JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 289
This arresting cover image for The Illustrated London News of 21 February 1942 illustrates the (new) American production program for planes and tanks for 1942 and 1943 (It reminds me too of an earlier post I did with a similar cover for LIFE magazine here.) The caption reads: "185,000 planes form a mile-wide blanket of bombers under a blanket of fighters stretching 117 miles" which is actually a double blanket of planes--if they were thinned out to form one layer it would stretch one mile wide from Washington D.C. to New York City, which is quite an unimaginable ribbon.
The reality of the situation was greater than this: by 1945 over 300,000 planes were produced, 275,000 of them after Pearl Harbor. And this from a combined aviation industry which before 1939 had produced fewer than 6,000 planes a year. The war effort increased this by orders of magnitude, and by war's end there were 81 production facilities with a combined area of 175 million feet, all bumped up within four years. I've never read about it, but I have no doubt that one of the key ingredients to this sort of hyper-successful undertaking was organization--the oversight and control for this process must've been fast and decisive, with little room for mid-level anything. I think that this is the only way the whole thing could've worked so well.