Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

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takata_1940
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by takata_1940 » 03 Apr 2010 01:33

400115_Eco1.jpg
This graphic is showing the various hypothesis:
I. Stock 20 million, no change -> crisis Spring 1942.
II. Stock 10 million, Swedish importations stopped 1 Apr. 1940 [note the date] -> crisis Summer 1940.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by phylo_roadking » 03 Apr 2010 02:02

Olivier - have you any idea how close those various estimations turned out to be to real German stocks at the time?
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Andy H
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by Andy H » 03 Apr 2010 02:27

Munch Petersen in his The Strategy of Phoney War: Britain, Sweden and the Iron Ore Question 1939-1940 (Stockholm 1981), states the following figures

German Domestic production of iron (all figures in Millions of tons)
1939-14.7
1940-19.2
1941-18.1
1942-15.3
1943-15.2

Total German Iron ore Imports
1939-19.6
1940-9.9
1941-17.4
1942-17.8
1943-19.6
1944-8.2

German Iron ore imports from Sweden
1939-10.0
1940-8.4
1941-9.2
1942-7.9
1943-9.6
1944-3.4

From these figures around 50%+ at times of German ore imports were from Sweden

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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 03 Apr 2010 05:36

Scrap iron & steel have been mentioned, but not the quantities. Any numbers that would show us the proportion of scrap to ore?

Jon G.
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by Jon G. » 03 Apr 2010 10:49

John T wrote:
Jon G. wrote:

1/only 10-15% came out through Narvik (mostly in winter I would guess, Narvik being an ice free port). Hardly reason to invade Norway in '40.
... <Snip what I agree with>
As I understand it, most Swedish ore exports left the country via Luleå, which is in Sweden proper and somewhat closer to the Swedish ore fields. But Luleå is (or was) frozen up in winter, so during the cold season ore went out via the Swedish ore railroad to Narvik.
Actualy the other way round in peace time, > 50% trough Narvik.
Germany's infrastructure where based on the Rhine, transshipment from ocean going vessels in Rotterdam to river barges and sent up the river. So Both Spanish and Swedish Iron ore entered Germany the same route.
Right, but when compared to the FDR tidbit which I posted above, it appears that most Swedish ore for Germany left via other routes than Narvik. But then I wouldn't claim that the FDR figures - which, I note in passing, do not correlate with the figures Andy gave above for 1940 and 1941 - are absolute gospel. Do you know if iron ore for Germany was railed to Göteborg and shipped to Germany from there?
After the fall of France, the major advantage of Swedish ore where that it was resource effective, half the quantity of coal to melt it, half the demand on transportation and manpower, Plus that Swedish shipping and manpower where used for the Iron ore also reducing the strain on the Reich. And still around a quarter of all German Iron production.
According to Fritz, Martin. German Steel and Swedish Iron Ore 1939-1945; Göteborg, 1974
Well, to varying degrees, the same could be said about nearly all iron ore from occupied Europe entering Germany. According to Alfred C. Mierzejewski in The Collapse of the German War Economy 1944-1945 p 31, particularly ore from annexed Lorraine was important; constituting 44% of German ore imports in 1943. He states that Swedish ore made up 12% of Reich imports in that year, but of course Swedish ore was more important than this percentage shows, as you've explained.

The Ruhr was by far the major consumer of Swedish ore. Still according to Mierzejewski, 1/3 of the Ruhr's iron ore imports came from Sweden, and 18% from Lorraine; total iron ore imports to the Ruhr are given as 26.5 mill. tons in 1943, and stocks are quoted as 8 mill tons in the Ruhr alone ('sufficient for about three months' production') and 20 mill tons in the entire Reich. But those figures are for 1943. The situation was probably different in 1940.

Thanks for the reference, looks like a book I should buy.

takata_1940
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by takata_1940 » 03 Apr 2010 18:06

phylo_roadking wrote:Olivier - have you any idea how close those various estimations turned out to be to real German stocks at the time?
Hard to say.
The problem with all those raw materials figures, is that one need to know exactly on what they are based.
Considering Iron Ore, there is two ways for computing it: either by raw ore volume, which is the case in this French study, either by its real content of iron. The first way is usefull when one need to study the shipping space required, the second is useful for planning steel production.
As Iron content may be as low as 15%-30% per raw ton extracted (domestic production) or 65-70% (Swedish importations), or 45-60% (French/AFN importations), it may be very hard to compute anything without knowing the specifics.

The study seems fairly accurate concerning those figures:
- Domestic production (raw ore) -> 15 million tons (Dec 1939)
- Swedish importations (raw ore) -> 10 million tons (Dec 1939)
- German consumption (raw ore) -> 34 million tons (Aug 1939)
This gap of 9 million tons (raw ore) was covered mostly by French importations before the war broke out.

The two figures of German stocks may be both true (20 Mt & 10 Mt). The first expressed in raw ore, the second in Iron content (as Fritz Thyssen was a Steelmaker, he might have given the Iron content usable for production).

What is certain is that first semester 1940 Germany (including Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland) could only cover 28% of its Iron ore 1938 consumption with its domestic production. Swedish Iron ore furnished 95% of the German importations, and without conquering France - which was the other pre-war German major Iron ore supplier - the crisis of Iron supply could have been very accute at one point if Germany was cut off from its Swedish supply. But once France fell, the Swedish Iron became also much less strategical than during the Sep 1939-Jul 1940 period. During the 4th quarter of 1940, Iron allocations already increased by 30% for the whole German Industry compared to the first quarterly.

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John T
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by John T » 03 Apr 2010 19:30

Jon G. wrote: Right, but when compared to the FDR tidbit which I posted above, it appears that most Swedish ore for Germany left via other routes than Narvik. But then I wouldn't claim that the FDR figures - which, I note in passing, do not correlate with the figures Andy gave above for 1940 and 1941 - are absolute gospel. Do you know if iron ore for Germany was railed to Göteborg and shipped to Germany from there?
Yes, Narvik never recovered after April 1940.
http://www.ordersofbattle.darkscape.net ... lCoal.html
scroll down to "Transportation" - "Distribution of Iron Ore Shipments Between Scandanavian Ports"
Others where mostly Gävle, Hargshamn,Stockholm, Västerås and Otterbäcken.
Don't think anything went trough Gothenburg at all.
Jon G. wrote: Thanks for the reference, looks like a book I should buy.
The price will not put you off,
http://www.hgu.gu.se/item.aspx?id=5452
29. Martin Fritz: German steel and Swedish iron ore 1939-1945. 1974. 30:-
I advice to add:
36.* Sven-Olof Olsson: German coal and Swedish fuel 1939-1945. 1975. 40:-

37. Ulf Olsson: The creation of a modern arms industry. Sweden 1939-1974. 1977. 35:-
A total of 105 Swedish Crowns + P&P
~ 10 Euro

YES, the Department of Economic history does not understand the concept of Inflation ;)
They printed the price on the back cover 1975 and the price still valid.
(I did order these something like five- ten years ago and it looks the same on their web page now)
cheers
/John T.

John T
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by John T » 03 Apr 2010 21:38

takata_1940 wrote:
phylo_roadking wrote:Olivier - have you any idea how close those various estimations turned out to be to real German stocks at the time?
...

What is certain is that first semester 1940 Germany (including Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland) could only cover 28% of its Iron ore 1938 consumption with its domestic production. Swedish Iron ore furnished 95% of the German importations, and without conquering France - which was the other pre-war German major Iron ore supplier - the crisis of Iron supply could have been very accute at one point if Germany was cut off from its Swedish supply. But once France fell, the Swedish Iron became also much less strategical than during the Sep 1939-Jul 1940 period. During the 4th quarter of 1940, Iron allocations already increased by 30% for the whole German Industry compared to the first quarterly.

S~
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From Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg 5/1 page 430

Situation October 1 1939
Iron and Steel:
German "Mobilization needs" per month 1,31 Mt
"Own production" (always same problem what a German meant with Germany at this time :) 570 kt
Probable stores ("Voraussichtlisch einsetzbare Bestände) 5,7 Mt
Complete coverage 7,5 Months
Percentage of "Mobilization needs" covered by own production there after 44%

As I understands the table and the context this volume only refers to military use only.
But the bottom line is clear after 7,5 months the armament industry would have to rely on less than half the Iron and steel without imports or severely affect civilian production.

Cheers
/John T.

Jon G.
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by Jon G. » 04 Apr 2010 16:06

John T wrote:...
Jon G. wrote: Thanks for the reference, looks like a book I should buy.
The price will not put you off,
http://www.hgu.gu.se/item.aspx?id=5452
Thanks a lot for the additional references.
...YES, the Department of Economic history does not understand the concept of Inflation ;)
They printed the price on the back cover 1975 and the price still valid.
:lol: Unfortunately, they do not seem to understand modern concepts such as credit cards and online shopping, either. But no doubt my online Swedish book pusher can help me, at a similarly agreeable price.
(I did order these something like five- ten years ago and it looks the same on their web page now)
I see you instead saved your money for the less modestly priced DRZW :)

Anyway, regarding your figures:
...As I understands the table and the context this volume only refers to military use only.
But the bottom line is clear after 7,5 months the armament industry would have to rely on less than half the Iron and steel without imports or severely affect civilian production.
...such figures must have made the Allied capture of Narvik and the subsequent shut-down of Swedish ore exports to Germany seem a war-winning prospect, at least in view of the long war which the Western Allies were planning for.

After the fall of France, we can add ore from Lorraine to the German total. I don't know if the plan to achieve self-sufficiency for iron ore under the Four Year Plan (the Hermann Göring Werke in Salzgitter) was put on hold after 1940, or if the Germans managed to squeeze more steel out of domestic ore sources after 1940?

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by phylo_roadking » 04 Apr 2010 19:13

But no doubt my online Swedish book pusher can help me, at a similarly agreeable price.
....or at a "current market rate" mark-up and lots of profit for him! :D
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

takata_1940
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by takata_1940 » 04 Apr 2010 22:30

Hi Jon,
Jon G. wrote: After the fall of France, we can add ore from Lorraine to the German total. I don't know if the plan to achieve self-sufficiency for iron ore under the Four Year Plan (the Hermann Göring Werke in Salzgitter) was put on hold after 1940, or if the Germans managed to squeeze more steel out of domestic ore sources after 1940?
It seems that this ambitious plan failed to materialize much earlier. From the Anschluss, the better quality of the ore deposits from Austria were favored instead of the ruinous Salzgitter plans, partly because the Industry was in rebellion as the cost for exploiting these low grade iron ore was left to it - Hitler had forbidden any increase of steel price. Then H. Göring became an Austrian Iron Magnat instead.
:lol:
S~
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Graeme Sydney
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by Graeme Sydney » 16 Apr 2010 06:12

Thank you for your responses I have a more confident understanding of the importance of Swedish iron ore (and German steel production generally - and your fondness of the subject Jon :wink: ). However, I can't attribute the same flow on importance to Narvik (and therefore strategic importance of the invasion of Norway to secure Narvik).

Narvik was more convenient, being 80 miles by rail rather than 120 miles to Luleå. This may have been significant to volumes exported if the Luleå rail link couldn't cope with the traffic volumes. Narvik was also more convenient because it had year round exporting due to being ice free.

But these issues could have been addressed by Germany (and Sweden) by stock piling and/or careful stock management/industrial planning. And after the fall of France become even less of an issue. These issues weren't strategic justification in themselves for the invasion of Norway. In fact I think they are fairly weak justifications.

Denying British access to Swedish iron ore also could have been achieved by other means such as commercial contracts rather than the invasion of Norway.

So I think the the capture of Narvik was a convenience rather than a strategic imperative for Germany. Right/wrong; agree/disagree?

takata_1940
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by takata_1940 » 16 Apr 2010 06:59

Hi Graeme,
Graeme Sydney wrote:Thank you for your responses I have a more confident understanding of the importance of Swedish iron ore (and German steel production generally - and your fondness of the subject Jon :wink: ). However, I can't attribute the same flow on importance to Narvik (and therefore strategic importance of the invasion of Norway to secure Narvik).

Narvik was more convenient, being 80 miles by rail rather than 120 miles to Luleå. This may have been significant to volumes exported if the Luleå rail link couldn't cope with the traffic volumes. Narvik was also more convenient because it had year round exporting due to being ice free.

But these issues could have been addressed by Germany (and Sweden) by stock piling and/or careful stock management/industrial planning. And after the fall of France become even less of an issue. These issues weren't strategic justification in themselves for the invasion of Norway. In fact I think they are fairly weak justifications.

Denying British access to Swedish iron ore also could have been achieved by other means such as commercial contracts rather than the invasion of Norway.

So I think the the capture of Narvik was a convenience rather than a strategic imperative for Germany. Right/wrong; agree/disagree?
I don't really understand your reasoning:
1. Swedish iron ore supply was vital for German industry - it seems that you acknowleged this issue.
2. Norway was bordering Swedish iron ore fields;
3. Narvik was the only place from where this iron ore could be shipped during winter; if lost, the Swedish iron ore supply for Germany was roughly cut by half.
4. Operations in Norway (both Allied and German) took place two months before France felt;
5. If Germany had failed to control Narvik and Norway, all its Swedish supply could have been jeopardized in the near future as its own domestic production and stocks were totally inadequate in order to wage a war with any chance of success.
So your conclusion did miss something. Maybe the timeline was not clear for you. Narvik and Norway control was extraordinary important for Germany, particularly when it became an active operational zone in April 1940. If the area remained neutral, Germany would have been under the constant threat of being cut off from its vital Swedish ore supply. Later, the control of French (+Luxemburg, Balkans, Russian) ores removed partially this threat, but not before France (at least) was beaten.
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Graeme Sydney
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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by Graeme Sydney » 16 Apr 2010 10:21

takata_1940 wrote: 1. Swedish iron ore supply was vital for German industry
That would be the first difference; you say vital, I say important.

My reading of the thread so far is that Germany had alternatives of supply and ore treatment which made Swedish ore convenient, efficient, economical and desirable but not irreplaceable (especially short term - 3-6 months?).
takata_1940 wrote:2. Norway was bordering Swedish iron ore fields;
I think I acknowledged that by implication when mentioning the distances from the mine to Narvik and Luleå.
takata_1940 wrote:3. Narvik was the only place from where this iron ore could be shipped during winter; if lost, the Swedish iron ore supply for Germany was roughly cut by half.
I acknowledged that when offering the counter of "by stock piling and/or careful stock management/industrial planning.".

I'm not quite sure how you arrive at " the Swedish iron ore supply for Germany was roughly cut by half". I thought Luleå was ice bound for three months rather than 6. I would guesstimate that would be a 25% reduction (but I'm no expert and a lot of factors might bear on this issue).
takata_1940 wrote:4. Operations in Norway (both Allied and German) took place two months before France felt;
I'm acutely aware of this but I don't think it is an issue when considering the strategic decision of the Invasion of Norway to secure the Swedish iron ore.

takata_1940 wrote:5. If Germany had failed to control Narvik and Norway, all its Swedish supply could have been jeopardized in the near future as its own domestic production and stocks were totally inadequate in order to wage a war with any chance of success.
I disagree with this assessment. I think German supply might be compromised and reduced but I don't think they were under threat of been cut off. (I can't see Britain or France even doing a partial invasion of Sweden to control the mine and cut supply.)

I think Germany could have dealt with Narvik being a neutral port, or even occupied by the Allies, both in the short term and the long term .

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Re: Swedish Iron Ore and Narvik

Post by takata_1940 » 16 Apr 2010 11:13

Graeme Sydney wrote:
takata_1940 wrote: 1. Swedish iron ore supply was vital for German industry
That would be the first difference; you say vital, I say important.
My reading of the thread so far is that Germany had alternatives of supply and ore treatment which made Swedish ore convenient, efficient, economical and desirable but not irreplaceable (especially short term - 3-6 months?).
No. It's clearly vital as there is NO substitute for it in German controled territories. Without this ore, the German industrial production will crash in a very short term. And it's not about convenience of using this ore at all. The lack of French ore supplies for Germany, after war broke out, cut the steel production of both Saar and Ruhr districts down to very perceptible levels. As far as I can verify it, German stocks of iron ore were very low in 1939. Now I believe they were about 10 million tons of (perhaps) crude ore, not iron ore content.
Making the assumption that the Germans would be able to predict they would control usable enemy/neutral ressources in the short term (Luxembourg, Lorraine) is quite dangerous. Those regions were heavily fortified and could have been the frontline for many months before the German could use them for supplying iron ore. Their reserves would be exhausted before the spring 1940.
Developments of iron ore fields elsewhere in Germany (during wartime) were seriously unrealistic due to the level of investments, the amount of time and manpower necessary to achieve something close to the level of the Swedish ore supply.
Graeme Sydney wrote:
takata_1940 wrote:2. Norway was bordering Swedish iron ore fields;
I think I acknowledged that by implication when mentioning the distances from the mine to Narvik and Luleå.
takata_1940 wrote:3. Narvik was the only place from where this iron ore could be shipped during winter; if lost, the Swedish iron ore supply for Germany was roughly cut by half.
I acknowledged that when offering the counter of "by stock piling and/or careful stock management/industrial planning.".
I'm not quite sure how you arrive at " the Swedish iron ore supply for Germany was roughly cut by half". I thought Luleå was ice bound for three months rather than 6. I would guesstimate that would be a 25% reduction (but I'm no expert and a lot of factors might bear on this issue).
Because Narvik was not only a winter replacement solution as being closer to the ore-fields, it was used the whole year, not only when Lulea was frozen. Both railways were used at full capacity as iron ore is heavy and bulky. The flow was continuous but also served for deliveries to Britain. German and British ships were charged side by side after war broke out.
Graeme Sydney wrote:
takata_1940 wrote:4. Operations in Norway (both Allied and German) took place two months before France felt;
I'm acutely aware of this but I don't think it is an issue when considering the strategic decision of the Invasion of Norway to secure the Swedish iron ore.
That's the part of your reasoning I don't understand.
Graeme Sydney wrote:
takata_1940 wrote:5. If Germany had failed to control Narvik and Norway, all its Swedish supply could have been jeopardized in the near future as its own domestic production and stocks were totally inadequate in order to wage a war with any chance of success.
I disagree with this assessment. I think German supply might be compromised and reduced but I don't think they were under threat of been cut off. (I can't see Britain or France even doing a partial invasion of Sweden to control the mine and cut supply.)
I think Germany could have dealt with Narvik being a neutral port, or even occupied by the Allies, both in the short term and the long term .
Then don't ask for opinion about it.
I posted the graphs from the report I've got, and actually, they intended to cut this supply in March 1940. I suppose they could have applied much more political pressure on Sweden by being in Norway and later in 1944, Swedish ore was effectively cut by such means. If the allies were planning something in Norway before the Germans, Hitler could forget about Weserübung. I'm not sure that he was disposed to take this risk, even if the allied plan would not materialize. And I can't see either how Germany could hope to be able to wage a successful war with its steel production cut by 60%, and so, in the very short term.
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