Saturday, March 26, 2016

World War II Scenes Around Chicagoland

Douglas Aircraft Company and Orchard Place Airport and Buick Built Aircraft Engines (including jets) were other Chicago area facilities built for WWII.

Not only did Buick build aircraft engines in Chicago, but so did Dodge and then Ford.  
This photo was moved to "Tootsie Roll repurposed an aircraft engine plant in Chicago, IL."

David M Laz posted
Workmen install pipe tunnels and an electrical substation at the Studebaker airplane engine factory at Cicero and Archer Avenues in Chicago in March 1941. — Chicago Tribune historical photo
David M Laz posted
On July 5, 1943 inside the Amertorp Torpedo Ordnance Corporation's $20,000,000 factory in Forest Park, Ill., row upon row of shiny torpedoes are turned out for the Navy. — Chicago Tribune historical photo
John Paradiso U.S. torpedoes were bad. Frighteningly bad. More than half way through the war before the Bureau of Ordnance realized (admitted?) that our submariners were telling the truth and the exploding pins rarely worked as they were designed to.
David Borck these torpedoes were nice and shiny ...and early in the war about 50% of them didn't work. they failed to explode! Not much use.
[It was at Roosevelt and Des Plaines. It is now another shopping area.]
David M Laz posted
USS Wolverine and Sable moored in Chicago during WW2.
David M Laz posted
USS Wolverine with Chicago skyline in back
David M Laz posted
Preparing for War in southern Grant Park in 1943
[This is probably what the skyline looked like since the roaring 20s and the building of the Prudential Building. The sky is rather clear for the 1940s. There must have been a wind blowing the coal smoke haze out of town.]

A couple of days after seeing this Chicago Tribune article, I happened to be revisiting these notes. I remember seeing the Grant Park drill photo. Did they let the women wear shorter skirts than normal in the 1940s when doing an obstacle course?
Chicago Tribune, Dec 25, 2022, this is the top of a full page article


  1. Does anyone remember where, along Roosevelt Road was the Navy torpedo plant located? I think my buddy and I "trained" there in the late 50's

    1. The location is on Roosevelt road about 3 to 4 blocks west of Harlem ave (between Harlem and Desplaines aves) on the southside of Roosevelt.

  2. While the ultimate blame for those defective early torpedoes lay with the Navy's own Bureau of Ordnance (that refused to accept that the design had multiple flaws, due to minimal testing during development), most of the torpedoes in question had been made at the old Newport Torpedo Station in Rhode Island...they were a bureaucratized and stubborn workforce that refused to change anything they were doing, even under wartime pressures. Amertorp was an all-new facility with new equipment, new ideas, and (most importantly) a new workforce, and presented far fewer problems with personnel or production than did Newport. Needless to say, after the War ended, Newport was eliminated instead of Amertorp.

  3. My Grandfather worked at the Packard engine plant in WW2 and was involved in a sting operation to catch 2 German spies working in the plant.

  4. Sorry, Studebaker Plant, not Packard!!