Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

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ljadw
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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by ljadw » 18 Jan 2012 17:16

Already on 25 november 1941,general Wagner was writing :we are at the end of our material and human resources,and already before the Soviet winteroffensive the Ostheer had switched from offensive to defensive ,and the British tanks were not used in october (when the possible German danger was the biggest).
The British tanks were used in the winter ,when the German danger to Moscow had vanished .

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by LWD » 18 Jan 2012 18:27

ljadw wrote:... The British tanks were used in the winter ,when the German danger to Moscow had vanished .
It would help a lot if you say what you mean. There's a big difference between "German danger" and "German danger ot Moscow". Even the later had of course not vanished by the time of the winter offensive. Admittedly the odds of the Germans taking Moscow was very low at that point but wasn't Moscow still in range of German bombers? In any case I'm not sure why it makes such a big difference in this thread.

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by ljadw » 18 Jan 2012 19:03

Well,Philo was arguing that 15 to 20 % of the Soviet tanks used in the counter-offensive were from British origine:IMHO (sorry, Sid) that's not a very decisive argument,as the results of the winter offensive were meagre,and that the number of tanks used in the winter offensive was low,one also can argue that more /less tanks would not have changed (fundamentally) the outcome of the winter offensive .
Of course,if one could prove that Typhoon failed,because of the presence of a number of British tanks,than one could argue that the presence of these tanks was important,but,as we know that there were no British tanks on the east front in october,.....

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by LWD » 18 Jan 2012 19:38

ljadw wrote:Well,Philo was arguing that 15 to 20 % of the Soviet tanks used in the counter-offensive were from British origine:IMHO (sorry, Sid) that's not a very decisive argument,as the results of the winter offensive were meagre,and that the number of tanks used in the winter offensive was low,one also can argue that more /less tanks would not have changed (fundamentally) the outcome of the winter offensive .
Without a lot more facts that's a very weak argument. There lack of numbers may have made each one even more important. Furthermore addtional tanks could have just as well resulted in considerably more gains and fewer tanks could have resulted in fewer gains and or severe setbacks. Or not. One needs to analyze the situation in considerably more detail before such arguements can carry much weight.
Of course,if one could prove that Typhoon failed,because of the presence of a number of British tanks,than one could argue that the presence of these tanks was important,but,as we know that there were no British tanks on the east front in october,.....
But the failure in October was hardly the only point at which the contribution of LL can or should be judged is it?

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by ljadw » 18 Jan 2012 21:59

So is the winter offensive .

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by LWD » 18 Jan 2012 22:14

Ah but if the point is LL was already having a significant impact that early then its long term impact would be even more important.

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by Alk » 21 Jan 2012 05:39

There is more than one way of looking at Lend-Lease. The Soviet Union, as can be expected from a country with a strong sense of nationalism, minimizes the effect that Lend Lease had on the outcome of the war, and points to its own enormous sacrifices and archivements as being the deciding factor in defeating Germany.

I recommend Albert Weeks' book, "Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II". It is the most definitive study on the effect of Lend Lease on the Soviet's ability to conduct the war. Much of his book is based upon the Russian archival research work of two courageous Russian historians, Boris Sokolov and Alla Poperno, who peeled back the Soviet-enforced silence on this subject within Russia.

There had been a systematic attempt by the Soviets to portray Lend-Lease as being somewhat helpful but far from decisive. This has been largely accepted as being a fact, even in the West. In his book, Weeks outlines the true scope of Lend Lease aid and its implications on Russia's ability to fight the war. With the help of the research of the two Russian historians, he makes the case that the Lend Lease aid was of absolutely decisive importance.

Some of the following facts need to be restated:

The Allies (mainly the USA) supplied enough food to feed a 10 million man Russian army for every day of the war.

Russian uniforms were made mainly from allied supplied leather, cloth and wool in the later part of the war.

Russian foot soldiers were mainly wearing American-made boots (over 15 million pairs supplied) in the latter part of the war.

The Russian air force was flying primarily on US-supplied aviation gasoline.

Over 92% of Soviet wartime delivered locomotives (about 2,000) and other rail equipment (freight cars, rails, ties, switching equipment, etc) were supplied by the Allies.

The USA supplied over 14,000 aircraft to the Soviets, including over 6,000 very useful Airocobras and King Cobras, along with about 3,000 capable P-40's. Over 3,000 highly effective A-20 and B-25 medium bombers also made it to Russia. Large numbers of British-supplied Spitfires and Hurricanes fought over Russia as well. Sokolov clams that Allied-supplied aircraft actually made up 30% of the Red Air force total!

Of the over 7,000 US tanks supplied to Russia, over 3,000 were Shermans. About 1800 of these had the 76mm gun. Reading the memoirs of the famous Russian tank commander, Dmitriy Loza, in his drive through Eastern Europe, these later Shermans were valued every bit as much as a T-34 by their crews. Early in the war, estimates put the Soviet tank strength during the Moscow counter-offensive as being about 30% British. Admittedly British tanks were a far cry from the T-34, but these were in very short supply at that time.

A substantial portion of medium anti-aircraft guns (40mm) were supplied by the USA as well (about 5,000).

The Russians were notoriously lacking in modern communications equipment. Approximately 1,000,000 miles of telephone cables, 35,000 radio stations, 40,000 field radios, 380,000 field telephones, and 1400 radar sets, were sent to Russia to remedy this situation.

Since all Russian tractor factories were producing tanks, the Americans found the time to deliver over 8,000 tractors to the Soviets.

Most of the Russian explosives factories were located in the Ukraine (Donets Basin) and so were overrun by the Germans. To compensate for this, Lend-Lease supplied 317,900 tons of explosive materials. Soviet production is claimed to be approximately 600,000 tons. The Allies supplied over 103,000 tons of toluene, also known as TNT. Soviet production is said to have totalled about 116,000 tons. The huge Russian artillery barrages that so devastated the Germans in the later stages of the war would have been much smaller without Allied munitions supplies. After researching Russian archives, Sokolov estimates that 53% of all Soviet munitions were supplied by Lend Lease.

Vast quantities of machine tools were also supplied (over 100,000), greatly facilitating the production miracle in the relocated Soviet factories. The manufacturing hours of the famous ZiS-3 76mm gun were reduced from 3700 machine hours to 475 hours, to a large part due to sophisticated new machine tools obtained through lend-lease.

The Soviets received 350,000 tons of Lend Lease aluminum. It has been estimated that this allowed the Soviets to manufacture over twice as many aircraft as they would have without this metal. 80.3% of the aluminum in T-34 production was supplied by Lend Lease.

Also delivered were 2,300,000 tons of steel, 802,000 tons of noniron metals, 2,670,000 tons of Petroleum products, 842,000 tons of Chemicals 106,000,000 tons of Cotton, over 50,000 tons of wool, over 50,000 tons of leather, and almost 4,000,000 tires and 114,000 tons of rubber. Hundeds of other items were supplied in substantial quantities as well...and I have still not gotten to the main product that almost everyone points to as being the most important.

....That is the over 350,000 1.5 and 2.5 ton high quality American trucks and over 50,000 jeeps that were also supplied.

Russian soldiers sarcastically labelled Spam and other products like it "2nd front". There is a lot of truth in this. They paid in blood while the allies paid mostly in material. However looking at the above totals, it is impossible to minimize the impact of Lend Lease on the Red Army.

Lend Lease allowed the Russians to concentrate on building tanks, artillery, small arms and aircraft in great quantities, and let supplies from American and Britain fill in the very substantial cracks.

Conventional wisdom is that native Soviet productive capacity simply overwhelmed Germany. That it was at levels that the Germans could not match. The raw numbers of tanks, guns and aircraft are impressive, but the truth was that Germany produced 4 times the amount of coal and 3 times the amount of steel that the Soviet Union did during the war. Weeks and Sokolov argue that Lend Lease is what allowed Russia to use their limited resources with extreme effectiveness.

I'll conclude with the following quotations:

Sokolov, the Russian historian stated:

“On the whole, the following conclusion can be drawn: that without these Western Shipments under Lend–Lease, the Soviet Union not only would not have been able to win the Great Patriotic War, it would not have been able even to oppose the German invaders, since it could not itself produce sufficient quantities of arms and military equipment or adequate supplies of fuel and ammunition. The Soviet authorities were well aware of this dependency on Lend-Lease. Thus, Stalin told Harry Hopkins (FDR’s emissary to Moscow in July 1941) that the USSR could not match Germany’s might as an occupier of Europe and its resources.”

...and finally...one more.

“[b]When we entered the war, we were still a backward country in the industrial sense as compared to Germany…..Today (in 1963), some say the Allies really didn’t help us… But, listen, one cannot deny that the Americans shipped over to us materiel without which we could not have equipped our armies held in reserve or been able to continue the war…We did not have enough munitions, and how would we have been able to turn out all those tanks without the rolled steel sent to us by the Americans? To believe what they say (in the USSR) today, you’d think we had all this in abundance!”

- March G. K. Zhukov[/b]


....figures supplied here are primarily from Albert Weeks' book "Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II".
Last edited by Alk on 21 Jan 2012 08:34, edited 7 times in total.

ljadw
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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by ljadw » 21 Jan 2012 06:24

As already has been stated,it is simply impossible that the Soviet soldiers were wearing mainly US boots at the end of the war :on 1 january 1944,the Red Army had 11.4 million men,assuming 2 pair of boots for each soldier in 1944,that is a total of 22.8 million for 1944,and what then about 1945?
The SU mobilized 30 million men,if every soldier served 2 years,and received each of these 2 years 2 pair of boots,we have a total of 120 million of boots,15 million would be some 12 %.

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by Alk » 21 Jan 2012 07:05

I tried my best to be clearly state "foot soldiers" which are the part of the Red Army that is combat infantry. I also stated "in the later part of the war". That would by definition mean the last two years of a slightly less than 4-year war. Even if the army was comprised of 100% foot soldiers, that would cut your number in half. Also...you are including well over 10 million dead and captured Russian soldiers in your calculations and allotting them 4 pairs of boots each. You may want to reassess that number.

A total of 15,400,000 lend-lease pairs of boots were delivered to Russia. The "foot soldier" portion of the army that I specified in my comments is by definition a fraction (half or less) of any army, including the 11 million man Red army in 1944. In the US Army it would be less than 25%. I have no idea what rear echelon troops Russian troops were wearing, but it is somewhat doubtful they would all be issued combat-quality US boots.

Possibly you are right however. If you are overly concerned because I stated that the Red Army foot soldiers were "mainly" wearing US boots in the later part of the war, please replace that word with the term "to a significant extent".

I would also comment that assuming that each Red Army soldier was issued 2 pairs of boots in 1944 would be extremely optimistic on your part.

Cheers

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by Kilgore Trout » 21 Jan 2012 08:26

Pursuant to the boot debate: In winter 44-5, the U.S. Army had huge numbers of casualities due to "trench foot." While poor socks or hygiene can cause this, another important cause is shoes/boot which retain moisture. This suggests that perhaps the U.S. boots were not of very good quality, and therefore not something to be cherished. One may respond that any boots, even poor ones, are better than no boots at all - but maybe not. The S.U. in winter 41-2 had a notable advantage over the wehrmacht due to many of its troops being dressed in "valenki" - large, high boots with removable felt insoles. Still the S.U. was disingenuous in its negating of the huge contributions made by the western allies to its overall military ability.

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by Alk » 21 Jan 2012 08:51

Agree about Russian winter boots, especially compared to the steel nailed general issue boots the Germans had been wearing since the previous spring. Like the Finns, the Russians were light years ahead of the Germans in cold weather gear....especially in the winter of 1941/42. I am not in a position to discuss the relative merits of standard US combat boots vs those of other countries in the second world war. I would think that trench foot was equally common in all armies in WWII but possibly not. It definitely plauged all sides in WWI, which is when the term was coined. It was still a major problem in Vietnam (As Lt. Dan stressed to Forrest Gump).

Boots were not one of the most significant items on the list of Lend Lease supplies. I'm now sorry i included them on my list. The quality of these and the exact percentage of Russian troops actually wearing them late in the war is tangental to my main point, which is the amount of significance that Lend Lease supplies had in allowing the Russians to overwhem the German Army as quickly as they did.

Cheers

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by bf109 emil » 21 Jan 2012 09:16

sure it was, it showed that a combined effort was unified in defeating a common enemy.

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by South » 21 Jan 2012 11:31

Good morning Alk and all,

I also recall US Lend Lease to the USSR included Patrol Torpedo boats and either some Liberty or Victory ships. The PT boats were returned to the US.


Warm regards,

Bob

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by ljadw » 21 Jan 2012 12:00

Alk wrote:Agree about Russian winter boots, especially compared to the steel nailed general issue boots the Germans had been wearing since the previous spring. Like the Finns, the Russians were light years ahead of the Germans in cold weather gear....especially in the winter of 1941/42. I am not in a position to discuss the relative merits of standard US combat boots vs those of other countries in the second world war. I would think that trench foot was equally common in all armies in WWII but possibly not. It definitely plauged all sides in WWI, which is when the term was coined. It was still a major problem in Vietnam (As Lt. Dan stressed to Forrest Gump).

Boots were not one of the most significant items on the list of Lend Lease supplies. I'm now sorry i included them on my list. The quality of these and the exact percentage of Russian troops actually wearing them late in the war is tangental to my main point, which is the amount of significance that Lend Lease supplies had in allowing the Russians to overwhem the German Army as quickly as they did.

Cheers
I think that the figure of 15 million boots as such,is meaningless,unless...we should know
how much boots were available in the SU in june 1941 (stocks included)
how much were made during the war(unless one should argue that in 1943,the Soviets were saying:we will receive 15 million boots from the US,thus we will stop with the production of boots)
how much boots were needed by the Red Army
how much of these 15 million boots had as destination the Red Army/ the civilians
how much Russian /US boots were lost during the war
As we don't have an answer on these questions,....I think that the boot argument should not be used in a LL discussion
And,I think it is the same for a lot of items mentioned in the LL discussions,as,tanks,aircraft,....
That's why I am thinking that the whole LL discusions are nefast,because they only are resulting in having the chauvenists from both sides facing each other .

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Re: Was Lend-Lease critical in the East?

Post by phylo_roadking » 21 Jan 2012 12:38

As we don't have an answer on these questions,....I think that the boot argument should not be used in a LL discussion
Not necessarily - there's ONE aspect of the boot issue that is not often discussed...and has to be looked at hand in hand with the millions of cans of Spam sent to the USSR, and grain etc.... :wink: And it's where that boot leather came from :wink: The importation of just SO many boots and such large amounts of food aid would be a huge saving in agricultural labour for the USSR - hundreds of thousands of cattle NOT reared for butchering for hides and meat- allowing more labour to be released from agriculture into uniform.

Look at it from the point of view of what happened in Grmany in WWI - for a number of reasons during the Economic Blackade, but ALSO the falling number of available farm labourers - the rearing/production of carcasses for meat and hides plummeted during the last two years of WWI in Germany, as well as the size/weight of those produced falling off...whereas in the USSR in WWII that potential shortfall was being made up by the Americans.
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