National Geographic : 1945 Oct
Lend-Lease and the Russian Victory U. S. Army Signal Corps, Official These Locomotives Made Long Hauls Between Far-inland Factories and the Fighting Front Plying between Portland, Oregon, and Siberian ports, a fleet of specially fitted Soviet vessels carried 18 engines each, 10 below and 8 on deck. Crossings were safe, as Japan and Soviet Russia were not then at war. Locomotives built for Russia's wide gauge did not fit United States rails and had to be shipped to Portland on flatcars (page 500). service was started with B-25's, but many smaller craft, equipped with special gas tanks for the long ocean hop, were flown to the Soviet Union this way. Old-timers at Lend-Lease like to reminisce about the early days of this service. The Army had a map on which white buttons were moved about to indicate the progress of Lend Lease aircraft en route to the Middle East. Planes which were forced down or lost in transit were designated by black buttons. For a long time there were too many black buttons for comfort. In the end, however, this route, like the others, clicked, and the stuff flowed smoothly and safely to its rendezvous with a fighting man somewhere east of Berlin. Some persons believe that the Russians didn't appreciate the efforts which we were making to put weapons into their hands. Even Admiral Standley felt that they were inclined to ignore the effects of Lend-Lease. For some reason or another, possibly be cause of the enormity of their own sacrifices, the Soviets at first didn't wax especially en thusiastic over the aid which we were sending them. Eventually, however, the Russian news papers began to print accounts of Lend-Lease shipments, and at Tehran Marshal Stalin gave credit to the part played by American industry in the winning of the war. Some of our people, chafing under short ages, jumped to the conclusion that these shortages were due to Lend-Lease. Actually, the amount of sugar, meat, butter, and other scarce items sent abroad was small in relation to total United States consumption. Food sent to the U.S.S.R. last year, for example, was only two percent of our domestic supply. Lend-Lease has cost a lot of money, to be sure. Still, it is but a fraction of our total.war costs and, since it helped to shorten the war, saved money as well as lives.