Skip to comments.B-24 Willow Run Assembly Plant (video)
Posted on 05/25/2013 8:15:42 AM PDT by shove_it
Ford's B-24 Bomber Plant at Willow Run, MI, dedicated June 16, 1941 before the USA entered WW2. Henry Ford was determined that he could mass produce bombers just as he had done with cars. He built the Willow Run assembly plant and proved it. It was the world's largest building under one roof at the time. Even then FORD HAD A BETTER IDEA!
This plant rolled one B-24 off the assembly line every 55 minutes. ADOLF HITLER HAD NO IDEA THE U.S. WAS CAPABLE OF THIS KIND OF THING.
...In contrast to what was portrayed in wartime propaganda, it took around two years to reach reasonable output and the plant suffered from continuous problems during the critical years of 1942-1943.
Many of the planes produced at Willow Run went straight to other factories upon leaving the production line in order to receive the latest updates before the US Army Air Force accepted them into service.
In early 1943 Willow Run came under congressional scrutiny because of its failures. Senator Harry Truman, chairman of the War Investigating Committee, alleged that production at the plant amounted virtually to none. The nickname Will It Run appeared at that time and stuck.
Willow Run eventually produced 8,685 Liberator bombers and exemplified what could be achieved by using modern production lines, but it also proved that building a bomber was not at all like building a car...
Good Hunting... from Varmint Al
Pretty much true of virtually all of our military production of the time. Kinda like the “Victory ships” that broke in half.
Everything was a rush job but in the end they got the job done.
If we ever had to quickly war up and mass produce again for a real war and real threat, we’d have to get the Chinese to do it.
Willow Run - WWII’s Solyndra.
Under war-time orders, Bohn Aluminum and Brass of Adrian, moved to creating magnesium blocks and sundry parts for the Will-It-Run assembly.
The Mag-blocks of all those Ford “fly-boy” engines were cast, cut and bored in Adrian, MI and they cranked them out!
They are now under the auspices of Hydro-Aluminum USA, one of my previous employers.
You got the right screen name.
Oh yeah. War is wasteful, in more ways than one.
I ran across a reference in a WWII book to union sabotage when Willow Run opened, but on-line references are pretty well scrubbed.
The Nazi-Soviet Pact had American leftists, prominent in unions, wanting to stay out of the war and halt aid to capitalist Britain. Thus the incidents of sabotaging the war effort early on.
I never get tired of watching and listening to 'em. Beautiful machines.
“Willow Run eventually produced 8,685 Liberator bombers and exemplified what could be achieved by using modern production lines, but it also proved that building a bomber was not at all like building a car...”
My dad was on the engineering team that transformed the AC Spark Plug Co. in Flint to producing machine guns employing mostly housewives. His counterparts at the armories said it couldn’t be done but it was done on a production line basis and in a hurry. The feats accomplished during those years to produce the war material needed to win it could not be duplicated today.
My dad was a B24 tailgunner out of Spinazola Italy. I’m a big B24 fan, it didn’t get the press of the B17.
Secretary of War Stimson completely bought Boeing’s publicity about their B-17.
We certainly made some of the incredible technological advances during the war.
Unfortunately, that generation of leftists saw the war effort as proof that command-and-control economies work. Thus we had the “War and Poverty” and now have totalitarian regulations to prevent “Climate Change”.
Major war also rips a generation from its family and place, enabling baser instincts that violate hard-learned moral standards.
Wasn’t there a factory utilizing just-in-time manufacturing methods that produced a superior plane - perhaps the B-25??
Even their two aircraft carriers located in Lake Michigan........
A while back I got an email link to these two ships. the site had tons of pictures of the carriers in action and on deck and off deck crashes of the planes. It was pretty incredible......
USS Wolverine (IX-64) was a freshwater aircraft carrier of the United States Navy during World War II. She had been converted from a paddlewheeler coal-burning steamer to be used for advanced training for naval aviators in carrier take-offs and landings in Lake Michigan
Don’t know about JIT mfg. of the B-25 but it was famous for crashing into the Empire State Building ...
Wow, what a long link!
“ADOLF HITLER HAD NO IDEA THE U.S. WAS CAPABLE OF THIS KIND OF THING.”
It’s the same with American liberals today.
“ships that broke in half”
WWII submarine/ship welding was a great impetus for the development of non-destructive testing technology of welds. The requirements were to fill the notch between two adjoining plates with weld material, a time consuming, difficult process. The welders would fill most of the notch with welding rods and weld over the top, giving an outward appearance of a satisfactory weld.
Interesting post about the welding.
Was that laziness or inexperience?
I am glad they were on our side...
My Wife’s Dr. Had his office on the 78th floor...been there many times...
Great stuff, Homer. You just reminded me of a big slideshow I posted three years ago about the Willow Run plant ...
It was deliberate malfeasance to get credit for work not done.
JIT Production ...
Thanks for B24 pic, goes in my collection.