British and Commonwealth arms production in WW2 from 1939-1945.
Following are tables of the British and Commonwealth armaments and military equipment production (excluding ammunition) and a comparison of the necessary strategic raw materials.
British arms production by weapon types
The British annual production figures of the main arms and military equipment (without ammunition) during WW2 from 1939-1945:
Raw material production for the military weapon production above:
|Aluminium (in 1,000 metric tons – especially important for aircraft production)||25.0||18.9||22.7||46.8||55.7||35.5||31.9|
Arms production in Commonwealth
Total numbers only for the arms production of the Commonwealth. There are no details about the annual production figures available except the merchant shipping tonnage.
Production of strategic materials in Canada:
Important influences on Britain’s military production
Compared to the industrial potential and access to global resources of the UK, the military production of Britain failed surprisingly low in comparison to the other participating nations.
Some of the likely causes of the failures in its military production was the Battle of Atlantic with its sea blockade, and the loss of a view key areas of strategic raw materials (Malaya, Burma, South Pacific) to the Japanese in 1942.
Obviously, however the US have taken-over the burnt of the Anglo-American arms production – and probably so far as this can taken from the imports of strategic raw materials to the UK, also to some part to the detriment of Britain. For example, the availability of important iron ore in the UK decreases from 1941 on by about 30% and is not increasing anymore after the Battle of the Atlantic was won by the Allies from mid-1943.
Battle of the Atlantic
The war against the sea supply lines of Britain and the sea blockade:
|German U-boats losses||-||9||22||35||85||287||241||70 (3 months)|
|German U-boats construction||?||58||50||219||222||292||283||98|
|Average operational German U-boats per month||-||29||28||50||316||423||457||470|
|Merchant ships sunk (in tons)||-||810,000||4,407,000||4,398,000||8,245,000||3,611,000||1,422,000||458,000|
|therof by U-boats||-||452,000||2,415,000||2,203,000||6,629,000||2,900,000||1,052,000||294,000|
|Construction of merchant ships in UK incl Commonwealth (in tons)||?||231,000||780,000||815,000||1,843,000||2,201,000||1,170,000||283,000|
|Construction of merchant ships in US (in tons)||?||101,000||439,000||1,169,000||5,339,000||12,384,000||11,639,000||3,551,000|
|Total construction of Allied merchant ships (in tons)||?||332,000||1,219,000||1,984,000||7,182,000||14,585,000||13,349,000||3,834,000|
|Estimated total number of Allied merchant ships (in tons)||34,500,000||34,123,000||30,935,000||28,521,000||27,458,000||38,432,000||48,359,000||51,735,000|
Annual UK imports of key strategic raw materials and foodstuffs (in 1,000 metric tons):
|Iron ore (total||5,200 (=c.54% import)||4,500 (=c.51% import)||2,300 (=c.51% import)||1,900 (=c.30% import)||1,900 (=c.30% import)||2,200 (=c.33% import)||4,100 (=c.48% import)|
|Iron and steel||1,820||3,690||4,080||2,210||2,810||1,760||314|
|Lead (total)||334 (=c.93% import)||336 (=c.93% import)||139 (=c.84% import)||235 (=c.90% import)||226 (=c.89% import)||225 (=c.89% import)||165 (=c.86% import)|
|Tin (total)||54 (=c.95% import)||84 (=c.97% import)||65 (=c.96% import)||44 (=c.94% import)||52 (=c.95% import)||33 (=c.69% import)||45 (=c. 94% import)|
|Zinc (total)||167 (=c.95% import)||204 (=c.96% import)||210 (=c.96% import)||212 (=c.96% import)||188 (=c.96% import)||119 (=c.94% import)||97 (=c.92% import)|
|OVERALL strategic raw materials (excluding oil)||3,351||5,563||5,298||2,815||3,587||2,343||1,020|
|Peas and beans (food)||135||147||158||48||69||71||66|
Extent of the strategic bombing war 1940-1945
|Year:||1940||1941||1942||1943||1944||1945 (4 months)||TOTAL|
|on cities in UK||38,844||21,858||3,260||2,298||9,151||761||76,172|
|on cities in Germany (for comparison)||10,000||30,000||40,000||120,000 (from Oct-Dec about 15% of failure in arms production)||650,000||500,000||1,350,000|