15 May 1942

B-24E-1-FO Liberator 42-6976, the first B-24 heavy bomber to come off the assembly line at Willow Run, 15 May 1942. (The Henry Ford THF25680 Ford Motor Co. Willow Run Bomber Plant)
B-24E-1-FO Liberator 42-6976, the first B-24 heavy bomber to come off the assembly line at Willow Run, 15 May 1942. (The Henry Ford THF25680 Ford Motor Co. Willow Run Bomber Plant)

15 May 1942: The first Ford-built B-24 Liberator long range heavy bomber came off the assembly line at the Willow Run Airplane Plant, just 160 days after the United States entered World War II. 6,971 B-24s more would follow, along with assembly kits for another 1,893, before production came to an end, 28 June 1945.

The first Ford-built B-24 Liberator in final assembly at the Willow Run Airplane Plant, 12 May 1942. (Ford)
The first Ford-built B-24 Liberator in final assembly at the Willow Run Airplane Plant, 12 May 1942. (Ford)
B-24E-1-FO Liberator 42-6976, the first B-24 heavy bomber to come off the assembly line at Willow Run, 15 May 1942. (The Henry Ford THF25680 Ford Motor Co. Willow Run Bomber Plant)
B-24E-1-FO Liberator 42-6976, the first B-24 heavy bomber to come off the assembly line at Willow Run, 15 May 1942. (The Henry Ford THF25680 Ford Motor Co. Willow Run Bomber Plant)
Willow Run
The Ford Motor Company Willow Run Airplane Plant
A Willow Run-built B-24E Liberator long range heavy bomber, 1942. (Ford Motor Company)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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6 thoughts on “15 May 1942

  1. I 1982 I began a quest a locate all of the 253 B24H -1FO models that were built . Where they were originally Assigned whether training command operational Bombardment Group , Squadron , name if any transfer to a different group and its demise . I found all but 30 unaccounted for .

  2. Thank You for sharing this ..

    my mother worked there as a “Riveter” one of the first to get hired and stayed on until the last B-24 flew away ..

  3. My father was a navigator on B-24 D and E models during training in the states. I don’t think the E models were ever used in combat. He transitioned to the B-24 when he went to the 449th BG of the 15th Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

  4. At peak production Ford made one B24 every hour, 24/7. They took off from the adjacent airport and were flown to England via Gander, Newfoundland. In the 1960s the plant was owned by General Motors and used to build Hydromatic Transmissions.

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