.45ACP "EC" hs


#1

I have several steel case .45 ACP’s with hs E C 4. All the headstamp lists show EC as Evansville Ord. Plant or Eau Claire Ordnance Plant. How does one know the difference. Where do you find the calibres/types loaded by each plant? Also, in regard to the 4 in the hs, would this be 1944? I’m assuming war time production - key word “assuming”.

Thanks,
Paul


#2

During WWII, and only then, Evansville Chrysler produced only .30 Carbine and .45 Auto ammunition in small arms calibers. There were two plants - Evansville Chrysler and Evansville Chrysler Sunbeam, so you will find headstamps of “E C” and those of “E C S.” As a money saving device, most WWII ammunition made in 1944 used 1943 headstamp bunters with the “3” removed from the bunter. Centered number “4” on some headstamps indicates they made some bunters new, as well, but for consistency, used the single digit date (this was done again for 1955 production by some factories, but that is of no importance here, as Chrysler made no small arms ammunition after WWII - I don’t know if they made any other types).

The above is the very, very short story. Chrysler was one of the miracle stories of American production during WWII. They were a company with no ammunition-making experience that, in a matter of months (and of course with some help from other companies) were producting .45 and .30 carbine ammunition at an incredible rate. They produced, during WWII, slightly more than 95% of all of the .45 auto ammunition used by the American Armed Forces, and between the two calibers, their production reached a reported total of 3,264,281,914 rounds of small arms ammunition. Yes, over three billion rounds. The quality of their ammunition was supurb, and they came in under the projected cost in almost everything they built for the military during the War. Those were different times.

With the war projected to go on until 1947 or later, they had produced so much .45 and .30 Carbine ammunition that in 1944, a year before the War actually ended, the plant’s small arms ammunition line was shut down and they started making other defense items, including rebuilding tanks and army trucks.

It is a history that Chrysler can be proud of even today. For the full story, try to find a copy of “Bullets by the Billion,” by Wesley W. Stout, published by the Chrysler Corporation of Detroit, Michigan, in 1946. It is a fabulous little book that can be read from cover to cover in a long evening, and has fabulous information about the manufacture of small arms ammunition - brass and steel-cased - in WWII. In factm the whole series of these books, about five or six of them, is fascinating, covering other Wartime production by Chrysler.

Edited only to correct a typo error in one word


#3

Thanks John for the detailed info and history. As a continuation of my original question, what was loaded at the Eau Claire plant and is there a list in existence of what each plant loaded and the years they operated as some were only for war production and some were permanent arsenals.

War time production by non-munitions/arms companies is a fascinating topic and testament to what can be done in times of national need. Here in Canada, I enjoy the look of surprise on people’s faces when you tell them that John Inglis the appliance manufacturer turned out one of the more famous war time versions of the Browning P35 as well as other bits & pc’s.

I work in the automotive tooling field and every time I see a company close down because it “lost its market” I shake my head. Sure times are tough but there are other things out there to manufacture. Think outside the box - or in this case, the care body.

Take care,
Paul


#4

Paul

The Eau Claire Ordnance Plant produced only cal. 30 ammunition in 1942 and 1943. EC was used for the first few production lots but was quickly changed to EW to avoid confusion with Evansville. There was a recent thread from a Forum member asking about this same thing.

Here’s a link to Jim Frigiola’s excellant summary of wartime production.

cartridgecollectors.org/ww2usmfrs/index.htm

Ray


#5

Thanks Ray, exactly what I was looking for.

Paul


#6

Paul, the Evansville plant was built by Graham Brothers where they made trucks before WW-1. Dodge Brothers then bought the plant and when they were bought by Chrysler and they built trucks from 1928 until 1932. The plant was idle from 1932 until 1935 when Chrysler started to assemble Plymouths and 1/2 ton trucks. this operation was stopped by ww-2 that is when the government asked Chrysler to start making ammunition. The book John Moss mentioned “Bullets By The Billion” used to be very common in used book stores even at garage sales. Think I paid $5.00 for mine.

Gourd


#7

Thanks Gourd, I’ll be looking for one. I’ve heard it referenced before.
Paul


#8

John is correct, there were amazing industrial accomplishments during WWII from new fighters to Liberity ships, to repair of carriers, to munitions and arms production and many others.

Amazing accomplishments always have a foundation that were laid long before. ECs accomplishments are founded in an extensive steel industry, an extensive and healthy machine tool industry that only can exist in conjunction with a broader industry of heavy manufacturing, and lots of other industrial capability that made these accomplishments possible.

As critical to these successes was the existance of the human capital in terms of skilled workers, engineers, designers and managers with lots of industrial experience. In 1940/1941 the US had the infrastructure to move to high rate production.

Very different world now. The US, and increasingly the western world has lost much/most of the industrial capability from even 30 years ago. We had the capability because we built lots of things 15,800 P-51s, 12,600 P-47s, etc. all in 4 or 5 years. Today we are building 190 F-22s and they are being produced with a maximum rate of 20/year. It also took 12 years from the development contract to the first production delivery. We will spend 8 years producing 190 aircraft!!!
Why??? First, the aircraft is incrediably more complicated and capable than the P-51 and a generation plus beyond anything that is operational today, but it still shouldn’ take 12 years to develop and $34 Billion to produce. The truth is that the stack of requirements (small business, buy american, minority business, veteran owned business, Alaskan Indian owned business, cost accounting standards, certified cost & pricing data, use of american merchant vessels, acquisition reform, acquisition workforce management, environmental protection & impact, etc, etc, etc) that have nothing to do with developing an aircraft but are legal requirements imposed by public law passed by Congerss is taller than I am. Similarly, the pace of develop and production is a function of the budget process that constrains development and production rates, and drives costs, is controlled by a whole seperate set of laws providing constraints and oversight and reporting are a stack even taller!!! All of these requirements are important to someone for some reason, and some are added by DOD to make sure we comply with public law of to satisfy somebody at the policy level of government.

This is not a uniquely US problem, ask anyone in Europe and they will tell you a similar story.

The amazing thing is that the dedicated people at the bottom get anything done, ever.

Still, it gets more difficult each year as more laws are passed making the process increasingly complex. We are an Air Force with 20 first line bombers (B-2 which enteres service 15 years ago) out of the original production plan for 132 aircraft, and 190 first line fighters (F-22 which entered service 5 years ago) out of the original plan for 750.

The Army and the Navy has similar stories. Glad it isn’t my problem to solve.

Cheers,

Lew