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"Gas and Oil in German Mechanized Vehicles" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on German gasoline and oil used in mechanized vehicles in WWII was originally 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.]


Certain data about the German use of fuel and lubricants for their mechanized equipment are reported as a result of the examination of specimens.

a. Gasoline

Analysis of German yellow gasoline shows that this normally has an octane number of 74 (similar to our "regular" as sold in American service stations) or better. The chemical composition of German gasoline varies considerably. It frequently contains a rather high proportion of benzol or of alcohol, and this should result in a slightly higher consumption per mile than with our regular 72 to 75 octane gasoline.

Specimens have shown cases which might cause difficulties in starting in cold weather, owing to lack of front-end volatility (low boiling-point fractions), but, in general, this yellow gasoline should be usable in all automotive equipment which has an octane requirement of 75 or less.

Gasoline containing alcohol is deleteriously affected by even small quantities of water mixed with it.

b. Lubricating Oils from a German Pz Kw 3

(1) Engine Oil

This has a high viscosity-index (95) and a low pour-point (below 0° F). It is intermediate between SAE 30 and SAE 40 in viscosity grade, but rather nearer to the latter.

(2) Gear Box Oil

This is probably a straight mineral-oil product with an original viscosity approximating that of an SAE 140 gear lubricant.

c. Final Drive Oil

This is probably a compounded lubricant, of viscosity grade similar to Hypoid 90 with a pour-point below 0° F.

d. Shock-Absorber Fluid

This is a straight mineral-oil product of rather lower quality than normal light, non-freezing, mineral oil of low viscosity, but within the limits of the specification of this oil as regards specific gravity and viscosity index.


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