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  • No Lend-Lease to the USSR?

    For whatever reason, the US decided not to supply the USSR with trucks, aircraft, tyres, spam etc.

    There is no doubt that the Soviets could still have held on and eventually won. However, the task would have been harder. How much harder?

    Would the Germans have been in a stronger position come June 44, or the USSR in a weaker one? Would the Eastern Front been further to the east when D-Day was launched? Would the agreements reached at Yalta change due to the different circumstances?

    As a result, could the W Allies have captured more of Europe changing the face of the Cold War?

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  • #2
    I have some doubts about USSR eventually winning without Lend-Lease. Maybe whole war would follow more WW1 like lines, like USSR forced out of war, but too late for Germans to prevent loosing war in West. Of course it would also have ment quite much more US involvment in manpower, losses and so on. Lend-lease was quite beneficial for US, it enabled Soviets to fight more efficiently trading US equipment for Soviet blood. With weaker SU, United States would have needed to carry more burden in losses and manpower.

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    • #3
      Good, but tricky question.

      I think things would go more or less per actual history until the Stalingrad victory. Until that time, LL goods had little impact.
      However, after that things get steeper for the USSR than in our timeline.
      Definitely they'll be in a worse position - and, therefore, the Germans in a better one - come June 1944.
      As to the Casablanca and Yalta agreements... I wonder if they even take place. The coordination of the countries fighting against Germany and Italy will be much looser if the USA don't provide LL.
      June 44, BTW, may not a significant waypoint in this alternate timeline. It's pretty possible that at the end of the summer of 1943, the Germans are able to redeploy enough troops to Italy to contain Avalanche much farther to the South, and I wonder whether a summer 1944 main ETO landing is feasible.
      Michele

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      • #4
        Stalin had already massive industrialization plans, but without US Lend-Lease, it would've been slower. But don't forget that both major Western powers, the US and UK, gave the USSR aid. Without -both- of them, the effects would be the worst.

        The Soviets were determined enough that they would still win, that was inevitable, and the formation of the USSR into an industrial-military giant would still occur (by 1944 they were outproducing every other nation in the world in armor, artillery, and small arms, for example), though it may occur later than before. This would not only adversely effect the USSR, but the Western Allies too. Remember that the Red Army took on and destroyed the majority of the Wehrmacht, including the entire Waffen-SS and the best divisions of the regular Army, and if it took longer for the USSR to industrialize and do this, it could mean more soldiers from the East could be transferred West, professional, battle-hardened ones who could've multipled W. Allid casualties many times. However, again, the Soviets still had determination, numbers, and leadership. Zhukov led a Purge-crippled Red Army in Manchuria to victory over a better-supplied, better-trained Japanese Army with barely any numerical advantage. Supplies and industry didn't always make or break militaries.

        Lend-Lease was beneficial for all sides involved.

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        • #5
          Wasn't Germany determined? And USSR could concentrate on producing armor, artillery and small arms, because lend&lease gave hand to for other necessities. Germany needed to produce every rail piece, every locomotive, every piece of rolling stock, every truck, every gallon of avgas, every kilo of explosives‚ aluminum and so on by themselves. Soviets got quite big quantity of those very needed materials from US. Also quite big quantity of food aid cannot be forgotten, American Spam was not insignificant for Red army.

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          • #6
            The US supplied over half of all Soviet explosives production(317,000 tons out of 600,000) including 22 million shells. In addition they sent 103,000 tons of Toluene, the primary ingredient of TNT, to the SU.
            The US also provided 991 million miscellaneous shell cartridges.


            In light of the above, it's difficult to see how the SU could have been victorious without Lend-Lease.
            Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
              The US supplied over half of all Soviet explosives production(317,000 tons out of 600,000) including 22 million shells. In addition they sent 103,000 tons of Toluene, the primary ingredient of TNT, to the SU.
              The US also provided 991 million miscellaneous shell cartridges.


              In light of the above, it's difficult to see how the SU could have been victorious without Lend-Lease.
              The USSR had massive industrial capacity, it just took Lend-Lease to start up. If the US/UK didn't aid them, it'd take longer, but still happen.

              By 1944, the USSR was producing its -own- tanks, shells, bullets, etc. at a faster rate than any other nation in the world, and these were tanks like T-34s and IS-IIs, high-quality armored units. Even the US who was producing the second-highest amount relied on mass-producing cheaper Shermans as the bulk of its numbers.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ricthofen View Post
                The USSR had massive industrial capacity, it just took Lend-Lease to start up. If the US/UK didn't aid them, it'd take longer, but still happen.

                By 1944, the USSR was producing its -own- tanks, shells, bullets, etc. at a faster rate than any other nation in the world, and these were tanks like T-34s and IS-IIs, high-quality armored units. Even the US who was producing the second-highest amount relied on mass-producing cheaper Shermans as the bulk of its numbers.

                The SU was manufacturing the ammunition, but the bulk of the materials for that ammo(shells, bullets and the explosives to fill them), were supplied by the US.
                It's all fine to produce thousands upon thousands of high-quality tanks, but if they can't shoot, they're simply big hunks of scrap steel.
                Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                  The SU was manufacturing the ammunition, but the bulk of the materials for that ammo(shells, bullets and the explosives to fill them), were supplied by the US.
                  It's all fine to produce thousands upon thousands of high-quality tanks, but if they can't shoot, they're simply big hunks of scrap steel.
                  And if there ain't any way to keep them supplied with fuel, or any way to transport them to combat zones, or give them air cover and so on, it would be quite difficult to use them against enemy. And if you need produce all that by yourself you need to take men away from army to man all those factories needed for producing those necessities.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                    The SU was manufacturing the ammunition, but the bulk of the materials for that ammo(shells, bullets and the explosives to fill them), were supplied by the US.
                    How can you claim "bulk"? Do you know what soviet domestic production was? You need to know that so you can compare what the Soviets made themselves to what the US supplied.

                    You also have to look at when the US aid arrived.

                    IIRC the explosives and toluene primarily arrived from 44 on. I think it was significant in that it allowed the Red Army more shells per tube and an overall increase of firepower by late 44. However the fat lady was singing for Germany in late 44. Germany was going to be crushed by Soviet domestic production by this point.

                    Many proponents of the "Lend Lease won the war" camp like to point at locomotives and rolling stock production. MKenny has debunked this. While the Soviets only built very few locomotives and rolling stock compared with what the US sent them, MKenny has shown that was because they didn't need them. They had over 600,000 cars and tens of thousands of modern locomotives when the war began.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                      For whatever reason, the US decided not to supply the USSR with trucks, aircraft, tyres, spam etc.

                      There is no doubt that the Soviets could still have held on and eventually won. However, the task would have been harder. How much harder?
                      I think it resonable to then assume that lend lease from the commonwealth and the UK would increase to partially fill the void.

                      US supplied Grant tanks were significant contributors to the battles south of Stalingrad (Maikop, Grozny) in late 1942. The 13th panzer division might have escaped destruction without those US tanks. However the war in Russia was decided long before the US aid made any kind of difference.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                        In light of the above, it's difficult to see how the SU could have been victorious without Lend-Lease.
                        Actually it's not impossible.
                        Consider this: by December 1941, the Soviets were able to show the Germans, and the world, that they weren't ready to be trampled over. That happened without LL. Then in the good season of 1942, the Germans advanced again - but it was none like the easy going of the summer of 1941. The Soviets were yielding ground, but fighting back. LL at this time was a trickle. Then in the winter of 1942-43 - Stalingrad. LL was not particularly felt at this time.

                        Therefore, on the basis of the Soviet performance during the time frame above, with no or very little LL, you can assess what they might do later. The Germans have no chance of winning in the long term.

                        Naturally, LL was all-important, in making the Soviet victory faster and cheaper. Not in making it possible.
                        Michele

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                          How can you claim "bulk"? Do you know what soviet domestic production was?
                          See above.

                          You need to know that so you can compare what the Soviets made themselves to what the US supplied.
                          As noted above, the US supplied OVER 50% (hence the "bulk") of the explosives material that the USSR produced.

                          You also have to look at when the US aid arrived.

                          IIRC the explosives and toluene primarily arrived from 44 on.
                          I've been trying for years to find a breakdown of exactly what was delivered when, but have been unsuccessfull. Would you happen to have a source for this ?


                          Many proponents of the "Lend Lease won the war" camp like to point at locomotives and rolling stock production. MKenny has debunked this. While the Soviets only built very few locomotives and rolling stock compared with what the US sent them, MKenny has shown that was because they didn't need them. They had over 600,000 cars and tens of thousands of modern locomotives when the war began.
                          I never questioned the criticality of the US supplied rolling stock.

                          I used to think that the USSR would have won without Lend-Lease, but have since had cause to entertain some doubts after delving into the research a little deeper.
                          The main details that made me reconsider my views are primarily the statistics of explosives, radios and trucks that were supplied to the USSR.

                          Without the radios, the offensives that the Red Army executed would have been much less effective; in essence a near repeat of the disastrous counter-attacks made in 1941.
                          Without the trucks provided by the US, Red Army attacks would have penetrated, at most, 80-100 miles into German lines due to lack of supplies, instead of the 300-400 miles, which were almost commonplace by the end of the war.
                          With more than 50% LESS ammunition available, the Red Army ammunition expenditures would have been greatly reduced, putting some doubt into their success in even penetrating German lines to begin with.

                          I'm not saying that the USSR would have lost without Lend-Lease, just that my convictions about a Red Army victory aren't quite as solid as they once were.
                          Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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                          • #14
                            I personally believe the USSR could have survived without Lend Lease albeit not without greater hardship.

                            During the winter of 41/2 the British foreign minister, Eden, met with Stalin and Molotov. By this time the Soviets had lost most of their current kit, and yet Stalin desperately wanted only one real weapon, the tank. He liked the Matilda up to a point, as the engine was too weak except as a 'summer' tank. He did like the Valentine a great deal, which he considered suitable for the winter as well.

                            Obviously Stalin was going to pleased with any aid received, but nowhere do I find a desperate need for items across the board. Having said that L-L will certainly help the Soviets a great deal, but by doing so, did the West potentially lose out on territory during the Cold War.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                              Without the radios, the offensives that the Red Army executed would have been much less effective; in essence a near repeat of the disastrous counter-attacks made in 1941.
                              If that were true, the offensive of december 1941 should have been disastrous. It did not achieve its stated objectives, but it was far from a disaster, being a Soviet victory.

                              Without the trucks provided by the US, Red Army attacks would have penetrated, at most, 80-100 miles into German lines due to lack of supplies, instead of the 300-400 miles, which were almost commonplace by the end of the war.
                              Absolutely. In other words, the going would have been slower - and bloodier, because if you go that far that fast, probably you have plenty of enemy troops that surrender without much fighting, having been cut off from their supplies.
                              Yet you'd still have those 100 miles forward.

                              With more than 50% LESS ammunition available, the Red Army ammunition expenditures would have been greatly reduced, putting some doubt into their success in even penetrating German lines to begin with.

                              I'm not saying that the USSR would have lost without Lend-Lease, just that my convictions about a Red Army victory aren't quite as solid as they once were.
                              Would no LL really mean -50% ammunition available? Or would the Soviets have rearranged their allocation of resources, raw materials and manpower?
                              For some of the materials supplied by LL, I'm under the impression that the Soviets simply found it more efficient to focus on other products. Sure, there's no free lunch. But this still might still mean a bit less not just of X, but also of Y and Z, rather than a terrible shortage of X while Y and Z remain unchanged.
                              For instance, the Soviets insisted on producing lots of light tanks. While useful for recon, they were generally of much smaller value than medium tanks. Now, they produced those light tanks in automotive factories that could well have produced more trucks, instead of light tanks, but US trucks were so much better...
                              Michele

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