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Consolidated B-24D Liberator

History of the B-24D Liberator

Adapted from the XB-24 aircraft in 1939, the B-24D was able to cruise at high speeds and carry heavy bomb loads. These aircraft became the most-produced, Allied heavy bomber of World War II, with nearly 19,286 B-24s built in numerous variations for the United States (US) Army and Navy, as well as Great Britain.

B-24D Liberator

Serial Number: 41-23908

Manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft Supply Company

Crew: Eight to ten

Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial; 1,200 horsepower each

Wingspan: 110 feet

Length: 66 feet 4 inches

Height: 17 feet

Weight: 32,605 pounds (empty); 56,000 pounds (maximum)

Speed: 200 mph (cruising); 303 mph (maximum)

Range: 2,850 miles with a 5,000-pound bomb load; 4,600 miles max ferry range

Service Ceiling: 32,000 feet

Armament: Ten .50-caliber machine guns; 8,000 pounds of bombs

Cost: $310,765

The B-24D Liberator at Hill Air Force Base

In 1942, the B-24D, now on display, was manufactured and dispatched to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to assist American air, sea and ground forces in repelling the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. Afterwards, this aircraft moved to Adak Island and assisted the US Navy in intercepting Japanese cargo ships. Members of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah, along with Captain Ernest Pruett, who piloted this aircraft during the Adak Island mission, went to the island to recover the aircraft. After restoration, the aircraft arrived at Hill Aerospace Museum for display in 2006.

Discover answers to the following questions about the B-24D Liberator.

Why was the B-24 called the Flying Coffin?

Airmen who flew the Liberator took to naming the airframe the “Flying Coffin” due to its singular entry point near the rear of the aircraft. With only a single point of exit, and far from the majority of the crew, it was nearly impossible for them to leave in an emergency.

Was the B-24 a good plane?

While some crewmen may have felt otherwise, the B-24 was considered an excellent aircraft. The Liberator remains the most produced American military aircraft in history. It saw extensive service amongst every branch of the American and Allied Forces, as well as use in all theaters of operation in the Second World War.

How many B-24 bombers are left?

A total of 18,188 B-24s were produced from 1940 to 1945. Of that, only two aircraft are still considered airworthy, or able to still take to the skies, with and a further 11 on display.

Did the B-24 Liberator have a ball turret?

The Liberator was not outfitted with a ball turret, but it did carry 10 .50-caliber M2 Browning machine guns in six emplacements along its fuselage, with four turrets and two gun positions at the waist.

What was the role of the B-24 Liberator?

The B-24 was originally built as a heavy bomber, though over the course of its service would eventually see every theater of combat in the Second World War and take on a variety of roles. Besides performing high-altitude bombing, the Liberator acted as a troop transport, assembly vehicle and even supplied resistance forces throughout Europe.

Did the RAF fly the Liberator?

The Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom received some 2,100 Liberators in total.

How much did a B24 cost?

The B-24 cost approximately $240,000 dollars to produce by the end of the war, which translates to $2.6 million dollars in today’s currency.

What was the Consolidated B-24 Liberator?

The B-24 Liberator was developed by Consolidated Aircraft in late 1939.