Military Production

Military armament production in WW2.

assembly line at Avro's Woodford plant
British and Commonwealth arms production in WW2 from 1939-1945. Following are tables of the British and Commonwealth armaments and military Read more
Control of territories
The map of the control of territories in the European theater of war from 1942-45. Above is the strategic map Read more
Production of Russian KV-1
Comparison of military expenditures, distribution of vital strategic raw materials, oil and fuel production in World War II. Warmaking potential, Read more
assembly line of German Focke-Wulf Fw 190
German arms production in WW2 from 1939-1945. The annual German armaments and military equipment production (excluding ammunition) and a comparison Read more
Japanes aircraft factory
Military production and imports of Japan in World War II. Japanese military production in WW2 The annual Japanese armaments and Read more
P-63 Kingcobra lend-lease aircrafts for Russia
Lend-Lease tanks and aircraft for the Red Army 1941 to 1945. Figures of supplied armored vehicle and aircraft types from Read more
Production of ZIS3 field guns
Russian (Soviet) armaments production in the Second World War. Following are tables of the annual Russian (Soviet) armaments production (excluding Read more
Final assembly of StuG assault guns.
Tanks, Assault guns, Self-propelled guns production in Germany during WW2. In the following table is summarized the production of all Read more
M3 Lee tanks under construction
U.S. arms production during WW2 from 1939-1945. Following are tables of the annual U.S. arms production (excluding ammunition) and a Read more
new Italian M14-41 tanks
Military production of the Axis Minors Italy, Hungary and Romania during the Second World War. By type of weapons and Read more

Production of B-24 Liberator bombers
Production of B-24 Liberator bombers in a US aircraft plant.
Modern wars have been – at least since the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) – neither been decided by the better warrior or soldier, nor by the tactical or strategic genius of a Napoleon (probably the last one in this series with this privilege), Frederick the Great, Charles XII, Wallenstein, Caesar, Hannibal, or Alexander the Great, but by considerable material and numerical superiority on the battlefield and reserves.

And this is achieved by a superior armament production, which is dependent on superior organization and labor power as well as access to more material resources.

This is why we are looking here on the comparison of production figures and access to important strategic raw materials during WW2. However, there also has further implications for the respective armaments’ production of the participating nations, such as the strategic air war, sea warfare and blockades.

The most important raw material for military armaments is the iron and steel sector. Iron and steel are the basis for every armament production and are the ‘key figures’ for what it is possible. However, even this can not decide a war, if no clear control and organization on priorities takes place.

During WW2 Germany produced three times as much steel as Soviet Russia, but the Russians were still able to muster 102,000 armored vehicles against 76,000 German-built vehicles. Only the US with 287,000 armored vehicles surpassed the Russian production again.
The Russians had a better and more reckless organization of the military production, concentrating on a few, key armament products, while in Germany they lived for a long time in a luxurious waste, producing numerous similar or competing weapon systems at the same time on a high technical standard. An engine for a tank with a long life and great driving performance may be useful in peace times to save costs – but in war on the front the tank will barely drive a few hundred miles before it is knocked-out!

It must, of course, be taken into account, too, that the Red Army was supplied by the US Lend-Lease program with many goods (esp trucks), which were thus hardly or not at all manufactured in Russia and instead tanks could be built for this purpose.
Also, Soviet Russia was not under pressure from a strategic air war on its cities nor had to wage an intense naval and U-boat war.

References and literature

Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg (10 Bände, Zentrum für Militärgeschichte)
Der 2. Weltkrieg (C. Bertelsmann Verlag)
Illustrierte Geschichte des Dritte Reiches (Kurt Zentner)
Unser Jahrhundert im Bild (Bertelsmann Lesering)
A World at Arms – A Global History of World War II (Gerhard L. Weinberg)

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