Military production during World War II

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During World War II, women worked in factories throughout much of the United States.
Starving Russian women and men were working in factories even during the most terrible days of the Siege of Leningrad

Military production during World War II was a critical component to military performance during World War II. Over the course of the war, the Allied countries outproduced the Axis countries in most categories of weapons.

Gross domestic product (GDP)[edit]

This chart shows the relationship in GDP between the Allied and the Axis during 1938-1945.

This table shows the relationships in Gross domestic product (GDP), between a selection of Allied and Axis countries, from 1938 to 1945, counted in billion international dollars and 1990 prices.

Country 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
Austria 24 27 27 29 27 28 29 12
France[1] 186 199 164 130 116 110 93 101
Germany 351 384 387 412 417 426 437 310
Italy[2] 141 151 147 144 145 137 117 92
Japan[3] 169 184 192 196 197 194 189 144
Soviet Union[4] 359 366 417 359 274 305 362 343
British Isles[clarification needed] 284 287 316 344 353 361 346 331
USA[5] 800 869 943 1,094 1,235 1,399 1,499 1,474
Allied Total:[6] 1,629 1,600 1,331 1,596 1,862 2,065 2,363 2,341
Axis Total:[7] 685 746 845 911 902 895 826 466
Allied/Axis GDP:[8] 2.38 2.15 1.58 1.75 2.06 2.31 2.86 2.87

Notes on the table (remember that the distribution values are rough estimates):

  1. ^ France-Axis distribution: 1940: 56%, 1941-43: 100%, 1944: 58%.
  2. ^ Italy distribution: 1938-1943: 100% Axis, 1944-1945: 100% Allies
  3. ^ Japanese values are included in Axis totals for all years in order to illustrate potential contribution
  4. ^ Soviet Union-Allies distribution: 1939: Only 67% due to the pact with Germany, but none to Axis. During 1940 Soviet Union is not counted at all. 1941: 44% is distributed to the Allies (after Operation Barbarossa), 1942-1945: 100%.
  5. ^ US values are included in Allied totals for all years in order to illustrate potential contribution & Lend-Lease
  6. ^ The Allied total is not the immediate sum of the table values; see the distribution rules used above.
  7. ^ The Axis total is not the immediate sum of the table values; see the distribution rules used above.
  8. ^ Allied/Axis GDP: This row shows the relation in GDP between the Allies and the Axis; i.e. 2.00 means the Allied production was 2 times larger than the Axis. Only a selection of countries are included in the table. The distribution of values into alliances is described in the previous notes.

Table data source: Harrison, Mark, "The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison", Cambridge University Press (1998).

Summary of production[edit]


System Allies Axis
Tanks and SP guns 227,235 52,345
Artillery 914,683 180,141
Mortars 657,318 100,000+
Machineguns 4,744,484 1,058,863
Military trucks 3,060,354 594,859
Military aircraft total 633,072 278,795
Fighter aircraft 212,459 90,684
Attack aircraft 37,549 12,539
Bomber aircraft 153,615 35,415
Reconnaissance aircraft 7,885 13,033
Transport aircraft 43,045 5,657
Training aircraft 93,578 28,516
Aircraft carriers 155 16
Battleships 13 7
Cruisers 82 15
Destroyers 814 86
Convoy escorts 1,102 -
Submarines 422 1,336
Merchant shipping tonnage 33,993,230 5,000,000+ Pillboxes, bunkers (steel, concrete - uk only) 72,128,141 tonnes 132,685,348 tonnes
Estimate Concrete runways 10,000,000 tonnes

Most Battleships and Cruisers were produced before the war and many served through its entirety.

US propaganda during World War II, urging citizens to increase production.

Vehicles and ground weapons[edit]

Country Total tanks and self-propelled guns Tanks and self-propelled guns [1] Artillery [2] Mortars [3] Machineguns [4] Military trucks
Soviet Union 105,251 92,595 516,648 200,300 1,477,400 197,100
United States 102,410 71,067 257,390 105,055 2,679,840 2,382,311
United Kingdom 27,896 124,877 102,950 297,336 480,943
Canada 5,678 2,150 43,552 251,925 815,729
Other Commonwealth 5,215 46,014 37,983
Germany 67,429 43,920 159,147 73,484 674,280 345,914
Japan 3,724 429 13,350 380,000 165,945
Italy 3,368 786 7,200 83,000
Hungary 908 205 447 4,583

Aircraft[edit]

Country Military aircraft of all types Fighter aircraft Attack aircraft Bomber aircraft Transport aircraft Training aircraft
United States 324,750 99,950 97,810 23,929 57,623
Soviet Union 143,145 63,087 37,549 21,116 17,332 4,061
United Kingdom 131,549 49,422 34,689 1,784[5] 31,864
Canada 16,431 1,740 1,134 2,670
France [6] 4,016 1,597[7] 280 712
Other Commonwealth 3,081
Germany 119,307 53,215 12,539 18,449 [8][9] 3,079 11,546
Japan 76,320 36,571 15,117 2,110 15,201
Italy 11,122 4,510 2,063 468 1,769
Hungary 1,046
Romania 1,000

Naval ships[edit]

[citation needed]

Country Aircraft carriers [10] Battleships Cruisers Destroyers Convoy escorts Submarines Merchant tonnage
United States 22 (141) 8 48 349 420 203[11] 33,993,230
United Kingdom 14 (25) 5 32 240 413 167 6,378,899
Soviet Union 2 25 52
Canada 1 344[12] 3,742,100
Other Commonwealth 3 60+ 2,702,943
Japan 16 2 9 63 187[13] 167 4,152,361
Germany 0 [14] 2 17 23 1,141[11]
Italy 0 [15] 3 6 6 28 1,469,606

Large Scale Civil Engineering Construction[edit]

Country Concrete bunkers and pillboxes (Tonnes)[16]
United Kingdom 72,128,141
Germany 132,685,348

Materials[edit]

Country Coal [17] Iron Ore[17] Crude Oil[17]
!a -9999 -9999 -9999
United States 2,149.7 396.9 833.2
United Kingdom 1,441.2 119.2 90.8
Soviet Union 590.8 71.3 110.6
Canada 101.9 3.6 8.4
Germany 2,420.3 240.7 33.4 [18]
Japan 184.5 21.0 5.2
Italy 16.9 4.4
Hungary 6.6 14.1 3.1
Romania 1.6 10.8 25.0
~z 99999999 99999999 99999999

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Those equipped with main weapons of 75 mm calibre or larger. This number is a subset of the total number.
  2. ^ Includes anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons with calibres above 37 mm.
  3. ^ Over 60 mm.
  4. ^ Does not include sub-machineguns, or machine guns used for arming aircraft.
  5. ^ By agreement, the UK drew most of its transport aircraft, excepting converted bombers, from the US allowing it to concentrate on production of bombers
  6. ^ France production figures are from 09/39 to 06/40.
  7. ^ 542 MS.406 + 437 D.520+ 518 MB.151+ 80 C.714 + 20 VG-33.
  8. ^ The number of Nazi Germany bomber aircraft does not include more than 3,172 operational V-2 rockets and approximately 10,000 operational V-1 unmanned aircrafts used by for bombing.
  9. ^ 214 Ar 234 + 475 Do 17 + 1,366 Do 217 + 5,656 He 111 + 1,146 He 177 + 9,122 Ju 88 + 466 Ju 188 + 4 Ju 388
  10. ^ Figure in parentheses indicates merchant vessels converted to Escort carriers.
  11. ^ a b Wagner, Kennedy, Osborne, and Reyburn. The Library of Congress World War II Companion. pp 202-203.
  12. ^ Number of ships in the RCN All escort vessels of the frigate, minesweeper and corvettes classes were built in Canada and 10 Corvettes were supplied to the USN.
  13. ^ 67 Type D escort ships + 56 Type C escort ships + 29 Ukuru class escort ships + 9 Hiburi class escort ships + 8 Mikura class escort ships + 14 Etorofu class escort ships + 4 Shimushu class escort ships
  14. ^ None completed by the end of the war. Two were in production , Graf Zeppelin and Flugzeugträger B.
  15. ^ None completed by the end of the war. Two were in production: see Aquila and Sparviero.
  16. ^ Tonnes of steel and concrete.
  17. ^ a b c In millions of tonnes (metric ton) (1 tonne = ~7.2 barrels of oil)
  18. ^ Including 23.4 synthetic.

References[edit]

  • GDP values: Harrison, Mark, "The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison", Cambridge University Press (1998).
  • Milward, Alan S., "War, economy, and society, 1939-1945", University of California Press (1979).
  • Overy, Richard, "Why the Allies Won (Paperback)", W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (1997).
  • Barnett, Correlli, "The audit of war : the illusion & reality of Britain as a great nation", Macmillan, (1986).
  • 'Gross Domestic Product' 1940
  • "Canada at War" wwii.ca

External links[edit]