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U-boat attacks on shipping between Argentina and Britain
Posted by: Scott ()
Date: May 24, 2018 03:02AM

I hope I have posted to the correct forum.

Also, please understand, the need to be so descriptive, as it is the only way, that my question will make logical sense.

During WWII, there was, (despite many political differences), extensive two way trade, (by wartime standards at least), between Argentina and Britain.

Argentina sent Britain, foods, that contained a large amount of high quality food value, in a small space, (ie mostly processed meat related items, instead of low value bulk wheat etc).

Britain in return, sent mostly coal, with only a small amount of other items.

Yet, despite this trade, (I don't remember where I read it), Hitler, supposedly, gave specific direct orders, that ships, engaged in this meat for coal trade, were not to be attacked.

For espionage and other reasons, Germany, wanted Argentina to be favorable to them, or at the very least stay neutral.

Germany had no available shipping to transport coal, (even if they had, the British would have attacked it), and a severe coal shortage herself, so was in no position to supply Argentina's needs.

After the US entered the war, for various reasons, it became very difficult, to get any coal from the US.

The Argentine fuel situation during the war, was so critical, that, if this shipping had been seriously interfered with, the Argentine economy would have completely collapsed.

Because of these factors, if, Germany had interfered with this meat for coal trade, Argentina would have been very angry with Germany.

That was reason, why the above order was supposedly given.

Almost no oil was produced in Argentina, and the very small amount of domestic coal produced, was totally inadequate in amount, and of very poor quality, (ie high ash etc).

Also, unlike in Sweden, for various reasons, the use of wood as a replacement, was usually impractical.

As a result, in many cases, the railroads, as well as power stations, and other users, were forced to burn corn (maize in British English), (either loose or on the cobs), instead.

However, the storage and transportation problems, amount of labor required, and the high financial costs, made this substitution difficult.

In addition, primarily because of boiler related problems, railroad locomotives fueled in this way, were unable to produce full pulling power, resulting in much shorter and slower trains.

For similar reasons, power stations could not produce their full electrical output.

For some purposes, such as metal foundries, smelters, and gas works, substituting corn, was simply technically impossible.

I am guessing, that Hitler, (or someone else for him), might have determined, that, the amount of military help, the Argentine food, would have been to Britain, was less, than the amount of political damage, Germany would have had to suffer, if the trade had been interfered with.

So, to put it simply:

Was there ever any such order given, either by Hitler, or by someone else, not to attack the ships engaged in this meat for coal trade?

Were the Argentine ships, that were attacked, with some being sunk by U-boats, attacked by mistake?

In any case, thank you for your time.

Scott

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