Find out what inspired author Steven J. Zaloga to write The Oil Campaign 1944-45 in today's blog post 


I was inspired to write Osprey Air Campaign: ACM30: The Oil Campaign 1944–45: Draining the Wehrmacht's lifeblood from previous work on other Osprey books in the Campaign and New Vanguard series dealing with land warfare. I frequently ran into German accounts from late 1944 and early 1945 about how shortages of fuel and ammunition were adversely impacting Wehrmacht combat operations. Some of these problems are well known, for example, the problem with fuel supplies during the Ardennes campaign in December 1944. But others have remained obscure, such as the crippling of the Panzer force on the Russian Front in January 1945 in the face of the Soviet Vistula-Oder offensive.

I think that one reason the Oil Campaign is not recognized is that it lacked a distinctive codename like other air campaigns such as Pointblank, Crossbow, etc. So, it became lumped in with other aspects of the Combined Bomber Offensive. But its critical role was very well understood at the time by the USAAF and RAF, and there were many studies of it after the war due to the vital part it played in defeating Germany.

The Oil Campaign not only crippled the supply of fuel to the German military, it also severely impacted the supply of ammunition and other military consumables. The Oil Campaign was focused on the German synthetic fuel industry but this industry was not really that distinct from other elements of the German chemical industry. Attacks on synthetic fuel plants inevitably damaged German chemical plants producing key war supplies such as the chemicals used to produce high explosive and ammunition propellant. So, the German armed force in late 1944–45 were suffering shortages not only in fuel, but in ammunition, tires, synthetic materials such as plastics, and many other goods. The Oil Campaign not only crippled the German fuel industry, but it also led to the broader collapse of German war industries in March–April 1945.

ACM30: The Oil Campaign 1944–45: Draining the Wehrmacht's lifeblood gives a detailed account of how The Oil Campaign impacted German war industries during this crucial period. Find out more here