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Author Topic: Mercedes Benz History 1941 - 1950  (Read 1587 times)

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Offline Des

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Mercedes Benz History 1941 - 1950
« on: April 14, 2010, 04:56:30 AM »
Mercedes Benz History 1941  -  1950


January: A third of vehicle construction capacity is taken up with manufacturing spare parts. May 9/10: First aerial bombardment of the Untertürkheim plant. Italy, Hungary and Romania start to construct aero-engines under license from Daimler-Benz, with parts being supplied from the Untertürkheim plant. An issue of new shares to the value of RM 25 million, combined with a subsequent capital adjustment, results in an overall increase in the company's equity capital of some 80% by January 1, 1942. Summer: A decree by the "Plenipotentiary for Motor Transport" results in Daimler-Benz's capacity to produce vehicles for the military being considerably reduced in favor of other, higher priority, products. Now only 1,610 1.7 liter cars, 50 3.4 liter cars and 270 3 ton trucks may be produced per quarter. The aim of this measure is to release further employees for priority manufacturing activities to aid the war effort. Summer: In the summer of 1941 the workforce is employed in the following areas of production: Plant 60 (engine construction, Untertürkheim): aero-engines: 1,234 staff marine engines: 1,270 aero-engine repairs: 155 Plant 10 (Mettingen): aero-engine parts: 1,337 staff torpedoes: 128 searchlight engines: 350 vehicles: 1,289 At the end of 1941 Daimler-Benz AG starts to develop air-cooled truck engines.


March: The new 4% Daimler-Benz bonds with a nominal value of RM 40 million have a life of 25 years. Summer: The working week is extended to 52 hours in order to compensate for a lack of workers. July: In order to consolidate the company's operating resources, the AGM decides on a further capital increase of up to 30 million RM. July 18: Chairman of the Board Dr. Wilhelm Kissel dies unexpectedly. On August 23 Dr. Wilhelm Haspel, a member of the Sindelfingen plant management since 1927, becomes his successor. Fall: Vehicle production at the Untertürkheim plant ceases. August: On the instructions of Reichsminister Speer, Daimler-Benz AG signs a licensing agreement for production of the 3 ton Opel "Blitz" standard truck. The 3 ton truck which the company had manufactured hitherto therefore goes out of production. Manufacture of the new truck starts with effect from the summer of 1944. December 11: The long-serving Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Emil Georg von Stauss, dies. He is succeeded by Hans Rummel of Deutsche Bank. End of year: Development of a coal-burning generator for powering trucks and cars is completed, and 50 3.4 liter vehicles are equipped with the new device. The Head of the "Reich Headquarters for Generators" instructs Daimler-Benz to produce 2,000 such generators per month from April 1, 1943 onwards.


June 8: Daimler-Benz AG issues further ordinary shares to a value of RM 30 million and increases the company's equity capital to RM 120 million. The shares, which will yield dividends from January 1, 1943, are offered to holders of old shares at a ratio of RM 3,000 old to RM 1,000 new at a rate of 130%. The AGM which follows approves a dividend of 6% on RM 90 million. September 17: Daimler-Benz AG launches a wood gas generator for 170 V cars which only weighs 70 kg, costs RM 800, can be installed in one day and enables the car to drive 100 to 130 kilometers on one load of 24 kg charcoal. November 26: The Untertürkheim plant is the target of a British night-time air raid. By the end of October the company management calculates that damage worth RM 70 million has been caused by aerial bombardments. Efforts to evacuate the company increase, following Dr. Haspel's instructions to this effect. Thus, during the course of the year, the book-keeping and central and general accounting departments are evacuated, as is most of the company's inventory.


May 5: Bertha Benz dies at the age of 94 in Ladenburg. Late summer: The Sindelfingen plant delivers the first tail units for the "A 4 device" developed by Wernher von Braun, following the start of preparations for their manufacture in November 1943. The 7.5 meter long components with a diameter of 1.6 m consist of a steel skeleton covered in high temperature resistant steel sheeting. The world's biggest rocket - also called the "V 2" - provided the basis for rocket development during the post-war period in both East and West and can be seen as the precursor to today's carrier rockets. September 5: The largest scale air raids yet experienced by Untertürkheim cause damage worth RM 30.2 million and destroy some 70% of the plant. The figures for Mannheim and Gaggenau are 20% and 80% respectively. September 10 and 13: In the course of daylight air raids some 80% of the buildings and 52.5% of the plant and machinery is destroyed at Sindelfingen. A total of 2,000 explosive and fire bombs hit the plant. In order to protect machinery and tools from the ongoing raids on Untertürkheim, they are evacuated to a total of 400 different locations, including other factories. Large machines and components are stored in a road tunnel near Wiesensteig. By the end of 1944 the number of foreign workers employed both forcibly and voluntarily in Daimler-Benz AG factories reaches a peak of some 27,000. To this must be added some 3,000 prisoners of war and concentration camp detainees.


March 23: The Mannheim plant is the first company facility to be occupied by American troops. April 9: The Gaggenau plant is occupied by French troops. April 20: The Untertürkheim plant is shut down and three days later is occupied by French troops. April 24/25: The Berlin-Marienfelde plant is occupied by Red Army troops overnight. Any machines still in the plant are confiscated and dismantled from the beginning of May onwards. May 20: The Untertürkheim plant is provisionally reopened. 1,240 blue and white-collar employees begin the task of reconstruction. June: Production restarts of the L 701 3 ton truck (the Opel "Blitz" under license), manufacture of which had commenced just prior to the bombing raids. August: The American military government instructs Dr. Haspel to prepare for production of sedan car models. August: Production of the L 4500 truck restarts in Gaggenau (total production in 1945: 290 units). Summer: A number of engineers from the Daimler-Benz aero-engine development department join up with an agricultural expert to form a working group aimed at developing an all-purpose vehicle (UNIMOG=Universal-Motor-Gerät). October 26: On the instructions of the American military government, Wilhelm Haspel is dismissed as Chairman of the Board. November: Daimler-Benz is granted permission by the Allies to produce the Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W 136 I) in pickup, van and ambulance versions. In the Untertürkheim plant a repair workshop for American military vehicles is set up.


January: Manufacture of gas generators for passenger cars begins at the Sindelfingen plant. 765 units have been produced by August 1948. February 22: The first car engine to be built since the end of the war - a 1.7 liter, 4-cylinder unit for the 170 V - is completed in Untertürkheim. March 28: The Workers' Council (set up at the end of May 1945) develops into a Works Council with 9 - later 19 - members. May: Post-war production at Daimler-Benz AG commences, with assembly of the first 170 V (W 136 I) pickup, van and ambulance versions. A total of 214 units are manufactured in 1946. December: The company's entire vehicle and engine sales operations are put under central management in Untertürkheim. Hitherto there had been a large degree of autonomy of factories in the various product sectors and each had managed its own purchasing and sales operations. A major repair facility for the US Army is set up in Waiblingen.


May: A works agreement is signed governing the relationship between the Works Council and plant and central management. July: Series production is resumed of the Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W 136 I) as a four-door sedan. August: The first 15 apprentices from Daimler-Benz AG spend two weeks in the new young people's holiday center at Haus Lämmerbuckel. Fall: Daimler-Benz AG once again participates in export exhibitions - in Hanover and Stuttgart-Hedelfingen. October: Completion of the 1,000th car since the war ended. December: In Berlin-Marienfelde two production facilities and two administrative buildings are restored and manufacture of spare parts begins, creating 550 jobs.


January 1: Dr. Wilhelm Haspel takes over again as head of Daimler-Benz AG following his release by a denazification court. April: The Sindelfingen plant starts to produce the O 4500 omnibus, which had already been manufactured between 1943 and 1945 at the Gaggenau plant. May: Research and development work at Daimler-Benz AG restarts, after having been interrupted at the end of the war. June: 1,508 apprentices are now in training for technical trades and 69 for commercial professions. July 2: A 48-hour working week is written into the "Interim Rules of Procedure for Business of Daimler-Benz AG". August 29 - September 5: At the first agricultural exhibition to be held since the end of the war and the currency reform, in Frankfurt, the Unimog (Universal-Motor-Gerät) is presented to the public. August: From January 1946 to August 1948 the Sindelfingen plant produces a total of 765 gas generators for cars. Fall: Rudolf Caracciola celebrates 25 years as a racing driver for Daimler-Benz AG.


February: For the first time since the war, production figures of 1,000 passenger cars per month are achieved. March: Maschinenfabrik Boehringer in Göppingen delivers the first series-produced Unimog vehicles. By 1951 a total of 600 such vehicles have been produced by the company. May 20 - 30: Launch of the Mercedes-Benz 170 S and 170 D at the Technical Export Fair in Hanover. At the same time the new L 3250 truck and O 3250 bus are presented - heralding a new era in commercial vehicle manufacture. October 4: An import company for Daimler-Benz products is set up in Zurich, with Daimler-Benz AG as a share-holder. November 1: The US Army takes over the plants in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Esslingen and Böblingen. The relevant contracts for Esslingen, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Waiblingen and Böblingen are cancelled on March 2, 1950. December 24: The first bus is produced in Mannheim - an O 3500. The Mannheim plant has now taken over part of the bus manufacturing operations from Sindelfingen. The export turnover of Daimler-Benz AG reaches DM 6.1 million (previous year: DM 2.0 million). Gradual introduction of new production methods based on the assembly-line system.


January: The L 3250 truck is given a heavier payload and renamed the L 3500. May : Start of production of the improved Mercedes-Benz 170 Va (W 136 VI) and 170 Da (W 136 VI D) cars. July: Production of the O 6600 Mercedes-Benz omnibus in Gaggenau begins. July 31: Mercedes-Benz Argentina S.A. is founded in Buenos Aires. October: The 50,000th Mercedes-Benz car in the 170 series to be produced since the end of the war rolls off the Sindelfingen assembly line. October: Launch of the first newly-developed heavy-duty truck since the war - the L 6600. The first reconstruction phase is now over. 80% of the Untertürkheim plant and 97% of the Mannheim and Gaggenau plants has been reconstructed since the bombing raids of 1943. The Sindelfingen plant is expanded by 51%. Daimler-Benz AG export turnover skyrockets to DM 66.6 million. 28 % of export sales revenue is generated in Sweden. Daimler-Benz's first major post-war export deal involves supplying 1,000 CKD (completely knocked down) truck chassis to Brazil. Two-shift operation starts at the Sindelfingen plant 700 new workers are taken on.