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, B-24 Liberators gradually phased out the B-17 Flying Fortress.
A total of 18,482 were built by several factories in the United States. Each B-24 Liberator cost the US government approximately $297,627. The majority were built at Consolidated in San Diego (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 by the French but when occupied the order was taken over by the Royal Air Force (RAF). A total of 165 were ordered and assigned RAF serial numbers AL503-AL667 but only 140 were actually built. At the start of the Pacific War, the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) requisitioned the LB-30s still in the United States. During early 1942 fifteen LB-30s were sent to Java to reinforce the 19th Bombardment Group (19th BG). By late February 1942, the the surviving LB-30s were evacuated to Australia. By 1944, at least two LB-30s remained in Australia and were converted to C-87 transport configuration. Other LB-30s were assigned to the 11th Air Force (11th AF) in Alaska and 6th Air Force (6th AF) in the Panama Canal Zone (CZ). A small number of LB-30s were delivered to the RAF.
C-87 Liberator Express and C-109 Liberator Express
The C-87 Liberator Express is modified as transport aircraft
were designated by the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-87 Liberator Express or C-109 Liberator Express. A total of 287 C-87s were factory-built alongside B-24 Liberators at the Consolidated Aircraft factory 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 production was completed with an unpainted aluminum finish.
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 Johnston and Robert Livingstone for additional information
Crew Eight-Ten (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier, engineer, radio, waist gunners, tail)
Engine 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial engines driving three bladed propeller
Length 56' 4"
Height 17" 11"
Maximum Speed 303 mph
Range 3,200 miles
Armament 10 x .50 caliber machine guns
Bomb Load 12,800 lbs (maximum load)