This photo of a B-24 flying the Aleutians was provided by William Eubank.
|Jeff Marksbury's father flew this B-24D, SN 123973, attached to the 404th Bomb Squadron, Shemya, Alaska. This plane was transferred to the 404th from Casper, Wyoming where the crew was formed. It flew 30 missions before it was replaced by a B-24J. This B-24D was then scrapped for parts.|
This 1946 photo of the 404th Bomb Squadron (H) B-24 "The Glutton" parked on Shemya, AK was provided by William J. Blake
|The USAAC approached Consolidated to construct a bomber
with performance superior to the B-17. The new aircraft, initially
designated as the Model 32 by Consolidated, was built in near record
time. It was built around the then-new long-span/low-drag Davis wing.
The Army was so impressed with how the project was shaping up, it
ordered 36 production units well before the prototype XB-24 had taken to
the skies. The Liberators eventually were built not only by
Consolidated, but also by Douglas, Ford, and North American, with the
first B-24 prototype flying on 29 December, 1939. The British coined the
name of this aircraft (as well as many others!) as the
"Liberator." The Liberator saw its first combat by the RAF's
Coastal Command over the Atlantic in mid-1941.
The USAAF production got into full swing with the introduction of the B-24D. This version was sent to the Middle East and Europe in 1942/43. This was followed by the B-24J, with 6678 being built.
The Liberator was also used by the U.S. Navy with the designation of PB4Y, and by the RAAF in the Far East. When production ceased on 31 May 1945, 18,475 Liberators had been built, making it the most produced American aircraft of WWII.
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator performed roles as heavy bomber, bomber escort, long-range maritime patrol, reconnaissance, transport, cargo, tanker, and even as a training aircraft. Although the Liberator served on every front, it was never as popular with its crews as the B-17 because it was quicker to catch fire in battle and suffered numerous hydraulic problems. The B-24 thus was not compared favorably to the B-17 by its crews.
The long wing-span gave the B-24 excellent range and great performance at high altitudes. The Norden bomb sight was one of the more famous components of this aircraft, which gave it the ability to perform precision bombing attacks from these high altitudes.
Additional References: 1) Jane's Historic Military Aircraft 2) Aircraft of the World
Updated: 23 January 2014 09:29