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Wartime Production by the Commonwealth during WWII PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Boyd   
Thursday, 01 January 2009 21:09

Commonwealth Production during the Second World War

The story of wartime production in the United States and Lend Lease is well known but that of the Commonwealth had been largely forgotten, even the United Kingdoms efforts are largely unknown. The importance of production in Commonwealth countries, in particular that of Canada and Australia cannot be stressed enough, it was vital to the success of the Allied war effort and was especially important to the United Kingdom during the dark days of 1940 and 1941. The amount of material for war produced by the Commonwealth is staggering, from humble beginnings in 1940 to huge proportions in 1943/44. To underline the point of just how large and important the Commonwealths war production was, Canada alone produced more than double the number of trucks/lorries during the war than Germany.

As most of my research so far has dealt with British wartime production I have not yet been able to piece together a full picture of Commonwealth production for the entire war, for example I have not yet been able to find a source of aircraft production in Commonwealth countries, explosives and other raw materials  but as more information becomes available to me I shall update this article and as always, if you have any data I would be very happy to see it!

The following data has been compiled from various documents from the Ministry of Supply, unfortunately I have not come across complete data for Canada before May 1942 or that of the other Commonwealth countries before April 1942. Also data from Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa has been grouped together into an "Eastern Group" and separation of the data for each country would not be possible from these sources. These figures deal purely with production and do not tell of how much of it was shipped to the UK (this information will follow in a separate article).

As stated above data for Canada pre May 1942 and the Eastern group pre April 1942 is not available so the incomplete figures for 1942 are given in the tables below but also an estimation for the entire year using the May/April figures have been given, in some cases this will exceed and in others be below actual figures but it should give a good impression of the entire years production.

Anti-Tank Weapons

Anti-Tank Weapons

Canada 1942

Canada 1942 (EST)

Eastern 1942

Eastern 1942 (EST)

Canada 1943

Eastern 1943

Canada 1944

Eastern 1944

Canada 1945

Eastern 1945

2pdr Guns

780

1,892

618

1,059

-

136

-

-

-

-

2pdr Carriage

204

340

256

568

-

-

-

-

-

-

6pdr Guns

4,703

5,655

192

192

2,344

815

-

190

-

-

6pdr Carriage

1,355

1,355

157

157

1,669

740

-

235

-

23

17pdr Guns

-

-

6

6

-

206

-

100

-

-

17pdr Carriage

-

-

1

1

-

24

-

95

-

26

Anti-Tank Ammunition (in thousands)

Anti-Tank Ammunition

Canada 1942

Canada 1942 (EST)

Eastern 1942

Eastern 1942 (EST)

Canada 1943

Eastern 1943

Canada 1944

Eastern 1944

Canada 1945

Eastern 1945

2pdr HE

-

-

-

-

-

53

-

-

-

-

2pdr AP

1,427

2,331

255

409

673

31

-

23

-

6

6pdr AP

1,487

1,927

-

-

4,694

45

-

100

-

23

6pdr APCBC

-

-

-

-

256

-

1,983

-

-

-

6pdr APDS

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

9

-

17pdr AP/APC

-

-

-

-

374

-

293

-

-

-

17pdr APCBC

-

-

-

-

-

-

204

-

84

-

17pdr APDS

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

51

-

75mm HE

504

504

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Artillery / Anti-Aircraft Guns

Artillery/AA

Canada 1942

Canada 1942 (EST)

Eastern 1942

Eastern 1942 (EST)

Canada 1943

Eastern 1943

Canada 1944

Eastern 1944

Canada 1945

Eastern 1945

25pdr Equipments

717

1,073

640

877

921

317

1,236

9

-

-

25pdr Equipments (Short)

-

-

-

-

-

64

-

-

-

-

3.7" How Pack

-

-

76

97

-

146

-

287

-

112

3.7" How Mech

-

-

24

60

-

23

-

10

-

-

40mm Bofors Equipments

1,311

1,671

8

8

1,427

155

-

58

-

-

3" AA Equipments

-

-

10

10

-

2

-

-

-

-

3.7" AA Equipments

445

489

150

198

1,115

122

173

3

-

-

Polsten Guns

-

-

-

-

1

-

7,051

470

-

988

Polsten Universal Mountings

-

-

-

-

243

-

9,497

-

-

-

Artillery / Anti-Aircraft Ammunition (in thousands)

Artillery/AA Ammunition

Canada 1942

Canada 1942 (EST)

Eastern 1942

Eastern 1942 (EST)

Canada 1943

Eastern 1943

Canada 1944

Eastern 1944

Canada 1945

Eastern 1945

25pdr HE

3,402

5,438

2,657

3,029

1,861

5,242

2,892

1,666

2,450

880

18pdr HE

-

-

312

389

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.7" How Mech

-

-

493

600

-

912

-

1,373

-

547

75mm HE

785

1,393

-

-

106

-

-

-

-

-

4.5" Gun HE

279

471

258

438

45

15

119

-

278

-

5.5" Gun/How HE

467

647

-

-

459

-

890

24

466

6

6" How HE

-

-

37

60

-

10

-

-

-

-

60pdr HE

-

-

5

11

-

1

-

-

-

-

7.2" How HE

270

434

-

-

182

-

-

-

-

-

25pdr Smoke

681

1,037

-

-

686

-

486

-

478

18

75mm Smoke

487

1,163

-

-

1,071

-

811

-

-

27

40mm HE

3,342

5,306

-

-

5,024

284

5,232

449

634

1

3" AA HE

-

-

10

10

-

-

-

-

-

-

3.7" AA HE

2,006

2,998

185

290

2,037

-

1,481

31

327

8

3.7" AA Sharp

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8

-

-

Sources - AVIA 22 456- 514

 

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