B-24 by Ford Motor Company

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by A.J. Baime, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. A.J. Baime

    A.J. Baime New Member

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    Hello, my name is A.J. Baime. I'm a new member of this forum and a writer working on a book about the Willow Run bomber plant, which sought to build a B-24 bomber every hour during WWII—the most ambitious industrial experiment ever at the time. I would like to hear from anyone who worked at Willow Run, heard anything about Willow Run, had an opinion about Liberators made by Ford, or worked anywhere in Detroit during the war. Would anyone share any thoughts? I'd love to hear 'em!
     
  2. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    My father flew on B-24s and he did not have a high opinion of those made by Ford (the B-24E I believe) He considered them lemons with many mechanical problems. One in particular I remember him talking about was missing interrupter cams on the turrets so it was passable to shoot your own plane. I also remember reading somewhere (it may have been Steve Birdsall's book) about some with missing wing bolts and one that went screaming down the runway on it's test flight but wouldn't take to the air - the control cables were hooked up backward.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not unusual for wartime construction. The T-34 tank was a quality control horror story.

    Excerpt from U.S. Army evaluation.
    The medium tank T-34, after driving 343 km, became disabled and could not be fixed. The reason: owing to the extremely poor air cleaner on the diesel, a large quantity of dirt got into the engine and a breakdown occurred, as a result of which the pistons and cylinders were damaged to such a degree that they were impossible to fix.
     
  4. dobbie

    dobbie Member

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    I can remember my parents, especially my father talking about the Willow Run plant. Apparently there was a lot of trouble getting the factory up and running, to the point where the project was nicknamed, "Will it run?".
     
  5. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    I already heard something that Ford wanted to built 1000 bombers per day. How close they arrived of this mark?
     
  6. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Surely you don't take that serious ? That'd amount to 365,000 in one year.
    They made over 18,000, total, about 650 at their peak, in one month, in 1944.

    Even Henry Ford, deep in dementia, wouldn't have tried to tell anyone he could built that many heavy bombers that fast.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Gentlemen, understand a few things about aircraft production and quality assurance. If the aircraft is built to its design specification the way the engineers designed it and things on it don't work, that's an ENGINEERING problem. If the aircraft is built poorly, bad riveting, leaking hydraulic lines, electrical wires routed wrong and chafing, control cables rigged backwards, that's a QUALITY problem. In reality, it really hard to distinguish between aircraft buit by two different manufacturers in terms of quality as many components are built on jigs and tooling and in some cases riveted together with machines. Subcontractors building complete airframes were SUPPOSED TO follow the same quality requirements as the prime manufacturer. The exception to this statement is if a manufacturer lost all control of quality for one reason or another (usually to meet schedule or poor training or a combination of both) and the perfect example of this was Brewster aircraft.

    (stepping off the soapbox)
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Rosie may have known how to rivet but she was nowhere near as proficient as peacetime trained employees.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    In what way? Speed? Quality? To back up that statment you would have to be more specific and look at manufacturer's defect reports. If you want to base it on loose statistics against the amount of aircraft built between 1941 and 1945, your statement is false.
     
  10. stug3

    stug3 Active Member

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    That sounds pretty unfair and presumptuous. Those people were extremely motivated productive, not to mention probably relieved to have steady, well paid employment after a decade or more of economic depression.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Is that after Rosie had been working for 4 weeks or after 3 years?

    Peacetime employees often had to "master" a number of different jobs as few aircraft factories actually had "assembly lines". Planes were built in batches, some of them rather small with little in the way of the production tooling and jigs that would be used later. Wartime large production runs often saw the same worker doing the same job (riveting a certain section of aircraft?) for months on end. With accurate jigs to hold parts in place and accurate templates to go by.
     
  12. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Desconsiderate. But I heard something about the US producing 1000 aircraft per day (of all types). I'm searching for an estimative of the true industrial capacity of the US aircraft production in WWII. It seems that the industry started to desacelerate after 1943.
     
  13. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The USA built slightly more than 300,000 aircraft total from 1939 to 1945, that's 6 years x365 days , averages out to about 140 a day. Of course that's with a slow start in 1939. But even at their peak in 1944, there's no way they could have approached a thousand a day , because just one year at that rate would exceed what they made in the whole six years.
     
  14. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    You’re going to have trouble getting a straight answer on anything concerning H. Ford. The plant had problems but did manage to make about 8000 B-24s. High production rates and quality were at odds but probable not worse than other war-time plants.

    Ford tended to shoot from the hip a bit too much. For instance, he published serious accusation against the Jews in his newspaper as a result of being duped by a bogus publication, Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, as were many others. When he learned that the Protocols were in fact a Russian propaganda plant, he published a retraction and apology. Still you’ll find heated rhetoric about Fork and Willow Run based on this and similar nonrelated dustups that Ford provoked.
     
  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Did the USAAF need all those B 24s even by late 43 they must have begun to wonder what to do with them. I know they often became transports but I bet a lot of the Ford aircraft ended up sitting on a field doing not much. With 20/20 hindsight build half as many B24s and half as many more B 17s.
     
  16. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    I've posted this pic before .. it's a twin-engined Ford cabover that was intended to haul B-24 sub-assemblies and full assemblies like wings etc. from Willowrun to the Convair factories for final assembly ... in the end Willow assembled the whole plane and these trucks were never used as intended ...
     

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  17. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Cool looking thing but, twin engined??
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Agree, but in hindsight, those who were doing the purchasing at the time had no idea when the war was going to end, thus the flood gate of war material.
     
  19. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    #19 MikeGazdik, Dec 15, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
    I certainly would prefer to throw away the extras I don't need after the war, than to not have enough to win the war.

    Getting to the original question at hand. Is there any information on the quality as a whole, of the aircraft produced by sub-contracted companies. I know Goodyear was very good with the Corsair. I have heard the problems with Brewster. I guess what I am asking, was it more common that the sub-contracted aircraft were not as good, or just as good, as the primary builder?
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    They "should have" been just as good and I believe for the most part they were. I also believe that many sub-contractor built aircraft were given a bad rap because pilots and maintainers didn't fully understand the difference between quality and engineering problems as well as the procurement process that may have brought them 'substandard" aircraft. Just MHO...
     
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