Home >> Forums >> Technology >> Gasoline vs. Diesel Tank Engines 1933-1945

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    Since it came up in another thread, I thought I would ask the obvious question: Why didn’t Germany put diesel packs into its tanks?

    Diesel fuel has many advantages, some particularly useful for military applications: It is as much as 40% more efficient (more miles per gallon) which means a reduced logistical tail. It is more difficult to ignite accidentally, which is nice when people are throwing hot metal at you. As a fractional distillate of crude oil, it is easier to refine and produce (I believe less can be produced from a barrel of crude than gasoline, but not enough less to offset its higher efficiency). Until very recently (when demand soared), it was cheaper too.

    Diesel’s only real disadvantage is in the power-weight category. You can’t get the acceleration or top-end from a diesel that you can from an equivalent weight of gasoline engine, but this would be a non-issue in tanks of the period – and anyone who has seen period film of a (diesel-powered) T34 or M4A2 Sherman moving cross-country can see that sufficient speed was attainable for tactical needs with the proper suspension.

    Len Deighton in his book Blitzkrieg as much as implied that it was a deliberate design decision so that German tanks could use French civilian petrol stations, which might be the most laughable thing I’ve ever read in a history book. But there must be some logical consideration to go with gasoline engines. What was it?

    Thanks !

    I didn’t find the right solution from the internet.



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