Lamp Division of General Motors
in World War Two / WWII
Rest in Peace
Updated on 3-27-2015.
Guide Lamp was one of two GM
Divisions located in Anderson, IN. Its core product lines before
and after the war were headlights and tail lights for General Motors
Guide Lamp won the
Army-Navy "E" award on September 9, 1942 and added stars on May
15, 1943 and December 7, 1943. It added two more stars of unknown
dates for a total of five Army-Navy "E"
Guide Lamp World War Two / WWII Production
Numbers / Statistics: (8,500,000) total of
headlamps, tail lamps, dome lamps, blackout lamps and signal
lamps; (3,400,000) Stimsonite reflector units; (22,000) Bell
Aircraft P-39 Airacobra spinner noses; (1,000,000) water jacket sleeves
for Allison aircraft engines; (36,750,000) cartridge cases for
37mm, 40mm, 90mm and 105mm constructed of both brass and steel; (1,600,000)
.50 caliber Browning machine gun barrels; (682,163) complete M3
The M3 Submachine Gun:
1943 - 85,130 M3
1944 - 343,372 M3
1945 - 178,192 M3
1945 - 15,469 M3A1
Total Production of M3 - 606,694
Total Production of M3A1 - 15,469
Not shown in the Guide publication below are
the 1,000,000 FP-45 .45 caliber "Liberator Pistols" that it built in
three months during 1942 at it was totally top secret. The 300
women that built them worked in a part of the Guide factory on the west
side of Anderson in an area that was completely walled off for security
purposes. The workers were sworn to secrecy and even their husbands and
boy friends did not know what they were doing. The one shot weapons were
supposed to be air dropped to the Resistance in occupied countries
during the Second World War but
were never used. Probably as well as a weapon in untrained hands,
and even trained hands, can be more dangerous to the user than the
target. In any event with it being so secret it obviously did not
end up in the Guide Lamp WWII history. This was an GM Inland
Division design but Guide did all the final assembly, Frigidaire
Division of GM chambered the barrels and Saginaw Steering Gear Division
of GM made barrel bushings and along with Detroit Transmission Division
made barrel collars. This was a true cooperative effort among the
five GM Divisions and a host of other outside sub-contractors.
This photo from World War Two shows a
portion of the military headlight production line at Guide Lamp.
As seen at the Museum of the United
States Air Force in Dayton, OH. Author's Photo.
Here is a pristine FP-45 as seen at the
Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, IN. Author's photo.
Even more interesting is the reverse side,
which has been cut away. Author's photo.
The M3 Submachine gun as seen at the World
War Two Museum in New Orleans, LA. Author's photo.
Many of the M3s on display in museums are
reproductions. Not this one as "Guide" can be seen stamped
on the magazine receiver.
This Guide built M3 submachine gun is on
display at the Indiana War Memorial in downtown Indianapolis, IN.
One can see the actual "Guide"
stamped on this one as well. Author's photo.
The lamp above the headlight is what is
known as a black-out lamp for driving at night with the headlights
turned off. Having done this once in a training exercise my
recommendation is to eat lots of carrots beforehand to improve one's
night vision. I considered myself lucky to have not hit the
vehicle in front of me and also to have stayed on the road.
This is one is a Guide built black-out lamp.
As mounted on a Chevrolet 1.5 ton truck as seen at the 2013 Wings over
Houston Airshow. Author's photo.
The Guide blackout lamp can be seen on the
drivers side of the truck. There was only one per vehicle.
This 1942 Dodge WC-51 3/4 ton 4x4 truck
photographed at the Urbana Grimes Airport in Ohio has a Guide Lamp
blackout lamp on it. Author's photo.
Pictured here at the 2014 Spirit of St.
Louis Air Show is Diamond T M3 halftrack built during the Second World
War. Author's photo.
The left tail light was manufactured by
Guide. The right was by another manufacturer. Author's
Typical of one of the 8.5 million lamps produced by
Guide for military vehicles during World War Two. This on is on an
American Bantam built 1/4 ton trailer seen at the 2013 Great Georgia
Airshow. Author's photo.
The Indiana War Memorial in downtown
Indianapolis, IN has one whole room dedicated to military products built
in the state during WWII and since that time. Here is a Guide
built Blackout Lamp. Author's Photo.
Also on display is this WWII military
tractor lamp. Author's Photo.
This is a nose cone on a Bell P-63 Kingcobra
being restored. This would be very similar if not identical to the
22,000 nose cones that Guide stamped out for the Bell P-39 Airacobra.
While the P-63 was a little bigger aircraft the nose cones may have been
the same. The P-63 is being restored by the Dixie Wing of the CAF
and was seen at the 2013 Great Georgia Airshow at Peachtree City, GA.
Guide built one million water jacket sleeves
for Allison V-1710 aircraft engines like this one on display at the
National Museum of the United States Air Force. Author's photo.
This is an Browning M2 .50 caliber machine
as photographed by the author at the US Army Basic Training Museum at
Fort Jackson, SC. Guide made 1.6 million barrels during the Second
Guide's page in the history of American
Industry at War
This gives an excellent overview of
what Guide Lamp did by those who worked there
during the Second World War.