B-24s - Production at Willow Run

B-24s - Production at Willow Run American History Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Biographies Film Geography Social Studies World War II Tragedies and Triumphs

During World War II, the B-24 was produced in various American factories, including a Ford Motor plant in Willow Run, Michigan.  This scene - photographed by the U.S. Army Signal Corps - shows in-production planes on the Willow Run line.

In May of 1943, Popular Science featured a major story on the production of B-24s at the Willow Run plant.  Guiding readers through the process, with many pictures and an extended narrative, Hickman Powell wrote:

Willow Run is America's big all-out attempt to apply the technique of automobile mass production to the rapid manufacture of a four-engine bomber - the Liberator, the Consolidated B-24. 

Less than two years ago this vast site was a woodlot among the fields; most of its thousands of workers were untrained grocery clerks, farm hands, stenographers, and home girls.  Today, after passing through all the preliminary acres of fabrication, you come to four long assembly-line conveyors, which eventually merge into two closely packed moving rows of bombing plans on the verge of completion. 

These are not just airplanes, mind you.  The long-distance bomber is the most complex precision machine ever devised by man.

How often these assembly lines move - how frequently planes roll out to join their predecessors on the plant's great flying field - no one is permitted to say. . .But it is possible to say that Willow Run is running.  The river is rising.  Mr. Hitler, here comes the flood!  (Popular Science, May 1943, page 78.)

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image of B-24 production line, at the Ford plant in Willow Run, by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.  Photo online, courtesy U.S. Air Force.


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"B-24s - Production at Willow Run" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 07, 2019.
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