What if......no Lend-Lease to the Soviets?

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Klaus Yurk
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What if......no Lend-Lease to the Soviets?

Post by Klaus Yurk » 19 Jul 2004 01:50

I looked back 10-12 pages and found no similar subject. If it has been posted before, please forgive me.

What if the US had told Uncle Joe, "Look we just don't trust you to ever pay this stuff back, soooooo there will be no Lend-Lease for you. We'll be glad to sell you anything you want, cash on the barrel, F.O.B the US port. But no credit. You are a bad credit risk." (And indeed, they have never paid back a penny.)

So in your opinions, could the USSR have survived without Lend-Lease? It was always my impression, that they could not. (But, as always, I could be wrong.) Just without the grain we sent them alone, Stalin probably couldn't even have fed his army, much less his people, after the Germans took the Ukraine, Caucuses, etc. Then you have enormous raw materials, lots of planes, tanks, guns, and especially half a million trucks to carry men and materiel.

But there seems to be some revisionism going on among the younger people stating that Lend-Lease was unimportant and they could easily have won without it. Does that have any truth to it? Or is it just revisionism?

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Czar
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Re: What if......no Lend-Lease to the Soviets?

Post by Czar » 19 Jul 2004 04:31

Klaus Yurk wrote:I looked back 10-12 pages and found no similar subject. If it has been posted before, please forgive me.

What if the US had told Uncle Joe, "Look we just don't trust you to ever pay this stuff back, soooooo there will be no Lend-Lease for you. We'll be glad to sell you anything you want, cash on the barrel, F.O.B the US port. But no credit. You are a bad credit risk." (And indeed, they have never paid back a penny.)

So in your opinions, could the USSR have survived without Lend-Lease? It was always my impression, that they could not. (But, as always, I could be wrong.) Just without the grain we sent them alone, Stalin probably couldn't even have fed his army, much less his people, after the Germans took the Ukraine, Caucuses, etc. Then you have enormous raw materials, lots of planes, tanks, guns, and especially half a million trucks to carry men and materiel.

But there seems to be some revisionism going on among the younger people stating that Lend-Lease was unimportant and they could easily have won without it. Does that have any truth to it? Or is it just revisionism?


This question had been dicussed for many times on this forum already. Everyone knows that Lend-Lease was vital to USSR, but not that Soviets couldn't make throught the war without Lend_Lease.

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 19 Jul 2004 07:27

I think the Soviets could have survived without Lend-Lease, which didn't really make a crucial difference to the Soviet war effort until 1943, after the Battle of Stalingrad which prevented a German victory.

Lend-Lease fed the Soviet counter-offensive, by providing rations, boots, trucks and communications equipment for the Red Army. (The weapons provided to the USSR helped, but were generally inferior to the best Soviet weapons.) The Soviets could have advanced to victory without Lend-Lease, but their advance would have been a lot slower - it could have taken them until April 1946 to reach Berlin.

Also, without the Allied cooperation provided by Lend-Lease, Stalin would be more likely to make a separate peace with Germany in 1943 instead of fighting on until final victory. But in reality, even the threat of such a peace would terrify the Allies into giving the Soviets whatever supplies they wanted - since D-Day would never work if most of the Wehrmacht was in France.

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Post by maltesefalcon » 19 Jul 2004 20:21

Stalin once said of Churchill "He will not surrender until the last drop of Russian blood is expended"

The arms imports as stated were not enough to tilt the balance. The shipments of food clothing and vehicles were, however most welcome. Russia would have been unable to supply or move its troops quickly, without these trucks, and would likely have collapsed in 1942.

Bear in mind that after 1942, the bulk of the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht was in the East. If Russia had surrendered, or drastically scaled back their military efforts, both the Strategic bombing campaign and the D-Day invasion would suffer for it, since so many aircraft were used in the ground attack role.

Post war, Russia did not even acknowledge the sacrifices made by the merchant marine in getting those goods into port. I believe this situation was rectified in the 1990's with a memorial.

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 20 Jul 2004 00:18

In this page there are some useful data comparing the Land-Lease supplies and Soviet production: Lend-Lease as a Function of the Soviet War Economy.

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Post by maltesefalcon » 20 Jul 2004 11:39

Interesting figures. One of the biggest clues that Lend Lease was vital to Russia, was that despite Herculean efforts from the Allies to provide Him with his needs, Stalin always asked for more.

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Post by verdonsky » 23 Jul 2004 22:12

Tim, what is your reasoning for reaching Berlin on April 1946? Looking at the statistics, it looks like they could never have reached Berlin, :)

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 24 Jul 2004 00:47

verdonsky wrote:Tim, what is your reasoning for reaching Berlin on April 1946? Looking at the statistics, it looks like they could never have reached Berlin, :)
statistic is misleading since it does not takes into the account Soviet-pre war reserves which were quite substantial; also page lists Sokolov as source -don't know what exactly they used him for but the man was proved to be a froad a la Suvorov.

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 24 Jul 2004 02:21

Without Lend Lease, the Soviets would be short of railway locomotives, rolling stock and rails, also trucks and jeeps. That makes it difficult to rapidly rebuild railways destroyed by the retreating Germans, and also to quickly transport large numbers of troops by road.

Basically the vast majority of the standard Soviet rifle divisions would be stuck with marching on foot. The tank divisions and a few motorised infantry divisions would be able to make deep 100 mile penetrations into the German lines, but rapidly bringing up the rest of the infantry to hold the ground taken would be a serious logistical problem. Which makes deep penetration thrusts more risky, and huge encirclement operations like Bagration much more difficult to pull off successfully.

I think the Red Army would be forced to be satisfied with relatively short penetrations, small local encirclements, and a slow but steady advance along the entire Eastern front, in a huge wave. This approach gets the job done, but takes longer and thus costs more casualties. There would be no spectacular encirclements and destruction of several German divisions at once, no complete collapse of the front in a particular sector and no swift, deep Soviet advance afterwards.

Instead, the Soviet principle would be attritional warfare - and they had the numbers of men, tanks, guns and planes to make that strategy work. The Soviets could afford regular, heavy losses, the Germans couldn't. They'd slowly grind the Germans down.



verdonsky wrote:Tim, what is your reasoning for reaching Berlin on April 1946? Looking at the statistics, it looks like they could never have reached Berlin, :)

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Post by Nucleicacidman » 24 Jul 2004 05:09

I think it's important to remember that had the Germans captured, or cut off the Murmansk railway historians, such as Pat McTaggart, believe that Moscow, and consequently everthing to the west of the Soviet Union, would have fallen. Murmansk was, in fact, the only port in Noth West USSR which did not freeze over during the winter, hence the only port capable of taking on supplies from American lend lease.

Consequently reinforcing the fact that Lend-Lease was crucial to the Soviet war effort.

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 24 Jul 2004 05:51

Nucleicacidman wrote:I think it's important to remember that had the Germans captured, or cut off the Murmansk railway historians, such as Pat McTaggart, believe that Moscow, and consequently everthing to the west of the Soviet Union, would have fallen. Murmansk was, in fact, the only port in Noth West USSR which did not freeze over during the winter, hence the only port capable of taking on supplies from American lend lease.

Consequently reinforcing the fact that Lend-Lease was crucial to the Soviet war effort.
Most LL suplies did not arrive through Muramnsk -in fact the percenatge of LL shipped through Murmansk is utterly insignificant when comapred to the Vladivastok and Iran.

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 24 Jul 2004 05:53

Tim Smith wrote:Without Lend Lease, the Soviets would be short of railway locomotives, rolling stock and rails, also trucks and jeeps. That makes it difficult to rapidly rebuild railways destroyed by the retreating Germans, and also to quickly transport large numbers of troops by road.

Basically the vast majority of the standard Soviet rifle divisions would be stuck with marching on foot. The tank divisions and a few motorised infantry divisions would be able to make deep 100 mile penetrations into the German lines, but rapidly bringing up the rest of the infantry to hold the ground taken would be a serious logistical problem. Which makes deep penetration thrusts more risky, and huge encirclement operations like Bagration much more difficult to pull off successfully.

I think the Red Army would be forced to be satisfied with relatively short penetrations, small local encirclements, and a slow but steady advance along the entire Eastern front, in a huge wave. This approach gets the job done, but takes longer and thus costs more casualties. There would be no spectacular encirclements and destruction of several German divisions at once, no complete collapse of the front in a particular sector and no swift, deep Soviet advance afterwards.

Instead, the Soviet principle would be attritional warfare - and they had the numbers of men, tanks, guns and planes to make that strategy work. The Soviets could afford regular, heavy losses, the Germans couldn't. They'd slowly grind the Germans down.



verdonsky wrote:Tim, what is your reasoning for reaching Berlin on April 1946? Looking at the statistics, it looks like they could never have reached Berlin, :)


LL transport never ammounted to more than a 30% of total transport used by RKKA and that number was achived in may of 1945. Sorry but your point is invalid.


additionaly

Avgas -- Soviet production
Pre-war stocks - approx. 1000
1941 - 1269
1942 - 912
1943 - 1007
1944 - 1334
1945 - 1017
Total - 6539

Total LL delieveries : 2586
LL delieveries after the end of the war: 414
Useful LL deliveries: 2172

Total: 8711
LL proportion: 25%

Aluminum:
Soviet production: 351,000 m.t. [3]
LL shipments: 237,555 m.t. [2]
LL proportion: 40% or less if we are to count in pre-war stocks.

Copper: Soviet production: 709,000 metric tonnes pure
LL deliveries: 308,726 metric tonnes base alloys (trick question: what is the conversion ratio between ore and pure copper?)
69,400 m.t. pure LL proportion: less than 35% (I have a suspiction it would be less than 20% if you convert ore to pure copper)

In regards to steamengines - USSR managed to evacuate prtctiaclly all pre-war stock -losses 15% only. In that light the significance of LL deliveries is changed somewhat.

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Post by Liptow » 26 Jul 2004 15:37

LL US gasoline was 100 octane and Soviets used it to mix with own poor quality 78 octane.
6,000,000 tons of concentrated food gave 0,25kg per capita per the whole war (from that I calculated 13,000,000 Red Army soldiers)
15,000,000 pairs of winter shoes - possibility to study new technologies on LL tanks and aeroplanes - radios for tanks and aeroplanes..
Both parties did what they coudl best - Russians spend millions of forgotten soldiers, US to equip the whole free world with material for free.

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Post by Mark V » 26 Jul 2004 17:02

Liptow wrote:LL US gasoline was 100 octane and Soviets used it to mix with own poor quality 78 octane.


Not to forget 558.000 gallons of TEL (tetraethyl lead). From that amount blended to raw gasoline you got an helluva lot of 87 octane avgas.


EDIT: Around 25 to 50 million barrels of high octane avgas, 80/87 grade, could be made from that amount of TEL, depending of the quality of raw gasoline. Nowdays 0.5 grams per gallon is enough for 80/87 - i based my calculation to 1-2 grams per gallon as the Soviet raw gasoline would had been for sure inferior in quality compared to modern stuff. The 80/87 quality is what Soviet aircraft engines needed - so no talk about how LL aircrafts needed higher octane than Soviet ones - you could get only around 70+ octane gasoline without additives at that time.

Regards, Mark V

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Re: What if......no Lend-Lease to the Soviets?

Post by Andreas » 27 Jul 2004 11:17

Klaus Yurk wrote:What if the US had told Uncle Joe, "Look we just don't trust you to ever pay this stuff back, soooooo there will be no Lend-Lease for you. We'll be glad to sell you anything you want, cash on the barrel, F.O.B the US port. But no credit. You are a bad credit risk." (And indeed, they have never paid back a penny.)


Klaus

That is not correct - Encarta.com says they paid back about 1/3rd by the 1960s, and in 1972 settled the matter (payments through to 2001 - no idea what the status of that is). I think it is quite remarkable that there could have been an agreement on the height of the Cold War.

By August 1945, when the war ended, lend-lease appropriations totaled about $48 billion. The U.S. had received more than $6 billion in reverse lend-lease. Arrangements for the repayments by the recipient nations were begun shortly after hostilities ceased. Except for the Soviet debt, of which less than one-third was repaid, repayment was virtually complete by the late 1960s. The U.S., in 1972, accepted an offer by the Soviet Union to pay $722 million in installments through 2001 to settle the indebtedness.


Encarta Article

As for the question at hand. The SU would have survived, and would have won in the end, but at far higher cost, and it would have taken a lot more time.

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