Watered Down Diesel

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Bryan
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Watered Down Diesel

Post by Bryan » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:01 pm

An old Italian soldier once told me of a tanker arriving in East Africa with a cargo of diesel that was worthless because water had been added to the fuel.Is this incident recorded in the Official Italian Histories?I have never read of this in any English language accounts.

Editor
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Post by Editor » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:25 pm

Hello Bryan,
I've heard of similar stories of contaiminated food stuffs sent to Libya and Greece (I have the Offical History of L'Esercito Italiano Nella Campagna di Grecia, Stato Maggiore Dell'Esercito, Ufficio Storico, Roma 1999), and it contains no references to contaimated food stuffs or watered down diesel fuel. Sometimes what's actually meant is lost in translation, for example watered down fuel could well have been in reference to lower octane fuels, particularly if refining alkylates (needed to adjust the octane of fuels) where not produced in sufficent qunatity, an issue refiners face even today.
Vince Tassone

Bryan
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Watered Down Diesel

Post by Bryan » Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:19 am

Lower octane,less refined possibly,this was useless.This event completely immobilized their trucks.I am very surprised that this has never been made public.My first thoughts on this were theft.Lately I'm not so sure.

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Post by Editor » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:42 am

There are stories of the same aircraft moved from one field to another when Mussolini was on inspections; the story goes that Mussonlini was unaware of the situation regarding troop and equipment strengths, however there's no evidenece that that thing ever happened. Same goes for contaimned food stuffs and diluted fuel. In fact modern research shows Mussolini was quite aware of the preparedness of his armed forces, and presented the Germans with a long list of equipment and resources (Ciano Papers) if Germany expected Italian involvement in a war with France and England in 1939. Unless a researcher can show these things happened, through samples or documenation, it can only remain a story, truth or fiction. In regard to lower octane fuels; its not necessarily useless. When you fuel your vehilce, there are different grades of fuel varying from 90-95. Italian, German and American fuels all differed in "strength", and interestingly Italian aviation fuel was known to be "stronger" than American fuel, read G. Luciani's B.24 article on this site. So my point is that "water-down" has relative meaning or no meaning at all.
Vince Tassone

Bryan
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Post by Bryan » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:27 pm

Vince,I believe that diesels can run on a wide variety of fuels,kerosene,bio-diesel ,propane,natural gas,all differing in energy values...This man was there on the Somali coast,the widespread belief was that someone had siphoned diesel and replaced with water,or simply topped off the tanker with water.Add to this the "mistake"of the wrong size tires arriving for their trucks from the Japanese about the same time and I begin to believe some factions really did not want the Italians mounting an effective resistance.

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Post by Editor » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:56 pm

This is a good discussion. If you read Giulio Gobbi's "The Regia Aeronautica in A.O.I. 1939/41" on this site, its clear from communications between the Amedeo di Savoia and the Italian High Command that the Italians were severely constrained by their ability to resupply that theater. If sabotage occurred in East Africa, it only exacerbated an already difficult if not impossible situation. The Italian forces in AOI fought an incredible struggle, both in the air and on the ground and like elsewhere, the Regio Esercito ran out of supplies. The Italians put up an incredible resistance for 18 months in AOI. I think if the Regio Esercito had struck north through the Sudan to Egypt during the summer of 1940 as they launched their attack into Egypt they might have had a chance at success, however Italian intelligence had vastly overestimated the strength of British forces in the Sudan and Egypt and nothing came of it. British forces who were at Keren and later in Europe compared the fighting there to some of the toughest in WWII.

I’ve heard many stories from relatives about the sabotage that occurred during WWII, it could have happened, however, I don’t beleive it was the primary reason for defeat. I think defeat was caused primarily from a lack of raw materials, since Italy produced some great equipment but not in the numbers it needed to win. I'm writing an artilce on this very subject that I'll post in the coming months.

Vince
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