Thirty-four Soviet aircraft factories produced 142,756 aircraft between 1941 and1945. Eight factories were responsible for 60% or 86,354 units of production. A total of 23 different models were produced with 6 models accounting for the 60% or 86,354 of the units produced. The Ilyushin Il-2, a ground-attack aircraft or Shturmovik, was the most produced aircraft of the war at 35,893 units followed by the German Messerschmitt Bf-109 at 33,984 units.
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Soviet Production Philosophy
The Soviet’s production philosophy was to keep the number of model types down, simplify manufacturing thereby requiring low skilled labor, and keep design change activity to a minimum while implemented those changes as a block. Germany’s production philosophy until 1943 was the opposite in that they had many model types, a complex manufacturing environment requiring skilled labor, and continuously incorporated design changes so that very few products in the field were identical thus complicating logistics. It wasn’t until the Speer reforms fully took effect in 1943 that Germany’s model types were reduced to a level commensurate with the Soviet Union allowing them to streamline their production processes.
The Soviet Union believed in mass production, but their philosophy was different from the United States and United Kingdom. Utilizing a centrally planned methodology established priorities for which aircraft, raw materials, and manpower. Soviet productivity featured fewer models than Germany and willingness to forestall changes in order to achieve long production runs. This allowed not only the worker to work on the higher levels of a learning curve but overall lowered factory costs. Normally each production run requires a tooling and support equipment set-up. Therefore, longer production runs save time and expense with fewer set ups for the same number of production units.
Even during 1941-42 when the Soviet Union was being invaded Soviet productivity rates per worker increase even though their factories were either transferred to the Urals or other points east or were destroyed so Germany could not take advantage of them. The transferred factories often were bare earth floors and powered by available timber. These factories had to make do with shortages and improvisation so their products were not of the highest caliber, but they heeded the call for higher quantities. Three months after Operation Barbarossa initiated the Yak-1 production facility in Moscow pulled up roots and moved to Siberia and in the face of many obstacles such as frigid weather, lack of infrastructure, reassembling/rebuilding a production facility from scratch, and transferring a work force the relocated facility was turning out more aircraft prior to the relocation. (1)
(1) Source: Overy, Richard “Why the Allies Won” Pages 180-181, WW Norton and Company, New York and London, 1995
Production Runs of Soviet Aircraft, 1941-1945 Data
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|Model||Factory No.||Production Period||Aircraft Produced||Percent of total Aircraft|
|wdt_ID||Model||Factory No.||Production Period||Aircraft Produced||Percent of total Aircraft|
|1||Il-2||18||1941 to 1945||15,099||11|
|2||Il-2||1||1941 to 1945||11,929||8|
|3||Il-2||30||1941 to 1945||8,865||6|
|4||U-2||387||1942 to 1945||11,403||8|
|5||Iak-9||153||1941 to 1945||11,237||8|
|6||Pe-2||22||1942 to 1944||10,058||7|
|7||La-5, La-5fn||21||1942 to 1945||9,229||6|
|8||Iak-1||292||1941 to 1944||8,534||6|
Source: Harrison, Mark “Industrial mobilisation for World War II: a German comparison*.” Page 23, https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/mharrison/public/opk2000mobilisation.pdf, Data accessed May 20, 2022, *This paper appeared as a chapter in The Soviet Defence Industry Complex from Stalin to Khrushchev, pp. 99-117. Edited by John Barber and Mark Harrison. Basingstoke and London: Macmillan Press, 2000 Source: calculated from Kostyrchenko (1994), 235-7.
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