The American Automobile Industry in World War Two
An American Auto Industry Heritage Tribute
By David D Jackson

Overview
The U.S. Auto Industry at the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944
The U.S. Auto Industry and the B-29 Bomber   U.S. Auto Industry Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   The Complete listing of All Army-Navy "E" Award Winners   Sherman Tanks of the American Auto Industry   Tank Destroyers of the American Auto Industry    M26 Pershing Tanks of the American Auto Industry

    Automobile Manufacturers:  American Bantam Car Company   Checker   Chrysler   Crosley   Ford   General Motors   Graham-Paige   Hudson
   Nash-Kelvinator   Packard      Studebaker    Willys-Overland

General Motors Divisions
(Undergoing development) Aeroproducts   Brown-Lipe-Chapin   Buick   Cadillac   Chevrolet   Cleveland Diesel   Delco Appliance   Delco Products   Delco Radio   Delco-Remy   Detroit Diesel   Detroit Transmission   Electro-Motive   Fisher Body   Frigidaire   GM Proving Grounds   GM of Canada   Guide Lamp   Harrison Radiator   Hyatt Bearings   Inland   Moraine Products   New Departure   Oldsmobile   Packard Electric   Pontiac   Saginaw Malleable Iron   Southern California Division   Rochester Products   United Motors Service

Truck Manufacturers:   American LaFrance   Autocar  Diamond T   International Harvester    Mack Truck
   Pacific Car and Foundry  Reo Motor Car Company   Ward LaFrance Truck Corporation   White Motor Company

Automotive Tire
Manufacturers:  Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
 Updates and Additions  
Links

 

Oldsmobile Overview Page   Conversion to Firepower   Oldsmobile WWII Plant Tour Guide Book
Oldsmobile in World War Two / WWII
 Lansing, MI
1897-2004
Rest in Peace

Updated 11-16-2015.

An Overview


This 1903 Olds Curved Dash was first introduced in 1901 and is considered to be the first mass produced automobile.  It was was actually built by Olds in Detroit before a fire destroyed the factory and Olds moved to Lansing.  Author's Photo from the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.


This 1910 Oldsmobile was the first motorized fire truck in the state of Indiana.  Author's Photo from the Terre Haute Fire and Police Museum, Terre Haute, IN.

Oldsmobile Lansing won the Army-Navy "E" Award in August of 1942, the first star on February 6, 1943 and the third star in October of 1943.  It won a fourth start for a total of four awards at an unknown date.
Oldsmobile Janesville won its first Army-Navy "E" Award in December of 1943.  It won two more for a total of three.
Oldsmobile Kansas City won the Army-Navy "E" award four times.



This was display of Olds military products in the plant from the Second World War.  Note the center item display on the floor, which is the ammunition feed for the 37mm cannon, also built by Olds.  Note the feed mechanism in the Bell P-63 below.


Elco PT-579 on patrol in the Philippines during the last two months of WWII.  Note the Olds 37mm aircraft cannon that now resides on bow of the boat.  Olds cannon like this were scavenged from old P-39s and mounted on the front deck to give PT boats more fire power.  This was common to many PT boast during the war and the weapon found a use it was never intended for.  Photo added 11-10-2015.


The Olds Administration Building that served the division during WWII. It was replaced by a more modern structure in the 1960/70s.


Oldsmobile in 1950 looking west.  The administration building pictured above can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the complex.  I grew up in the neighborhood to the south of the Grand River that borders Olds.  Ifished and played in Moores Park on the south bank of the river while growing up in Lansing.  Photo added 11-16-2015.


This post 1975 photo looking NW in Lansing show the Olds Complex at its peak before being dismantled after 2004.  In the back ground one can see the Fisher Body / Olds Forge / Olds Jet Plants.  A new administration building can be seen in the location of the former one show above.  After GM razed the complex it built a new assembly plant that today makes Cadillacs and Chevy Camaros.  The new administration building still exists today.  In the foreground is the empty field is where REO used to be.


Oldsmobile Plant Number Two in 1945 looking east with Lansing Fisher Body behind it and up in the right hand corner is the newly completed JW Sexton High School that I would attend 20 years later.  Visible on the south end is the gymnasium.  The Fisher Body plant's power housed supplied steam to both plants.  In the distance through the smoke haze is downtown Lansing.  The capital dome is not visible in this photo.



Oldsmobile World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics for the Lansing, MI Home Plant
Cannons:
 
(77,010) 20mm M2 aircraft cannon built from 10-16-1941 to 1-31-1944,
(2,779) 37mm M4 aircraft cannon built from 7-12-1942 to 6-16-1943,
(1,500) 37mm M4E3, (150) 37mm M1A2 anti-aircraft cannon,
(2,930) 37mm M9 anti-aircraft cannon built from 5-23-1943 to 5-16-1944,
(5,129) 75mm M6/T13, (21,894) 75mm M3 tank cannon built from 4-25-1942 to 2-4-1944,
(14,135) 76mm M1A2 tank and tank destroyer cannon with production to 6-1-1945.   Olds also built the M7 3 inch cannon used in the M10 tank destroyer.  The weapons are similar in that 3 inches is equivalent to the 76.2mm the 76mm size the cannon M1A2 actually was.  The M7 production numbers are included in the 14,135 number built. 


Here an M10 tank destroyer built "up the road" from Oldsmobile by Fisher Body in Grand Blanc, MI fires it's Old's built 3 inch M7 cannon in anger in Normandy in July 1944.  Photo added 11-10-2015.

Misc.:
 
(24,713) M2 Feeders,
(1,680) 37mm M4E3 Magazines,
(30,672) .50 Cal. Gun Tubes,
(220,906) P&W Piston Rods,
(27,050) 4.5 T22 Rockets,
(231,198) T38 Rockets,

Shells:
 
(8,597,161) 75mm M48 HE.  The 75 mm High Explosive round was preferred by US tank crews as it was superior to the 76mm HE round,
(398,328) 75mm M66, 
(3,740,678) 75mm M61,
(414,098) 75mm M62A,
(330,476) 75mm M72,
( 56,150) 75mm M61A1
(1,026,120) 3 inch for the M10 tank destroyer and M5 towed anti-tank gun
(5,417,737) 105mm HE,
(316,362) 105mm M67,
(121,490) 155 M101

The 75mm and 155mm shells were produced in the Olds Plant 2 Forge Plant which was NW about a mile from the main Olds complex. 

Total amount of shells, projectiles and shot produced at the Lansing operation was 20,418,600 from 8-19-42 until 6-30-45.

Oldsmobile World War Two / WWII Production Numbers / Statistics for the Janesville, WI Plant
(4,088,757) 3in M62 APC Projectiles, (Armor Piercing Capped)  The shell had a ballistic cap over the firing cap to reduce drag
(270,000) 3in M79 AP Projectiles (Armor Piercing) for the M10 tank destroyer and M5 towed anti-tank gun
(558,358) 3in MK29 APC Shot (Armor Piercing Capped) for the M10 tank destroyer and M5 towed anti-tank gun
(196, 315) M75 HE Shells,
(720,973) 90mm M82 APC Shells, (Armor Piercing Capped
(6,585,950) 105mm HE Shells, (High Explosive)

Oldsmobile borrowed both the Chevrolet and Fisher Body plants for WWII production.  Total amount of shells, projectiles and shot produced at the plant was 12,420,353 from 7-7-42 until 8-19-45.

Oldsmobile World War Two / WWII Production for Numbers / Statistics for the  Kansas City, MO Plant
(3,198,255) 75mm M48 HE Shells,
(1,060,413) 75mm M66 Shells, 
(182,498) 75mm T39 HEAT Shells, (High Explosive Anti-Tank)
(1,122,287) 3in M42A1 HE Shells for the M10 tank destroyer and M5 towed anti-tank gun
(1,980,994) 90mm M71HE Shells,
(3,149,516) 105mm M67 HEAT Shells (High Explosive Anti-Tank)
(1,805,274) 105mm M1 HE Shells

Oldsmobile borrowed this plant for the war from the Fisher Body Div. of GMC.  Total amount of shells, projectiles and shot produced at the plant was 12,499,237 from 8-19 -42 until 6-30-45.The

The total amount of shells, projectiles and shot produced at all Oldsmobile operations during WWII was 45,338,190.

 


This M4A3 Sherman tank built in the Fisher Body Tank Arsenal in Grand Blanc, MI in March 1944 has an Olds built 75mm M3 cannon and is on display in downtown Bastogne, Belgium.  Olds was one of four companies building the cannon during WWII and would have supplied M4 tank production at not only the sister GM plant in Grand Blanc, but the Chrysler Tank Arsenal in Warren, MI. Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


The Cadillac designed and built M24 Chaffee light tank came with the one of the 5,129 M6/T13 75mm cannons Oldsmobile produced during World War Two.  The M6 version was a developed for the Chaffee tank and came with a thinner barrel wall and different recoil mechanism than the M3 cannon used on the M4 Sherman.  The 75mm gave the tank crews in the M24 increased firepower over the previous 37mm cannon they had in the M5 series light tanks.  Not only did Cadillac build the M24, but Massey-Harris also contributed to the 4,731 built.  Author's photo taken at the tank park at the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL added 10-31-2015. 


This Oldsmobile ad is touting the attributes of the Hydra-Matic transmission supplied before the war to Olds by Detroit Transmission Division of GM.  The Hydra-Matic transmission was exclusive Cadillac and Oldsmobile and is  one of its marketing features Olds wanted to advertise for sales after the war.  Customers would not be purchasing the 76mm cannon so it was more of a side note in this ad.


The Oldsmobile built M7 3 inch cannon was used on Fisher Body built M10 and M10A and Ford built M10A tank destroyers like this one at the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY.  Olds also manufactured 1,026,120 shells in Lansing for the weapon and Olds Janesville, WI produced 4,917,115 shells and shot for the 3 inch gun.  The Kansas City Olds Plant produced another 1,122,287 shells for it. Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


This is a 3 inch M5 anti-tank gun built by the Rock Island Armory and on display on the front lawn in front of the Vermillion County War Museum in Danville, IL.  Oldsmobile manufactured shot and shells that would have also been used in this type weapon that saw service with towed anti-tank battalions in North Africa and Europe.  The total number of 3 inch shells and shot Oldsmobile produced during WWII was 7,065,522.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


The Buick built M18 "Hellcat" tank destroyer came with an M1A2 76mm cannon.  This one at the National Military Historical Center in Auburn, IN gives an unobstructed view of the vehicle.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


This M18 at the Buick Museum in Flint, MI in this photo shows an excellent view of the Olds built M1A2 cannon.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


In the M18, the loader sat to the right of the 76mm cannon.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


The gunner sat to the right of the Olds built 76mm cannon.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


This Autocar M15A1 is on display at the US Army Basic Combat Training Museum at Fort Jackson, SC was equipped with either an M1A2 or M9 37mm Oldsmobile anti-aircraft cannon.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


This photo shows the either the M1A2 or M9 37mm anti-aircraft guns mounted above the M2 .50 Browning machine guns.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


Seen here is B-25H "Barbie III" at the Urbana, OH airport in 2010.  The H model B-25 carried the Olds 75mm M3 cannon.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


One can see the barrel of the Olds built M3 cannon in the lower left of the nose of the B-25.  Of the 25 B-25s that are still flying, 'Barbie III" is the only one in the cannon configuration.  Author's photo added 10-31-2015.


Originally the Olds 75mm cannon was hand loaded which allowed for three or four shots per minute.  Later a automatic feed system was developed that utilized the T9E1 75mm cannon with an automatic feed system, which was not produced by Oldsmobile.

 



A Lockheed P-38 as shown in the ad above.


The 20mm cannon is the one on the left.  The others are .50 machine guns that could have also been manufactured by a GM Division.


The engines were supplied by the Allison Division in Indianapolis, IN.


l


The Bell P-63 with the Oldsmobile built 37mm cannon in the nose.


The Curtiss SB2C with Olds built 20mm cannon in each wing.

PT-658 You Tube Deck walk around - In the first minute of this video an Olds built 37mm cannon is shown.  Normally these were scavenged off of P-39 Aircobras.

 

 

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