'In the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.'
- Abraham Lincoln -

Friday, January 06, 2012

A Factoid About U.S. Manufacturing Capability

A capability in another era, that is.

2012: It is estimated that the United States military has in its vast arsenal somewhere around 4,400 fixed-wing combat aircraft.  That number includes all aircraft operated by the Air Force and the Marine Corps.

A number, as it turned out, that would have been grossly inadequate in the 1940's.

Get this: The United States of America, according to the July 6, 1942 edition of Time magazine,  produced nearly that number of planes ...

... in the month of May, 1942 alone.

Quoting Time:

"Last week President Roosevelt said that May war production was 4,000 planes, 1,500 tanks, 2,000 artillery pieces, more than 100,000 machine- and sub-machine guns."

The U.S. was churning out 130 finished, ready-for-combat planes a day.

Just as staggering?  This massive turnout of materiel intended to take World War to the Nazis and the Japanese (yes, and the Italians) came just five months after Pearl Harbor, six months after the United States was at (relative) peace.

Six months to bring America's vast array of manufactories to a total war footing.


We'd have to ask the Chinese if we could borrow their production facilities before we could even begin the task.

How times have changed.

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* The July, 1942 issue of Time magazine is noteworthy in itself.  It's the first time in its storied history that the publication featured something other than a human being's portrait on the front cover.  That month?  It proudly displayed the American flag, with a caption beneath that read, "LAND OF THE FREE."  

Of course, that was back when those who worked at Time were proud of their country.  And were concerned that we be free.

A ... time ... gone by.