Military Review

"There will be no war without energy": the role of energy resources in modern conflicts

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At one time, Napoleon Bonaparte said a very interesting and fair phrase: in order to wage a war, you need money, money and even more money. This is indeed so, given the scale of the exertion of forces and resources for the preparation and conduct of combat operations.


Energy resources for waging war are one of the most important, especially in modern conditions, when a huge amount of the most diverse military equipment is involved in hostilities. Interestingly, many wars have flared up because of the desire to control energy resources, especially oil and gas.

Polish scientist Vaclav Smil once put forward a rather interesting, but also controversial thesis - he believes that the desire to control energy resources has never been the main reason for major armed conflicts. Modern wars, according to Smil, are characterized by a huge energy load. In some cases, belligerent armies turn out to be the main consumers of energy in individual states involved in armed conflicts.

Modern warfare means huge fuel costs


The needs of modern armies for energy resources begin at the stage of creating weapons and military equipment. Smil mentions, for example, the process of making the special steel needed to create armor. tanks, the creation of composite materials used in modern aviation, etc.

Energy costs are directly related to the scale of production of weapons and military equipment. For example, in August 1914, on the eve of the First World War, there were only 154 aircraft in Great Britain, and by 1918 British enterprises had produced 30 thousand aircraft. In the United States in 1940, 514 aircraft were produced per year, but the total volume of deliveries of American aircraft in 1941-1945. amounted to 250 thousand units.

The military equipment produced also needs energy in the form of fuel. There will be no war without the proper amount of energy.

Smil emphasizes that the main battle tank of the American army M1 Abrams is equipped with a 1,1 MW (1500 horsepower) engine, which consumes 400 to 800 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, that is, dozens of times more than modern passenger cars. Aircraft require even more fuel.

The scale of energy consumption during the war period is impressive. So, during the First World War, about 15% of all energy consumed in the United States was spent on military needs. The Second World War led to energy costs, which were already 40% of the total energy consumption.

During the Cold War, the United States and the USSR spent about 5% of their total energy consumption on the development, storage and transportation of nuclear weapons... That is, without direct confrontation, the "deterrent weapon" consumed enormous energy resources. In the 1990s, the US military consumed about the same amount of energy per year as an entire small country like Austria or Switzerland consumes.


US military at the oil field in Syria

But the lost war, according to Smil's calculations, leaves a significant mark on the consumption of energy resources. For example, in Japan in 1940, the consumption of primary energy was estimated at 63 Mtoe (million tons of oil equivalent), and in 1945, after the surrender, it fell by 2 times, in 1946 - by another 10%. Energy consumption in Japan did not return to the previous 1940 level until 1955.

Energy resources - a tool or a goal of war?


At the same time, Smil believes, the desire for control over oil or gas fields cannot be considered the main reason for modern wars. Even in the conflicts on the African continent, which seemed to have begun solely because of the desire to seize oil fields, ethno-confessional contradictions still played a key role.

However, Michael Klar, a security professor at Hampshire Studies, has a different view on the matter. He believes that a number of wars began precisely because of energy resources and access to them, and also sees a serious conflict potential in disputes over gas fields in the East China Sea, oil fields in the Niger Delta in Nigeria.

Polish analyst Jakub Wiek notes another interesting aspect of the problem of the role of fuel in armed conflicts: the growing costs of energy resources inevitably lead to climate change on Earth. In this regard, great powers such as the United States, China or Russia are looking for cleaner energy sources to meet the needs of their armies. In particular, they plan to make extensive use of small nuclear reactor (SMR) technology for the needs of their armed forces.

In any case, Jakub Vik sums up, there will be no war without energy, regardless of whether energy is viewed only as a tool of war or as its cause and purpose.
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  1. rocket757
    rocket757 April 5 2021 10: 58
    +4
    Modern warfare means huge fuel costs
    In addition to fuel, a lot, a lot more! This is all commonplace, it has long been known. Here is something new, unusual, it would be interesting to talk about.
    1. vvvjak
      vvvjak April 5 2021 11: 09
      +7
      Quote: rocket757
      In addition to fuel, a lot, a lot more!

      In the end, it all comes down to energy and not only war, but life.
      1. rocket757
        rocket757 April 5 2021 11: 37
        +1
        So it is ... energy, it is life, movement.
        1. cniza
          cniza April 5 2021 12: 31
          +2
          As well as without clean water ... yes
          1. rocket757
            rocket757 April 5 2021 13: 07
            +1
            MTO is one of the "branches" of a large military machine! There is no secondary thing.
            1. Tatyana
              Tatyana April 5 2021 16: 24
              0
              Energy resources - a tool or a goal of war?

              Both, taken together! There is no need to go far into history for evidence-based examples of this - everything unfolds before our very eyes.

              For example. Both Poland and Slovenia oppose the construction of "SP-2", because these countries earn corruption on Kiev kickbacks for the so-called fictitious. "reverse" of Russian gas back to the Ukrainian gas transportation system, but in fact the so-called "reverse" Russian gas from the territory of Ukraine does not go anywhere.
              And the Bandera junta in Kiev is generally shouting like that, about:
              1) that the pumping of Russian gas through the GTS of Ukraine is already steadily decreasing due to the Turkish stream bypassing Ukraine,
              2) and that when the SP-2 is launched, the huntyash regime in Kiev will simply "die" without Russian gas.

              Another example, discussed on "VO" many times. Namely.
              Why does R.Belarus supply (la) to Ukraine - to the detriment of relations with Russia and to the benefit of Russophobic Kiev - fuel and lubricants from the same Russian oil coming from Russia to Belarus? After all, fuels and lubricants feed the military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which leads the punitive ATO - i.e. Russophobic civil war - with the ethnically Russian inhabitants of the DLNR!
              That such politically slim Belarusian deliveries of fuel and lubricants to Ukraine are tantamount to a betrayal by Belarus of Russia within the framework of the United State, and a betrayal of the defenders of the ethnically Russian people in the DLNR from the Bandera genocide! And no political multi-vector on the part of Lukashenka himself - to be both with the West and with Russia - this cannot be explained. And that this will in no way bring R.Belarus any benefit from such bandero-"allies" as in the khuntashny Kiev. And Tikhanovskaya is a vivid example of this!
              1. rocket757
                rocket757 April 5 2021 18: 14
                0
                Quote: Tatiana
                Both taken together

                The 22nd minke whales will hold the world summit, the "ecological" one, I think we will find out something interesting !!!
                It’s just interesting, who else will the striped whales be pushed under themselves, so that a "merry bunch" would attack those who are still kicking and want to remain somewhat sovereign !!!
                1. Nyrobsky
                  Nyrobsky April 5 2021 22: 57
                  +1
                  Quote: rocket757
                  Quote: Tatiana
                  Both taken together

                  The 22nd minke whales will hold the world summit, the "ecological" one, I think we will find out something interesting !!!
                  It’s just interesting, who else will the striped whales be pushed under themselves, so that a "merry bunch" would attack those who are still kicking and want to remain somewhat sovereign !!!

                  It seems that the countries with intensively developing economies, namely China and Russia, including India and Brazil, will try to crush it. If this event involves the participation of top officials of states, then the presence of minor figures from the PRC, the Russian Federation, India and Brazil at the summit will indicate that this mattress venture has failed and another puncture has been outlined in Bidon's assets. Something suggests that, taking into account the latest counterproductive statements of mattresses against the leaders of these countries (at least Russia and China), it will be so, and the lack of consensus entails the failure of the mattress initiative on a global scale, tk. the population of these 4 countries makes up half of the world's population, and therefore will confirm the commitment to traditional sources of energy derived from hydrocarbons. The Chinese signed a copper contract with Iran on the supply of oil for the next 25 years, and therefore confirmed their position that the "green idea" would be ignored.
                  1. rocket757
                    rocket757 April 6 2021 06: 25
                    0
                    Quote: Nyrobsky
                    It seems that the countries with intensively developing economies, namely China and Russia, including India and Brazil, will try to crush it.

                    This is the ultimate goal, or rather one of the goals !!! The summit is the beginning of a public confrontation between those who are against striping, those who will gather under its control.
                    The process is just beginning !!! am
    2. cniza
      cniza April 5 2021 12: 31
      +3
      Quote: rocket757
      Modern warfare means huge fuel costs
      In addition to fuel, a lot, a lot more! This is all commonplace, it has long been known. Here is something new, unusual, it would be interesting to talk about.


      It is fuel as a base - a forming part of everything you need ...
      1. rocket757
        rocket757 April 5 2021 13: 08
        +1
        Everything is mechanized ... there has been a battle of motors for a long time.
  2. Doccor18
    Doccor18 April 5 2021 11: 11
    +1
    In any case ... there will be no war without energy ...

    Also, the grass is green and the sky is blue ...
    What is the article about?
  3. WHAT IS
    WHAT IS April 5 2021 11: 28
    +7
    "The world will be ruled by kerosene workers," said the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. "He who owns oil, he rules the world." These words belong to the British Admiral Fischer. Already in WWI it became clear how important oil is in a war, when oil proved that it is she who is at the center of geopolitics. The British Foreign Minister Lord Curzon quite rightly noted: "The allies were brought to victory by the flow of oil ... Since the beginning of the war, oil and oil products began to be classified as the main means by which they (the forces of the Allies ) had to lead it, and with which they could defeat. "French Senator Henri Beranger, head of the French wartime body of the General Committee on Petroleum, added that oil was" the blood of victory. Germany boasted too much of its superiority in iron and coal but did not attach due importance to our superiority in oil. "
    1. Flooding
      Flooding April 5 2021 11: 37
      0
      Quote: WHAT IS
      "The French Senator Henri Beranger, head of the French wartime body General Committee on Petroleum, added that oil was" the blood of victory. Germany boasted too much of its superiority in iron and coal, but did not give due importance to our superiority in oil. "

      to whose "our"? French?
  4. cniza
    cniza April 5 2021 12: 29
    +1
    regardless of whether energy is viewed only as a tool of war or as its cause and purpose.


    They are very closely related, but future wars could be over drinking water ...
  5. Galleon
    Galleon April 5 2021 12: 53
    +4
    At one time, Napoleon Bonaparte said a very interesting and fair phrase: in order to wage a war, you need money, money and even more money.


    Three things are needed for war: money, money, and again money

    It is mistakenly attributed to Napoleon I (1769-1821), the theoretician of military art Count Raimondo Montecuccoli (1608-1680), whose works were especially noted by our Generalissimo A.V. Suvorov, etc.
    According to the Italian author Ludovico Gvicchardini in his essay "Leisure time" (1565), this is how Marshal Gian-Jacopo Trivulzio (1448-1518) answered the question of Louis XII, what preparations are needed to conquer the Duchy of Milan.
    If only the author scattered different types of energy in different directions for interest: where is chemical, where is electric, etc.