Boneyards of Surplus Military Vehicles, Aircrafts, Warship and Tanks from World War II

The industrial war machine didn’t stop instantly after World War II ended in 1945. There have been a variety of estimates of the value of the probable surpluses, ranging from $25 billion to $150 billion.

The United States alone produced approximately 294,000 aircraft during the war. Of those, 21,583 (7.34%) were lost in the United States in test flights, ferrying, and training accidents, while 43,581 were lost en route to war and overseas operations. Approximately 150,000 surplus airplanes were estimated to have been left over after the war. Several airplanes were considered for storage, but many had to be sold or scrapped due to the expense associated with storing them. Some U.S. military aircraft overseas were buried, bulldozed, or sank at sea since it wasn’t worth the time and money to bring them back to the States. However, most of them were returned home for storage, sale, or scrapping. Many of their valuable components were stripped and melted down for their aluminum when the planes returned. An estimated 5,500 aircraft were stored and scrapped at Kingman Air Force Base in Arizona between 1945 and 1946.

Some vehicles were repurposed for civilian use after being sold for metal and parts. Tractors and bulldozers were reassigned to disarmed tanks and half-tracks. The Navy held unused ships in reserve, disassembled them for parts, scuttled them as artificial reefs, and even used them as targets for nuclear tests. Over 600,000 Jeeps were manufactured during the war. They were used in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Following the war, many jeeps were sold to or given to locals or left behind to avoid being transported back to the states.

#1 Obsolete M3A1 Light tanks sit in a U.S. Army depot, 1946.

#2 Armored vehicles sit in storage at a U.S. facility, 1946.

#3 18 million pounds of scrap brass is piled up at a U.S. Army depot storing unused equipment, 1946.

#6 Surplus motorcycles in England are bundled in groups of five to be sold as scrap.

#7 Heavy bombers await disassembly at Kingman Air Force base in Arizona, 1947.

#9 Engines are removed from mothballed planes at Kingman Air Force Base, 1947.

#10 A pile of aluminum is all that remains of a plane at Kingman Air Force Base, 1947.

#11 800 military Jeeps await auction at a storage facility in England, 1946.

#14 An American-made tank finds a new life pulling a plow on a farm.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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