Military Aid to the USSR

In 11 March 1941 the Congress of the USA has accepted the law on Lend-Lease which allowed Goverment of the USA the right to lend or in rent to other countries the various goods and materials, which are necessary for defense of these countries, if it affected to the safety of USA.

The military aid for the USSR has begun in November 1941, but before this date some equipment and materials were purchasing for gold from USA, Great Britain and even from Nazy Germany. On June 28, 1941, after the primary negotiating with the English Military and Economic Missions, USSR has gave them the request to prime purchases. There were also an aircrafts that were from USA as a Lend-Lease agreement. Thus law on Lend-Lease was distributed "informally" on the USSR even before decision of US Government.

The first tank models that were achieve USSR were British Mk II "Matilda II", Mk III and Mk IV "Valentine". They arrived just before the Russian winter counter-offensive near Moscow. The Red Army was highly luck in tanks, so this military aid was opportunely. Mostly good for Russians was "Matilda II". It was nearly undefeated for any German tanks and AT-guns, but still was good with their 2-pound gun (about 42 mm).

Later, the Mk III "Churchill" has been accepted to the Red Army service. This tank hasn't made the quite impression on tankers because archaic design and weak armament (its "classmate" KV-1 had much better armament) and its good protection was brought to nothing by a poor maneuverability and slow speed, but most exotic "foreigner" in the Red Army was British light tank Mk VII "Tetrarch". Only 20 tanks were lended to the Soviet Union while only 177 were build. This tank weren't use in real battles but only for a green crew training.

During the winter 1941-42 the deliveries from USA has begun. For the first time this tanks took part in battles in the spring 1942. Unfortunately although on excellent conditions for the crew and quite enough firepower this tank wasn't match to the Eastern Front conditions. On responses of Russian tankers it was rather mediocre SP-gun then good tank. Nevertheless one thousand three hundred M3A3 and A5 tanks was lended to the USSR.

The more pleasant impression was left with M4 "General Sherman", which deliveries have begun in the end 1943. In USSR used only diesel variant M4A2 in several modifications. These machines have passed whole second half of war and have finished war in Europe. Some of them were used even in Berlin operation. The second, most mass machine of the American production, the M3A1 "General Stuart" light tank, did not matched for the East Front conditions and was quickly removed.

The Red Army received 2007 M4A2s (Sherman) with 75 mm gun and 2095 M4A2 Shermans with 76 mm gun. There were attempts to rearm them with Russian F-34 76.2 mm gun, resulting in so called M4M, but sense there was no shortage of 75 mm ammo only small numbers were so modified. Several Soviet tankers in Shermans won the Hero of Soviet Union. V.A. Galkin of the 7th Guard Cavalry Corp's 31st Tank Regiment. He was in M4A2.

October 1941 to June 1942
Explosives, pounds59455620
Field telephones56445
Telephone wire, km600000
1942 and 1943
Fighter Aircraft
P-395707 (4719 reached the USSR)
P-632397 (21 lost in transfer)
Total: 14982
Bomber and Attack Aircraft
Total Aircraft Delivered - 18,791
Total USSR Aircraft Production- 139,748

Besides the tanks, Allies delivered a plenty of APCs. Before war the Red Army did not have any good APC model. In the summer 1943 the deliveries of tracked "Universal" (Great Britain), wheeled M3A1 (USA), halftracked M3, M5 (USA) have begun.

In general, military aid to the Soviet Union offeref a great help in the 1941-43 but becomes insignificant at the end of war with the Soviet industry growing.

Peter Zaika

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