I am starting to research dad’s operation to Scholven Buer on December 29, 1944. 419 Squadron lost two aircraft that night. Dad recorded in his logbook: Flak Mod/Heavy; “Scarecrow” burst all over A/C; Syntheic Oil Plant “Came up to meet us” Beautiful Prang. The scarecrow may have been one of the two 419 a/c, as the sole survivor of KB.753 “L” was the rear gunner, W/O Rogers who noted they were on their bombing run when the aircraft exploded, blowing him out of his turret (Moose Squadron History).

I have found two interesting references on the synthetic oil plant. The first is “Anon. 1945. Petroleum Facilities of Germany. Part 12. pp 204-206. Prepared by the Enemy Oil Committee for the Fuels and Lubricants Division. Office of the Quartermaster General, Washington D.C. 372 p.” It is available 22 parts.

The Scholven Buer plant utilized the Bergius process for hydrogenation of coal, described in considerable detail here:

However I have also been examining Ralf Blank’s review of the Synthetic Oil plants and he records that the Nazi regime was relocating these plants to underground facilities, translated from German using Google Translate, all errors mine:

“The air operation of Bomber Command carried out 6 November 1944 against Gelsenkirchen was part of a series of offensive attacks on the German fuel and petroleum industry.32 The Hydrierwerk Scholven AG in the Gelsenkirchen district of Buer, founded in 1935, and the Gelsenberg Benzin AG hydrogenation plant, which was built the following year near the Nordstern mine in the Horst district, were not only the most efficient hydrogenation plants on the Rhine and Ruhr in terms of capacity until the summer of 1944, but were among the five most important fuel plants in the Reich.33 The production of the hydrogenation plants ensured above all the supply of aviation fuel to the Luftwaffe.

When Bomber Command carried out a large-scale operation against Gelsenkirchen on 6 November 1944, the German side had long since decided to abandon the disused hydrogenation plants in Buer and Horst as well as in other places. In October of that year, all reconstruction work on the bombed plant in Gelsenkirchen-Horst had already been stopped. Gelsenberg Benzin AG searched in the autumn of 1944 with the support of the Ministry of Defence for new and, if possible, "bomb-proof" sites. In order to be able to restart the production of hydrogen fuel as quickly as possible, all usable machines and equipment were dismantled in the last months of the war and after "bomb-proof" evasive storage facilities were removed.”

So it seems that the raid to Scholven Buer was in vain? I’m going to have to discuss this further with Dr. Blank.