Military Review

About lend-lease objectively and without emotion

What the USSR received from the Western Allies in 1941-1945

What is lend-lease (lend-lease)? This is a form of interstate relations, meaning a system for transferring or leasing military equipment, armaments, ammunition, strategic raw materials, food, various goods and services to an ally country.

At the same time, the terms of settlement of settlements for this assistance are stipulated. Materials destroyed, lost, used during the period of hostilities were not payable. Property remaining after the end of the war and suitable for civilian purposes is paid in the order of repayment of a long-term loan or returned to the supplier.

It was on such terms that deliveries to the Soviet Union from the USA, Great Britain and Canada were carried out. The Great Patriotic War ended 65 years ago, but disputes about the role that allied Soviet aid played in achieving Victory in 1945 have not yet subsided.


On July 12, an agreement was signed on joint actions by the governments of the USSR and Great Britain in the war against Germany, in which both governments pledged to provide each other with help and support of every kind.

At the end of August, the first convoy of ships called “Dervish” (RO-O) arrived in Arkhangelsk. It included the Argus aircraft carrier, on which the Hurricane fighter aircraft were delivered to the USSR. They formed the basis of the 78th Northern Air Force regiment fleet, whose commander was the famous pilot B.F. Safonov, the first ace in the USSR, twice awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

A few days later, Churchill wrote to Stalin: “The military office decided to send more Tomahawk 200 fighters to Russia. Of these, 140 will be sent to Arkhangelsk from here, and 60 - from among those ordered in the United States. ”

Some of these fighters managed to take part in the autumn-winter battle of Moscow.

In August-September 1941, England was able to send to the USSR not only planes, but also medium Tanks Matilda and Valentine.

In the US, public reaction to the news of the German invasion of the USSR was not as definite as in England.

The rapprochement of the Soviet Union with fascist Germany, the signing of a non-aggression pact and friendship treaty in August 1939, the Americans were highly negative. Anti-Soviet sentiments were revived, 55% of Americans surveyed spoke out against USSR assistance. Nevertheless, two days after the German attack on the USSR, US President F. Roosevelt invited the press to his office and said: "Of course, we are going to provide all possible assistance to Russia."

The legal basis for the first shipments from the USA to the USSR was the official extension of the Soviet-American trade agreement 1937 of the year and the issuance of licenses for the export of weapons to the USSR with the provision of American ships for transportation. The first trilateral document, which specifically indicated the required number of certain weapons, military equipment and other materials, was the Moscow Protocol of the three powers as a result of a conference held in Moscow from September 29 to October 2 1941. The document was signed by V. M. Molotov from the USSR, A. Harriman from the United States and Lord Beaverbrook from Great Britain.

The protocol recorded the requirements of the USSR in various types of weapons, military equipment and materials, the capabilities of Britain and the United States in meeting them. The dollar amount as the value requested in the protocol was not specified.

A curious fact - A. Harriman, instructing the delegation from the United States, repeated: "Give, give and give, not counting on a return, no thoughts about receiving anything in return."

As the famous English historian Alexander Werth writes in his book Russia in War, Lord Beaverbrook was fully aware that "the Russians are now the only people in the world seriously weakening Germany, and that it is in England’s interest to do without some things Of Russia. "

The protocol specifically provided for the supply to the USSR of “3000 aircraft, 4500 tanks, as well as various equipment, raw materials, food, materials and medical supplies - all 1,5 million tons of cargo to be shipped from the USA and England to the USSR. Their total cost is over 1 billion dollars. ”

Until October, 1941 paid for the received materials to the USSR in cash from its gold reserves. The first ship with a secret cargo - 10 tons of gold on board was sent from the USSR to the shores of the United States in September 1941.

30 in October Roosevelt in a message to Stalin approved the Moscow Protocol and ordered to begin deliveries to the USSR from November 1941 on the basis of the Lend-Lease Act. Officially, the decision on the Lend-Lease was recorded by the US President only 11 June 1942 of the year in the Agreement on the principles applicable to mutual assistance in the conduct of the war against aggression. The USSR ambassador to the USA, M. M. Litvinov, signed him from the USSR, after the departure of V. M. Molotov from the USA, who conducted negotiations with the American leadership.

Roosevelt told Stalin that American supplies would be made under an interest-free loan worth 1 billion dollars with payment for a decade starting in the sixth year after the end of the war.

However, it should be noted that in the planned for 1941 year the volume of deliveries from the USA was delayed.

Thus, according to the plan for October-November, instead of 41, only 28 left the ship with cargo heading towards the Soviet shores.

More precisely in the year 1941 fulfilled its obligations UK. Instead of 600 of the promised aircraft, she delivered 711 to the USSR, from 750 tanks - 466, from 600 tankettes - 300. In addition, the Soviet Union at this time received from the British a number of guns and anti-tank guns.


After the Moscow Protocol, which was in force until 30 June 1942, three more similar documents were signed by the main countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, each for a one-year period: in Washington - November 6 1942 of the year London, October 19 1943 of the year and Ottawa - 17 April April 1944 of the year. They determined the volume and composition of lend-lease supplies until the end of the Second World War.

What kind of military equipment and weapons, materials were included in the list of lend-lease supplies and were obtained in the Soviet Union? Until the middle of 1942, the USSR received 3100 aircraft from allies. Among them are Aero Cobra fighters, which were highly appreciated by our pilots, including three times Hero of the Soviet Union Alexander Pokryshkin. After all, he recorded the 48 of 59 of the German aircraft shot down by him on his combat score by flying the Air Cobra.

Our pilots responded well to the US Mitchell B-25 and Boston A-20 bombers. But the English "Hurricanes" did not cause delight among Soviet pilots. Spitfire fighters outnumbered these planes on a number of TTX, but there were few of them.

More restrained, but still positive assessments were given by Soviet pilots to other types of Lend-Lease aircraft ("Tomahawk Р-40", "Kittyhawk Р-47", etc.). But the sailors enthusiastically greeted the supply of Catalina flying boats.

By October 1 1944 of the USSR received from the allies 14 700 aircraft. In total, for all the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Allies sent 22 195 airplanes to the Soviet Union (according to other sources - 18 297). During the war, the USSR produced 143 000 airplanes (according to foreign data - 116 494) at its plants, according to Russian data. Thus, every fifth or sixth aircraft in the Red Army Air Force was a Lend Lease.

The share of Lend-Lease deliveries in aviation The Soviet Navy exceeded 20% (2148 aircraft).

The cost of aviation Lend-Lease in the USSR as a whole was 3,6 billion dollars, or about 35% of the total amount of allied aid.

Our aviation needed high-octane gasoline, and this was a weak point of the Soviet economy. The shortage of aviation gas was compensated by lend-lease supplies. More than 1,5 million tons of this fuel came from the USA, Great Britain and Canada, which slightly exceeded its production in the USSR.

The main material for the construction of the aircraft is aluminum. By November 1942, the Soviet Union had lost 60% aluminum production capacity. The need for aluminum, according to A.I. Mikoyan, was 4000 tons per month and, moreover, 500 tons of duralumin. All Western supplies of aluminum for the war amounted to 325 thousand tons.

An account of the tank Lend-Lease was opened by British armored vehicles, which descended from the port of the Arkhangelsk port from the ships of the convoy Dervish 31 on August 1941. During the war years, 12 788 tanks were sent to the USSR (from the USA - 7500, from England - 5218).

In the Soviet Union, 110 000 tanks were produced during this period. Thus, the Red Army had in its composition 12% of import tanks.

Most of all in the Red Army were American medium tanks "General Sherman" with 75-mm cannon and armor, 38-100 mm and Stewart, armed with 75-mm and 37-mm cannons.

Of the British tanks, the aforementioned medium tanks “Valentine” and “Matilda” were the most massive in the lend-lease deliveries. The first of them was armed with 60-mm, the second 40-mm cannon. The British also supplied the Churchill heavy tank with armor up to 152 mm and 75-mm cannon.

The allies also sent 4912 anti-tank guns, 8218 anti-aircraft guns, 376 thousands of shells, 136 thousands of machine guns and 320 thousands of tons of explosives to the Soviet Union.

In the summer and autumn of 1941, the USSR truck fleet lost 159 thousands of cars (58% of the original train), as well as a number of factories producing automotive parts. The lack of vehicles had a negative impact on the mobility of artillery, the possibility of redeployment.

Lend-lease cars came to the rescue, mainly from the USA. It was they who largely solved the problem of moving art installations. This is primarily the "Studebaker", "Doji", "Willis", "Fords".

In total, the Soviet Union received 427 386 (according to other data - 477 785) cars of different models and 35 170 motorcycles from the allies, mainly from the USA.

Under the Lend-Lease, more than 500 warships and boats were delivered to the Soviet Navy. These include 28 frigates, 89 minesweepers, 78 large submarine hunters, 60 patrol boats, 166 torpedo boats, and 43 landing craft.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the ships began to arrive in the USSR only in the 1944 year, and mostly to the Pacific Fleet, on the eve of the war with Japan.

From the allies of the USSR received about 1000 radar stations and sonars. 25 percent of all Lend-Lease was food.


There were four main routes for delivering Lend-Lease cargo to the USSR.

The first, the shortest, which transported 4 million cargo (22,6%), ran across the North Atlantic through the area between Spitsbergen and the German-occupied shores of Norway. From August 1941 to May 1945, from Iceland and England to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, the Arctic convoy made the 41 transition. All in all the convoys were 811 ships.

As a result of attacks by German submarines and aviation, 100 ships (British and American 82, Soviet 9 and 9 other countries) were killed along with thousands of American, British, Canadian and Soviet sailors.

The second route of the Lend-Lease shipments, known as the Persian Corridor, passed from the shores of the United States and England through the Persian Gulf and Iran. 4,2 million tons of cargo (23,8%) was transported on this route. It began to operate from the 1942 year, after the occupation forces of England and the Soviet Union entered Iran in accordance with the Anglo-Soviet-Iranian treaty.

In Iran, the Allies built additional highways and railways, airfields, aircraft workshops and car assembly plants. From here, the arriving and brought planes were driven by Soviet pilots to the USSR to the front, and cars loaded with Lend-Lease’s materials, going along the complicated, more than thousand-kilometer road through deserts and mountainous areas, went to the Soviet border to the Azerbaijani city of Julfa or to Iranian ports on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea.

The third, Pacific route that operated throughout the war, the volume of cargo delivered to the USSR was the largest and amounted to 8 million tons (47,1%). Lend-lease materials were loaded onto ships at the ports of the US west coast and arrived in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Magadan and Vladivostok.

There were no convoys on the Pacific route. All ships went alone, "drip flights", but almost every ship had guns, machine guns and small military teams. The losses here were incomparably smaller than in the northern convoys, but up to a dozen torpedoed ships can be counted.

The fourth route was a special one associated with aviation land-lease. This is the so-called ALSIB. According to him, American planes were distilled in the USSR on their own along the Alaska-Chukotka-Yakutia-Krasnoyarsk highway. From Krasnoyarsk, fighters with complex wings were loaded onto railway platforms and transported to the European part of the country, and the bombers themselves flew to front-line airfields.

About 8000 airplanes were delivered along this route to the USSR, including the Aerocobra and Kingcobra fighters, the Boston A-5000 and Mitchell B-2000 bombers, as well as the Douglas C-20 transport aircraft ".

The total cost of USSR aid under Lend-Lease, according to calculations by Russian economists and historians (N. V. Butenin and others) of the post-Soviet years, is more than 12 billion dollars (at the price of the war years).

Candidate of Economic Sciences




Все четыре года войны союзники по антигитлеровской коалиции поставляли по ленд-лизу в СССР вооружение, боеприпасы, продовольствие, военную технику... Насколько существенной была эта помощь и мог ли победить Советский Союз без поддержки Великобритании и Соединенных Штатов? Ответить на этот вопрос попытались российские и британские эксперты в ходе видеомоста Москва - Лондон в РИА News. The correspondent of the Military-Industrial Courier, who quotes some of its participants, was also present.


Scientific Director of the Center stories Wars and Geopolitics of the Institute of Universal History

- I know one thing: thanks to including American, British, Canadian aid, help from other countries, we won the war together. They won a victory over an extremely dangerous and powerful opponent who crushed the whole of Europe and managed to knock together a military bloc from aggressive countries.

Without a doubt, the assistance we received under the Lend-Lease, primarily through the famous northern convoys (they went to the Soviet Union from the UK in 1941-1942 and later), was very important. Especially in the first years of the war, although in 1941 it was very, very insignificant.

A much greater effect then had a moral factor, not only for the army, but also for all of our people. The realization that we are not alone, that we are fighting together with such powerful allies as Great Britain and the United States, was of great importance for raising the morale of the fighters at the front and the population in the rear.

Lend-lease assistance is highly valued in our country. There is not a single serious work in which this assistance would not be mentioned, a corresponding assessment was not given to it. And today we can once again express our gratitude to the leadership and the people of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition.

Richard Overi

Professor of Exeter University

- How important was the help that your country won in that war? We remember that the Soviet Union, even before the receipt of full-fledged assistance under Lend-Lease, managed to throw the fascists away from the walls of Moscow. It is necessary to understand: deep changes and prerequisites for this change occurred in the Soviet troops even before the start of lend-lease supplies.

But Lend-Lease, in my opinion, was extremely important. He helped the Soviet Union in the planned supply of the army weapons and ammunition, inventory, fuel. In addition, foodstuffs, raw materials, technologies were supplied ... All this allowed the USSR to redirect its industry to the production of primarily weapons and military equipment.

It seems to me that diverse supplies, not only of weapons and military equipment, but also of various materials and equipment, helped the Soviet Union to more successfully carry out large-scale offensive operations, including in 1943-1944. Therefore, their importance does not underestimate.
Originator:"rel =" nofollow ">

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. kvs45
    kvs45 4 May 2015 12: 57
    They did not write about the supply of food and medicine, and this is no less important than the technique
  2. Ekaterina Shtepa
    Ekaterina Shtepa 27 December 2018 13: 38
    Интересная статья ! Спасибо. Я распечатаю и дам сегодня своим студентам для прочтения на дом. Тем более, что недавно у нас вышел спор с ними о существенности поставок.