The United States and the Soviet Union outproduced Germany in tank production by a 4.4:1 ratio. Both the US and USSR emphasized medium tanks, the M4 Sherman and T-34 respectively. Whereas Germany started transitioning from the lighter weight Panzers models toward the heavier Panthers and Tigers later in the war.
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Allied Tank Production
American and Canadian automobile and locomotive manufacturers turned out 13 variations of the M4 Sherman tank. A total of 49,422 units were produced in eleven factories. The single most produced variant was the M4A2 with a 75 mm gun with 8,053 units produced by five different manufacturers. The Chrysler Detroit Arsenal facility produced 7,499 units of the M4A4 with a 75 mm gun. This was largest manufacturing run for a single M4 Sherman variant.
The Soviet Union manufactured eight variations of the T-34 tank. During the war years over 57,000 units were produced in eleven factories. The Ural Tank Works No. 183 located in Nizhny Tagil built 28,952 T-34s and T-34-85s from 1941 to 1945 claiming the title as largest single site producer. The Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No.112 in Gorky built 12,604 units in the same time period. Production of the T-34 required between 3,094–9,000 man hours. This compared favorably to the Germany’s Tiger II requiring 300,000 man hours to build.
German Tank Production
During World War II, the German military’s use of tanks played a crucial role in their success on the battlefield, especially in the early years. The German tank manufacturing industry played a significant role in the development and production of some of the most advanced and innovative tanks of the war. The German tank manufacturing industry was characterized by a high degree of innovation and advanced technology. The manufacturers included Krupp, Daimler-Benz, Henschel und Sohn, MAN, and Porsche.
One of the most significant contributions of the German tank manufacturing industry was the development of the Panzer tank series. The Panzer I, which entered service in 1934, was designed primarily as a training tank but was later used in combat. The Panzer II, which entered service in 1936, was an improved version of the Panzer I and was used extensively in the early years of the war. The Panzer III, which entered service in 1937, was the first tank in the series to have a 50mm gun, making it a formidable opponent on the battlefield.
The Panzer IV, which entered service in 1939, was the most heavily produced tank in the series, with over 8,500 units produced during the war.
In addition to the Panzer series, the German tank manufacturing industry also developed several other notable tanks. The Tiger I, which entered service in 1942, was one of the most feared tanks of the war, with its thick armor and powerful 88mm gun. The Panther, which entered service in 1943, was also highly regarded for its combination of speed, firepower, and armor.
Despite the success of the German tank models, Germany was ultimately unable to produce enough tanks to turn the tide of the war. The industry faced several challenges, including shortages of raw materials and labor, bombing raids by Allied forces, and the prioritization of resources towards other war efforts.
German, US, and USSR Tank Production 1938-45 Data
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Source: Biegert, Mark. ‘WW2 Tank Production Comparison Between Combatants’, Math Encounters Blog, September 22, 2017, https://www.mathscinotes.com/2017/09/ww2-tank-production-comparison-between-combatants/
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