American Weapons in Russian Army

American planes in Russian army 1

During World War 2 America helped Soviet Russia a lot with different weapons. Trucks, jeeps, military and cargo planes – all sorts of technical equipment was sent to Russia.

In this post we’ll have some unique photos from WW2 by Russian soldier who participated in such missions to America for this help. He was a pilot and their squad was taking American planes to Russia during the war. According to his son’s stories this visits to USA left a big impression upon minds of Russian soldiers, but they were desperate to help their country to win the war and none of the decided to seek a refuge in States.

They usually were taking B-25 heavy bomber planes and P-53 “King Cobras” lighter fighters. It’s interesting that the Red Stars, the emblems of Soviet Russian Army were printed on the planes right in the US and they were flying those Red Star marked planes above USA freely on their way to Russia. Those were the only times I guess when Russian military planes were above the States. Though those Red Star logos were afterwards wiped out in Russia because they were paintedon a white circle, according USAAF standards and were not exactly what Stalin and other Russian chief commanders wanted to see on Russian planes.

It were not only the military planes of American origin that can be seen on those photos. For example on the photo #14 there is an American “Flying Boat Catalina” parked somewhere in Siberia at Russian river Lena – it was also a part of technical help from USA. Also there were a lot of Willis jeeps during WW2 in Russia, they were the real hit among Russian soldiers for their durability and exterior look. When the war has ended many Russian army commanders wanted to leave them for themselves but they couldn’t because according to the terms on which this help was shipped to Russian army they had to return or destroy all the remains of the technical equipment that was left. People tell stories how thousands of those Willis jeeps were brought to Murmansk and other Russian ports and there they were smashed by large press machines into a useless steel pads under the strict supervision of American observers. Oh what a pity.

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via dkw-rus

66 thoughts on “American Weapons in Russian Army”

      • Thanks Demi. Right up my street. Hey Access, we’re both grown ups, still have things in common. Still get together for the occassional one arm press-up.

  1. What a great series of photos and memorabilia. Yes, flights of P-63s with Soviet markings were often seen enroute from the Bell Aircraft factory in New York to Ladd Field, Alaska. No one gave it a thought because Russia and the U.S. were allies. The great Soviet ace, Aleksandr Pokryshkin achieved many victories against the Luftwaffe in Bell P-39s and P-63s.

  2. They say that evem much more important were american raw materials like cloth, ruber and things like boots and trucks which gave Red Army much needed mobility. Very important part of it came with naval convoys to Archangelsk, Soviet history books of course deny it. Only one convoy were really almost lost and they always take this convoy as example. There are claims that Red Army used in Poland even armored personel carriers with american markings – white pentagram’s and US – polish interpretation was something like “ubju suki” – people with slavic language skills can understand.

    • America provided a lot to Russia and England during the war, but the reality is that it was NOT for free! Unlike the impression given in the introduction at the beginning of the page.

      USA made incredible amounts of money staying out of the war till late stages (profiteering) and manufacturing artillery and supplying raw materials to Britain and Russia.

      • No, lend lease was free to USSR, unless they wanted to keep after the war, but even then would only have to pay 10 percent. Of course at least as important as the American supplied boot was the Soviet/Russian supplied foot to go in the boot. US did supply armored half track vehicles, many went to Polish Army Corps.

  3. My great city of Tehran was meeting place for three Allied leaders in 1943, when Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill met to have some quality time together. They relaxex with hot tea and sweet pastries, and then divided up Eastern Europe.

    My grandfather was in charge of the men who gave relaxing massages. He told me when I was a little boy sitting on his knee that Stalin was the only real strongman. Roosevelt was a closet communist and invalid, and caved in to Stalin’s demand for territory after Stalin threatened to roll Roosevelt’s wheelchair down the mountainside. Churchill tried to save Eastern Europe from Stalin but Stalin told him, “You are just a big fatty and if you are not careful I will send my horde of soldiers to rape and pillage England, too.”

    That is the real story of how the Cold War began.

  4. This found aircraft should be of interest.

    My Grandmother remembers the aircraft being parked and ready for delivery (she remembers them being lined up and all had red stars of course). The Russian pilots would pilot the planes from there upward to Alaska from Great Bend Montana.

  5. [No, Andrewska, my Russki friend, Americans are/were focused on the Western European part of the war. That’s where Americans conducted their European part of WWII and where they were the deciding force towards the end. The Brits (especially), the Canadians, ANZACS and some others, especially in the North African campaign and in Greece, were really necessary.
    Some Westerners do not realize, probably, just how overwhelming Russki forces were in beating the Germans into the Eastern mud. But, I’m afraid most Russkis don’t know anything about the War in the Pacific against the Japanese (Soviets took no part at all). That was the ‘other half’ of WWII.
    Let’s just say that the USA and the the Western allies won 60% of WWII. snd Rossiya and China won the rest. If you don’t understand that, get back to me after you can overcome your Great Russki Marco/Fascist Nationalism in order to study the history of this war period from other than Stalin’s perspective. I’m serious. Get back to me when you’ve done your lessons. G]

    • 2Gerry
      Interesting version of history.
      Though it not correct in its main points.
      1. “War in the Pacific against the Japanese (Soviets took no part at all)”. Incorrect.
      After the war in Europe was over, it was the USSR who eliminated about 1 MILLION Kwantoon army in Manchuria. It was quite hard comparable to Iwojima, wasn’t it?

      2. “the USA and the the Western allies won 60% of WWII.”. VERY Controversial.
      The most adequate percentage depends on what was estimated: meconomical and/or moral damage inflicted to enemy, area freed from enemy, number of personnel/armament involved, own losses etc.
      So it is a tricky question, and statistics should be used to judge on it.
      One of statistics is that 2/3 of German troops were fighting against Soviets, and the rest 1/3 were in Western front.
      So I would say it was 50/50 victory unless exact numbers and certain criteria are used.

      3. To the whole topic – USA armaments was not HELP for free to USSR. USSR had to paid for it, and payments were going on until 70-s.

      4. Finally: history is written by winners.

    • Polarized view’s limit your knowledge . Countries that supplied Russia after it’s peace ,with the German’s and Japanese mwere not apreciated then or NOW by Russian’s .
      As a Canadian I have alway’s been amazed at how the contribution of smaller countries are totaly ignored . Alot of Canadian Goods and food helped the Sovirt’s get to Berlin. The same goes for alot of other countries.
      As to Brittish help to YOUR great Soviet machine they gave , even when they were they themselves fighying for thier own being.

  6. we Americans know how many Russian men and women died during the war and realize that without Russia all of Europe would be speaking German today.

  7. sadly we not only gave them airplanes we built their heavy transport factories, amongst other things. personally america or amelikans are dummies times 2. same damn techniques got us into both wars and they were really none of our business and or wouldnt have affected us who ever won. albeit germany is preffered over stalin and churchhill themurderous lush.also roosenvelt the tool of the bankers as most american presidents are.pishwaaa.

  8. Everyone helped. America had the nuclear bomb. If Germany never attacked Russia, America would have used the BOMB over Berlin like they did at Nagasaki. Threat of the bomb stopped the Chinese during the Korean war.

    • My Aunt flew P53’s I believe to either upper Canada or Alaska, where Russian pilots picked up the planes. I remember stories of lipstick, nylons, and chocolate being crambed into the planes (not sure if that’s true or not). After the war she never piloted again, and if I am not mistaken, she didn’t even have a drivers license to drive an automobile, yet she was a pilot.

  9. Loved the B-24 Liberator pic (#21 I believe) and the B-25 MEDIUM bombers as well as the P-39’s and P63’s. One other interesting picture was that of the Douglas A-20 manual. This latter aircraft, I understand, the Russian Air Force really loved and praised! I actually met the sons of a P-39/P-63 pilot and they told me their father wished it was Russian (because he was so proud of it and it’s 37mm nose gun). They said it’s rugged construction saved him many times and allowed him to return to base after being shot up during his ground attack missions. Thank You for these wonderful pictures and memories!!

  10. One place the PB-Y “Catalina” flying boat…

    (and pic #15; 16) was built during WW2 was in the Consolidated-Vultee plant at New Orleans, Louisiana. An ancestor of mine worked there. In pictures like these it’s hard to believe this was a plane designed in the 30s.

    I never knew any of these went to Russia. That’s fascinating. Best regards.

    • Not just a PBY. It’s a PBN Nomad, the best version of the Catalina. It had a clipper bow, redesigned hull and wingtip floats to make takeoff faster as well as the tall tail of the PBY-6a. Photos are rare as almost every single one made went to the Soviet. It’s cool to see more-thanks for sharing!

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    • Russia could won the war without usa – but amercia did end the war more quickly and help britian and france and russia . usa did give russia alot of equipment but the russia was using there men . usa only enter the war becuase pearl harbour . usa mostly went at war with japan ( the did help with d day . what country raise the flag over berlin – RUSSIA DID – but the one in the picture standing on a statue isnt the real one 1 hour ago before he did . a another group did raise the russia flag ( put in THE END OF BERLIN in youtube and it will tell you got 5 video of it the lsat one show you ) that all i got to say for now and if you think i am russian i am not

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  14. Hi for everybody. You talking here who payd more in WWII. As people taking, who starting, paying most. So Soviet Union. Soviet union was in deal with Nazi Germany – Germany got from Soviet Union oil, grain etc. In soviet union was built tanks, planes for Germany. They were best friends. But it was’nt enough for Stalin & Co. They want to rule more. First they deal with Germany Europe (Molotov-Rippentrop pakt with secret adds). Soviet Union and Germany deal Poland. Soviet Union take Bessarabia, attacked Finland, but didn’t got what he want. Then Soviet Union made plans, how to attack Finland again. At 1941 Soviet Union prepering to attack Nazi Germany. And after that rest of Europe. All europeans must thank Adolf, and realize that without Germany all of Europe would be speaking Russian today.

  15. Basically it is very simple:#
    In 1941 most Soviet military factories and most large army equipment depots were in the western part of the country and overrun by the Germans within a few weeks. Therefore the Red Army was very short of about everything, until the managed to move factories behind the Ural mountains and to get them going. So they appealed to the western powers to assist them with all sorts of equipment, from boots to tanks and aircraft (e.g. the British sent Hurricane fighters). E.g. a lot of Red Army soldiers fought wearing British Ammo boots and American rough outs. The US, which, together with Canada, was lucky not to have gher factories within range of any enemy bombers, supplied most of the equipment under the lend-lease agreement.
    Also, pre WW2, the Soviet Union had only one truck factory, which built a 1920s model Ford truck in licence, but they needed heavier trucks, so American Studebaker trucks were sent over.
    Some equipment was liked and proved it´s worth, like the Jeep, the Studebaker deuce-and-a-half truck, the Dodge WC52 truck, the Bell P-36 and the P-63, but some stuff was found to be wanting, like the American “Grant” tank (while it was appreciated as long as there was no better tank available).
    Later, by 1943, the Soviets got their factories running anf could supply themselves with weapon systems suited to their combat conditions.
    They still needed raw materials, like rubber and some foods, which they got from the West.

  16. Great pictures. But, and correct be if im wrong, wasn’t the most exported light bomber/attac plane to Russia the A-20 Havoc/ boston? Also it would be interesting to know what the russians thought of these things. Like why did they love the aircobra and not the Hurricane? Did any alies try Russian equiptment and what did they think of that? And why these different oppinions? Anyone know?

  17. Just a little comment. Lets try not to argue about who was “the best” nation. That was what started this horrible conflict in the first place. As for cassualties, let the numbers speak for them selves.Its all over no now, and if all the people who died have any message for us it is: “LET IT NOT HAPPEN AGAIN”.
    Make love not war, or like i say,if I want everyone to agree with me, I might as well become an ant. 😉

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  19. I liked John’s comment on the Cobra fighters.
    I understand that when the American guns were replaced due to wear, some Soviet guns of the same caliber were installed. This would improve firepower considerably and all guns would be high velocity correcting the flaw of the US 37mm cannon and the slow rate of fire of all of them. The UBS were among the fastest synchronized HMGs of WW2 and the Browning was the lowest (5 r/s). Most Cobras on the Eastern front stripped off the excess weight like wing guns to enhance their fighting weight. Even with 3 Soviet guns it had far better harmonized firepower than 5 US guns of mixed velocity! The NS-37 put much heavier projectiles at nearly twice the rate and velocity of the Olds 37mm cannon: 4 vs 2 r/s. 27-33 vs 10 r/s for the cowl guns (still ahead sans 2 wing guns at 25 r/s in weight of fire – due to the cannon 4.5kg vs 3.34kg). The Soviet guns could all hit the same target unlike the US weapons. Agility is gained with unloaded wings or added range with drop tanks instead, and little is lost in fire density on target. But if you replace the wing guns with UB mgs the weight of fire is 6.233kg and harmonized (5 Soviet guns) vs 3.34kg unharmonized (5 US GUNS OF THE SAME CALIBER)!!
    Most pilots would take the extra agility for equal potency than the overkill and always be the target.


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