No Russian campaign could safely be undertaken without taking into account the
challenge to an invading army's staying power to meet the hardships and danger
imposed by "General Winter."
It is reported that the German Wehrmacht intends to make large-scale use this
winter of diesel oil as a radiator fluid for motorized equipment in Russia, to protect
motors both against low temperature and penetrating winds. Diesel oil will be used in
normal motors which require draining during long stops and require the heating of oil
before motors can be restarted, and also used in those few motors now being equipped
with built-in warming apparatus. The use of oil was determined after experiments revealed
that it has a freezing point below -40 degrees Centigrade, a boiling point higher than
water, does not corrode motors or radiators, leaves no residue, and is more readily
available and transportable on the Eastern Front than other chemical cooling fluids.
Since no advance preparations had been made last year to meet such weather
conditions, German equipment became unusable, or usable only with great
difficulty in many sectors. This experience, plus study and improvement of
Russian methods and apparatus, have enabled German engineers to make the
(a) German batteries are too small for eastern winter conditions, and in fact electric
starting becomes impossible at -30 degrees Centigrade. Since it is impossible to replace
batteries, the use of other starting equipment has become necessary. Heating devices for
batteries for ordinary operation have been installed in the form of small benzine
lamps in closed battery compartments.
(b) Heavy motors, chilled by cold and steady penetrating wind, are impossible to start
without preheating the cooling fluid and oil. This was done last winter by hot-air heating
devices improvised on the spot, as well as by draining and warming the cooling fluid. On the
other hand, many Soviet heavy motors were equipped with built-in auxiliary starting motors, which, after
running about 30 minutes and heating the cooling fluid were able to start the main motor. Germany
has adopted an improved version of this Soviet development for use on new equipment.
(c) Germany's main desire was to develop a method whereby heavy motors could be started
almost immediately. This requires heating of both cooling fluid and oil before starting. The
Russian auxiliary motor has been refined and improved by the addition of an oil-line break-valve
to the water line, which enables the heating of both oil and fluid within a very few minutes
operation, and thus the main motor can be started in but a fraction of the time required by
the original Russian equipment. This improvement is stated to operate most satisfactorily.
(d) With special fuel, the Otto motored equipment can still make use of electric starting apparatus.
(e) Diesel oil makes most satisfactory cooling fluid for winter use in all motorized
equipment including that started mechanically or by hand.