Consolidated Liberator in RAF Service
Like its B-17 stablemate, Consolidated’s B-24 was not a major type for RAF Bomber Command operations against the German heartland, but turned to be extremely important as a very long range patrol aircraft, helping to protect vital convoys over the mid-Atlantic.
The French had placed an order for 120 bombers based on the YB-24 service test aircraft, but by the time the first of these flew, France had long been overrun, and thus the RAF took possession, and added 165 aircraft to the order. Deliveries began in the spring of 1941, with a few examples being used in the unglamorous but necessary task of ferrying pilots across the Atlantic to pick up Lend-Lease aircraft.
Liberator I: Twenty aircraft based on the XB-24B, with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor protection. Operational with No 120 Squadron by September 1941.
Liberator II: 139 B-24C equivalents for the RAF. One aircraft was disarmed and became Churchill’s personal transport, Commando.
Liberator III: B-24D equivalent; Boulton-Paul turrets often replaced the as-built Martin turrets.
Liberator IV: B-24E equivalent
Liberator GR.V: B-24G for the RAF
Liberator GR.VI: B-24H/J
Liberator C.VII: Two dozen unarmed long-range transports, equivalent to the C-87.
Further B-24 Features:
Howard Carter “Fit for the King” Former BOAC Liberator used to carry Vietnamese royalty. “Aviation Classics: American Cold War Stories”
“American Aircraft Development of the Second World War: Research Experimentation and Modification 1939-1945” Chapter 9: Mission Support: Ditching experiment with a B-24; Deicing projects, including the XB-24F and XB-25E