Operation BARBAROSSA, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, was a turning point second only to Pearl Harbour. Russia became an ally overnight but a most difficult, dangerous and demanding one. Stalin desperately needed oil, equipment and modern technology but the only practical route was round the North Cape to the ports of Archangel and Murmansk.The dual enemies of the vulnerable merchantmen were the German naval and air forces and the weather. While no-one questioned that the Russians needed assistance, the author finds evidence that the supplies that did get through the gauntlet, at great cost, were all too often not put to good use. Elsewhere the Allies were having to make do with old and insufficient equipment, such as aircraft. He finds that little mention is made of the impact of British and American weapons and material by Soviet reports. Yet at the same time there is evidence that Allied supplies may have made it possible for the Soviets to occupy central and Eastern Europe and so dominate those countries for half a century of the Cold War.