"Now they say that the allies never helped us, but it can't be denied that the Americans gave us so many goods without which we wouldn't have been able to form our reserves and continue the war," Soviet General Georgy Zhukov said after the end of the War. "We didnít have explosives, gunpowder. We didnít have anything to charge our rifle cartridges with. The Americans really saved us with their gunpowder and explosives. And how much sheet steel they gave us! How could we have produced our tanks without American steel? But now they make it seem as if we had an abundance of all that. Without American trucks we wouldnít have had anything to pull our artillery with."
Lend-Lease began on May 15, 1940 when UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked Roosevelt to temporarily give Britain 40-50 old destroyers in exchange for British naval and air bases in the Atlantic Ocean. The Americans used a law from 1892 in accordance with which the defense secretary can "lease army property for a maximum of five years if the country does not need it." Based on this law a supply program was developed, which Roosevelt signed into law on March 11, 1941. According to the program, American materials "destroyed, lost or used during the war were not subject to payment." What had to be paid for was the property that remained after the war and was used for civilian purposes.
Stalin decided to join Lend-Lease soon after Hitler's Germany invaded the USSR in June 1941. The first convoys with American goods were already being sent to the USSR by August 1941. Shortly afterwards the Germans found out about the convoy routes, and the allies suffered great losses. During the war Nazi submarines and torpedoes sank about 80 cargo ships destined for the USSR.
By one report, a total of 7,182 American tanks of all kinds were sent to the Soviet Union during the war. It should be noted that not all of them made it to the Soviet ports. Yet German submarines and aircraft sank no small vessels including tanks. Suffice it to recall the sad fate of the convoy PQ17. Thus the US and the Soviet data may differ quite markedly.
|M3 Light Tanks, M3A1, M3A2 with petrol and diesel engines||1676|
|Light Tanks M5 and M5A1||5|
|Light tanks M24 (T24)||2|
|Medium M3 tanks, M3A2 and M3A3 and M2A5||1386|
|Medium tanks M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A5 with a 75-mm cannon||2007|
|Medium tanks M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3 with a 76-mm cannon||2095|
|Medium Tank T26||1|
|Recovery vehicle M31, M32, T26, T26E3 with 90-mm gun||105|
|Multi-purpose self-propelled semi-tracked on the basis of the M15, M15A1||100|
|Multi-purpose self-propelled semi-tracked on the basis of M17||1000|
|57-mm self-propelled anti-tank gun T48||520|
|76 mm self-propelled anti-tank gun T70||5|
|76 mm. self-propelled guns||52|
|M2 half-track armored vehicles||402|
|M3 half-track armored vehicles||2|
|Half-track armored Series M5||420|
|Wheeled armored M3A1||3340|
|Tracked armored personnel carriers T16||96|
|Floating tracked armored vehicles MK II||5|
More than 14,000 US airplanes, 8,000 of which came from Alaska, were given to the Soviet Union in the course of the war. By one account, the USSR received a total of 44,000 American jeeps, 375,883 cargo trucks, 8,071 tractors and 12,700 tanks. Additionally, 1,541,590 blankets, 331,066 liters of alcohol, 15,417,000 pairs of army boots, 106,893 tons of cotton, 2,670,000 tons of petroleum products and 4,478,000 tons of food supplies made their way into the Soviet Union.
During the War, Lend-Lease aircraft flown from Alaska to Russia were decorated with the Soviet red star emblem, under the theory that this would protect pilots if they encountered Japanese planes; the USSR and Japan were at peace with each other until teh final days of the war. At one point, os the story goes, the Americans ran out of decal stars, and the Russians pilots didnít want to fly the planes with American emblems. There was a Texaco facility in Fairbanks, and the oil companyís logo looked a lot like the Red Army star, even if the color wasnít exactly the same. The Lend-Lease planes continued to the Eastern Front adorned with the advertising symbol of the popular American gas station franchise.
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