Motors Milford Proving Ground Division of General Motors Corporation in World War Two / WWII
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The GM Proving Grounds at
Milford, MI, or more commonly known simply as "Milford" to those that
work within in General Motors, was an auxiliary test ground to the
military's main proving ground at Aberdeen, MD. Within the 1,000
acres and on the 25.62 miles of test track of the period, Milford tested over 900
military vehicles from all manufacturers to make sure they would perform
as needed in the combat zones during the Second World War. For
this work it received the Army-Navy "E" award five times.
The GM Proving Grounds not only received the
Army-Navy "E" Flag but also four stars on it. Below are the
letters relating to the fourth star and the work Milford did during the
Second World War.
In this letter dated February 24, 1945,
Robert P. Patterson, Under Secretary of War, informs the employees of
the GM Proving Grounds they have just earned their fourth star.
In this letter dated May 26,1945,
Brigadier General W.P. Boatwright of the Detroit Ordnance Department,
congratulates Milford Proving Ground on its four "E" star and specifies
the accomplishments of the Proving Ground to date. This included
1,500 test projects on 900 combat vehicles.
This map shows the layout of the General
Motors Milford Proving Grounds during the Second World War. The
layout has changed significantly since the end of the war with there now
being 4,000 acres and 130 miles of roads and test track.
The main gate during WWII.
Here are a few of the 900 vehicles Milford
tested during World War Two. The vehicle on the far right of which
just a small portion can be seen appears to be an M5 tank produced by
Cadillac. Next there are four M4 Sherman tanks which within the US
auto industry were built by Fisher Body Body Division of GM, Ford and
Chrysler. There were eight other companies that also produced the
Sherman. The next two vehicles to the left are Chevrolet built
"Stag Hound" armored cars built for the British Commonwealth forces.
To the left of them is either a Ford built M8 or M20 armored car, with
the last two vehicles looking to be a truck and possibly a half track.
This Fisher Body Grand Blanc, MI built
M4A2(76)HVSS is similiar to other Grand Blanc built tanks that were
tested at the Proving Grounds. It can be seen outside the Beatty
Street Drill Hall in Vancouver, BC. It was one of 7,508 M4A2s
built by Fisher Body. Photo courtesy of David Jackson, Jr.
The original 1,000 acres was picked for its location
with rolling hills and flat open spaces, all needed for proper testing
Coming up the 25% Gravel Hill which was part
of the durability course is a M26
"Pershing" heavy tank. Both Fisher Body Division of GM
and Chrysler built the M26.
During an open house for the employees'
families this Studebaker "Weasel" puts on a display.
This is the 25% grade concrete hill at the
GM Proving Grounds.
Here is a Chevrolet built T17E1 Armored Car
at the Milford Proving Grounds on June 10, 1943.
This GMC (Yellow) built T18E2 Boarhound was
photographed Milford on January 19, 1943.