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Mar 7, 2013

Soviet tank production plan 1946-1950

Picture by Yuri Pasholok
Text by Silentstalker

This is something I found quite interesting. As some of you may know, Soviet planned economy (and subsequently the economy of its satellite states of the Warsaw Pact) worked in 5-year planned cycles called "pjatiletka" (this term was later transferred to other languages too, f.x. Czech "pětiletka"). These plans were made a year before their start and - needless to say - didn't usually work, because the planned output/production rates were overinflated for propaganda purposes (for example, the second Soviet 5 year plan after the war counted on the fact that by 1955, Soviet Union will outproduce United States in all the "oldschool" strategic commodities: steel, wheat etc.).

This is a plan, published by Yuri Pasholok for tank production for 1945-1950.

Original picture:

What does it all mean: the columns from left to right

Item number,  name of the factory, type of the tank, years (1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950), total amount

The factories: Kirov plant Chelyabinsk, Kirov plant Leningrad, Factory no. 183, 112, 174, 75, 40 (SS: factory no.183 and its subsidiary no.75 was in Kharkov, factory no.112 was the Krasnoe Sormovo, named after Zhdanov - Nizny Novgorod, factory no.174 was named after Voroshilov and was located in Leningrad, factory no.40 was located in Mytishti, Moscow)

Type of the tank: the first two (produced in the Kirov plants) are heavy tanks, the rest are medium tanks - with the exception of the last item (produced in factory no.40), those are the light tanks

The last line is the sum of each year.

All in all, in those 5 years (keep in mind this is peacetime production) Soviets actually wanted to produce 19200 heavy tanks, 66000 medium tanks, 13400 light tanks, in total 98600 tanks.

To compare with wartime production: during the entire war, Soviet Russia produced roughly 30000 light vehicles, 62000 medium vehicles and 14000 heavy vehicles. What the Soviets planned for 1946-1950 was essentially a wartime production.

Needless to say, the plan was not fulfilled. If we compare the real numbers of the T-34 medium tank (for example):

1946 - 12000 planned, 5500 produced
1947 - 12600 planned, 4600 produced  + 22 T-54 (please note that this includes any variants)
1948 - 13200 planned, 3700 produced + 593 T-54
1949 - 13800 planned, 900 produced + 152 T-54
1950 - 14400 planned, 300 produced + 1007 T-54

Source for T-34 numbers: S.Zaloga - T-34 medium tank 1944-1994
Source for T-54 numbers: Техника и вооружение 2008

Either way, it was clear that by 1945, Stalin (who - much like Hitler - liked to micromanage stuff) had his mind on war and demanded ramped up production - production his battered nation was not able to meet and ultimately failed to deliver. Only after his death in 1953 did the Soviet Union truly start to recover from its wartime economy and normalize.


  1. The tradition continues with their plans on fixing game-breaking bugs such as the "I'm close to an obstacle and I switch into sniper mode and suddenly I'm looking into the sky" and their universal answer "when it's done, it's done"

    1. Don't forget "there is no such bug", "it's not our fault" and "it's working as intended".

    2. Dont worry it is planned to be fixed in next "pětiletka" :-)

  2. Much like WG telling us, the second german TD line is comming soon.

  3. He could say that old Uncle Joe was stalin' the economy!

  4. No worries, they still have a half of "pjatiletka" to make them.

  5. You misunderstood the source - it is not 5-year plan - it is military commanders' wishes, such a plan wasn't approved, cause it's pointless.

    Both USA and USSR were preparing for massive war till nuclear weapons stopped it.

    1. I understood it, maybe I just didn't write it clear enough... the whole article was supposed to be about the contrast of 1945 thinking and what really happened.

    2. The point is, it's not an approved plan.

      It's just some guys thinking "it'll be good if we'll produce over 9000 tanks a year, and article was about that.

  6. The economy planning was more difficult and advanced then so, the generals wrote letters for how many tanks they wished however the government which planned the economy could only list how many tanks their factories where capable to produce a year therefore even if the generals wrote 20 000 tanks for 1943 they would only get 2000 tanks because 20 000 where unrealistic for a damaged economy.

  7. Hey Silent, have you read the book named M Day (Den M in czech) from Viktor Suvorov? AFAIK there was similar information, though the book is mostly about pre-WW2 soviet military doctrine and plans...

    1. Rezun (Suvorov) is a bunch of BS.

    2. to Silentstalker: Then I would recommend you to read it, you might find it interesting ;)

      to Bojan: He might be, yet I have to ask you, have you actually read something from him? In the Day M, there are many references to memoirs of soviet marshals and generals, sometimes even openly cited through the book. He isn't accepted by majority of historians, yet that is no reason to call his work "a bunch of BS".

    3. I read. Utter BS, imaginations and outright lies. Made for those on "west" who were too naive to trust him, at a moment of history when informations from the "east" were hard to get. Find what real western historians think about him, they might not be so gentle to call it just a BS.


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