Products Division of General Motors Corporation in World War Two
Delco Products became as Division of General
Motors in 1929 and then was rolled into the newly formed Delco Chassis
Division that also included Delco Moraine. Surviving portions of
the division were sold to the Chinese around 2009.
This is a rare but interesting of a Delco Products manufactured nose
strut for a North American B-25. Rare in that normally 70 years
after manufacture the ID tags have disappeared off of the aircraft after
many owners, rebuilds and restorations. Interesting in the fact
that in the Delco Products "War Diary" below there is no mention of
making landing gears for the B-25. While the "War Diary" only show
production through early 1943 General Motors Divisions were part of the
B-25 program from early in the war. Author's photo.
Here is more of the nose landing gear on the
B-25. Author's photo.
This is B-25N was built in 1944 at the North
American's plant in Fairfax, KS and is currently operated by the Liberty
Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH. Author's photo.
Delco Products Division of GM
World War Two Production Statistics:
(40,000,000) 20mm, 37mm and 40mm projectiles and fuses, (7,000,000) shock absorbers
for army trucks, gun carriages, tank destroyers and other armored
(1,000,000) electric motors to include windshield wiper motors for US
aircraft, fuel booster pumps for aircraft, Selsyn motors for
anti-aircraft guns and truck steering gears, (2,500,000) link assemblies
(23,000,000) spark plug shells for AC-Sparkplug (This must have been
production after April of 1943 as it is not mentioned in the "War Diary"
below, (6,500,000) miscellaneous items to include shafts and gears
for the Allison V-1710 aircraft engine,
(250,000) units of hydraulic actuating
devices for Grumman aircraft, (25,000) generators to include
those for large searchlights and applications on navy ships, (24,000) sets of aircraft landing gears
for B-24, B-25 and B-26,
(250) electric actuators.
won the Navy "E" Award on April 21, 1942.
Then in September 1942 Delco Products won the Army-Navy "E" Award and then added three stars.
Delco-Products converted its Navy "E" Award to the Army-Navy "E" Award
which gave it a total of five awards during WWII.
This is the B-24 that is on display at the
Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. There is a good chance that the
landing gear on this was built a few miles away during WWII at Delco
Products or at the borrowed Fisher Body plant in Norwood, (Cincinnati)
OH. Author's Photo.
The left main landing gear on the B-24.
Weight of the gear without tire and wheel is 425 pounds. Author's
On the opposite side one gets a better view
of the main gear. Author's Photo.
Delco Products also built landing gear for
the Martin B-26 also at the Air Force Museum. Author's Photo.
Products built shafts and gears for the Allison V-1710 aircraft engine.
Author's Photo from the Air Force
Delco Products built Selsyn motors for the
remote control of anti-aircraft guns. It would be for weapons like
this 40mm Bofors gun as seen on LST-325 in Evansville, IN. The
motors would rotate the gun's position to the same position as that of a
remote gun director. It could be the motors pictured here are from
Delco Products. Author's Photo.
Delco Products built 7 million shock absorbers for
all sorts of vehicles during the Second World War such as this Chevrolet
1.5 ton truck as seen at the 2013 Houston Airshow. Author's photo.
250,000 hydraulic actuators were supplied
for Grumman aircraft such at this TBM Torpedo Bomber. Author's
photo from the 2009 Chino Airshow.
chronological dates of production of war goods starting in 1940 and
ending in February of 1943 from the Delco Products "War Diary" as shown
below. The information below helps to define the production
numbers shown above that I found on "Dayton History Books Online".
Between both sources we get a clearer picture of what Delco Products
produced during the Second World War. Unfortunately "War Diary"
ends in April of 1943 when there was still over two years of war
remaining. Products could have been added during that time that
SOP = Start of Production
More information the dates below can be found on page 6 below.
June - SOP of Aircraft fuel booster pump motor
September - Tail bomb fuses ordered - SOP date?
December - SOP of 37mm shells
February - SOP of shafts and gears for Allison V-1710 aircraft
engine. Delco Products was one of many GM Divisions that
manufactured components for
July - SOP of 20mm shells. This would be a Navy order as the Army
did not use 20mm cannon
August - Naval generators for sub chasers, Q boats, landing craft
ordered - SOP date?
August - One million 37mm shells. The first million of 40 million
total of all sizes.
November - SOP of landing gears. This was in the new Building
Seven for production. This starts the production of 24,000 sets.
November 1941 production was for landing gear sets for the Consolidated
December - SOP of check valves for Bendix.
January - SOP of Selsyn motors for anti-aircraft guns - The literature
below states they were for the 20mm anti-aircraft cannon. However,
that was a manually controlled weapon. The Selsyn motors were used
for remote control rotation of a weapon making it more likely it was for
a the 40mm cannon which were remotely controlled on Navy ships by gun
January - SOP of aircraft windshield motors.
January - SOP of tail fuses for both 2,000 and 4,000 bombs. This
is interesting in that the US Army Air Force normally used 500 lb bombs.
Actually the B-17 did not have a big enough bomb bay for these size
bombs. This may have been an order for the British that did use
January - SOP of tank tread parts.
February - SOP of generators for searchlights.
April - SOP of 40mm cannon shells. Part of the 40 million of all
April - SOP of hydraulic actuators for Grumman aircraft. This may
actually have been for Eastern Aircraft Division of GM that was formed
about this time for the manufacture of Grumman TBM Torpedo Bombers and
FM-1 and FM-2 Fighters.
April - SOP army truck steering gear motors.
April - Awarded the Navy "E" for Excellence Award.
May - Delco Products takes over the Norwood (Cincinnati), OH Fisher Body
plant for the production of aircraft landing gears.
September - Awarded the Army-Navy "E" for Excellence Award.
September - SOP for bomber landing gears at the Norwood (Cincinnati), OH
Fisher Body plant.
November - SOP for army truck shock absorbers.
December - SOP of Martin B-26 landing gears at Norwood, OH.
February - SOP of shock absorbers for gun carriages, tank destroyers
and other armored vehicles.
April - Last entry in Delco Products War Diary. It appears to have
been published not long after April of 1943.
War Diary of Delco Products
- 1933, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943
Reading the 1943 Delco
Products story of its participation in WWII is most informative to the
historian and those interested in what this division of GM built during
that period. The book is 50 pages plus front and back cover. Pages
10 through 32 are most informative as to the products built by Delco
Page 12. Picture (d) is not a 20mm
Oerliken but a 40mm Bofors.
Page 23. Once again the photos do not
match up with the text. All the aircraft here are B-25s, not B-24s
which were four engine bombers.
Page 24. Note that the B-24 main
landing gear produced by Delco Products weighed 425 lbs and the nose
gear 114 lbs.
Page 28. Note the size of the Martin
B-26 Marauder landing gears in comparison to the young lady. She
is standing next to a nose gear. These were produced at the
borrowed Fisher Body Plant in Norwood (Cincinnati.), OH.