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Appendix B. Strategic Air Attack on the Lubricating Oil Industry

Lubricating oils, though principally derived from petroleum, require either special kinds of petroleum, or special processing, or both, for their manufacture. The factors affecting the German lubricating oil situation are thus somewhat different from those governing fuels, and therefore are discussed separately.

Lack of crude mineral oil forced prewar Germany to import a large portion of what she consumed. The crudes or semifinished materials imported were chosen to fit the eventual products manufactured. In general, lubricating oil was manufactured from wax-free crudes, which only required light refining to produced mediocre products.

Oil fields discovered in Germany during the intensified drilling program in 1930-1934 yielded waxy oils that were unsatisfactory for lubricating oil manufacture as they required considerable additional refining. Foreseeing eventual needs, the Germans in 1934 began to expand their lubricating oil processing facilities to obtain maximum production from native crudes. In 1937 governmental decree forbade the diversion of raw lubricating oil materials to any other product. It appears that the decision was then made to attempt to fill motor fuel requirements from coal hydrogenation and synthesis in the hope of satisfying lubricating oil needs from German crude. By substituting raw unrefined oils for some lubricants, by stressing the regeneration of used oil, and by generally guiding consumption and production, Germany was able to satisfy requirements with a minimum of processing expansion. During the war, stocks were fairly well maintained, as shown in Table B1, except for brief crises.

Table B1
German Stocks of Lubricating Oils

(Thousands of metric tons, first of each month)

Armed Forces

Civil EconomyIndirectly through WIFODirectly HeldTotal
Jan 401367220228
Jan 411136419196
Jan 421153314162
Jan 431144012166
Apr 43995912170
Jun 43?6012?

During 1942 lubricating oil was distributed as follows:

Tons per month
Industrial and civilian uses34,500
Transmission oil and grease1,000
Occupied and friendly territory, including Italy11,500

The situation in late August, 1943 was somewhat different. The German air force had increased its demands for aviation lubricating oil alone from 62,000 tons to 87,000 tons per year, which was about 50 percent above the current production. The loss of the Naples and Livorno refineries by bombing increased the Italian demands on Germany from 7,000 tons to 30,000 tons per year, an increase of 3 percent of the total German lubricating oil production.

Expansion of crude oil processing capacity had lagged because of manpower and steel shortages, as well as of the poor outlook for increased crude oil production. The 1937 decree had not been observed to the letter, and some lubricant raw stocks had been diverted to fuel and other purposes. Synthetic lubricating oil production had lagged initially because of the extremely high production costs and later because of lack of manpower and steel. Only one new crude processing plant was scheduled to start before 1944, as indicated in Table B2.

Table B2
1943 Schedule for Starting New Lubricating Oil Plants

(metric tons per month)

Share Scheduled forMonth Scheduled to

New PlantTotalAviation OilOther Lubricating OilStart OperationReach Full Capacity
Synthetic OilLeuna III625625
April 44July 44
August 44January 45
January 44April 44
I.G. Heydebreck I4,2004,200
May 44February 45
I.G. Heydebreck II833833
January 45April 45
Buna Plant, Schkopau833833
October 43March 44
Donau-Chemie, Moosbierbaum650650
July 44November 44
I.G. Oppau100100
February 44April 44
I.G. Bratislava II (Pressburg II)500500
April 45July 45
Brabag, Zeitz2,500
2,500Started in 1942May 44
250Started in 1942July 43
Crude OilRhenania Oil1,075

July 44February 45
Rhenania Synthetic3333

September 44

September 44July 45

Industry was already sharply rationed, and lubrication specialists had made extensive surveys to reduce industrial requirements. The stock position, always precarious, was at that time equal to only two months of consumption.

The Allied air forces had demonstrated their strength over Hamburg in mid-summer 1943, but fortunately for the enemy, the large lubricating oil refineries was practically untouched. It takes a minimum of ten months to build such a refinery. Had the Hamburg air attack been divided or diverted to include the three principal northwestern lubricating oil refineries, the resulting industrial and military chaos would have been far-reaching.

The requirements for 1943 were met by short-range planning, by compromising requirements with production, by substituting lower quality products, by employing water-oil emulsions, and by using a higher percentage of reclaimed oil. Plans were made to increase processing from crude in Austria and the eastern region by moving French and Italian equipment, and to hasten completion of several synthetic lubricating oil plants. The German planning in January, 1944, showed that they fully expected to have the northwest refineries destroyed by the middle of the year.

The May, 1944, attacks on synthetic lubricating oil plants caused a crisis in the already critical aviation lubricating oil stocks, and shipments direct from the plants to the front became necessary.

Under the repeated bombing, production of all grades of lubricating oil decreased steadily, dropping from an average of 73,000 tons in the first four months of 1944 to 38,000 tons in August, to only 14,000 tons in January, 1945, and thereafter to almost nothing. However, the decrease in supplies of liquid fuels reduced the consumption of lubricating oils almost enough to compensate, for a time, for the drop in production. Stocks of lubricating oil held by the German industry actually increased from 48,000 tons on 1 May 1944 to 66,000 tons at the end of the year. Further, deliveries for civil consumption (exclusive of the postal service), which were largely for industrial uses not dependant on liquid fuels, were maintained in the fourth quarter of 1944 at 19,700 tons per month, against 32,300 in the first quarter. This drop of 39 percent is suprisingly low in view of the sharp loss of production and the increased stock.

After the destruction of lubricating oil plants, storage of lubricant raw components became a problem. Eventually, these components were stored in covered pits. During the winter of 1944-1945, when transportation was disrupted, these valuable components were used in place of coal in industrial and public utility power houses in the northwest.

Location of Underground and Dispersal Plants

No.PlantTypeLocationConstruction Stage
1Ofen 1, 2crude distillation unitBoegerhof/Rinteln1
2Ofen 3, 4crude distillation unitBrunkensen, in Harz Mtns1
3Ofen 5, 6crude distillation unitMessinghausen/Brilon1
4Ofen 7, 8crude distillation unitMuehlenbein/Brilon1
5Ofen 9,10crude distillation unitMuehlental/Northeim1
6Ofen 11, 12crude distillation unitTuernitz/St. Polten1
7Ofen 13, 14crude distillation unitWeitenegg/Krems1
8Ofen 15, 16crude distillation unitSpitz/Krems1
9Ofen 17, 18crude distillation unitPetzenkirchen/Melk1
10Ofen 19, 20crude distillation unitAlte Poste I/Pirna1
11Ofen 21, 22crude distillation unitAlte Poste II/Pirna1
12Ofen 23, 30crude distillation unitEbensee1
13Ofen 31, 32crude distillation unitStatzendorf/St. Polten1
14Ofen 33, 34crude distillation unitHauskirchen/Zisterdorf1
15Ofen 35, 36crude distillation unitHungary (no location)5
16Ofen 37, 38crude distillation unitBocketal/Ibbenbueren1
17Ofen 39, 40crude distillation unitDeutsch Brod2
18Dachs 1lubricating oil plantPorta/Minden1-2
19Dachs 2lubricating oil plantEbensee2
20Dachs 3lubricating oil plantDeutsch Brod2-3
21Dachs 4lubricating oil plantOsterode/Harz Mtns3
22Dachs 5lubricating oil plantWillingen/Waldeck3-4
23Dachs 6lubricating oil plantMoosebierbaum3
24Dachs 7lubricating oil plantAlte Poste/Pirna2
25Dachs 8lubricating oil plantMuehldorf/Graz4
26Dachs 9lubricating oil plantOslebenhausen/Bremen5
27Kuckuckhydrogenation, hydroforming, catalytic cracking, alkylationNiedersachswerfen2-3
28Schwalbe 1Hydrogenation plantOberrodeinghausen/Menden3
29Schwalbe 2Hydrogenation plantNiedere Kirchleite/Pirna3-4
30Schwalbe 3Hydrogenation plantPolenztal/Schandau3-4
31Schwalbe 4Hydrogenation plantHeggen/Finnentrop3-4
32Schwalbe 5Hydrogenation plantBerga/Gera3
33Schwalbe 6Hydrogenation plantAlme/Brilon5
34Schwalbe 7Hydrogenation plantWolling/Stettin5
35Schwalbe 8Hydrogenation plantTetschen5
36Rost 1primitive crude distillationHannover-Linden1
37Rost 2primitive crude distillationSalzwedel, near Uelzen1
38Rost 3primitive crude distillationAnderten/Hannover1
39Rost 4primitive crude distillationHarpen/Dortmund1
40Rost 5primitive crude distillationOberhausen-Holten1
41Karpfen 1small Fischer-Tropsch plantWürzburg2-3
42Karpfen 2small Fischer-Tropsch plantFürth/Nürnberg2-3
43Karpfen 3small Fischer-Tropsch plantErfurt2-3
44Karpfen 4small Fischer-Tropsch plantLeipzeig2
45Karpfen 5small Fischer-Tropsch plantBoehlen/Leipzig1
46Karpfen 6small Fischer-Tropsch plantPlauen2-3
47Karpfen 7small Fischer-Tropsch plantChemnitz2-3
48Karpfen 8small Fischer-Tropsch plantHeidenau/Dresden2-3
49Karpfen 9small Fischer-Tropsch plantCottbus2-3
50Karpfen 10small Fischer-Tropsch plantGoerlitz2-3
51Wueste 1shale oil plantNehren/Balingen2
52Wueste 2shale oil plantWessingen/Balingen1-2
53Wueste 3shale oil plantEngstlatt/Balingen4
54Wueste 4shale oil plantNorth Erzingen/Balingen1-2
55Wueste 5shale oil plantWest Erzingen/Balingen4
56Wueste 6shale oil plantWest Dortmettingen/Balinger4
57Wueste 7shale oil plantCenter Dortmettingen/Balinger4
58Wueste 8shale oil plantSouth Dortmettingen/Balinger1-2
59Wueste 9shale oil plantSchoember/Balingen1-2
60Wueste 10shale oil plantZepfenhahn/Balingen4
61Wueste 11shale oil plantSchoerzingen/Balingen5
62Wueste 12shale oil plantSchandelah/Braunschweig5
63Wueste 13shale oil plantSchoemberg/Balingen5
64Wueste 14shale oil plantDotternhausen/Balingen5
65Wueste 15shale oil plantFrommern/Balingen2
66Molch 1phenol extraction plantObermolwitz near Altenburg2
67Molch 2phenol extraction plantRohnau/Hirschfeld2
68Molch 3phenol extraction plantAuschwitz/Gleiwitz1
69Molch 4phenol extraction plantMiltiz-Roitschen/Meissen2-3
70Molch 5phenol extraction plantNiederau/Dresden-
71Molch 6phenol extraction plantNachterstedt/Halberstadt2
72Taube 1cracking plantSchwarzholz/Deggendorf2
73Taube 2cracking plantBredelar/Brilon2
74Jakob 1primitive cracking plantStatzendorf/St. Polten3
75Jakob 2primitive cracking plantHirschfelde/Zittau3
76Jakob 3primitive cracking plantNorth Berbersdorf/Heinichen2
77Jakob 4primitive cracking plantSouth Berbersdorf/Heinichen3
78Jakob 5primitive cracking plantBoegerhof/Rinteln3
79Jakob 6primitive cracking plantBraunsdorf/Altenburg4
80Jakob 7primitive cracking plantGross Stoebnitz/Altenburg4
81Jakob 8primitive cracking plantKammersforst/Haselbach4
82Jakob 9primitive cracking plantHedersleben/Halberdtadt2-3
83Jakob 10primitive cracking plantMariannensglück/Petershain3
84Jakob 11primitive cracking plant"Ada" Mine/Plessow4
85Steinbock 1catalyst storage and high-pressure equipment maintenanceHeilbronn3
86Steinbock 2paraflow and catalyst manufacturingUnterloquitz/Saalfeld3
87Iltis 1super fractionationEbensee3
88Iltis 2super fractionationTetschen5
89Iltis 3super fractionationAlmetal/Brilon5
90Kranichcatalytic cracking plantLaube/Tetschen4
91Rabe 1Tetraethyl lead plantBrixlegg/Rattenberg4-5
92Fritzdewaxing plantNeuland/Neisse1
93Kybol 1diethyl benzene plantGendorf/Alt Otting1
94Kybol 2diethyl benzene plantUnterloquitz (part of Steinbock 2)5
95Krebs 1Fischer-Tropsch plantKyffhäuser-Barbarossahöhle4
Krebs 24-5
96Fasan 1benzene alkylation plantAuschwitz/Gleiwitz4
97Fasan 2benzene alkylation plantDeggendorf/on the Danube4
98Klein Scholven 1-3hydrogenation plantsScholven area2

Location of Underground and Dispersion Plants

Several diagrams of the Mineral Oil Security Plan have been omitted due to their size and limited interest.