The Soviet/Russian authorities have consistently refused to give the US credit for the assistance we provided them as they fought the Nazis. Without our help - trucks, planes and other vehicles especially - it is a distinct possibility that they would have been defeated. That's not to downplay their sacrifices in any way but the materials we sent to Russia through Vladivostok and the Northern port city of Murmansk were a life saver. Stalin and later leaders did not want the people of Russia to know just how much the US helped them. Stalin and other leaders did comment to our leaders that they would have lost the war without our help but that was never made public in Russia.I'd read about our support of the Russians but it was a shock to see all of that US hardware.
My Uncle was a Merchant Marine from age 17 (1941) until the end of the war. While he may have gone the Northern route at some time, he told me that most of his time was in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. He sailed in convoys that lost ships to U-Boats but the ships he sailed on were never hit. He passed away a few years ago in his late 90's.And a lot of US Merchant mariners lost their lives on those Murmansk and Archangel convoys to get all that help to them. Funny thing too was that US Shipyards were turning out a class of freighters called Liberty ships to get all of the stuff over there. They ships were designed to make the one way trip and that was it. The Russians were still using them up into the late nineteen eighties when the USSR dissolved.
Yes those ships turned out to be a lot more durable than expected. There are two of them left today. The Jeremiah O'Brian docked in Long Beach California, last I heard anyway. And the John Brown in Baltimore Maryland. Both open to the public and definitely worth a visit. I used to volunteer on the John brown for various things when I was working out of Baltimore. We were going to take her over to Normandy for the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion. But the Coast guard OCMI came down and did an inspection and shot that down as the hull was in pretty bad shape.