In the Icebreaker series by Viktor Suvorov, he says that at the beginning of World War 2, the Soviet Union had roughly 7 times as many tanks as Nazi Germany, which had 3000-4000 tanks.

I can't remember the exact figures, but according to him the Soviet Union had between 20,000-30,000 tanks (I will edit if someone can point out the exact figures in his claim).


3 Answers 3


Answer: Yes

I am not sure that all references count the exact same type of vehicle (tank is loosly defined). But they are all in the same area of about 20000 tanks.

According to Wikipedia

The Soviet Union began and ended the war with more tanks than the rest of the world combined (18,000-22,000)

Another article cites numbers of over 25000

Figures are up until the first half of 1945 and only include new production. The Soviet Union had 25,664 or 25,481 armoured fighting vehicles on 1 June 1941 before it entered the war.

Wikipedia references the second number with a website in Russian (google translate)

A much lower number is mentioned in the article about Operation Barbarossa

Tanks (incl assault guns) 15,687

However operationbarbarossa.net says

As a case in point let us examine the Red Army’s tank park in June 1941. On 22nd June 1941 the Soviets had 23 295 tanks in service (including non-operational tanks in various states of repair in rear areas).


of the rather incredible 20 500 tanks lost by the Soviets in 1941, the large majority were destroyed by PaK 36s

That means to loose that many tanks you have to have these in the first place.

They list references at the bottom, but i have not been able to verify those.

(5) T. Bean, W. Fowler, Russian Tanks of WWII-Stalin’s Armoured Might, Ian Allan Publishing, London, 2002, appendix, p170. Also, S. J. Zaloga, L.S. Ness, Red Army Handbook 1939-1945, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, UK, 1998, p. 181, table 6.3. 20 500 Soviet tanks lost vs. 2 758 German tanks lost in 1941.

  • 2
    "The Soviet Union ... on 1 June 1941 before it entered the war". Soviets entered the war on 17 September 1939. As allies of nazis.
    – vartec
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 11:15
  • 4
    @vartec That is incorrect. Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact Quote: The Pact assured a non-involvement of the Soviet Union in a European War, as well as separating Germany and Japan from forming a military alliance, thus allowing Stalin to concentrate on Japan in the battles of Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan). The pact remained in effect until 22 June 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
    – Stefan
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 13:12
  • 1
    "the Soviet Union invaded the portions of eastern Poland assigned to it by the Pact, followed by co-ordination with German forces in Poland"
    – vartec
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 13:20
  • 5
    @vartec it is still not a formal alliance. It may be nitpicking, but formally it was a non-involvement pact that included trade agreements. Neither side was planning on sticking to its part anyway. See Summer deterioration of relations
    – Stefan
    Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 13:30
  • part of the reason for the different numbers is that different authors/researchers count different things. Got to keep that into account (some may not count training vehicles for examples, or those in long term storage).
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 3:23

In this recording of Hitler [translated transcript] he says that the Soviets had 35,000 tanks at the time Germany invaded Russia.

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    I am not sure this is strong evidence. Hitler is saying he was surprised how many they had. Do we know how he knows it was this many. Could he not be wrong again?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jun 15 at 12:48

The Red Army was the biggest army in the world it had around 5,7 million soldiers; 25,700 tanks; 18,600 aircrafts; 117,600 guns and mortars and approx. 300,000 modern machine guns in June 1941.


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