Can anybody help me with the following passage?

Eigner and his deputy, Mustafa Riza Tadjadod, were to come down out of the hills to the railway and plant time fuses at irregular intervals along the line, thus wrecking it in several different places. Results were to be reported to Abwehr II by means of a tiny, briefcase-sized W/T set with petrol aggregate (Model SE 100/5).

The text is about sabotage operation of the Nazi Regime in Persia during World War II. The meaning of "petrol aggregate" in this context is ambiguous for me. Does it refer to the fuel used for this W/t set (wireless transmitter)?

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    I would presume it's "tar" or "asphalt". – Hot Licks Aug 27 '19 at 17:05
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    Did they put something in the petrol? That would sabotage. – marcellothearcane Aug 27 '19 at 17:10
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    @MichaelHarvey so the intent is really something like "...tiny, briefcase-sized wireless transmitter set with gas-powered generator"? – Hellion Aug 27 '19 at 17:46
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    I would avoid "gas-powered" because, in American English "gas" could be "gasoline" (petrol, petroleum spirit) but in other varieties of English, "gas-powered" would make people think of a real gas, like butane, LPG, hydrogen, etc. – Michael Harvey Aug 27 '19 at 17:49
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    Exactly as Michael Harvey said - in some languages aggregate is synonymous to generator, but not in English. – shogun Aug 27 '19 at 18:22

Most probably it refers to a portable power station (petrol powered electricity generator) to power the radio. Check and compare the links below:

petrol aggregate

W/T set

contemporary petrol powered electricity generators


"Petrol-aggregat" is in a number of Nordic languages and "petrol aggregate" in German, meaning "petrol (or gasoline) generating set". The set is an engine and electric generator combined ("aggregated") together. The use of "aggregate" in the English translation is an error.

  • @MichaelHarvey - Since that idea was put forward by you, you deserve to have credit for it. – Justin Aug 27 '19 at 18:55
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    I was too cowardly to post it as an answer; you deserve the credit, in my opinion. – Michael Harvey Aug 27 '19 at 18:56
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    Good answer. That is why this "petrol aggregate" has a model number. (Unlike tar or asphalt, which "petrol aggregate" might mean in English.) This is just a bad translation of German to English. – GEdgar Aug 27 '19 at 19:03
  • There is no German word "petrol aggregate". The closest term for a gasoline-powered portable generator would be "Stromaggregat" (e.g. see the German Wikipedia). – njuffa Aug 28 '19 at 1:43
  • The distinction also exists in English, but it's entirely technical. If you ask someone who works with them, a device that converts motion into electricity is a generator, and a device that combines a generator with a motor to turn it is a genset. A gasoline powered portable generator is the latter. – hobbs Aug 28 '19 at 3:55

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