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"Relocating Soviet factories in WW2" Topic

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Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2010 7:01 p.m. PST

I keep reading about this, but with precious few details.
It came up again in the T34/Panther thread.

It seems to me that an awful lot pf [re-planning would have to be done to accomplish this to the degree to which it is alleged to have been done.
If so, this is one of the few cases of planning prior to Barbarosa that I have seen.

How much was ACTUALLY accomplished? Was it merely a matter of evacuating crucial dies and molds?

Kaoschallenged25 Feb 2010 7:04 p.m. PST

Found this,

On June 23rd 41 mobilisation production plans went into force. On June 24th the Evacuation Council was set up and on the 30th the State Defense Committee was organised with Stalin as its head. In July 41 300,000 railway wagons were in operation in August 185,000 in September 140,000 in October 175,000 in November 123,000. In the July November period 1,503 industrial enterprises were evacuated to the east. It took two and a half years to erect a blast furnace before the war but furnaces No. 5 and 8 were erected in eight monthes at Magnitogorsk. In October tank building plant No.183 was working in November it was evacuated and in December it resumed production. Tank production went from 4,177 in the second half of 41 to 11,021 in the first half of 42.
Military production increased 180% in the urals in 1942 compared to 41 200% in the Volga area and 140% in Western Siberia.
In 1942 4.4 million industrial workers were trained or re-educated. The number of women operating for example forging and press machines rose from 11% 1941 to 50% end of 42.
The Germans siezed or put out of action 31,850 big and small industrial enterprises. German industrial capacity in 41 including conquered countries was :-
31.8 million tons of steel against the Soviets 18.3
rolled stock 22.5 m.tons against Soviets 13.1
coal 506mt against Soviets 165.9mt
stock of metal cutting machines 1694 thousand Soviet 58.4 thousand

From an article by Colonell G.S. Kravchenko 1967

"There had been only scant pre-war contingency planning, there were no actual plans for any strategic industrial withdrawl into the eastern hinterlands, where the building of new plants and the construction of new railways had proceeded very slowly"………"the highly centralised state machine was scattered behind the Volga"……."the very lowest echolons of the Party and administrative machine proved to be inflexable to the point of inertia".

From John Erickson The Road To Stalingrad.

"Dug up some interesting facts to complement the previous post. The first T34 from Zavod no. 183 (largest pre-war tank factory) was completed at Nizhni Tagil in the Urals on Dec. 8th 42 with the workers apparently living in tents, but pre war production at 183 was not reached till March 42 and it started its move on the 15th of September to the Urals (Soviet claims should always be taken with a pinch of salt). It would seem that plant workers after 1941 typicaly comprised 50% women 15% underage boys and 15% invalids and old men. Equipment was redesigned, the T34s model 1941 gun had 861 parts and its model 1942 gun 614. The cost per T34 in manpower and metal was reduced from 269,000 roubles in 41 to 135,000 by 43. Total T34 production for 1942 was 12,553 and for 40/41 about 3,100."


Sane Max26 Feb 2010 2:38 a.m. PST

It does seem from my reading that there was no contingency planning – just another case of what you can achieve if you don't give a Bleeped text about the people that have to do the actual work.

This is a Soviet Joke

'Hello Comrade, I came to help you move your Piano to the new Flat Upstairs"

"That's OK, it's done – I harnessed the Cat to it."

"How the hell did a cat pull a Piano up a flight of Stairs?"

"I used a whip"


aercdr26 Feb 2010 2:45 a.m. PST

It does demonstrate the advantages that a totalitarian state possesses in these instances. The Soviet centralized control had the power to move vasts amounts of people and infrastructure thousands of miles. Compare that with the chaos that characterized Nazi production, economics and control, where competing interests fought with each other over the spoils of Europe. (I am not advocating for one form of despicable dictatorship over another!)

Martin Rapier26 Feb 2010 2:46 a.m. PST

"How much was ACTUALLY accomplished? "

As above, it was a triumph of will.

Centrally planned authoritarian states are quite good at organising and executing tasks with clearly defined boundaries and objectives at short notice. The 'executing' bit may be literal in some cases, pour encourager les autres.

That was partly why the Allied war economies switched to central control almost immediately, a much more efficent method of controlling war production, as they'd found in WW1. Compare and contrast with Hitlers social darwinist approach to R&D, production etc.

Pictors Studio26 Feb 2010 3:22 a.m. PST

There is a good bit about it in Alexander Werth's book on the Soviet Union in WWII: Russia At War.

Frontovik26 Feb 2010 4:11 a.m. PST

If you want to pay, or track it down through inter-library loan, there's this.

Also found this.


It was not a triumph of 'will' it was a triumph of organisation and the simple ability to take a decision without waiting for a committee/focus group/report.

kabrank26 Feb 2010 4:18 a.m. PST

One suspects that the "will" bit comes in where the State has the "will" to force the people to carryout the required plans irrespective of personal cost.

Streitax26 Feb 2010 4:29 a.m. PST

Yes, I'm sure there was considerable effort to move the equipment, but the people involved probably had to fend for themselves a great deal. I can't imagine living in tents in the Urals in winter was pleasant. Given the Russians had difficulty feeding their own troops that winter (Zhukov arrived with two weeks supplies for his troops and all but three days worth were seized to feed the others. They had to capture German supply depots to maintain the winter offensive) I can't imagine it was plentiful in the factories.

normsmith26 Feb 2010 4:36 a.m. PST

Fear of ruthless occupation brings it's own motivation.

Streitax26 Feb 2010 5:24 a.m. PST

Maybe it was only in the Ukraine, but didn't the Russians originally welcome the Germans? I mean, choosing between Uncle Joe and Adolf isn't easy but Adolf was the Devil they didn't know then.

Kelly Armstrong26 Feb 2010 5:54 a.m. PST

Three critical things need to be moved; people, materials, and machine tools. People are easy to move. Materials a little more difficult but the material problem was helped dramatically by lend-lease which included lots of strategic materials. Moving machine tools is likely the most critical component. Some machine tools are rather mundane and available in great numbers or are interchangealbe between industries; like lathes, mills, presses, and saws. Some are highly specialized, especially for armor production, and if you don't rescue the right machine, you will spend 1-2 years setting up a new one. You can't just run out and order these machines. Then there's all the tool fittings, dies, jigs and so forth. These more minor componenents can be created in a matter of weeks or months but you can also save lots of time if you can dig them out of a boxcar that hopefully isn't located too far from where you are trying to setup a new plant.

AndrewGPaul26 Feb 2010 6:02 a.m. PST

Maybe it was only in the Ukraine, but didn't the Russians originally welcome the Germans?

I think the Ukranians did. Not sure about the Russians.

Sundance26 Feb 2010 7:06 a.m. PST

Kind of like the army.."you'll do push-ups until I get tired."

Frontovik26 Feb 2010 7:15 a.m. PST

<quote>Maybe it was only in the Ukraine, but didn't the Russians originally welcome the Germans?</quote>

I think the Ukranians did. Not sure about the Russians.</quote>

Some Ukrainians – I forget the exact figures but Ukrainian nationals provided around 40% of the Red Army's strength.

Oh yeah and the bulk of Lend Lease arrived from 1943 onwards while production levels started to recover from early-mid 1942.

archstanton7326 Feb 2010 7:27 a.m. PST

This is a Soviet Joke

'Hello Comrade, I came to help you move your Piano to the new Flat Upstairs"

"That's OK, it's done I harnessed the Cat to it."

"How the hell did a cat pull a Piano up a flight of Stairs?"

"I used a whip"

Good joke although my cat wasn't impressed!!!!
Central planning, ability to make quick decisions and a national mobilisation of the home front to a greater extent than Britain or USA acheived…Remember the Allies used women to a far greater extent than Germany who beleived in house and family…By the time Speer tried to sort it out it was far far too late..

Matsuru Sami Kaze26 Feb 2010 11:21 a.m. PST

One of the interesting things, once the factories were relocated and began producing armaments like tanks, the Russian leadership was motivated to keep producing large amounts of proven weapons, like T-34's rather than spend any time and resources, switching the product lines over to new types of tanks. Once they got the Ural factories up and running, many factories didn't even have roofs. Priorities were important when the issue was in doubt.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2010 11:31 a.m. PST

Shows that with the right compulsions you can get stuff done

The major accomplishment was putting key arms production out of harm's way – which was accomplished with ruthless efficiency

As to Soviet minorities welcoming the Germsns, interestingly despite the German's horrible treatment of occupied territories, there were still between 400,000 and a million Slavs who served with the German military – makes you think about what they might have been accomplished if they had not been bolt-headed Nazis

Mind you, then they would not have been bolt-headed Nazis

Mark Plant26 Feb 2010 8:21 p.m. PST

The Soviets also did not have to discuss any issues of ownership or compensation. That allowed them to move factories more quickly.

While an advantage in the crisis of the war, it was to bite them back after the war. Decisions had to be made in 1946 whether to keep the factories in the east or move them back to where the people and materials were.

In the West those decisions would have been made primarily on an economic basis. In the USSR they were made for other reasons, and the economy suffered as people were moved to factories, not vice versa.

Moko5426 Feb 2010 9:29 p.m. PST

Soviet Joke 'We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us'

I think the Ukranians did. Not sure about the Russians.

The Ukranians did, and so did a lot of Russian, that was until the Einstruppen showed up a few hours later. IMHO oneof Hitler's big blunders, the way he treated the occupied people.

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