Body Division of General Motors in World War Two
Rest in Peace
Gone but not Forgotten!!!
"Body by Fisher" became
"Body Armament by Fisher" during the
Second World War
This page updated 10-24-2016.
Nothing more can attest to the contribution
of Fisher Body to the effort to win World War Two than this Fisher Body built M4A3
Sherman Tank combat veteran that is on display in downtown
Bastogne, Belgium, and which was knocked out of combat during the one of the
most famous battles of World War Two, the Battle of the
Bulge, in December of 1944. It sits at the intersection of several
roads in Bastogne that made the town an important military objective
during the battle.
Author's photo added 4-6-2015.
Fisher Body was the
premier division of General Motors during the Second World War from a size, production,
and documentation standpoint. No other GM Division or US Auto
Company documented what it did as well as Fisher Body with respect to
numbers of weapons produced and in which plant they were produced.
But one would only expert this of what at one time was GM's premier
However, unless one worked
in the auto industry previous to the 21st century there is probably no
name recognition with the term Fisher Body. But everyone who owned a GM
car or light duty truck built previous to 1986, or even a year or two
after, had the Fisher Body insignia on the door sills of their cars. The
driver and passenger
would see it every time got they in and out of the car.
Fisher Body assembled the passenger compartment which was then trucked
to the final assembly plant where it as dropped on to the chassis of an
Oldsmobile or other GM car. While most people had or have name
recognition of the current and former GM care lines, most will not
recognize the name Fisher Body, in spite of seeing it every time they
opened the car door. Fisher Body was a big GM division and may
have been as large as Chevrolet, if not larger.
Growing up in Lansing, MI,
the home of the former Olds Division, I would have problems telling my
friends that my dad worked at Fisher Body. If your dad worked at
Oldsmobile, they would know what and where that was. But Fisher
Body, even when it was the second largest private employer in Lansing at
5,000, would be a mystery to most persons.
When one opened the door of their pre 1986
GM car or light duty truck, they would see the Fisher Body Emblem on the
door sill. With the exception of the instrument panel (dashboard)
and steering wheel, everything else pictured here was assembled at the
Fisher Body Plant. Author's Photo.
Body by Fisher. It used to be these were oval shaped.
The most coveted award
sought by plants making war material during WWII was the prestigious
Army-Navy "E" Award. Only 5% of the eligible plants
received the award during WWII. This was truly and
extraordinary feat by the Fisher Body organization and attests to the
fact it was the premier Division of General Motors during the war!
Plants that won the Army-Navy "E" Award during WWII
Fisher Body Plant
Number of times "E" Award won
Fisher Body Division, Aircraft Unit, Plant #21, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Division, Central Development and Experimental Unit,
Plant #21, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Cleveland Division, Plant 1, Cleveland, OH
Fisher Body Cleveland Aircraft Division, Plant 2, Cleveland, OH
Fisher Body Division, Fleetwood Plant, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Division, Stamping Unit #37, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Division, Ternstedt Manufacturing Division, Division
#9, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Division, Ternstedt Manufacturing Division, Main
Plant, Division #3, and Plant 15, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Division, Die and Machine Unit, Detroit, MI
Fisher Body Division, Flint #1, MI
Fisher Body Division, Grand Blanc Tank Plant, Grand Blanc, MI
Fisher Body Division, Grand Rapids Stamping Plant, MI
Fisher Body Division, Lansing , MI
Fisher Body Division, Memphis Aircraft Plant, Memphis, TN
Fisher Body Division, Pontiac, MI
Fisher Body World War Two / WWII Production
(Armament by Fisher) :
B-17 - (68,612) B-17 exhaust
collector systems, (46,748) B-17 fixed engine cowlings and (40,228) B-17
removable engine cowlings
Fisher Body Division of General Motors built
46,748 B-17 fixed engine cowlings and 40,228 B-17 movable
engine cowlings at several of its plants. Author's Photo.
Fisher Body Division of General Motors built
68,612 B-17 exhaust collector systems like this one on the B-17 "Yankee
Lady." Also show is the movable engine cowling. Author's
B-25 - (5,214) B-25 Bomber Assemblies
which included the fuselages, wings, tail assemblies, exhaust collectors
along with forgings, castings and machined parts, all of which went to
the North American Plant in Fairfax, KS. At the beginning of
the war, Fisher Body supplied 55% of the content in these B-25s.
Production started in
early 1941 and continued through June of 1945. Ten Fisher Body
Plants were involved. See pages 4-7 of the the
Fisher Body - Aircraft Page for more specific information and
photos on Fisher Body and the B-25 project during WWII.
This B-25J Mitchell Bomber was one of 4,318
J models built at the North American B-15 plant in Fairfax, KS during
the war. North American also built 2,290 D model at Fairfax. In Detroit
the B-25 assemblies were built at its Stamping, Detroit Aircraft Unit, Central Development and
Experimental Unit, Fleetwood, and Ternstedt plants. Grand
Rapids, MI, Memphis, TN, Cleveland, OH and Pontiac, MI Fisher Body
Plants also made B-25 parts. Author's Photo.
(13,772) B-29 Engine Nacelles. Fisher
Body also built horizontal
stabilizers, vertical stabilizers, rudders, elevators, outboard wing
sections, flaps, exhaust collectors, engine cowlings, tail gun turrets
and rudder pedals along with many miscellaneous parts.
In June of 1942 the USAAF contracted with
Fisher Body to build 200 B-29s in a new plant built in Cleveland just
for that purpose. A year later it was decided to instead have the
Martin plant in Omaha, NB that had stopped production on the B-26 build
Fisher Body then concentrated on building the above listed components,
many of them going to Martin Omaha. The B-29 Silverplate atomic
bombers, including the "Enola Gay" and "Bockscar",
were built in Omaha. Fisher Body provided many of the components as listed above
for these historic bombers.
Some historians and websites say the Fisher
Body built entire B-29s. This is untrue. It was scheduled to do
so, but the situation changed and the work went to Martin Omaha.
Page 8 of the attached official end of war Fisher Body document
Fisher Body - Aircraft makes that very clear.
The B-29 "Enola Gay" as seen at the
Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. What connection does it have with
Fisher Body? Originally when the B-29 program began Fisher Body
received a contract to build at least 200 B-29s in its Cleveland plant,
along with parts to supply other B-29 final assembly plants in the
nation. Later in the war it was decided by the military to move
the final assembly of B-29s from Fisher Body Cleveland to the former
Martin B-26 plant in Omaha, NB which was no longer producing the B-26.
Fisher Body then became one of the prime suppliers of B-29 airframe
components to the Martin B-29 Plant. The "Enola Gay", seen here,
and "Bockscar", located at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH were the
two B-29s to drop the atomic bombs on Japan to end the Second World War.
Both were built in Omaha and had Fisher Body components. Author's
Fisher Body built 13,772 B-29 engine
nacelles at its Cleveland #2 plant in the Second World War. 3,663 B-29s were
built with four nacelles each meaning Fisher Body built 90% of them.
It also built horizontal stabilizers, vertical stabilizers, rudders,
elevators, outboard wing sections, flaps, exhaust collectors, engine
cowlings, tail gun turrets and rudder pedals along with many
miscellaneous parts. Author's Photo.
- (13) P-75 Eagles. These were built at the Cleveland Plant 2.
The only surviving Fisher Body XP-75 as seen
at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Author's
Photo added 5-11-2015.
Other Aircraft Parts -
(20,000,000) Dzus Fastener
Blanks were stamped out by Ternstedt Division. These fasteners
when complete were used as quick release fasteners on on engine cowlings
and panels. Every aircraft had them.
(85,600) 150 Gallon Drop Tanks for the US Navy and (53,600) mounting
kits. This order probably did not get filled as shipping was to
begin after the war ended. No doubt the Navy was anticipating the
need for the drop tanks as carrier aircraft operated off the coast of
Japan during the planned invasion.
P-80 intakes and wingtips. Another order
taken on in 1945 that probably did not get filled. Some sources
have misinterpreted this information and claim that Fisher Body built
the actual aircraft in Plant 21 in downtown Detroit. The contract
was for tooling and parts, not entire aircraft.
(1,500) FG-4 Engine Cowlings. The FG-4
was to be the Goodyear built version of the Vought F4U-4 Corsair which
never went into production.
Aircraft Instruments - (168,400) Gyro Horizons,
(124,700) Directional Gyros, (46,615) Compass Transmitters, (76,291)
Compass Indicators. For the Bendix Air Position Indicator
Ternstedt Division produced (4,724) analog computers, (4,716) pumps
and (9,425) right angle drives.
Tanks, Tank Destroyers and Prime Movers:
(11,358) M4 Series Tanks, (1,799) T28E3, T26E4, M26 Tanks, (5,368) M10
Tank Destroyers, (487) M36 Tank Destroyers, (40) M39 Prime Movers.
For the complete story of Fisher Body tank
production, please view the Grand
Blanc Tank Arsenal page.
The Fisher Body built M4A3 on display in downtown Bastogne. Registration Number 3081532 was one
of 339 M4A3 Sherman tanks built in the Fisher Body Tank Arsenal in Grand
Blanc, MI in March of 1944. Author's photo added 4-6-2015.
The M4A3 Sherman tank was powered by a Ford V-8 engine and was armed
with a 75mm cannon. It was one of 1,711 M4A3s that were built by Fisher
Body between February and September of 1944. Author's photo added
This period photo shows a Fisher Body built M4A3 tank that was also hit
by enemy fire in the Bastogne area. 3081563 was another of the 339
M4A3 tanks built in March of 1944 at the Fisher Tank Arsenal in Grand
Blanc, MI. Between February of 1944 and March of 1945 Fisher Body
built 3,071 M4A3 Sherman tanks. Photo courtesy of the Patton
The 2014 movie Fury with Brad Pitt featured a Fisher Body built M4A2E8
Sherman Tank as the other co-star.
Fisher Body also built 5,368 M10 Tank
Destroyers like this at its Grand Blanc, MI tank plant. This one
was totally restored by the Virginia Military Vehicle Museum in 2016 and
was photographed at its annual open house. . Author's Photo added
This is an M26 Pershing tank that is on
display at Fort Jackson, SC in front of the US Army's Basic Combat
Training Museum. Fisher Body built 1,799 Pershings between
November 1944 and June 1945 at Grand Blanc, MI. The M26 was designed with a
90mm main gun to be able to be better able to defend itself against the
newer German tanks. The first twenty Pershings sent to Europe were
all Fisher Body built, and saw the majority of the action of the 300
that eventually arrived in the theatre.
Author's photo added 9-22-2015.
Tank and Tank Destroyer Components -
(2,245) M18 turrets, (1,511) M18 hulls, conversion of (600) older M18s
into M39 prime movers and the new construction of (40) new M39s.
(1,798) M8 turrets and (4,962) M5 turrets. (600) anti-aircraft
turrets for the Staghound armored car. (3,554) M24 hulls.
(100) M8 tank turrets modified for use in LVT's by the Navy.
Fisher Body supplied (2,245) turrets and
(1,511) hulls for the (2,507) Buick assembled M18 Hellcat tank
destroyer. Fisher Body also removed the turrets from (600) older
M18s to make them into M39 primer movers. It also made forty brand
new M39s. Author's Photo added 5-12-2015.
For the (3,592) M24 Chaffee tanks M24
Cadillac assembled, Fisher Body produced (3,554) of the hulls.
Author's Photo added 5-12-2015.
Cadillac produced (1,824) M5 and (4,726) M5A1 Stuart tanks and Fisher
Body (4,962) M5 and M5A1 turrets. Author's Photo added 5-12-2015.
(2,359) 90mm AA guns, (550) 120mm (4.7inch)
M1 AA Guns (550 was the total amount of these weapons produced during
the war.), (6,342) Breech Housings for 5in Naval guns, (480) 5 inch gun
mounts, (9,459) Breech Housings for 3 inch Naval Guns, (888) cradles and
arcs and (1,053) yokes for 155mm "Long Tom" artillery pieces, (1,500,000) Parts
for 20mm Cannons for Oldsmobile (551,772) 155mm shells,
(2,000,000) incendiary bomb noses and (200,000) 4.5 inch rocket fins.
Photographed at the Indiana Military Museum
in Vincennes, IN, this three inch Naval gun as one of 9,459 breech
housings produced by the weapon by Fisher Body between February 1942 and
September 1944. Author's photo added 5-6-2015.
Here is a close-up of the 584 lb breech
housing with the Fisher Body name stamped on to the side. This is
serial number 2,722 of 9,459 produced by Detroit Die and Machine
Unit. Author's photo added 5-6-2015.
90mm anti-aircraft gun is located at the National Electronics Museum in
the Baltimore, MD area. Fisher Body produced 2,359 90mm weapons like
this between June of 1944 and May of 1943. Author's photo added
Author's photo added 10-24-2016.
Other - (9,353)
crankcases for marine Diesel engines,
(140) planers, (250) vertical boring machines, (48) horizontal mills,
and (25) drilling and tapping machines; (50,000) cutting tools.
Fisher Body built diesel crankcases were
used in the Cannon Class Destroyer Escorts. The USS Slater located
in Albany, NY is the only Cannon Class DE still in existence.
Photo added 10-24-2016 and courtesy of Bill Maloney.
Note that the Body has been X'd out and
Armament has replaced it for the duration of WWII. B-29s
originally staged out of China for attacks on Japan so hence the Chinese
boy pictured here.
Five inch gun parts were made in Lansing by
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Craftsmanship goes to War