Chrysler Corporation began construction of a plant to manufacture large military tanks as the nation made preparations to enter World War II.
Prior to the Second World War, the U.S. Government had no central location for the designing and manufacturing of tanks. By early 1940, it was apparent that the U.S. would need to prepare itself for a possible entry into the war in Europe and that tanks would play an integral part in future battles. Therefore, the government contracted with Detroit-based Chrysler to build and operate a tank factory. Assembled in record time on 113 acres in Warren Township, some 17 miles from downtown Detroit, the factory had a test pilot tank ready by April 1941. The first tanks came off the assembly line in July when the workforce was 2,000. One month later, it was 5,000. The factory went on to build thousands of tanks and employ thousands of workers. After the war, the factory was converted to automobile production.
For more information about tanks during the Second World War, see Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things by Wesley W. Stout.
Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.
The Arsenal of Democracy, a website created by the Michigan Historical Museum, listing some of the many war products produced by Michigan.
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Curtis Redgap, “Chrysler helps build tanks for the arsenal of democracy: M3, Sherman, and Pershing tanks”, April 2006.
Tanks are Mighty Fine Things, Chrysler Corporation, 1946