Trying to think of a way to use this to represent the fact that you could try and shift around airplane production from factory to factory.
Case in point: the Vultee-Nashville plant (represented in US designation system by VN, e.g. P-38L-5-VN).....
Originally the Vultee Nashville plant was producing A-35 Vengeance dive bombers. But the plane was so crap alternatives were thrown around:
Hap Arnold Papers, LoC
Reel 28159, Frame 824-829
Physical Box 121
April 5, 1943
DIVE BOMBER PROGRAM
Present: Arnold, Lovett, Giles, Stratemeyer, Meyers, Gross, Sessums, Stearley, Langmead?, Carmichael, Karnes?
A: This meeting is to discuss the advisability of continuing production of the A-35
A. A board of officers has recommended discontinuation of the line.
A: My thought is to replace the A-35 as rapidly as possible with the A-20 for which we have a very great demand and very limited production.
Lo: We should get from the UK a statement in writing as to whether they expect to use the A-31 (V-72).
Lo: Kindelberger proposes that we use Vultee-Nashville for the P-51. Some of the personnel are old North American men. Allison engines will be critical.
Lo: Comant of Douglas advises that the Navy wants to make El Segundo a plant of exclusive Navy interest. (Not understood)
Lo: We know that we can turn the A-24 from Tulsa and A-25 from Curtiss-St. Louis over to the Navy.
Lo: A-26 and SB2D engineering is in conflict at El Segundo.
1,000,000 tooling man hours on the SB2D.
600,000 tooling man hours on the A-26.
Lo: The Navy will not swap Douglas-El Segundo for the Vultee-Nashville Plant.
Lo: The only alternatives for Vultee-Nashville are the P-51 and A-20.
Ar: We cannot establish production for more fighters. We have all the production we need, and more types than we should have.
Ar: We can use in our training establishment all the dive bombers we will get from Nashville.
Ar: I cannot see the use of dive bombers now that we have developed the skip bombing tactics.
Ar: We must eliminate types we do not want and replace them with types we do want. We should cut the number of fighter types to three.
Lo: You could get A-20's from Vultee-Nashville by January 1944. You cannot get A-26's prior to August 1944.
Giles: When could we get P-51's?
Ar: We do not want more fighters.
Lo: You mean P-51's to be used as fighter bombers?
Ar: The A-20 will suit our need better than the P-51.
NOTE: Gen. Arnold left the meeting.
Lo: The redesign of the A-20 to carry the R-2600B must click or our whole A-20 [C or G] program is shot.
Lo & Myers: Discussed R-2600A & B engine requirements under various alternate schemes of A-25 and A-20 production.
My: The R-2600A engine goes into the A-20 production from Santa Monica until about December 1943.
Lo: Our engine production plans should make provisions for the engineering delays likely to occur in design change of the A-20 to carry the B type engine.
Strat.: If the A-20 needs a redesign why not put the A-26 into production at Nashville. It is now flying at El Segundo.
Stearl: If we have to retool Vultee-Nashville, let's put in a new type airplane like the A-26.
Lo: The tooling hours required for the A-26 are estimated at 2[x],000,000. Of that, we have secured only 600,000 tooling hours to date.
Stearl: With current A-20 production plans and commitments to USSR, we cannot activate any more light level groups during 1943.
My: Douglas-Long Beach will prove the A-26 tooling with a small line of about 26 a month capacity.
My: Douglas-Tulsa is being reserved for A-26 production. The other projects now in that plant are filler projects which will be squeezed out.
My: Proposed we swap the Curtiss-St. Louis Plant for Douglas-El Segundo with the Navy.
Giles: The fundamental question is whether we want to wash out the thirteen groups of dive bombers.
My: That is what the Board proposed.
Lo: How many groups did 500 A-36's equip?
Lo: Two groups only. The rest of the 500 airplanes are required for training and reserves.
Stearl: Our present plan is for the thirty light groups to be divided. Twenty light level (A-20, A-26), ten fighter bombers (P-39, P-51.)
Lo: For 1943 we will probably have to have the ten fighter bomber groups equipped with dive bombers.
My: The A-36's have not yet been in combat.
Stearl: The Air Support people like the P-51 better than the A-36 for their job.
Lo & Meyers: Discussed combat effectiveness of groups we are now forming to be equipped with A-24, A-25, A-35. They would be more effective if equipped with A-26, A-20, P-51. We can sacrifice any number of A-24, 25, or 35's to get just a few more A-26's.
Lo: That is what we proposed to do by the swap of plants with the Navy.
Giles: Favored putting the P-51 in Nashville as that type will supplement the A-20 in tactical operations.
Strat: It looks as though we have only one choice for Vultee-Nashville. Put in the A-20.
Lo: We must cut off the A-35[?] as rapidly as possible.
My: That is already being done.
My: Discussed the influence of Lovett's proposal on transport production at Curtiss-St. Louis.
My: Plans for Nashville can be settled without references to plans for any othe rplant.
Sess: The ratio of man hours:
A-35 – 1[x],000
Giles: We should know a little more about the A-26 before we commit another plant to its production (in addition to the Douglas-Tulsa Plant).
Strat: Our conclusions:
I. As the Vultee-Nashville Plant tapers off the A-35, they will switch to the A-20.
II. Our present light bombers (including dive) group be equipped with airplanes in the following priority:
P-51 (A-31) [typo in original]
III. The current plan for conversion of Douglas-Tulsa production to an exclusive A-26 line is sound and should stand confirmed.
(Note: Meyers made reservation on this point because of current discussions about swapping plants with the U.S. Navy.)
Stearl: Proposed giving the Curtiss-St. Louis Plant to the Navy. They want it and need it.
Lo: We gave up the Curtiss-Columbus Plant to the Navy but we still have an unshared equity in the Curtiss-St. Louis Plant.
Lo: The question of C-46 vs A-26 will require much study. For this morning we can confine our decision to the Vultee-Nashville plant.
Gross: We have no use for more A-24's.
Lo: Discussed the operational utility of dive bombers on moving targets. We must plan on using what we have.
Giles: Kenney used his A-24's in Australia the other day.
Giles: We could use a groups of A-24's in Alaska for working over Kiska.
Strat.: We could use dive bombers in security detachments on all Pacific Islands.
Lo: We should get the P-40 out of production at Curtiss-Buffalo and increase the production of C-46's there.
Strat.: Should we include a recommendation on that point?
Lo & Meyers: No. That is a separate subject.
Gross: Repeated. There is no Air Force requirement for A-35's in 1944.
Meyers: We plan to produce in 1944 only enough A-35's to meet our foreign commitments.
Lo: Asked for review of Street's report on the A-35 to determine whether he said the airplane was:
a. Unsuitable for combat operations.
b. Unsafe for flight.
If he says the ship is unsafe to fly we cannot justify continuation of production through 1943.
Karnes: I have flown the ship and feel sure it is safe to fly. The oil leaked onto the windshield, the exhaust flare was bad. The Material Command can correct all the annoying defects which the ship now has.
Strat.: Do we dive bomb at night?
Karnes: No. We do some before dawn take-offs and after dark return to base.
Stearl: Wolfe predicts we will get 500 each of the A-24, 25, 35 before he can switch production.
Lo: We can use all the A-24's and A-25's we can get or give them to the Navy.
Lo: The A-35 may be useful for towing targets, anti-aircraft training, etc., but it should not be continued unless it is safe to fly.
My: It looks as though all A-35's will go to satisfying giveaway commitments.
Lo: We must get from the United Kingdom in writing a statement that they intend to use the A-35.
My: We must continue A-35 production at Vultee-Nashville through 1943 in order to sustain the labor force at that plant.
Lo: The A-24 should be a very good airplane for the Chinese to use on Yangzte River traffic. Our Navy is still striving to increase production of the A-24 (SBD).
My & Lo: Proposed substitution of A-24 or A-25 if they desire to switch types. They should be invited to send test pilots to this country to decide whether they want the type.
My: We should immediately write letters to all A-35 assignees asking them to send test pilots to Nashville to try out the A-35.
Lo: They should then advise us in writing that they desire delivery of the A-35's currently allocated by the Munitions Assignments Board for 1943 delivery.
Lo: We must not make any deliveries outside the United States unless we have written specific requests from the assignees.
Out of that meeting came this memo:
April 13, 1943
Production for 1944
1. As a result of conclusions reached at a meeting in the office of the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, April 5, 1943, it is directed that the necessary action be taken to carry out the plans listed below:
a. That a project be immediately initiated to duplicate A-20G tooling and to therewith establish an A-20G production line at Vultee, Nashville.
b. That as rapidly as production of the A-20 at Vultee, Nashville, can be initiated the production of the A-35 be tapered off.
c. That pending the availability of light level bombers of the A-20 or A-26 type, the requirements of the light bomber groups be met by the assignment of fighter bombers (P-51, P-39, etc.), the following being the order of preference:
d. That the current plan for conversion of Douglas, Tulsa, production to an exclusive A-26 line be expedited by the elimination of any other project which interferes with the A-26, and these projects which are currently being utilized to train and hold the labor force at Douglas, Tulsa, be tapered out as rapidly as the A-26 project is available to absorb labor.
By Command of General ARNOLD:
Brig. General, U.S.A.,
Deputy Asst. Chief
of the Air Staff, M.M. & D.
Now, as we all know, the A-20G at Vultee Nashville never happened. What happened instead was that they assigned P-38L production to it -- some 2000 planes, so that Lockheed could stop P-38 production and switch the lines producing P-38s to P-80s -- but shortly after VE Day, the majority of the Nashville P-38 order was cancelled, leaving only 113 P-38s being delivered from Vultee Nashville.
Elsewhere, the AAF actually did want more P-51A/A-36 production, because they needed a plane for low altitude fighter/attack/recon and the Allison was superior to the Merlin at those altitude ranges; but they couldn't get any -- because North American cannibalized the tooling for each major P-51 version at North American Inglewood to make the next version.
So yeah, there's a lot of room here to design a US air production system that makes sense and is balanced against the Japanese system -- but the big problem is that the Japanese player can change horses mid-game; while the US system is largely "locked in".
If it wasn't for the save game files being a unusual variant of an encrypted ZIP file, it'd be possible to build a save game editor to enable full US functionality over production lines, but alas...