Thursday 2 November 2017

Foreign Aid

A lot of attention is aimed at the numbers for Lend-Lease aid received by the USSR in WWII, but what about the aid received by the Russian Empire during WWI? Despite being a much less discussed topic, the numbers are, in some cases, much greater than the LL ones. RGAE-413-12-8605 has the info we need.

Import to Russia
Import to the USSR

  1. Aircraft (various)

  1. Aircraft motors

  • 76 mm cannons
  • Cannons of all calibers

  1. Bomb launchers and mortars

  • Machineguns (various)
  • AA machineguns


  • Rifles (various)
  • Submachineguns (various) and AT rifles

  1. Shells (various)

  1. Cartridges (various)


  1. Do you have some information about how many own produced locomotives had USSR in some stages of WWII ? One troll was glorifiing Lend-Lease and said that USSR manufactured only 20 locomotives during the WWII.

    1. While the numbers are not right, there is a point if we may believe wikipedia:

      "Most belligerent powers cut back severely on production of non-essentials, concentrating on producing weapons. This inevitably produced shortages of related products needed by the military or as part of the military-industrial complex. For example, the USSR was highly dependent on rail transportation, but the war practically shut down rail equipment production. Just 446 locomotives were produced during the war,[25] with only 92 of those being built between 1942 and 1945.[26] In total, 92.7% of the wartime production of railroad equipment by the Soviet Union was supplied under Lend-Lease,[24] including 1,911 locomotives and 11,225 railcars[27] which augmented the existing prewar stocks of at least 20,000 locomotives and half a million railcars.[28]"

    2. Eh. Still better than the Germans, who had essentially stopped manufacturing trains *well before* the war due to the armaments build-up taking absolute industrial priority. This caused serious worry for planners and no small amount of practical problems as the all-important railroad transport was increasingly kept running by duct tape, bailing wire and fervent prayer (and gross disregard of normal safety rules)... and duly among the first things they did when they captured territory was summarily appropriating most available rolling stock to supplement their own badly run-down fleet.
      Which shortage of transport, of course, then did nothing to help co-opting the economy and industry of that territory...

      But then the Germans lived hand to mouth like that for most of the war (eg. the Ukraine had to be seized to stave off outright famine); it's almost like they had reverted to the Thirty Years' War days of "living off the land" in many respects. ┐( ̄ヘ ̄)┌

    3. " Still better than the Germans, who had essentially stopped manufacturing trains *well before* the war due to the armaments build-up taking absolute industrial priority."
      3,164 Type 50 locomotives were delivered 1943 alone(!), not including type 46, type 04 and other production...

      But yeah, the soviets 446 locomotives 1942-1944 are "still better"... sure.

    4. The Germans could import exactly jackshit to replace losses from diverse causes (wear and tear, the tender attentions of partisans and the Allied air forces...). The Soviets *could*, and were duly free to orient their heavy industry mostly to weapons production.

      They did the same with motor transport, you may recall. Which was sensible enough; the US and British couldn't exactly readily supply them with T-34s (and they'd have been rather silly to rely on that source for those even if this wasn't so) but *could* sell them trucks that were at least as good as their own by the shipload...

      The Germans, having pissed off the two greatest naval powers on the planet and duly well and truly blockaded, could only dream of such rationalised "division of labour" and had to try and cover EVERY need with what resources the Grossraum, conquered territories and client states could provide.
      Spoiler: those weren't nearly sufficient.

    5. 20 is... a bit low. B. Sokolov writes that the USSR produced 800 locomotives during the war and 1966 arrived from America.

    6. "The Germans could import exactly jackshit to replace losses from diverse causes (wear and tear, the tender attentions of partisans and the Allied air forces...). The Soviets *could*, and were duly free to orient their heavy industry mostly to weapons production."

      Fair enough. However, it is, You might remember, the issue with Your alleged statement that the germans stopped producing trains due to increase in military industrial output, which is in error. They didn´t and even increased their industrial output of rolling stock and other key transportation means (i.e. river barges) up to 1944.
      Plus, they supplied several hundred of locomotives to Finnland and Bulgaria.

    7. I was talking *prewar* in the case you didn't notice, to illustrate some ACTUALLY skewed industrial priorities. Obviously they couldn't neglect the rolling stock forever; eventually shit just wore down to the point where it HAD to be replaced, even without the added wear and tear of intense wartime use and mounting casualties from shooty and explody things rude people liked to point at such valuable machinery at every opportunity. (And good old-fashioned railroad sabotage ofc, a favourite partisan pastime.)

      By that point, of course, they had rather more industrial capacity built up than was available in the late Thirties and had seized more.

    8. So You compared wartime soviet production with PREWAR german production? Why would someone do that?
      Plus, it´s factually wrong. There was low production between 1929 and 1935 due to oversupply of the 1926 series train production. It steadily increased from the mid 30´s to 1944.
      Your claim of german train production is in error.

    9. The original implied ridicule over the matter of train-building, when in reality the Soviets just opted to outsource it. Chances are it's not exactly a coincidence that going by the passage crazytony quoted their production rates dropped to nominal levels after that whole great evacuation of the industry...

      Also not like comparing the *wartime* productions of the two would be terribly fruitful, since one could farm out production at their leisure and the other could not - and whatever of importance the former opted to make domestically was then churned out on scales the latter could only dream of.

      Bit of a mea culpa though as I was going off slightly hazy memory of something I had last read years ago. Prewar German railway production was not "essentially stopped", merely *grossly neglected* - unlike you seem to think, producing SOME is not at all the same thing as producing ENOUGH.

      Since I now cracked it open again, lemme quote some relevant bits directly out of Tooze's "The Wages of Destruction":
      "-- By 1938 the Reichsbahn was increasingly unable to cope with the combined demands of both the Wehrmacht and a booming economy. Rail investment had been badly squeezed by the steel shortage. In 1938 the Reichsbahn was not able to obtain even half the steel it needed to maintain its current rail infrastructure and rolling stock. -- But by the last days of September, as the Munich crisis reached its climax, the Reichsbahn was nearing the point of collapse. Less than half the requests for freight cars were being met on time. -- In the autumn of 1938 freight trains regularly left stations festooned with red repair slips indicating faulty brakes, and the deterioration in Germany's once proud railway network had become so severe that it had begun to attract international comment."

      "-- Between 1929 and 1938, the Reichsbahn had suffered almost a decade of systematic neglect. --" [Reference cited here is A. C. Mierzejewski, "The Most Valuable Asset of the Reich: A History of the German National Railway, II: 1933-1945"] "-- Between 1933 and 1937, the railway purchased less than 2,000 new goods trucks per annum, a fraction of what would have been needed to offset wear and tear. As a result, the number of serviceable freight cars declined from an average of over 670,000 cars in the late 1920s to less than 575,000 in 1937. --" ...this is then followed by a description of the severe transportation crisis of the winter of 1939/40... "-- In January 1940 Goering described transport as *the* problem of the German war economy."

      That was ruthlessly slashed for brevity but you get the idea; owing to political priorities being elsewhere even in peacetime and due long-term neglect the German railway network nearly came apart at the seams in the first winter of the actual war. If it got a higher priority later it DEFINITELY needed it - doubly so due to the colossal logistical strain of the war in the East and the quite unwelcome additional burdens of the Final Solution (the industry and military delegates at Wannsee protested to it specifically over such practical concerns).

  2. Wow i didn't knew aid to russia was this big. From wich countries did this come?
    Was this aid free? That would realy suprise me.

    1. Great War aid was not free between *anyone*, and indeed there was a lot of acrimony over the debts incurred between the victors. In WW2 AFAIK the US governemement mostly footed the bill on the aid given to the Western Allied, specifically to avoid a repeat of that morass, but the USSR paid in full for everything - doubtless one reason they were so thorough about checking if this or that piece of kit suited their needs.

      Near as I'm aware in both wars the Russians basically just purchased stuff from whoever was willing to sell what they needed, naturally chiefly from their current allies. Which is eg. how garrisons in the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland ended up with a great number of Japanese Arisaka rifles which the natives duly put to use against each other in that nasty little post-independence civil war of 1918...

  3. Great information Peter. The difference was that in WWI Russia was in a state of chaos when merchandise was received. It was also much harder to move around due to limitations in train infrastructure.

    One of the reasons for British deployment in Murmansk was to avoid Bolsheviks gaining control of the huge stockpiles of weapons delivered by Allies.