Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
Hosted by Juha Tompuri
Damper
Member
Posts: 57
Joined: 22 Dec 2009 13:18

Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Damper » 30 Sep 2011 21:41

I've just been reading about the crippling oil and fuel shortage that Germany experienced all through the war. How did Finland manage? I imagine Germany didn't have much they were willing to export. Did they have synthetic fuel plants? or other sources?

Vaeltaja
Member
Posts: 886
Joined: 27 Jul 2010 20:42

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Vaeltaja » 30 Sep 2011 22:01

Well... part of the answer is that the consumption was lower than what one might expect. Wood gas 'furnaces' were common on cars and even most of the naval vessels were old enough to actually run on coal or wood instead of oil.

Of the rest there was never true mechanized force in the Finnish Army. Most transportation used either wood gas powered cars or then horses. So there were fewer consumers that what one might expect.

User avatar
JTV
Member
Posts: 1966
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 10:03
Location: Finland

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by JTV » 01 Oct 2011 04:50

Damper wrote:I've just been reading about the crippling oil and fuel shortage that Germany experienced all through the war. How did Finland manage? I imagine Germany didn't have much they were willing to export. Did they have synthetic fuel plants? or other sources?
As Vaeltaja mentioned the fuel-consumption was smaller than one might expect. However it was railways, which was the backbone for both civilian and military transports. Since Finnish State Railways (Valtion Rautatiet, VR) was using steam locomotives using wood as fuel, they had no problem when it came to availability of fuel.

Rationing of fuel started in Finland already 4th September of 1939 (first at level of 200 litres/month) and in just few months the monthly fuel ration was soon reduced so such level, that de facto there was no gasoline available for privately used cars, motorcycles or trucks. Fuel acquisitions were somewhat easier due to fact, that there were very little motor vehicles using diesel in Finnish use before or during the war. Basically all existing fuel was reserved for the military with important trucks and busses in home front receiving 40 liters/month (enough for 100 kilometers). Large number of Finnish trucks and busses were converted to use wood-gas generators and by end of Continuation War even much (most?) of the military trucks and busses had been equipped with wood-gas generators. As part of the mobilisation large number of civilian-owned trucks, busses, passenger cars and motorcycles were also taken to military use. Hence the civilian motor traffic withered becoming minimal. In addition large number of horses was also taken to military use, so the number of motor vehicles in home front was notably smaller than what had existed in civilian use before the war.

Trains did the long distance transporting for both civilian transports and military. Traffic to and from the train stations transports were handled with trucks, busses or by horse (horse-towed carts or sledges depending if there was snow or not). Home front had limited number of busses taking care of passenger traffic outside railway network, with only very small number of taxi remaining in traffic. Armed forces typically used trucks and horse towed carts and sledges to take care of transports to and from railway stations. What I remember reading during the war the amount of travel in railways increased by about 3.5 fold from the pre-war level.

There were obviously some fuel reserves reserved for crisis like war and with rationing they were made to last as long as possible. When it comes to fuel acquired to Finland during the what could find suggests that some may have arrived via Sweden, which as a neutral the Allies allowed to import fuel and some would have been bought from the Germans. It would have made sense that since the Germans were selling motor vehicles, aircraft and armoured vehicles to Finnish Army, they would also have been willing to sell enough fuel to keep those vehicles operational. Anybody got Suomen Sota 1941 - 1945 part 11 close by? Apparently that book should have some info about the matter.

Jarkko

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Mangrove » 01 Oct 2011 05:55

According to Statistical Finland yearbooks, Finland imported following amount of vehicle fuels during years 1941-44. There are no figures for year 1943. All figures are per 1000 kilograms. As you can see both of them are steadily decreasing during the years.

Petrol: 64 158.2 (1941), 58 826.3 (1942), 22 051.2 (1944)
Kerosene: 24.4 (1941), 12 878.6 (1942), 723.7 (1944)

Damper
Member
Posts: 57
Joined: 22 Dec 2009 13:18

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Damper » 09 Oct 2011 14:23

Previously mentioned was that finland relied on wood as fuel source. Did they have any reserves of coal during the war? did they attempt any synthetic fuel production?

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Mangrove » 11 Oct 2011 06:49

Damper wrote:Did they have any reserves of coal during the war? did they attempt any synthetic fuel production?
Finland did import 693 436,9 tons of coal in 1940, 1 067066,8 tons in 1941, 901 334 tons in 1942 and 928 928,5 tons in 1944. Statistical yearbooks from the Continuation War do not list any synthetic fuel production plants nor fuel produced, so we can assume there was none at the time.

User avatar
Hanski
Financial supporter
Posts: 1887
Joined: 24 Aug 2002 19:18
Location: Helsinki

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Hanski » 11 Oct 2011 19:54

For illustrative examples of the wood-gas technology, please check this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 9&t=115369

Seppo Jyrkinen
Member
Posts: 317
Joined: 21 Dec 2010 17:51
Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 12 Oct 2011 15:39

I have read that Germany offered to Finland a synthetic fuel production plant (to Pori?) but Finns took this too expensive. Can't remember the source anymore so I'm not quite sure.
A word irony is baked into the word history.

Damper
Member
Posts: 57
Joined: 22 Dec 2009 13:18

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Damper » 24 Dec 2011 03:35

While the Finns seemed to have done a good job of finding alternatives to Petroleum products, a certain amount would still have been required, oil and lubes, aviation fuel etc... where did that come from? Germany? Sweden? Also did the Allies put pressure on Sweden to cut Finland off during the war?

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Mangrove » 27 Sep 2012 14:10

Here are some figures on aviation fuel from Germany according to Päämaja's statistics:

January 1943:
Imported from Germany: 140.000 litres
Usage: 410.000 litres
Storage on 1 February 1943: 7.930.000 litres or c. 10 months of use.

February 1943:
Imported from Germany: 1.700.000 litres
Usage: 430.000 litres
Storage on 1 March 1943: 8.980.000 litres or c. 11 months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 200.000 litres.

March 1943:
Usage: 1.100.000 litres
Storage on 1 April 1943: 7.870.000 litres or c. 10 months of use.

April 1943:
Imported from Germany: 850.000 litres
Usage: 410.000 litres
Storage on 1 May 1943: 8.130.000 litres or c. 10½ months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 200.000 litres.

May 1943:
Usage: 1.200.000 litres
Storage on 1 June 1943: 6.710.000 litres or c. 8½ months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas: 200.000 litres.

June 1943:
Imported from Germany: 640.000 litres
Usage: 1.050.000 litres
Storage on 1 July 1943: 6.100.000 litres or c. 7½ months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 200.000 litres.

July 1943:
Imported from Germany: 4.100.000 litres
Usage: 715.000 litres
Storage on 1 August 1943: 9.200.000 litres or c. 11½ months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 200.000 litres.

August 1943:
Imported from Germany: 1.400.000 litres
Usage: 870.000 litres
Storage on 1 September 1943: 9.580.000 litres or c. 12 months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 150.000 litres.

September 1943:
Imported from Germany: 3.860.000 litres
Usage: 580.000 litres
Storage on 1 October 1943: 12.500.000 litres or c. 16 months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 350.500 litres.

October 1943:
Imported from Germany: 3.880.000 litres
Usage: 525.000 litres
Storage on 1 November 1943: 15.650.000 litres or c. 20 months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 210.000 litres.

November 1943:
Imported from Germany: 3.850.000 litres
Usage: 475.000 litres.
Storage on 1 December 1943: 18.900.000 litres or c. 26 months of use.
Handed over to Valtion Lentokonetehdas and Aero Oy: 210.000 litres.

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Mangrove » 01 Oct 2012 19:51

Some more statistics from Päämaja's Poltto- ja voiteluaineosasto's war diary.

Import of hydrocarbons to Finland between 1 July 1941 and 30 June 1943
Amount of petrol in storage between 3 May 1941 and 15 July 1943
Use of petrol between 3 May 1941 and 15 July 1943

As you may notice, the storages were almost empty on 15 November 1941, 23 May 1942 and 31 May 1943 before going up again for some period of time. The consumption remained the same for the whole time period, thus the reason for the loss must be the lower amount of imported petrol products.

Damper
Member
Posts: 57
Joined: 22 Dec 2009 13:18

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Damper » 06 Jan 2013 21:24

Martti Kujansuu wrote:Some more statistics from Päämaja's Poltto- ja voiteluaineosasto's war diary.

Import of hydrocarbons to Finland between 1 July 1941 and 30 June 1943
Amount of petrol in storage between 3 May 1941 and 15 July 1943
Use of petrol between 3 May 1941 and 15 July 1943

As you may notice, the storages were almost empty on 15 November 1941, 23 May 1942 and 31 May 1943 before going up again for some period of time. The consumption remained the same for the whole time period, thus the reason for the loss must be the lower amount of imported petrol products.
So where did the small amount of imports come from? Did Sweden have synthetic oil production facilities?

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Mangrove » 07 Jan 2013 07:47

Damper wrote:So where did the small amount of imports come from?
If you examine the routes listed on one of the links, the Finnish fuel tankers visited only German-held ports during 1942 and 1943. Most often they visited Stettin and Kiel but also Tallinn.

Mangrove
Member
Posts: 1864
Joined: 25 Dec 2004 01:33

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Mangrove » 22 Oct 2013 14:40

The consumption of petrol by the troops during May 1944 was 1551 tonnes, but rose to 3540 tonnes during June 1944. However, Päämaja's statistics show that there were 11208 tonnes of petrol in the Defence Forces' central storage and 2831 tonnes held by the front line units on 30 June 1944. This was sufficient for at least another four months of continuous fighting. The home front also held another 8987 tonnes (for civilian consumption?).

The Corps lost a total of 122 tonnes (e.g. 51 tonnes due to the loss of Viipuri and 41 tonnes due to the landing at Tuulos) of petrol to the Soviets during June 1944. For more statistics, see National Archive folder T 15709/4.

Seppo Jyrkinen
Member
Posts: 317
Joined: 21 Dec 2010 17:51
Location: Finland, Lappeenranta

Re: Where did Finland get it's Fuel supplies from?

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 22 Oct 2013 16:25

Is easy to say how much there was aerial fuel in Finland May...June 1944? This makes interesting because Jokisipilä made a claim that Finland had been able to go on the war without making Ryti-Ribbentrop contract. Anyhow Jokisipilä didn't analyze gasoline mater but gave a source. This one was Pajaris book where was only a short description about aerial fuel, but no numbers.
A word irony is baked into the word history.

Return to “Winter War & Continuation War”