Undoubtedly, the most important holiday for the Russian people in the XXI century – a Day of Victory. Victory inherited a monstrously high price of victory, the contribution made by each family. On this holiday the whole country – from the President to middle-aged young students – took to the streets of cities with portraits of their ancestors, thanks to which today over the heads of the peaceful sky. Many thousands procession pay tribute to the merits of the heroes.
Your contribution to the great victory was made not only by Soviet soldiers. Together with them, the Germans resisted the British and the Americans who fought on other fronts, which helped the weapon and the various products that were so essential on the battlefield and in the rear. I would like to elaborate on such a significant episode of the great Patriotic war, lend-lease. As sources on such an important topic we will use the materials authoritative channel of the RF defense Ministry “Zvezda”, which has long been renowned for its unbiased presentation of information about everything connected with the Russian army and Russian victories.
First and foremost, war is a weapon. Tanks and aircraft, without which the beginning of the Second World war to make on the fields of battle were nothing. Before the great Patriotic war of the USSR had a whole tank armadas. Most of the tanks belonged to the lungs, but the lungs was among many modern machines. And in addition to the light it was under a thousand of the latest and unique T-34 and hundreds of heavy tanks KV-1. But by the fall at the front there is an acute shortage of armored vehicles. The US leadership at that time was not confident that the USSR will be able to resist Hitler, and did not hasten deliveries of tanks, fearing that they would get to the Germans. Not the last role in doubt Americans played and unpredictability of Stalin, who entered the Second World war, aiding Nazi Germany.
“Distrust is a good basis for cooperation.”
In this difficult time for the Soviet Union came to the aid of the British. 11 Oct 1941 in the Arkhangelsk profit British tanks “Matilda”. On the run-in and the development model of the Soviet soldiers was only 15 days. The tank was a forced compromise. It was created for the war in the desert, not winter in Russia. There were problems with the chassis, with the engine. For the tank was not high-explosive fragmentation shells. In the autumn of 1941 started to put another British tank, Mk.III “Valentine”. Just had a set of 350 “Matilda” and “Valentine”. But at that time it was a significant help. By December 1941 the Soviet army was only 1700 tanks. 20% of them is English.
The turning point in the battle of Moscow that changed the US view that the Soviet Union is waiting for a quick defeat. And in January 1942 on the front began to receive the first American tanks M3 “Stuart”, and since February – and medium tanks M3 “Lee”. They were also a necessary measure and did not meet the requirements of the front. But a real fighting machine of World war II was the M4 Sherman. Its production began in the U.S. in February 1942. Compared to the Soviet machines “Amcha” (so called M4 Soviet tank) was easier to drive and more stamina on long marches. The engine does not require frequent adjustment. A valuable feature was that the M4 worked quieter and less clanking caterpillars that were allowed to creep to the enemy. One of the main advantages of the M4 was that they all were equipped with walkie-talkies.
Moreover, in comparison with the Soviet it was the radio another level. One worked on ultra-short waves, and provided a link in combat at distances up to 2 km, and the Second was allowed to contact his command at distances of tens of kilometers. “Sherman” has established itself very well in the Soviet army and supplied to the end of the war. One of the military “memes” were the gifts of American workers who are left in the M4 tanks sent to the USSR. Alcohol and clothing were a pleasant and useful surprise for the soldiers. As part of the equipment of the tank of the coffee maker was impressed by Soviet engineers. The Soviet Union was delivered about 4000 “Shermans”.
“Another big plus, “Sherman” was the recharging of batteries. On our thirty for charging the battery needed to drive the engine at full capacity, all 500 horses. The “Sherman” in the fighting compartment was standing charger gasoline tillers, small as a motorcycle. Got it – and he’ll charge the battery. For us it was a great thing!”
D. F. Loza
Thanks to lend-lease, Soviet designers gained access to American and English novelties of armor. A detailed study of the components and assemblies were allowed to improve their own armored vehicles. 10% of the total number of Soviet tanks involved in the fighting, were machines, supplied under lend-lease.
An even more significant contribution to the victory was the delivery of aircraft. The USSR received dozens of different types of aircraft transport, fighter, bombers and even amphibians. As well as repair shops, spare parts and fuel.
On 22 June 1941, was lost 1,200 aircraft. Two-thirds were destroyed on the ground. Losses of the Luftwaffe on the first day of the great Patriotic war amounted to 240 aircraft of all types. New Soviet MiG-3, Yak-1, Lag-3 was inferior to the “Messer” in many ways. One of the significant advantages of the Luftwaffe was that radio stations in all German fighters. On Soviet aircraft was virtually no radio. Even new types of equipment transmitting and receiving radio station was put on one of the ten planes. Confidence of the German pilots gave and the front of the bulletproof glass.
After such a significant loss in the first weeks of the war and the evacuation of 3/4 of the aviation industry in the rear of the Soviet army experienced a severe shortage of aircraft. Already on 28 August 1941 on the airfield Vaenga near Murmansk landed 24 fighter “hurricane” with British identification marks. Another 15 aircraft arrived in crates in Arkhangelsk. All of them went to Northern fleet.
12 Oct 1941 in the Soviet sky appeared a P-40 Tomahawk. The plane had the same disadvantages in speed, and “Hurricane”. But the basic armament was powerful – 6 fifty caliber machine guns. The Tomahawks had a good armor, all-metal housing and at the same time was economical. One of the highlights was that all lend-lease aircraft were equipped with radios.
Until the end of 1941, the allies gave the USSR 730 fighters. Planes were lost to “Messerschmitt”, but was better than the old Soviet models. And they were just. These types of aircraft were delivered in 1942, but their value was already less. However, in April 1943 from 5500 aircraft in the current Soviet army a quarter was imported.
In late 1942, Soviet pilots began to develop the famous “Airacobra”. This unusual aircraft with a rear engine flew highest scoring Soviet aces: Alexander Pokryshkin, Grigoriy Rechkalov, Nikolay Gulyaev, brothers Glinka, Alexander Clubs. In the Soviet Union under lend-lease was delivered 5000 Airacobra. The plane had a powerful armament and excellent maneuverability at low and medium altitudes, which were held by Soviet pilots. The main drawback was the difficulty in piloting. The fighter demanded high skills of the pilots. Supply aircraft developed by the Soviet needs. For example, increased tail part under the energetic maneuvering. Soviet pilots exceeded the manufacturer’s overload, squeezing out of the car all its huge potential.
“Cobra” I liked its shape and, mainly, powerful weapons. Shoot down the enemy planes was a gun caliber of 37 millimeters, two large-caliber rapid-fire machine gun and four machine guns normal caliber at one thousand rounds per minute each. My mood is not spoiled, and after warning the pilots about the dangerous characteristics of the aircraft falling into a spin due to back alignment”.
A. I Pokryshkin
Another famous machine, supplied to the Soviet Union, became a B-25. In the USSR was very fond of his excellent navigational equipment and used as long-range night bomber. Deliveries began in 1942. Night 30 December 1942 several squadrons of “Mitchell family” without losses on their side bombed the railway station of Vitebsk.
In may 1942 began to arrive the front-line bombers – the Douglas A-20 “Boston”. Pilots considered it more reliable and efficient? the famous PE-2. The American was very tenacious, was able to continue flight on one engine, had excellent visibility, decent bomb load and a very good navigation equipment. The one drawback was the weak defensive armament. In naval aviation A-20 was capable of carrying two torpedoes.
Priorities in the aircraft industry of the USSR in the war, was a combat fighter planes, attack planes, bombers. The transport was done last. The lack of them was compensated for the American “Douglas” DC-3. In the late 30’s the Soviet Union acquired the license for the production of this aircraft. During the war, the Soviet Union launched over 2000 of these aircraft under the name Li-2. Another 700 cars came from the United States. American cars have usually completed the most important task.
Soviet Union during the war produced 112 000 aircraft. Lend-lease was delivered about 18,000 airplanes – 16% of the total. Especially important supplies were in the beginning of the war. Even more important was the opportunity to improve their own design solutions, which gave a boost to the aviation industry.
Industry produces not only tanks, planes and rifles. In the first weeks of the war, Soviet units faced acute shortage of anti-tank weapons. Before the war, major chemical plants, which produced gunpowder, shells and ammunition, was located on the West of the USSR. The first attack of German bombers destroyed many businesses. But in 1941 the British government agreed to give the USSR a half thousand tons of incendiary. The shipment was very explosive and therefore went across the Atlantic, USA, Pacific ocean, Vladivostok and the whole of the USSR. The British aid was delivered just in time for the Battle of Moscow. By this time the Soviet army had used all the stocks of gunpowder and explosives. In early 1942, the gunpowder began to enter the Soviet Union from Canada and the United States. Every fourth cartridge in the Soviet rifles was loaded with American gunpowder.
In 1941, the Soviet Union lost about 40% of fertile land. Vehicles, such as those in agriculture, were mobilized to the front. Agriculture went into decline. At the same time, the United States was the overproduction of food. Only US wheat was offered 200 000 tons per month. October 1, 1941 was the signing of the Moscow Protocol. In the first two months after the signing of the United States went to 28 ships, of which there were about 130 000 tons of cargo for the USSR. Initially, the aid came in smaller quantities because of the aforementioned fear of Washington that the USSR would lose the war, and supplies would get to the Germans. In the spring of 1942, the US supplied the seeds that were needed in the Soviet Union, where the lack of seed. By the autumn of 1942 the Soviet Union had lost territory, providing up to 60% of agricultural products. The harvest amounted to a quarter of the prewar level. 8 Sep 1942 wheat is the agreement of the USSR with Canada, where, as in the US, there was a crisis of overproduction in agriculture.
In the summer of 1942 the Soviet army began to cured meats. First American canned goods were received by the pilots, submariners, intelligence officers and other elite units. A simple soldier fall occasionally. But the volume of deliveries grew, and in 1944 meat was enough not only throughout the army, but also workers of rear. During the war the Americans produced 12 billion cans of canned pork – 3 billion went to the Soviet Union.
US aid to the Soviet Union was so great that in 1942 in the States themselves began shortage of food, gasoline, tires. Tires and gasoline in large volumes was done in the Soviet Union: each third wheel of the Soviet cars were received under lend-lease. But helping Americans was not confined to the supply of finished products. For example, in 1943 the American experts on their technologies and the equipment is run refineries in Kuibyshev, Orenburg, Krasnovodsk, and other cities of the USSR.
Important contributions the United States has become and aid to the Soviet aircraft industry. By 1943, was put on stream production of new efficient planes. The realities of war required the use of in aircraft new technologies with the use of alloys of non-ferrous metals. In 1941-42 the USSR in the manufacture of aircraft used wooden frames, plywood, percale (fabric). To resist the all-metal “Messer” these fighters could not. The USSR needed the supply of aluminum from abroad: production of aluminum due to the loss of plants in the Western part of the USSR fell to 430 times.
The famous Il-2 was produced from imported aluminum. During the war the USSR delivered more than 300 000 tonnes of aluminium and duralumin – a little more than was produced in Soviet enterprises. Further approximately 400 000 tons of lend-lease was delivered copper. And about 470 000 tonnes of cobalt, which was comparable to Soviet production in war. Tin the United States has put 13 000 tonnes, but this is two times more than produced in the USSR. Molybdenum – 9000 tons, but it was very important in the production of alloy steel for artillery and tank factories. Steel is also not enough. 18 million tons per year were produced in the USSR before the war. In 1940, U.S. steel was smelted more than 60 million tons. Only during the war years under lend-lease to the USSR was delivered 2.3 million tons of steel. This amount is sufficient for the production of 70,000 T-34 tanks. Supplied and finished products of steel – springs, cables, ropes.
Speaking about the American assistance, it is worth to mention clothing and shoes. Since the beginning of 1942 some of the new recruits got American shoes. All the years of the war, the USSR had delivered 15 million pairs of shoes. In large quantities shipped from USA cotton fabrics and cloth. To understand the scope of supplies you may recall that only one of the buttons from the USA under lend-lease was delivered more than 250 million units.
But figures supplied materials and weapons does not give a complete picture of the value of lend-lease. More important were the advances in technology, which allowed to transfer the fighting to the new conditions. Huge importance was the supply of machinery and equipment. Thanks to them, quickly set into operation a new plant and the whole company in the rear, which helped to turn the tide of the war. Some of these machines are still working.
Lend-lease gave the USSR a belligerent the ability to free up resources. All available resources, then went to the front. And chief among them was human. With time in the Soviet Union as lend-lease started in silence. In the US, on the contrary, be exaggerated. Began ideological confrontation, which today has gone to a new level. Remembering the death of their ancestors on the fronts of war, we should not forget those whose assistance helped to reduce these losses and to bring such honor to Win tonight.
“Now it is easy to say that lend-lease meant nothing. But in the autumn of 1941 we lost everything. And if not for lend-lease, not weapons, food – it is not clear how the matter would have turned around.”
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