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How Citroen Sabotaged Nazi Truck Production

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Great little story from the Manchester Military History Society-
    "In case you forgot to change the batteries in your calendar, you may not be aware that this year is the 100th anniversary of Citroën. We’ve been shooting a Jason Drives special mini-series for this centenary, and while doing some research I happened to stumble upon a fascinating bit of wartime Citroën lore. It involves screwing with Nazis in a genuinely clever and subtle way that nevertheless had big repercussions. I’ll explain.
    So, when France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, major French factories like Citroën were forced to produce equipment for the Nazis. Citroën president Pierre-Jules Boulanger knew he couldn’t just refuse to produce anything, but he also knew there’s no way in hell he’s going to just roll over and build trucks for a bunch of filthy Nazis. Pierre had a plan.
    John Reynold’s book Citroën 2CV describes Boulanger’s sabotage efforts. Of course, he instructed workers to set a nice, leisurely pace when building trucks (likely Citroën T45 trucks) for the Wermacht, but that’s fairly obvious. What was brilliant was Boulanger’s idea to move the little notch on the trucks’ oil dipsticks that indicated the proper level of oil down just a bit lower.
    By moving the notch down, the trucks would not have enough oil, but German mechanics would have no idea, because, hey, they little notch on the dipstick says its just fine. Then, after the truck has been used for a while and is out deployed somewhere crucial, whammo, the engine seizes up, and you’ve got a lot of angry, stranded, vulnerable Nazis, balling up their little fists and redly barking curses in German.
    It’s such a fantastic act of sabotage: it’s extremely cheap to implement, it’s subtle, there’s no way to see something amiss is happening as the trucks are being built, and it delivers its blow away from the site of the sabotage and when it will cause the most inconvenience and trouble."
    Citroën Sabotaged Wartime Nazi Truck Production in a Simple and Brilliant Way
     
    Biak and lwd like this.
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I do wonder just how much impact lowering it "a little" had though. The vehicles I've had didn't seem to mind operating a bit on the low side occasionally. My old Vega ran quite a few miles when the individual that was driving it didn't pay attention when I told him how fast it was going through oil. Trucks may be a bit different and WW2 Citroen in particular may be a bit more sensitive.
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Aye, it's possibly apocryphal, but still good.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It might just degrade the average availability of the fleet. Instead of say 80% it might be 75% or even 70%. Which could be quite significant and yet very hard to actually diagnose. A clever idea. Just wonder what the impact really was.
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    Pierre-Joules Boulanger was an interesting chap.
    Keeping his hands relatively clean as director of a large occupied industrial concern was no mean feat. I don't fully understand why he wasn't whisked away fairly rapidly by the new authorities.
    Unlike the rather more ambiguous Renault.
     
  6. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Staff Member Patron  

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    I was just going to add this to KodiakBeers post on collaborating with the enemy thread.(think I'll still do that :) )

    I wonder how many more stories are out there?
     

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