Lend Lease

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by putteesinmyhands, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. A few questions about the Lend-Lease programme of WW2:

    1. Did any country other than UK have Lend-Lease agreements with the USA? I've a suspicion that Russia had some dealings, but I'm not sure if they were directly with the US or were a third party agreement.

    2. Did Lend-Lease only run until the US entered the war or did it continue to the end or beyond? In essence when did it stop?

    3. Did other countries have a similar agreement with the UK?

    4. Is UK still paying off Lend-Lease? Or is it just an urban myth?

    5. What did typical items cost a) in the early days of the agreement; b) in later days? How did these costs compare to similar items produced in UK?

    6. Were items ordered through the US government, or we they ordered direct from the manufacturers.

    7. Were any items returned (presumably for refund) at the end of the war?

    I have inordinate faith in the knowledge of ARRSErs to supply answers to these questions.
  2. 1. Russia, China, and Free-European forces (ie Free-French, Free-Dutch, etc)

    2. From research I did on the CBI, I do know China kept receiving it throughout. Enemy at the Gates (the book not the movie) referenced Russians receiving American food. Don't know about the UK, probably though.

    3. not sure

    4. not sure

    5. dunno

    6. dunno

    7. doubtful
  3. Cheers, Chief. It's a start.

    Incidentally, this thread was started in ignorance of that John Wayne thing (just waded through the first four pages (excluding page 1, for some reason)). I'd not looked at it until about half an hour ago as I thought it was something about John Wayne!

    I wonder how many other interesting threads I've missed because I made the mistake of reading the title.
  4. Much information here;

    Re 4 above, Wikipedia indicates we'll be making the last repayment on 31/12/06. This was in the papers here some months back. I had understood from that (maybe misunderstood) that the repayments were in respect of another huge post-war loan made at a very low interest rate, by means of which the US secured some bases & agreements favourable to the US$.

    I believe that the government is still making payments on loans/bonds obtained for much earlier wars (Napoleonic) 'cos the interest rates makes it more sensible to pay the interest rather than repay the loan.
  5. daz

    daz LE

    the above list might not show the cost in cash, but should give you some idea how much was handed over to the USSR under lend lease during the war years, note the UK's contribution in aircraft, (we also supplied the Yank’s with spits under lendlease as well)
  6. With regards to the above, one point to note about the Military Assistance Programme, is that after the war finished America decided to leave thousands of tons of military equipment in Europe. The reason being that the transport systems in Europe was shot to hell and the countries involved in the conflict had no infastructure to produce military equipment.
    They therfore instigated the above programme and left military equipment in Europe. vehicles left there included thousands of Jeeps, Half Tracks, GMC trucks, weapons carriers, tanks and military uniforms and weapons to France, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, West Germany etc. Anybody who was in the forces years ago would have noticed that these countries troops were attired in American uniforms and looked like they had come out of a WW2 film.

    Under the terms of the agreement the equipment (the vehicles mostly) were to be offered back at the end of the lease term in a servicable condition. The American government were quite shrewd with this system. Why take all the equipment back to the States with the vast shipping costs involved when you can lease them to Europe and not knock the bottom out of your own vehicle market at home. After all who would want to buy a new truck when you could get an ex army vehicle for next to nothing.

    When the lease expired on most of the vehicles the US Government was offered the return of the equipment and military gear and the US government told them to sell of as surplus all the gear that they did not want. Thats why in France, Germany, Denmark Holland etc there were so many WW2 vehicles up for sale. Because of the vast numbers of vehicles involved only a fraction were sold off, to transport companies and farmers and the rest were sold as scrap. In France there are scrap yards with hundreds of WW2 vehicles rotting in fields and these can be purchased quite cheaply. Some of the last WW2 jeeps to be released were from Norway a couple of years ago and these have now been swallowed up by collectors all over the world.
  7. 1. Lend-Lease was primarily for UK in 1940 when we were running out of money to pay for kit. We had used all our investments in America (most sold off at knock down prices). Roosevelt realised if UK fell and the RN got into German hands the US would be in danger. Also it helped US industry as they were emerging from depression. Lend-lease was extended to Russia who didn't pay anything back.

    2. It ended the day Japan signed the surrender. 4 convoys of foodstuffs were turned back mid-Atlantic and returned to US and everything had to be paid for after with a negotiated loan.

    3. The UK got loans from the Empire and Commonwealth which had to be paid back by goods/services/defence costs afterward. Eqpt and food given by UK to occupied countries and Russia was not paid for.

    4. The UK was paying off the War loan and post-war loans to the US, not lend-lease.

    5. Don't know.

    6. Some orders were made directly with US Govt, especially after Dec 41 when there was a need to arm the US Forces. Other orders were made directly with Boeing/Lockheed etc by the air ministry for a/c.

    7. Aircraft were returned for conversion to civilian roles, others were given to occupied countries who had no transport. Shipping was used to replace wartime losses. :wink:
  8. Intothesilk2: Some of your comments were part of the the underlying theme behind this thread. During my involvement in the construction of the Marsh Mills Interchange of the A38 in Plymouth, I was told by several of the locals that at the end of WW2, the US offered to sell the UK their vehicles, rather than ship them back to USA. The story went along the lines that the price required was excessive with the result that the UK turned down the offer (perhaps looking for a reduction in price), so the US troops drove the vehicles into the marsh where they sank.

    The locals spoke of instances where vehicles would occasionally be pushed back out of the marsh by natural pressures.

    Having seen the amount of fill that disappeared into the marsh during the subsequent construction of the A38 interchange, I can believe that the marsh would have had the capacity to accept the thousands of vehicles that the rumours suggest.

    Some of the locals that told me the story went further and suggested that the vehicles had been supplied under Lend-Lease, with the US attempting to be paid twice for the same vehicles. There was an air of discontent in some of the stories (which obviously had been passed down through families, so some of the truth may have been massaged), with accusations being made that US vehicles in Europe were being "given" to the erstwhile enemy, while those in Britain were being used as a political bargaining tool to secure land rights in respect of US bases. More probably (?) the locals had been hoping to benefit from free equipment with the departure of the US forces from Devon and were a bit miffed that their windfall failed to appear.
  9. Oh. I pay off a car loan then too. Hardly on the same scale though, but it will make me much happier at the start of each month.
  10. Putteesinmyhands.

    With regards to your information. I heard some years ago that there were about 5 huge holes dug in Devon where the yanks buried tons of military equipment after the war. Some years ago either a yank or a Brit traced them through archives and discovered these sites. It would appear that the land owners (a caravan park being one of them) was loath to have the place dug up even though he was assured that the place would be left as it began.

    I can bear out this story to some extent. My Uncle (American) came to England at the later stages of WW2 to be a rear gunner on a B17. On arriving he was given a driving job and he said his entire war consisted of driving back and forth from the docks in Liverpool with other trucks full of gear and delivering the goods to USAAF airfields in Norfolk and Suffolk wherein he had to offload all the cargo into the biggest pits he had ever seen that were dug on the airfields. He said that he did not know what was in the boxes but he could see what other stuff had gone in the holes. He said there were aircraft (pranged) and at one time he saw hundreds of sheepskin flying suits. He often said he wonders how much would be salvable and how much it would be worth today.

    If only.
  11. My father, who was living in the south-west UK at the time, recalls huge stockpiles of brand-new US vehicles and equipment being smashed up in quarries, scrap yards and barracks. In the yard next door to him, a large jib crane was being used to hoist jeeps to certain height before dropping them onto concrete. Nearby, large (aero?) engines were being placed on two blocks, then being split with a dozer blade. Apparently this sort of activity was going on for months and months. Probably the UK government was also trying to protect what was left of civilian industry.
  12. Or possibly they were just being cnuts. At the same time, factories which had switched to munitions for the hostilities were digging gurt holes and bulldozing boxes of explosives, fuzes, raw materials and finished weapons into them. This was fine until thirty five years later when they decided to redevelop the factory sites. There were two or three cases in Leeds of JCB's vapourising whilst digging new foundations.

    I also remember the furore when ROF closed Patricroft and started the process of selling the highly desireable location. Some elderly bloke in a brown storeman's coat went up to a surveyor and said..."What are you going to do with the pit?" "What pit?"

    The pit contained about 10000 items of ordnance ranging from 3" mortar rounds to hand-grenades and sten guns!
  13. daz: Thanks for the list. While it shows items sent to Russia rather than received by UK, it provokes a further query which, I suspect, may not be answerable in this Forum.

    Did UK transfer Lend-Lease materiel that it had ordered for itself to Russia to overcome immediate necessities on the Eastern front, then reorder those same items to cover the deficit? If so, was the debt transferred to the Russians (to be put on their Lend-Lease account with the US) or was it just accepted as a cost of the war effort?

    Intl made the comment that equipment and food given to the Russians was not paid for. Was this because it was freely given in the first place, or because post-war tensions made it politically unrealistic to ask for repayment of the debt. Or did the Russians just refuse to pay? Or is there an invoice in Whitehall that has fallen behind the filing cabinets?

    Intl also mentioned that some aircraft were returned for conversion to civilian configuration, presumably after the war. What happened with regard to the likes of the B-17B bombers that were received in the early days of the war that were found to be unsuitable for role. I believe that these were returned to the US; was their cost refunded (hence the query of whether items had been ordered from the US government or from the manufacturers)?
  14. Regarding the Soviets, I think it is safe to assume that they were a bunch of cnuts and probably never paid a cent for any Lend Lease or other war material. I imagine UK has written off a huge sum for material supplied.

    I spent about eight years in Russia, and visited an awful lot of war museums. Until about a year or so ago, there was no visible record or acknowledgement that western military aid had been supplied to Russia - in fact there was/is little acknowledgement that the western allies were fighting a global war. Even my educated Russian friends - including military history enthusiasts - are barely aware that Russia received western aid. In the Avtovaz car factory museum in Togliatti is a Wilys jeep that has had its Ford badges replaced by crude Russian badges, and a description that baldly states that this was Russian-designed utility vehicle!
  15. I'm not too up to speed on the bean counting aspects of Lend-Lease. The Arctic convoys and later the land route from Iran which was used to supply the Russians by UK then America initially had supplies from UK in addition to those from US. We supplied Churchill tanks, Crusaders, Bren gun carriers and even Greatcoats (the Russians christened them a gift from King George) etc before the US started producing the M2 Lee/Grant and Shermans which were sent later. Churchill sent as much materiel as possible as the Russians were losing factories as they fell back from the Germans and the Urals production had not got fully underway to cope with the early losses.

    A lot of the supplies to Russia was mainly logistical, by the war's end the majority of wheeled transport used by the Sov Army was of US origin. I have several books with Russians using US/Brit kit. Bren gun carriers were usually equipped with a/tk rifles and used by recce formations. At the end of the war I think the US just wrote off their supplies to the Russians as war loss.

    Incidentally, one mistake the Yanks made in Berlin during the early days of occupation was to supply the Russians with plates for occupation notes. The Russians immediately printed millions and gave all their troops their back pay which cost them nothing. The Russian soldiers in turn would buy things off their Yank counterparts for phenomenal sums (it was just paper to them) and these notes were exchangeable for dollars when going on leave thus quite a few GI's went home with a big nest egg! :wink: