Repost: Citroen’s WWII Sabotage

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this story.  It was part of a forwarded email, but I sure do like what it says.  Clever Citroen.


 You’re likely unaware that this year is the 100th anniversary of Citroën.

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

 I’ll explain:

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 Wehrmacht, 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.

Citroen T45 trucks

By moving the notch down, the trucks would not have enough oil, but German mechanics would have no idea, because, hey, the 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 madly 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.

That’s some mighty good sabotaging, Pierre.
Happy 100th Anniversary, Citroën.

The Free World thanks you.



When the Germans occupied France in 1940, they started sweeping the large factories, shutting down those that couldn’t be useful, while forcing the rest to build equipment for them. Citroën had to build trucks. Obviously, they could not refuse but Pierre-Jules Boulanger, chairman of the Citroën at the time, hatched a brilliant plan to mess things up for the Nazis.

The details of Boulanger’s plan were revealed in John Reynold’s book “Citroën 2CV”. Monsieur Pierre-Jules instructed workers to set about building trucks like the T45 and told them to set the oil level indicator a little higher than it should be, so that it would show more oil than it actually contained and the trucks would constantly run on low levels of oil. The German mechanics couldn’t know that because the notch kept telling them the oil level was spot-on. Eventually, this would make the trucks would come to an unexpected halt, leaving the Germans stranded.


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