What is it about?

In the Second World War the Soviet Union was a poor country with an newly formed industry. This meant that she had a small motor vehicle fleet for her armed forces and had to use a substantial number of horse drawn vehicles to supplement the lorries. The German invasion destroyed huge numbers of vehicles and although large numbers were sent by the Allies through lend Lease, nonetheless the overall size of the Soviet fleet shrank in size. To provide vehicles for the Red Army, the civilian sector was tripped bare.

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Why is it important?

Using newly released Soviet era statistics, has enabled the author to build up a picture of the entire Soviet Union motor fleet during the war. This complete picture gives a better insight into the working of the Red Army motor fleet and the inputs and influences on it.


This was an important work for me as an author, since the trend has been for Lend Lease to take an increasing amount of credit for late war Red Army mobility and so Soviet military success. This article was able to show that for the bulk of the Red Army, transport actually declined for most of the war and the levels found in 1941 were only restored in late 1945. Lend Lease was significant but that effort was matched by Soviet sacrifices from the civilian sector but even taken together there was little improvement for much of the field army. The rise in Red Army mobility in the late war period was due to other factors and is explained.

H. G. W. Davie
University of Wolverhampton

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Logistics of the Combined-Arms Army — Motor Transport, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, October 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/13518046.2018.1521360.
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