The third Lend Lease sea route to the Soviets was the southern route through Iran, then called Persia. This route was opened when the British and Soviets moved into Iran in a coordinated action (August 1941). The British ousted Iran's pro-Axis Reza Shah. The route was imperiled by German u-boats and the Japanese Fleet during early-1942. The route was fairly secure by mid-1942. The problems experienced on the other two routes caused the Allies to take great interest in the this route. The principal disadvantage was the distance involved. The long voyages meant that ships could move much less material than the other two routes because of the substantial turn over times. This route involved a long trip around the Cape of Good Hope and then overland through Iran. This route was limited because the length of the voyage tied up shipping and the Iranian port and transportation infrastructure was not well developed. In addition during early-1942 the Indian Ocean was threatened by the Japanese Navy. Another serious constraint was the port facilities in Iran and the country's limited railroad network. After the British and Soviets seized control, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played a major role in expanding the capacity of the ports and railway system. Even after the long trip around the Cape of Good Hope, the Iranian route (referred to as the Persian corridor) was still further fron the front lines than the northern route. It was, however, closer to the front than the ratheriffy voyage through Japanese controlled waters to Vladisvostock and did not face the Trans-Siberian Railroad bottleneck. Thus as the War progressed, this southern route became more and more important. After the Battle of Stalingtad, very large quatities of Lend Lease supplies began reaching the Soviets. Here we see a U.S. truck convoy in 1943 (figure 1). The mundane trucks proved to be one of the most important items delivered to the Red Army. American engineers and aid substantially imprtoved the Iranian transport netwoek, including ports, rail lines, and roads. The routes led primrily into the Caucauses. The northeastern area of the route was through Azeri populatedc arewas.
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