The B-24 and the Willow Run Bomber Plant
The B-24 Bomber, officially known as the B-24 Liberator, was designed by Consolidated Aircraft Co., San Diego, California. The Ford Motor Company’s Willow Run Bomber Plant began production in 1942 and continued until June 28, 1945. During that time, the Ford Motor Company produced almost half of the B-24s built--8,685 out of 19,256. Construction on the Bomber Plant began in March, 1941. When completed, it had almost 5,000,000 square feet of floor space and an assembly line that was a mile long. In addition, an airport with six runways and three hangars was built adjacent to the plant. By 1944, one plane was completed every 62 minutes. At its peak, the plant employed more than 40,000 workers and operated around the clock. The Willow Run Bomber Plant also had an Apprentice School and regular training programs for workers and military mechanics. The images in this collection highlight employees on the workforce, the B-24 and the stages of its assembly. More information on the B-24 and the Bomber Plant can be found in “Ford in the service of America: mass production for the military during the World Wars” by Timothy J. O’Callaghan, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2009.

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