by Thorleif Olsson

The American lend and lease system was introduced in the beginning of the war to support Great Britain in their struggle with Germany. After the German assault on Russia in June 1941, the defenders got aid with this system through war material, food, fuel and other important raw materials.
From 1941 and onwards, the RKKA used extensive numbers of Lend-Lease tanks received from the USA, Canada and Great Britain. Approximately 22.800 AFVs were sent to the Soviet Union between June 22nd of 1941 to 30th of April 1944, and almost 2.000 of these were lost at sea.
In addition, the Russians got about 351.700 trucks and 78.000 Jeeps from the USA.
With this the Red Army became more movable as mobility increased.

During 1941, 487 Matilda, Valentine and Tetrarch tanks were received from Great Britain, and 182 M3A1 "Stuart", and M3 Lee medium tanks were received from the USA. In 1942, a further 2.487 tanks were received from the UK, and 3.023 tanks from the USA. The first units equipped with Valentines and Matilda IIs fought in the Staraya Russia and Valdai areas in the winter of 1941/42. Usually tank units were allotted a single type of Lend-Lease tanks to simplify logistics. An example was the 38th Tank Brigade which in 1942 had 30 Matilda II tanks, and 16 T-60 light tanks. In 1944 and 1945, the American M4A2 were the highest appreciated Lend/Lease tank, and some tank corps and mechanized corps were entirely equipped with this type. In early 1945 the 1st Guards Mechanized Corps were equipped with Shermans in all of its tank units.

The role of Lend/Lease AFVs in the Soviet war effort has been the source of bitter controversy, as some Western statements tell how decisive they were, while Soviet statements generally denigrating it as inconsequential. However, it should not be forgotten that Great Britain sent 14 percent of her's total tank production to the Soviet Union, even though they outproduced Great Britain threefold in tanks, and this in a period when the British Army had a serious shortage of tanks in North Africa.

The vast quantities of American trucks with USA serials provided, were so common in Eastern Europe in 1944/45, that common folk-lore interpreted the stenciled letters as Ubiyat Sukinsyna Adolfa - Kill that Son-of-a-bitch Adolf.

British vehicles
Churchill Mk. III/IV (6-Pounder)
Matilda Mk. II
Universal Carrier
Valentine Mk. III/IV/IX

Canadian vehicles
Universal Carrier
Valentine Mk. IX/XI

US vehicles
M3/M3A1 Stuart
M3 Lee
M4A2 Sherman
M3A1 Scout car
M10 Wolverine
M18 Hellcat
M24 Chaffee
M26 Pershing
T-48 Half-track



Churchill (All armed with 6-pounder gun)  



M10 Wolverine TD  


M15A1 MGMC  


M17 MGMC  


M18 Hellcat TD  

M24 Chaffee  

M26 Pershing  

M3 Lee/Grant ("Coffin for 7 brothers")  


M31 ARV (M3 Medium tank chassis)  


M3A1 "Stuart" light tank  


M4 Sherman (75mm / 76mm)  

2.007 / 2.095 

M5 Light tank  

Matilda Mk. II  


T-48 (SU-57) Tank destroyer  




Valentine Bridgelayer  


Valentine Mk. III/IV/IX/XI  

2.394 (British) 1.388 (Canadian)