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Oldsmobile’s Role During World War II

Many people are not aware of the role that the automotive industry played during World War II. Oldsmobile was no exception. Following are a few articles that I thought you might find of interest along with some poster images from the period. I hope you enjoy

The automotive industry in World War II an Encyclopedia Britannica Article

"Between 1940 and 1945 automotive firms made almost $29,000,000,000 worth of military materials, a fifth of the entire U.S. output. The list included 2,600,000 military trucks and 660,000 jeeps, but production extended well beyond motor vehicles. Automotive firms provided one-half of the machine guns and carbines made in the United States during the war, 60 percent of the tanks, all the armoured cars, and 85 percent of the army helmets and aerial bombs."

Some articles from a hometown newspaper, the Gazette News in Janesville Wisconsin

August 1942, Janesville, WI Gazette News: Full-scale production of artillery shells starts at the Oldsmobile plants, whose motto is "Keep 'Em Firing." Censorship orders prevent the Gazette from reporting what types of shells and how many people are working at the plants. Most of the shells are 105mm howitzer rounds, and the plants employ at least their wartime highs of 3,000 people total. A World War I veteran working at Oldsmobile comments: "Most of us can't get into the actual fighting for one reason or other. But we've got an important job to do here--and believe me we're doing it."

Late August 1945, Janesville WI Gazette News: War contracts are canceled, and factories start preparations to return to peacetime production. The Janesville GM plants return to Chevrolet and Fisher Body control from the Oldsmobile division, which turned out 16 million artillery shells in three years of war production. Most of the shells were 105mm for howitzers, but the combined plant also made 90mm, 3-inch armor-piercing, 3-inch solid-shot and 4.7-inch high-explosive anti-aircraft shells.

An interesting history of Oldsmobile from a woman’s perspective

A typical WWII fighter plane specifications listing the Oldsmobile guns on the aircraft

P38 Fighter Oldsmobile Armament

For more posters go here

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