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"Axis Use of Diesel Oil for Anti-Freeze" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following brief comment on the Germans reported use of diesel oil for anti-freeze on the Eastern Front was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 21, March 25, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


At temperatures running to 30 degrees below zero F. and lower, glycerine-water and glycol-water mixtures are useless as anti-freeze agents. Although two other agents, methanol and ethanol, have too low a boiling point and evaporate quickly, Axis forces reportedly used ethanol-water mixtures on the eastern front last winter.

It has been reported that the German Army, as a result of satisfactory experiments, used diesel oil as a coolant last winter. Since this oil has a lower coefficient of heat conductivity than water, the operating temperature of the engine will be raised--an advantage in extreme cold weather. While the oil is destructive to natural rubber joints, synthetic rubber is immune. Troubles may arise from corrosion, particularly in the radiator, because of a growth of acidity in the oil. At first the oil may be commercially pure, but the addition of moisture and dirt, together with the churning of the water pump, may crack the oil until acids accumulate to a harmful extent. Rust from the cylinder jacket may be present and, together with the emulsified oil, cause trouble. Such acids may attack copper and aluminum. The rising viscosity of the oil may cause mechanical troubles such as pump-shaft shearing or vane breaking.


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