Lansing’s Automobile Plants and World War II
Oldsmobile’s assembly lines in Lansing flipped in 1941 to provide ammunitions to the army in World War II. Their battle cry was “Keep ’em Firing” and that is just what they did. After the war Oldsmobile had produced 48 million rounds of ammunition, 140,000 aircraft machine guns and tank cannons, 175 million pounds of forgings for military guns and vehicles and nearly 350,000 aircraft engine parts. (Thomas, 1986). The usual Oldsmobile crew went off to war and was replaced with house wives, gas attendants, clerks, all different kinds of people from all different kinds of backgrounds working side by side at the Oldsmobile plant, including 2,600 women (Thomas, 1986).
The REO auto plant did much of the same but instead of ammunitions REO had contracts for trucks of all kinds, from simple troop transportation and parts to tank transporters. Also, REO in Lansing manufactured projectile Bomb Fuses for the defense department (Fine, 2004). The numbers of how many and of what REO produced for the military are “(594) 11/2-Ton Navy Stake Trucks, (743) 3-Ton Navy Stake Trucks, (200) Navy Aircraft Salvage Trucks, (438) 3-Ton Navy Stake Trucks, (594) 11/2-Ton Navy Dump Trucks, (875) 3-Ton Navy Dump Trucks, (300) 5-Ton Navy Dump Trucks, (2,318) Tractors for Fuel Trailers, (22,204) 2 1/2 ton 6×6 Trucks*, (700) Diesel Powered Tank Transporters, Buses, Aircraft Radial Engine Starter Parts, Aircraft Engine Parts, Amphibious Tracker Parts, Bomb, Projectile and Rocket Fuses” (Jackson, 2014).