Consolidated B-24 Liberator
The common perception of the Liberator initially was that it
was less durable than the B-17
In fact, the Liberator was superior
to the B-17 in terms of speed, range and bomb
load. In the Pacific, they gradualy phased out Fortesses.
Each B-24 cost the US goverment aproximatly $297,627 to build.
A total of 18,482 were built by several factories in the United States. The majority were built at Consolidated in San Diego, coded CO. Others were built at Consolidated at Fort Worth (CF), Ford at Willow Run (FO), North American (NT) and Douglas at Tulsa (DT).
PB4Y-1 Liberator in US Navy and Marine Corps Service
B-24s operating with the US Navy and Marine Corps were
known as PB4Y-1s.
LB-30 (Liberator II)
"Land Bomber" (Liberator II) was the designation assigned to a version of the Liberator ordered for the RAF in 1941 directly from the Consolidated production. The USAAF requisitioned fifteen LB-30's to the Pacific to serve in Java during early 1942 to reinforce the 19th Bombardment Group. By late February, the position of Allied forces in Java had become untenable, and the surviving LB-30s were evacuated to Australia. Two LB-30s survived in Australia until 1944 after been converted to C-87 transport configuration.
C-87 Liberator Express & C-109
B-24's modified as transports
were designated C-87 "Liberator Express" by the US Army. A total of 287 C-87s were factory-built alongside the B-24 at the Consolidated Aircraft plant in Fort Worth, Texas.
United States Navy designation for three former USAAF C-87As fitted for 16 passengers.
A C-87 with the single tail and seven foot fuselage stretch of the PB4Y-2 Privateer. 39 were built, and were used by the RAF Transport Command No. 231 Squadron, U.S. Marine Corps, and one was used by the RCAF.
The B-24D-1 Liberator were modified to add nose turret either at the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) or in Australia. This designation was used by the 5th Air Force to differentiate between B-24Ds with and without nose turrets. The 7th Air Force and 13th Air Force did not need to use this designation as all their B-24D models had nose turrets installed at the factory.
SB-24 Radar Equipped 'Snoopers'
Radar equipped Liberator, with an extra crew member to serve as radar operator. In the Pacific, they are used for low-level attacks and shipping strikes at night, and for pathfinder operations. the 13th AF activated
the 868th 'Snooper Squadron' flying SB-24 on January 1, 1944. The 5th Air Force activated the 43rd BG, 64th BS as a 'Super Snoopers'.
F-7 Photographic Reconnaissance
The F-7 was a modified B-24 for photo reconnaissance.The
initial batch of F-7A's had all been B 24J Liberators built by Consolidated
at Fort Worth,
Texas, and proceeded to the Northwest Airlines modification
center at Holman Field, Saint Paul, Minnesota for conversion
to F-7A specifications The 20th Combat Mapping Squadron (20th CMS) was equipped with converted
Liberators, and deployed to New Guinea in March 1944, painted
1944 all F-7's were natural aluminum finish only.
A total of 19,286 B-24 Liberators were manufactured
during the World War II. Today roughly 20 remain
today, with even fewer in flying condition.
Pete Johnstone and Robert Livingstone for additional information