The Axis lost the war because of lack of oil

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by vashstampede, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Well, I just came cross this one article talking about how the lack of oil is one major reason for the Axis lost WWII.

    The Germans never had enough oil for their need. The article mentioned that Battle of Stalingrad happened because their Panzer divisions didn't have enough fuel to reach the oil fields they first intended, so they had to stop there and "do something else". Hilter however did say that if he couldn't capture those oil fields he would have to end the war (before the operation) but he didn't take his own advice...
    Every country the Germans took over was a net importer of oil, which didn't give them any relief on the fuel storage. When the Rommel was sent to help the Italians, they had to provide more fuel for their Italian allies... Italy had Libya as a colony, but back then no oil was discovered...

    As for the Japanese, they only had enough oil for a brief moment after they started Pacific War and captured vast land in South East Asia. However, since their major refineries were in Japan, they had to ship oil all the way back to Japan for refining. Not only they did not have enough oil tankers at the time, they also didn't have enough destroyers to provide escort. Over 100 tankers were lost to Allied attacks long the way...many to submarines.

    Both Germany and Japan suffered poor training for their newly recruited pilots, tank crew, etc. all because of the lack of fuel. Many important strategic decisions were all made based on the fuel available rather than what is the best to do.

    It was said that even many of the V1, V2 rockets were pulled to the launch sites by horses. Many planes were also pulled to runway rather than taxing there in order to safe fuel.

    So do you agree that the lack of oil is one major reason for the Axis unable to win the war?
  2. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    That was definitely the case with Japan. The lack of aviation fuel severely restricted their pilot training program. Back then the Sakhalin oil fields were not yet discovered (Japan controlled Southern Sakhalin until 1945, when the USSR took it back).
  3. LooSiuni

    LooSiuni New Member

    That was definitely the case with Japan. The lack of aviation fuel severely restricted their pilot training program. Back then the Sakhalin oil fields were not yet discovered (Japan controlled Southern Sakhalin until 1945, when the USSR took it back).

    It's all that need to say
  4. Mike Rice

    Mike Rice New Member

    Yes, I would definitely have to agree oil played a major factor in the outcome of the war. Also destroying the oil tankers the Japanese had though submarine attacks was a very strategic move.
  5. RcNu

    RcNu Member

    I don't know if the oil thing was the main reason for their lost, but I definitely
    think a played a hand in their demise.
  6. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Ironically, there was a huge oil field called Daqing Oil Field discovered in Manchuria (northern China) in the late 1950s.
    It was estimated there were total 16 billion barrels of oil down there. After the production had started for over five decades, the daily product today is still 1 million barrels per day.

    Japan had total control of Manchuria since 1930s. If they had discovered Daqing Oil Field in the 1930s or even in the early 1940s, it could be totally different situation, since it is much closer to Japanese home islands and the oil could be easily transported back for refining. Or they could have set up factories there to refine it on the spot.

    Sometimes the history could totally be different just because some "luck" facts played a role. As I mentioned earlier, Italy also had Libya as a colony which is an oil rich country today, but no oil was discovered back then.

    Major oil productions during WWII were from the U.S., USSR, and Middle East. The allies just had so much more fuel than the Axis.
    In Battle of Bulge, the capture of enemy fuel depot was an important part of the plan... in fact it was relayed upon on for the success of the whole operation. It was sad lol. I still remember in the movie - Battle of Bulge, a German colonel was telling a German general that "this cake was flied here by plane from Boston". The allies just had so much fuel.
  7. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    I think the Japanese refused to acknowledge the importance of acquiring oil fields in the early stages of the WW2. When they finally realized that the oil shortage is going to affect them badly, it was too late. They even used unrefined oil from Indonesia in some of their warships, resulting in serious damage to the boiler tubes.

    Also, I think the Japanese introduced the fuel rationing for the public after a lengthy delay.
  8. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    As I have mentioned in the first post, Japan at one point acquired enough oil fields to sustain their fuel consumption... in theory. But all those oil must be shipped back to Japan for refining. That was their major problem. They had to ship oil thousands miles back to Japan through unsafe water. Many of their tankers were sunk by allies.

    The problems I see was partially due to the fact Japan had spread out too thin. They had enough oil fields, yet they are all far away all over the places. They did not build refiners near the oil fields, nor they had enough tankers to transport the oil. By spreading too thin, they couldn't even defend their tankers because they didn't have enough destroyers to spare.

    To think about it, they shouldn't even start the war at all lol.
  9. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    Hmm.... how much time and effort it takes to build a new refinery? They should have built a new refinery in Indonesia, rather than running their ships with unrefined crude. They had the availability of plenty of slave labor for sure.
  10. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    They don't lack of labors in their procession, but they treated all locals badly, so there is no motivation in doing a good job when those locals were forced to work for them.

    They even had to relay on British POWs to build railway bridges in southeast Asia. I remember there was a movie about it where a team of British commandos were sent to blow up a bridge built by British POWs.

    As for refinery, I have no idea how easy or how hard it is to build one. From the look of it, the only refineries the Japanese had were in Japan.
  11. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  12. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    Lack of fuel and lubricants was indeed a huge factor in the eventual defeat of the Axis. The European Axis failed to capture or control the oil fields of the Caucasus and North Africa. Japan captured oil, but the entry of the United States in the war, meant submarine warfare sent most of it to the bottom. The subject is touched upon in the book Why the Allies Won in several spots.
  13. joshposh

    joshposh New Member

    I learn something everyday. I love to watch documentaries on WW2 and I always wondered why leaders would make irrational moves. They had to in order to control the oil they needed to prolong the war effort elsewhere. Hence the reason why Hitler took on the Russians. To get their resources.
  14. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  15. FMAlanbrooke

    FMAlanbrooke New Member

    The Japanese may actually have had enough destroyers for the job, but they didn't use a convoy system and nobody in the Japanese navy thought that convoy escort was an honorable duty for a samurai warrior/navy officer - so there was no enthusiasm for establishing convoys or taking on convoy missions. There were refineries closer to the source of the South-East Asian oil, but they were destroyed by the allies.

    The Burma railway was bult by thousands of allied servicemen (mainly British and Australian) and local slave labour to dramatically shorten the length of the sea journey around the Malay peninsula and make the journey safer. As soon as it was built, the Allies bombed it to destruction. Seems a good idea to me, I suppose the construction difficulties, cost, and international relations are the only reasons it wasn't rebuilt after the war. The film you refer to is "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and the railway was also the subject of the recent film "The Railway Man".

    There are many examples of the way the oil shortage affected the Axis. Perhaps the most ironic is that German tanks were unable to get to the Russian oil fields because they ran out of fuel (amongst other reasons). Rommel's campaigns were reliant on captured British fuel to some extent because it took so much fuel to get fuel to his front line, or because the tankers supplying him were sunk or destroyed. By the time of Alamein, his tanks were practically immobilised. Luckily for the allies, the Germans drove right past a large fuel dump in the Ardennes campaign, or they might have got further, instead of which their spearhead had to stop and the Tiger II tanks had to be blown up by their crews. Later in the war, this was the fate of many of them - the superiority of the German tanks was often to no avail, as they had very high fuel consumption. The air force and navy were grounded by lack of fuel - they even built a new class of minesweepers that ran on coal. The Italian navy was stuck in port not just because of its "Fleet in being" strategy (and somewhat inept admirals) but because it ran out of fuel - a plan to attack Haifa and capture the fuel refineries there was never carried out. If the Italian navy hadn't had this problem, the Allies would have had a tougher time in North Africa. The Germans controlled the Italians' supply of oil, which mainly came from Romania. lack of fuel also meant that no matter how many Me 262s were built, they wouldn't have made it into the sky, and thus would have had little effect on the war. The Germans lost the war against Russia because the further you travel from your supply base, the more supplies are consumed getting supplies to the front, so eventually more is consumed getting supples to the troops than by the troops themselves. The Russians blew up or capped their oil installations and the only plan I have seen that was realistic for the Germans was to use paratroops to capture the oil fields in surprise attacks - it would have taken a year or more to get the oil fields into production (though their loss would have been a great blow to the Russians).
  16. Banjo

    Banjo Member

    The Japanese calculated before Pearl Harbor that they had two years of oil in storage. They thought this would be enough to accomplish their goals, which included first crippling the Pacific Fleet with their surprise attack and then building a defensive cordon to protect the homeland by conquering the Marshall and Carolina islands, New Guinea and minor American military outposts like Guam and Wake Island. Admiral Yamamoto's plan to make a second attack on Hawaii with the aim of capturing or killing every naval officer was vetoed as too risky by the army, which had the whip hand in planning operations. Yamamoto believed it would take four or five years to train enough new officers to threaten Japan. In the absence of that second blow, he thought he would "run wild" in the Pacific for six months to a year before America's greater power began to assert itself. As it happened, the turning point was reached exactly six months later at the Battle of Midway, one of the greatest naval engagements in history, won by the narrowest of margins. The Japanese were poor strategic thinkers fatally influenced by Alfred Thayer Mahan's theory of battleships dueling at sea with a winner-take-all outcome. Despite Pearl Harbor (not to mention Tarantino) proving that the future lay with carriers, they persisted too long with their big gun fantasy. They also didn't see to realize the offensive potential of submarine warfare. They built enormous subs but saw them mainly as a means of transporting men and materiel. The code of Bushido, which emphasized boldness and risk-taking, held that a warrior's spirit could overcome bullets. (The French version of this was elan.) Soldiers were taught that dying in battle for the Emperor ensured eternal life as one of the multitude of spirits in the Shinto religion. This explains the suicidal Banzai attacks and the attitude which pervaded civilians and military alike in anticipation of the invasion of the Home Islands. Then as now, the Japanese were extremely racist. They believed in their own superiority to the degree that they felt other races were subhuman and ordinary notions of morality did not need to be extended to them, and even less so to those who surrendered in battle. This helps explain why they treated prisoners with such barbarous cruelty. jay carroll
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015

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