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2017-11-20

BACKGROUND NOTES

 
     
 

CONSOLIDATED  B-24  Liberator

 
     
  The story which did happen ... outside Atlantic Air Combat  
     
  See also : Related page : BB24L40 Liberation - Notes  

INTRODUCTION

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was a WWII piston engined heavy bomber, the most produced during the war.  Main variants production summary :

Operator

AF ASW

QTY

Aircraft

Name

- - - - - - - - - - - -
 

USAF

AF BB

2415

B-24D

Liberator

1942 1943                        
 

USAF

AF BB

801

B-24E

Liberator

1942 1943                        
 

USAF

AF BB

430

B-24G

Liberator

1943 1944                        
 

USAF

AF BB

3100

B-24H

Liberator

1943 1944                        
 

USAF

AF BB

6678

B-24J

Liberator

1943 1944                        
 

USAF

AF BB

1667

B-24L

Liberator

1944 1945                        
 

USAF

AF BB

2593

B-24M

Liberator

1944 1945                        
 

USAF

AF TM

280

C-87

Liberator.Express

1942 1944                        
 

USN

NA ASW

(977)

PB4Y-1

Liberator

1942 1945                        
 

USN

NA ASW

740

PB4Y-2

Privateer

1944 1945                        

Australia

AF BB 287

B-24

Liberator

1944 1952                        

Canada

AF BB/AS 136

B-24

Liberator

1943 1947                        

Taiwan

AF BB 37

B-24

Liberator

1944 1958 >> >> 1958                  

India

AF BB/AS

32

B-24

Privateer

1949 1968 >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >>

France

NA ASW 24

PB4Y-2

Privateer

1950 1959 >> >> >> 1959                

Taiwan

AF ASW ??

PB4Y-2

Privateer

1952 1962 >> >> >> >> >> >> 1962          

To keep it short, besides the USAF, the RAF, RAAF, RCAF and ROCAF were also wartime operators of that aicraft but they soon abandoned the type at the end of the war, with only Australia and Taiwan keeping them for a little while.  However a remarquable post-war operator was the Indian Air Force who restored enough derelict RAF/USAF airframes abandoned on their soil to equip two squadrons.

The PB4Y-2, which evolved from the bomber design was used by France and Taiwan in unknown number.  A handful was also operated by Honduras and Nicaragua.

The B-24 Liberator Weapons Load

Sources vary regarding the exact bomb carrying capacity of the B-24.  It is understood the following (source) :

12,800 lb maximum bomb load Examples
8,000 lb maximum bomb load internal 4M34 2,000lb 8M44 1,000lb 8M43 500lb 12M31 300lb 20M30 100lb
9,500 lb maximum bomb load external 2M56 4,750lb

Meaning the four sub-bomb bays had one column of bomb shackles each, stacking them up (1 to 5) - Note: the general purpose M34, M44, M43 and M31 bombs were later replaced by the M66 (2,000 lb), M65 (1,000 lb), M64 (500 lb), and M57 (250 lb).

The Liberation  in Atlantic Air Combat

An AAC design will stand for the aircrafts operated by India, to honor their skilled endeavour : the BB24L40 Liberation.  Compared to the design it is inspired from the AAC design will differ in the following manner :

 Guns Waist and side nose guns are deleted
the nose turret is locked in forward firing position and the guns assimilated as internal forward firing guns.
the ball belly gun turret is replaced by a retractable radar
 Radar a retractable "drum" radar replaces the belly "ball" turret (like the real life Indian Air Force ASW Liberators)
 Weapons load - Internal each of the four sub-bomb bays will have two columns of shackles, allowing a highter number of small bombs
a wider spectrum of weapons that was carried in real life will be available in Atlantic Air Combat
   - bomb types never carried (750 lb, 3000 lb, ...) along historical references (250 lb, 500 lb, 1000 lb, 2000 lb)
   - depth charges
   - both ASW (anti-submrine) and ASS (anti-shipping) torpedoes
 Weapons load - External 2 underwing pylons for one bomb each (up to 5,000 lb/@)
8 underwing HVAR rails
 
___________
 
 
 
-  
- B-24 Variants Source : http://www.uswarplanes.net/b24.html
-
          Totals
1939 Model 32 XB-24 Liberator 1  
1941 Model 32 LB-30A Liberator Mk. I 6  
1941 Model 32 LB-30B Liberator Mk. I 20  
1941 Model 32 YB-24 Liberator 1  
1941 Model 32 B-24A Liberator 9  
1941 Model 32   Liberator Mk. II 140  
1941 Model 32 B-24C Liberator 9 186
-          
1942 Model 32 B-24D Liberator 2728  
1942 Model 32 C-87 Liberator Express 280  
1942 Model 32 C-87A Liberator Express 6  
1943 Model 32 AT-22 Liberator 5  
1942 Model 32 B-24E Liberator 801  
1943 Model 32 B-24G Liberator 430 4250
          Totals
1943 Model 32 B-24H Liberator 3100  
1943 Model 32 B-24J Liberator 6678  
1944 Model 32 B-24L Liberator 1667  
1944 Model 32 B-24M Liberator 2593 14038
-          
-          
1944 Model 32 XB-24N Liberator 1  
1945 Model 32 YB-24N Liberator 7 8
-          
-          
1944 Model 40 PB4Y-2 Privateer 740  
1944 Model 32 RY-3   34  
1944 Model 39 R2Y-1   2 776
  Total:       19258
B-24 Specifications Source : Wikipedia
General characteristics - B-24J
 

Crew: 11 :
- pilot
- co-pilot
- navigator
- bombardier
- radio operator
- nose turret
- top turret
- 2waist gunner
- ball turret
- tail gunner
Length: 67 ft 8 in (20.6 m)
Wingspan: 110 ft 0 in (33.5 m)
Height: 18 ft 0 in (5.5 m)
Wing area: 1,048 ft (97.4 m)
Airfoil: Davis 22% / Davis 9.3%
Empty weight: 36,500 lb (16,590 kg)
Loaded weight: 55,000 lb (25,000 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 65,000 lb (29,500 kg)
Powerplant: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-35 or -41
- turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp (900 kW) each
Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0406
Drag area: 42.54 ft (3.95 m)
Aspect ratio: 11.55
Performance
 
Maximum speed: 290 mph (250 kn, 488 km/h)
Cruise speed: 215 mph (187 kn, 346 km/h)
Stall speed: 95 mph (83 kn, 153 km/h)
Range: 2,100 mi (1,800 nmi, 3,400 km)
Ferry range: 3,700 mi (3,200 nmi, 6,000 km)
Service ceiling: 28,000 ft (8,500 m)
Rate of climb: 1,025 ft/min (5.2 m/s)
Wing loading: 52.5 lb/ft (256 kg/m)
Power/mass: 0.0873 hp/lb (144 W/kg)
Lift-to-drag ratio: 12.9
 
Armament
 
Guns: 10 .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns
 
Bombs:
Short range (400 mi): 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
Long range (800 mi): 5,000 lb (2,300 kg)
Very long range (1,200 mi): 2,700 lb (1,200 kg)
B-24 Operators
- Brazil
Canada
- No. 10 Squadron RCAF Liberators III & V for Maritime Patrol
- No. 11 Squadron RCAF Liberators III & V for Maritime Patrol
- No. 168 Squadron RCAF used C.VI & GR.VIII as heavy transport
Republic of China
People's Republic of China
Czechoslovakia
Germany (as Beuteflugzeug, captured aircraft)
India : 42 B-24s recovered from aircraft dumps and restored by HAL
Italy (captured aircraft)
Netherlands
Nicaragua : two B-24Hs in the 1950s
Romania : 3B-24D + 1B-24J rebuilt from wrecks in 194344
Poland
Portugal
Soviet Union
South Africa
Turkey
United Kingdom : besides numerous bombers :
 - No. 231 Squadron (RY-3 as Liberator C.IX),
United States
Variants and conversions
XB-24 1 Designed in 1938 as an improvement on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, at the request of the Army Air Corps. It had a wing specially designed for a high aspect ratio, tricycle landing gear, and twin vertical stabilizers. The XB-24 was ordered in March 1939 and first flew on 29 December 1939
YB-24 6 Pre-production prototypes.  Sent to Great Britain under Lend-Lease. Re-designated LB-30A
B-24 (1) Service test conversion of a YB-24, ordered on 27 April 1939, less than 30 days after the XB-24 was ordered and before its completion. A number of minor modifications were made: elimination of leading edge slots, addition of de-icing boots.
B-24A 29
-
-
-
140
Ordered in 1939, the B-24A was the first production model. Due to the need for heavy bombers, the B-24A was ordered before any version of the B-24 flew. The main improvement over the XB-24 was improved aerodynamics, which led to better performance.  Nine transferred as transports to Ferrying Command (B-24A) and twenty airframes sent to Great Britain under Lend-Lease as LB-30B
Liberator Mk. II As B-24A, lengthened nose, RAF armament in mid-upper and rear turrets. Produced 1941 - 1942
XB-24B (1) When the XB-24 failed to reach its projected top speed, the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-33 radials rated at 1,000 hp (746 kW) it carried were replaced with R-1830-41 turbo-supercharged radials rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW), increasing its top speed by 37 mph (59 km/h). The engine cowlings were made elliptical to accommodate the addition of the turbo-superchargers. The XB-24B version also lacked the engine slots of the original. (Total: one converted XB-24)
B-24C (9) Conversion of the B-24A using turbo-supercharged R-1830-41 engines. To hold the supercharger and the intercooler intake, the cowlings were made elliptical and the new items added on the sides. The tail air gunner position was improved by adding a hydraulically powered Consolidated A-6 turret with twin .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns; a Martin power turret was added to the forward fuselage. (Total: nine converted B-24As)
B-24D 2,728 First model produced on a large scale; ordered from 1940 to 1942, as a B-24C with better engines (R-1830-43 supercharged engines). The D model was initially equipped with a remotely operated and periscopically sighted Bendix belly turret, as the first examples of the B-17E Flying Fortress and some early models of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber had used, but this proved unsatisfactory in service and was discontinued after the 287th aircraft. Production aircraft reverted to the earlier manually operated "tunnel" mounting with a single .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine. The tunnel gun was eventually replaced by the Sperry ball turret, which had also been adopted by the later B-17E Fortresses, but made retractable for the Liberator as the ventral area of its fuselage was very close to the ground on landing. In late B-24Ds, "cheek" guns mounted on either side of the forward nose, just behind the framed "greenhouse" nose glazing were added.
B-24E 801 A slight alteration of the B-24D built by Ford, using R-1830-65 engines. Unlike the B-24D, the B-24E retained the tunnel gun in the belly. The USAAF used the B-24Es primarily as training aircraft since this model was not current in armaments and other technology as were the aircraft being produced by Consolidated / San Diego (CO). Ford also built sub-assemblies for Douglas; these sub-assemblies were identical to Ford-built B-24Es, except that they used the same engines as the B-24D (R-1830-43 radials). These sub-assemblies were called PK ships and were shipped by truck from Willow Run to the final assembly in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Total: 801)
XB-24F (1) B-24D converted into a prototype to test thermal de-icers instead of the standard inflatable rubber "boots"
B-24G 25 Designation for B-24D aircraft built by North American Aviation pursuant to a 1942 contract. Equipped with Sperry ball turret and three .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns in nose.
B-24G1 405 Designation for North American-built version of the B-24H. Most B-24G aircraft were delivered to the 15th Air Force in Italy.
B-24H 3,100 Because of obvious vulnerability of the B-24 to head-on attack, the B-24H design incorporated an electrically powered Emerson A-15 nose turret. Approximately 50 other airframe changes were made, including a redesigned bombardier compartment. The tail turret was given larger windows for better visibility and the Martin A-3 top turret received an enlarged "high hat" dome. The waist gunner positions were enclosed with Plexiglas windows and laterally offset (as the later B-17G's waist positions had been) to reduce mutual interference between the two waist gunners during battle. Most H model aircraft were built by Ford at the Willow Run factory.
B-24J 6,678 The B-24J was very similar to the B-24H, but shortages of the Emerson nose turret required use of a modified, hydraulically powered Consolidated A-6 turret in most J model aircraft built at Consolidated's San Diego and Fort Worth factories. The B-24J featured an improved autopilot (type C-1) and a bombsight of the M-1 series. B-24H sub-assemblies made by Ford and constructed by other companies and any model with a C-1 or M-1 retrofit, were all designated B-24J. The J model was the only version to be built by all five factories involved in B-24 production.
XB-24K (1) Developed from the B-24ST, with the B-23 Dragon empennage replaced by the tail of a Douglas C-54 Skymaster.  The improved performance and handling of the B-24ST and XB-24K led to the decision to incorporate a single tail in the PB4Y-2 and B-24N. (Total: one converted B-24D)
B-24L 1,667 Because of the excessively high gross weight of the B-24J, the Army pushed for a lighter version. In the B-24L, the Sperry ball turret was replaced by a floor ring mount with two .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns, and the A-6B tail turret by an M-6A. Later aircraft were delivered from the factory without tail armament. An A-6B, M-6A, or a manually operated twin .50 caliber (12.7 mm) mounting was then installed at a depot before arrival at operational units. The L model was built only at Willow Run and Consolidated's San Diego factory. (Total: 1,667)
B-24M 2,593 An enhancement of the B-24L with further weight-saving devices. The B-24M used a more lightweight version of the A-6B tail turret; the waist gunner positions were left open, and the retractable Sperry ventral ball turret was reintroduced. For better visibility from the flight deck, the windshield in Ford-built aircraft was replaced by a version with less framing from Block 20 onward. The B-24M became the last production model of the B-24; a number of the B-24s built flew only the course between the factory and the scrapheap. (Total: 2,593)
XB-24N 1 A redesign of the B-24J, made to accommodate a single tail. It also featured an Emerson 128 ball turret in the nose and a stationary tail gunner's position. While 5,168 B-24Ns were ordered, the end of the war resulted in cancellation of all contracts before production could begin. (Total: one)
YB-24N 7 Pre-production service test version of the XB-24N
B-24ST 1 An experimental aircraft, The B-24ST (for Single Tail, an unofficial designation applied by Ford) was made by Ford by fitting a Douglas B-23 Dragon empennage onto a B-24D airframe. The aircraft was more stable and had better handling than other models. It was used as the basis of the XB-24K.
XB-41 (1) Because there were no fighters capable of escorting bomber formations on deep strike missions early in World War II, the Army authorized tests for heavily armed bombers to act as "gunship" escorts for bombing missions. The XB-41 had fourteen .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns, including a Bendix chin turret and a second Martin A-3 turret on the upper fuselage. A single aircraft was completed in 1942. Performance changed drastically with the addition of more turrets. The escorts were also unable to keep up with bomber formations once the bombs had been dropped. The results of 1943 testing were very negative and the project was quickly canceled. (Total: one converted B-24D)
- (1) B-24J-15-CO, 42-73130 : Experimental conversion with B-17G nose section, containing chin turret, grafted on; modification not adopted for production
C-87

291

278

003

00-

00-

003

005

Liberator Express : Passenger transports with accommodation for passengers.
C-87_:USAAF transport variant of the B-24D with seats for 25 passengers
C-87A: VIP transports with R-1830-45 instead of -43 engines and sleep accommodations for 16 passengers.
C-87B: Projected armed transport variant with nose guns, dorsal turret, and ventral tunnel gun; never produced.
C-87C: Proposed USAAF variant of the RY-3, designation not used
RY-1_:U.S. Navy designation for the C-87A.
AT-22: As C-87, trainers for flight engineers. Redesignated as TB-24D in 1944
C-109 Tankers with specialized equipment to help prevent explosions, used to ferry fuel from India to China to support initial B-29 raids against Japan.
XF-7 Photographic reconnaissance variant developed from the B-24D.
F-7 Photographic reconnaissance variant developed from the B-24H; -FO block
F-7A Photographic reconnaissance variant developed from the B-24J; three cameras in the nose and three in the bomb bay.
F-7B Photographic reconnaissance variant developed from the B-24J; six cameras in the bomb bay.
PB4Y-1 (977) U.S. Navy designation applied to 976 navalized B-24D, J, L and M models built at Consolidated's San Diego factory, as well as one North American-built B-24G. Later aircraft were equipped with an ERCO bow turret.
PB4Y-1P ((1)) Photographic reconnaissance variant developed from the PB4Y-1.
PB4Y-2 740 A developed PB4Y with a large single fin and many other improvements and changes - renamed Privateer

003

737

-

-

-

-

-

YPB4Y-2 - prototypes
PB4Y-2 - main production version
PB4Y-2B - PB4Y-2s equipped to launch ASM-N-2 Bat air-to-surface missiles. Redesignated P4Y-2B in 1951
PB4Y-2M - PB4Y-2s converted for weather reconnaissance. Redesignated P4Y-2M in 1951
PB4Y-2S - PB4Y-2s equipped with anti-submarine radar. Redesignated P4Y-2S in 1951.
PB4Y-2G - PB4Y-2s converted for air-sea rescue and weather reconnaissance duties with the U.S. Coast Guard
PB4Y-2K - PB4Y-2s converted to target drones. Redesignated P4Y-2K in 1951 and QP-4B in 1962.
P5Y 0 Proposed twin-engined patrol version of PB4Y-1. Unbuilt.
RY-1 - U.S. Navy designation for the C-87A.
RY-2 Five former USAAF C-87s fitted for 20 passengers, a further 15 were cancelled
RY-3 34 Transport variant of the PB4Y-2.  A C-87 with the single tail and seven foot fuselage stretch of the PB4Y-2 Privateer. Used by the RAF Transport Command No. 231 Squadron (as Liberator C.IX), the U.S. Marine Corps, and one was by the RCAF
R2Y 2 Liberator Liner built using a new fuselage for the US Navy as an airliner with 48 seats.
         
B-24 DATA TABLES Source : (untraced)
Wing Data  
Airfoil section designation: Root CVAC 22.0%
Airfoil section designation: Tip CVAC   9.3%
Wing area 1,048 sq ft
Span 110'
Root chord 14'
Tip chord 5' 2-13/32"
Thickness at root 22%
Thickness at tip 9.3%
Incidence 3
Dihedral on upper 30% chord line 1 30'
Sweepback (LE) 3 30'
Trailing edge sweep forward 5 38'
Spar location, front 10% chord
Spar location, rear 66.2% chord
Aspect ratio 11.55
Mean aerodynamic chord, length 123.72"
  Location relative to LE  
    LW (chord horizontal) 17.04" aft
    Root chord vertical 16.6" above
Fuselage Dimensions  
Length 66' 4"
Maximum height 10' 5"
Maximum width 7' 5"
Flap Data  
Type Fowler
Area, total 144.4 sq ft
Movement 0 to 40 down
Aileron Data  
Area (aft of hinge) 64.4 sq ft
Angular movement 20 up, 20 down
Differential motion none
Balance Aerodynamic
Tab area 3.64 sq ft
Angular tab movement 10
Tail Group  
Horizontal Tail Surfaces:  
  Section NACA 0015
  Area 192 sq ft
  Span 26'
  Maximum chord 7' 8-3/16"
Stabilizer:  
  Area, including elevator balance 140.5 sq ft
  Normal setting 2.5
  Angular movement fixed
Elevator:  
  Area, total 67.1 sq ft
  Area aft of hinge line 51.5 sq ft
  Angular movement 30 up, 20 down
  Balance Aerodynamic
  Tab area 4.95 sq ft
  Tab angular movement 10
Vertical Tail Surfaces:  
  Section NACA 0007
Fin:  
  Area, total 123 sq ft
  Normal setting 0
  Angular movement fixed
Rudder:  
  Area, aft of hinge 48.8 sq ft
  Angular movement 20 R, 20 L
  Balance Aerodynamic
  Dynamic balance coefficient 0.014 (no greater)
  Tab area 3.1 sq ft
  Tab angular movement 10 R, 10 L
Design Weights - Standard Weight Empty (lb) 38,262
Wing Group 6,341
  Center section 4,715
  Outer panel 1,178
  Tips 39
  Ailerons 157
  Flaps 252
Tail Group 803
  Stabilizer 360
  Elevator 136
  Fin 216
  Rudder 91
Fuselage 3,334
   
Landing Gear 2,916
  Main 2,562
  Nose 354
   
Engine Nacelle Group 1,539
   
Power Plant Group 10,010
  Engine (as installed) 6,032
  Engine accessories 1,626
  Power plant controls 336
  Propellers (4) 1,804
  Starting system 212
Lubricating System 705
  Tanks and protection 380
  Piping, etc 325
Fuel System 2,528
  Tanks and protection 2,248
  Piping, etc 280
Fixed Equipment Group 10,086
  Instruments 141
  Surface controls 630
  Hydraulic system 455
  Electrical 1,038
  Communicating 585
  Armament provisions 3,654
  Guns and accessories 1,953
  Furnishings:  
    Personnel accommodations 163
    Emergency acccommodations 65
    Provisions for flight 707
    Air conditioning 112
  Anti-icing 460
  Auxiliary power unit 123
Performances at 56,000 lbs Gross Weight
High speed, 25,000 ft military power 255 kn
Operating speed, 25,000 ft 199 kn
Tactical radius of action, normal mission 652 nmi
Service ceiling 32,000 ft
Takeoff run to clear 50' 3,950 ft
Stalling speed 68 kn
Balance Factors  
Alternate gross weight CG location 30.9% MAC
Most forward for adequate control 23% MAC
Most aft for satisfactory longitudinal stability 34%
Useful Load (17,738 lb) lb
Crew (nine men) 2,000
Engine fuel (2,120 gal) 12,718
Engine oil (128 gal) 960
Bombs 2,060
Weight empty 38,262
Gross weight 56,000