Monday 8 February 2016

British Tank Production

"Report on the factories of the Nuffield Organization in Birmingham
March 1st, 1943

1. Organizational structure

The conglomerate of factories called Nuffield Organization is headed by Lord Nuffield (a major capitalist, born Norris, changed his name to Nuffield when he obtained the title of Lord) and includes Nuffield Mechanizations and Aero factories in Birmingham (described in January of 1942), Morris Commercial, and Wellesley Motors (3 factories), two Morris factories in and around Oxford, a Morris factory in Liverpool, a Morris factory in Manchester, a Morris factory in Lincoln, and a Morris factory in Bristol. The aforementioned nine factories are owned by Lord Nuffield and include the owners of other factories as partners.
Of the nine factories, eight were producing cars, motorcycles, engines, etc. at peace time. From the start of the war in 1939, these factories were redesigned to build Crusader tanks (fast Christie type tanks). Currently, the factories make Crusader and Cromwell tanks.

2. Description of the factories in Birmingham

Two factories were examined, one, Nuffield Organization, makes Crusader Mk.III tanks, Cavalier (an interim step on the way to Cromwell production) and parts for them. The second, Wellesley Motors, makes Bren Carriers, 6-pdr AT guns, wings for gliders, naval mines, beacons, shells, and parts for Crusader and Cromwell tanks. 9000 workers work at these two factories. 4000 workers work at the first factory, and there are 2400 various machines in the plants. 5000 workers work at the second factory, and there are 2650 various machines in the plants.

Nuffield Organization is equipped with modern tools and builds daily: two Crusader tanks (52 per month) and one Cavalier tank (26 per month). The factory began producing Cavalier tanks in September of 1942.

43-44 tanks were being assembled at the factory at the time of our visit, of them 12-13 Cavaliers and 31 Crusaders. During our second visit, there were 31 Cavaliers and 12-13 Crusaders.

Assembly of tanks is done in lines of 3, sometimes 4. During assembly, tanks are supported by 4 columns and are moved from place to place with 20 ton cranes.

Every day, 5-7 engines are assembled depending on which parts come from the mechanical plants.

When the engine assembly plant was examined, there were 33-35 engines being assembled. Engines are assembled on special 4-wheeled carts that are moved around between different assembly stages.

When engines are assembled, there is manual fitting of the casing with a chisel and file around the areas of the oil pump and casing cover, and near the distribution mechanism roller."

CAMD RF 38-11355-1389

1 comment:

  1. Good old "file to fit" manufacturing practices raise their hoary head again. I know the Americans had graduated into true assembly-line mass production already before WW1; was under the impression the Soviets had reached that stage too by WW2? (Having to produce various stuffs at a hilarious scale to meet the needs of an enormous country might of have been related.)