The Red Army used numerous lend-lease tanks and other armored vehicles from the USA, Great Britain and Canada.
Lend Lease Tanks
A total of 22,800 armored vehicles were delivered to the Red Army during World War II, of which 1,981 were lost in dangerous Arctic convoys. These deliveries represented about 20 percent of the total number of armored vehicles produced by Russia during the war. Specifically, this was 16 per cent of Russian main battle tanks, 12 per cent of Russian self-propelled gun carriages and tank destroyers, and 100 per cent of Russian infantry fighting vehicles, as Russia did not manufacture any armored infantry fighting vehicles during the Second World War.
The first deliveries of tanks took place already in 1941, namely 487 Matilda II tanks, Valentine and Tetrarch from the UK as well as 182 M3A1 Stuart and medium tanks M3 Lee from the USA.
In 1942 Britain delivered another 2,487 tanks and the USA 3,023. The first Russian units equipped with these lend-lease tanks went into action with Valentine and Matilda tanks at Staraya Russia and in the Valdai area in December 1941 and January 1942.
At the beginning of 1943 there were 1,023 lend-lease tanks in Russian units, although 6,179 had been delivered since 1941. In the years 1944 and 1945, with the large access of American M4A2 Sherman, some Tank Corps and Mechanized Corps were equipped exclusively with this tank type. The M4A2 Sherman was not as brilliant a design as the Russian T-34 tank, but in the subsequent conflicts in Korea and the Middle East the US tank was – despite the superiority of the T-34 on paper – always the winner between the two.
Of much more decisive importance for Russian warfare, however, were the deliveries of motor vehicles, especially from the United States. During the Second World War, Russia built only 343,624 cars and trucks, since the major automobile manufacturers, such as the GAZ factories, were used to manufacture armored combat vehicles. The USA alone supplied the Russians with 501,660 tactical wheeled and tracked vehicles, including 77,972 Jeeps, 151,053 1.5 t trucks and 200,622 2.5 t trucks.
This assistance was crucial, not only because of the enormous quantity, but also because of its quality. While the Russian automotive industry focused exclusively on the production of obsolete copies of American civilian trucks from the 1930s, the vehicles provided under the lend-lease agreement were modern military designs with multiple drive axles and functional off-road capability.
In addition, 15,631 guns and 131,633 submachine guns were supplied to Russia by the Allies.
Lend-Lease Armoured Vehicles supplied to the Red Army 1941-1945:
|Armored vehicles||supplied||lost on sea||arrived|
|US armored vehicles|
|M3 Lee||1,386||?||969 (?)|
|M4A2 Sherman||2,007||(M3+M4 total 417)||2,007 (?)|
|M4A2(76mm) Sherman||2,095||?||2,095 (?)|
|M31 ARV (tank recovery)||115||-||115|
|M15A1 MGMC (37-mm AA gun)||100||-||100|
|M17 MGMC (quad AA MG)||1,000||-||1,000|
|T48 tank destroyer (57-mm AT)||650||-||650|
|M3A1 Scout Car||3,340||228||3,112|
|US Universal Carrier T16||96||?||96 (?)|
|British armored vehicles|
|Valentine||2,394||320 (including Canadian)||2,074|
|Matilda Mk II||1,084||252||832|
|Universal Carrier||1,212||224 (including US and Canadian)||988|
|Canadian armoured vehicles|
|Universal Carrier||1,348||?||1,348 (?)|
see also: Russian vs German tanks in WW2
Lend Lease Aircraft
The disastrous course of the initial Russian response to the German invasion, and the resulting enormous losses suffered by the Red Air Force, made it necessary for the Allies to provide massive reinforcements until Soviet industry could produce modern aircraft in large quantities. The first foreign aeroplanes to arrive were two squadrons of Hawker Hurricane fighters, which were flown in combat by RAF pilots in the autumn of 1941 and then handed over to the Russians (see picture on the right).
Under the Lend-Lease act large numbers of American aircraft were assigned to Russia. A total of 14,833 US aircraft of all types were sent to Russia between 1942 and 1944.
Russian aircraft production 1942-1944 was 42,427 fighters and 11,797 bombers (additional 30,506 ground attack planes), which results that approximately 20 per cent of the fighters and 30 per cent of the bombers of the Red Air Force were American-built and approx. 10 per cent of the fighters were British-built.
Russian aviation made full use of American and British aid throughout the war, in many cases using Western aircraft as the basis for new Russian designs. A number of American types, notably the Douglas C-47 Dakota and Boeing B-29 Superfortess, were simply copied without permission.
Lend-Lease aircraft supplied to the Red Air Force 1942-1944:
|US and British aircraft||Total|
|Bell P-39 Airacobra||4,746|
|Bell P-63 Kingcobra||2,400|
|Douglas A-20 Boston||2,908|
|Curtiss Tomahawks, Kittyhawks||270|
|Spitfire Mk V||143|
|Spitfire Mk IX||1,188|
|Handley Page Hampden||46|
References and literature
Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two (Steven J. Zaloga, James Grandsen)
World Aircraft World War II (Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi)
Operation Barbarossa: the Complete Organisational and Statistical Analysis, and Military Simulation, Volume I – IIIB (Nigel Askey)