G. » 06 Jul 2007 07:14

MilHist BT wrote:...I was under the impression that the Einheitsprograme began in early '34


As I understand it, the Einheitsdiesel programme only came into effect in 1937. Still as I understand it, the Einheitsdiesel truck fell victim to von Schell's standardisation programme - the Germans realized that in order to produce more trucks they would have to abandon the costly Einheitsdiesel and instead settle for the non-military Opel Blitz and a limited number of derivatives.

That is not to say that standardisation (or 'Einheits'- if you will) efforts continued well into the war - fewer and fewer truck types were produced in increasing numbers. In fact, according to the USSBS, a conscious move back to diesel types was initiated in 1944 - perhaps because the Germans were more dependent on Czech industry in 1944 than they were in 1940. Czech trucks were predominantly diesels as I understand it.

This thread is related:

Diesel powered vehicles used by Heer
viewtopic.php?t=105721

but was abandoned by mid to late '40 due to the Heeres having to sieze practically anything motorized it could find to compensate for equipment losses due to high failure rates combined with low levels of mechanization to begin with...


Well, vehicles requisitioned from the civilian economy appear to have been an integrated part of German planning. Two of the Heer's three Grosstransportraum truck regiments were hostilities-only units, organized with requisitioned trucks:

The expansion of the Grosstransportraum
viewtopic.php?t=108967

...Even with all the vehicle production capacity Germany took over in the occupied territories, I don't believe Germany even came close to being able to mechanize even 50% of their line combat units...


That probably applies, but I think it is fair to say that the overriding factor was the lack of oil and rubber, more than lack of vehicle production capacity.

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Post by Epaminondas » 21 Aug 2007 17:24

I'd suggest reading Wages of Destruction. The case for German getting 44 production levels earlier, and increasing synthetic material production is a nullity.

Germany was on war production footing in 1937; and the limiting factor was raw materials, and particularly the foreign currency to pay for them.

There is no point running a third shift if you don't have the raw materials to support it.

Germany invested heavily, in prototype rubber and oil plants... a huge gamble. It paid off, but the implications are 1. If you increase the raw material substitutes, you HAVE to cut into the production of steel (which was already shorting the army heavily), 2. assumes you can... the Germans already were gambling with the replacement raw materials. It wasn't a given that they would work when construction started... German industry only had one small demonstration experimental oil plant.

Its doubtful that germany could have expanded its domestic oil production without gutting war production.

Again, highly recommend Wages of Destruction. [I disagree with his ultimate conclusions, but his data and analysis are first rate. Main disagreement is German came close to atrritting the soviets favorably; a change in military policy in favor of long war and conservation of manpower may have allowed Germany to knock out Russia... even with the unfavorable economic situation Germany was locked into.]

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