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Konsolidierter XB-41-Befreier

Konsolidierter XB-41-Befreier



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Konsolidierter XB-41-Befreier

Als die 8. Luftwaffe ihre Tagbombardementskampagne über Europa begann, stellte sie bald fest, dass ihre Formationen von viermotorigen schweren Bombern sich nicht gegen deutsche Jagdflugzeuge verteidigen konnten, und die Verluste erreichten inakzeptable Ausmaße. Die endgültige Lösung des Problems bestand darin, die Reichweite der Begleitjäger P-38 Lightning und P-51 Mustang zu erweitern, aber dies würde Zeit in Anspruch nehmen.

Eine ernsthaft in Erwägung gezogene Alternative war die Möglichkeit, schwer bewaffnete „Escort-Jäger“ auf Basis der B-17 Flying Fortress und B-24 Liberator Bomber zu schaffen. Dieser Ansatz hätte einen großen Vorteil – das Basisflugzeug existierte bereits und hatte die erforderliche Reichweite, um die Bomber zu begleiten.

Die XB-41 war der Begleit-„Jäger“ auf Basis der B-24 Liberator. Es war mit insgesamt vierzehn .50-Zoll-Maschinengewehren bewaffnet, drei bis fünf mehr als die Standard-B-24D (die entweder eine oder drei Pistolen in der Nase, zwei in der Taillenposition und jeweils zwei in Rücken-, Bauch- und Heckposition tragen konnte Türmchen). Alle vierzehn Geschütze der XB-41 wurden in Doppelgeschützhalterungen oder Türmen getragen. Das Buggeschütz oder die Kanonen wurden durch einen Doppelkanonen-Kinnturm ersetzt, ähnlich dem, der bei der B-17 verwendet wurde. Ein zweiter Rückenturm wurde direkt hinter dem Flügel hinzugefügt. In jeder Hüftposition wurden zwei Geschütze in leistungsverstärkten Halterungen getragen. Die verbleibenden sechs Geschütze wurden in der Standard-Bauch-, Rücken- und Heckposition getragen. Die XB-41 sollte 12.420 Schuss Munition tragen. Das letzte Flugzeug war 6.000 Pfund schwerer als eine Standard-B-24D.

Die Arbeiten an der XB-41 begannen im Sommer 1942. Der fertige XB-41-Prototyp wurde am 29. Januar 1943 für den Beginn der zweimonatigen Erprobung an das Testgelände der Army Air Force in Eglin Field geliefert. Am 16. März 1943 wurde das Design genehmigt, ein Schritt, der zur Produktion von YB-41-Servicetestflugzeugen geführt hätte, aber fünf Tage später, am 21. März 1943, wurde das Projekt abgebrochen.

Ausgelöst wurde diese plötzliche Veränderung durch Erfahrungen mit der YB-40, basierend auf der B-17 Flying Fortress. Die Arbeit an diesem Fortschritt war viel weiter fortgeschritten, und eine kleine Anzahl von Flugzeugen war tatsächlich über Europa in den Kampf eingetreten. Bald tauchten zwei ernsthafte Probleme auf. Das erste war ein technisches Problem – die schwer beladene YB-40 konnte auf dem Weg nach draußen mit den B-17 mithalten, während sie ihre Bomben trugen, aber sobald die Bomber ihre Bomben abgeworfen hatten, erhöhte sich ihre Geschwindigkeit und die schwere YB -40 konnte nicht mithalten. Das zweite Problem war, dass die Idee einfach nicht funktionierte. Trotz all des zusätzlichen Gewichts wurde nur erreicht, die Feuerkraft einer Bomberformation um ein paar mehr Geschütze zu erhöhen, und die Kampferfahrung deutete darauf hin, dass diese zusätzlichen Geschütze wenig oder keinen Einfluss auf die Anzahl der erlittenen Verluste hatten. Das Konzept des schwerbewaffneten Gunship-Eskortjägers wurde zugunsten des konventionellen Begleitjägers aufgegeben.


Boeing B-17 L & eacutetaj & iacutec & iacute pevnost nad v & yacutechodn & iacute Evropou Strategick & yacute bombardieren & eacuter Boeing B-52 při cvičn & eacutem bombardov & aacuten & iacute 12. května 2005 Bombard & eacuter nakupovat bombardovac & iacute letoun je vojensk & yacute letoun určen & yacute k ničen & iacute pozemn & iacutech c & iacutelů, obvykle shazov & aacuten & iacutem bombardieren & ndash bombardov & aacuten & iacutem & ndash nebo odpalov & aacuten & iacutem STREL vzduch & ndashzemě.

B-24 Liberator Consolidated Aircraft Corporation byl americký letecký výrobce, který roku 1923 založil Reuben H. Fleet.


  • Boeing YB-40 Fliegende Festung.
  • Konsolidierter B-24-Befreier.
  • Danh sách máy bay quân sự của Hoa Kỳ.
  • Danh sách máy bay trong Chiến tranh Thế giới II.

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El XB-41 Befreier fue equipado con 14 ametralladoras defensivas de 12,7 mm. Inklusive dos torretas dorsales, una torreta Bendix operada remotamente (del mismo tipo que la usada por el YB-40) bajo la barbilla, la üblicher torreta doble de cola de Browning M2 de 12,7 mm y una torreta ventral de bola Sperry doble de 12,7 mm totalmente retráctil, más un par de montajes dobles (ähnlich a las armas de cola dobles de un B-17E Ö F Fliegende Festung) von Browning M2 de 12,7 mm und cada ventana de cintura. [ 1 ] ​ El montaje de babor estaba cubierto originalmente por una burbuja de Plexiglas las pruebas mostraron que causaba una severa distorsión óptica y fue retirada. [ 1 ] ​

El XB-41 llevaba 12 420 cartuchos de munición, de los que 4000 estaban almacenados en la bodega de bombas como Reserva. [ 1 ] ​ Estaba propulsado por cuatro motores radiales Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 de 930 kW (1250 PS).

El 29 de enero de 1943, el único XB-41 fue entregado in Eglin Field, Florida. Las pruebas fueron llevadas a cabo durante dos meses a principios del invierno de 1943. [ 2 ] ​ XB-41 como inadecuado para su uso operativo [ 1 ] ​ la conversión de trece Befreier como aviones de pruebas de servicio YB-41 fue stornada. A pesar de esto, Consolidated continuó los trabajos en el prototipo XB-41 fue equipado con hélices de palas anchas, y parte del blindaje fue retirado para reducir el peso del avión. Las pruebas se reanudaron en Eglin el 28 de julio de 1943 sin embargo, los desertos básicos del concepto "cañonero" perduraron, y el programa del XB-41 fue aufgegeben. El prototipo del XB-41 fue redesignado TB-24D sirvió como célula de instrucción para entrenamiento de mecánicos del B-24. [ 1 ] ​ Fue desguazado en Maxwell Field, Alabama, el 2 de febrero de 1945.


Konsolidierter XB-41 Liberator - Geschichte

Im Zweiten Weltkrieg wurden mehr Liberators gebaut als jedes andere amerikanische Flugzeug, insgesamt 18.188 Flugzeuge. Befreier hatten eine intensive operative Karriere an allen Fronten und in verschiedenen Rollen, von der Bombardierung bis zur Seeaufklärung, U-Boot-Abwehr und Transport. Aber ihr Hauptbeitrag war als Bomber, insbesondere im Pazifik. In drei Jahren Operation warfen sie 635.000 Tonnen Bomben ab und schossen 4.189 feindliche Flugzeuge ab. Obwohl die Besatzungen die B-17 Flying Fortress bevorzugten, weil sie mehr Schaden absorbieren und trotzdem in der Luft bleiben konnte, erwies sich die Liberator als ausgezeichnetes und vielseitiges Kampfflugzeug. Neben Consolidated waren mehrere Unternehmen am Aufbau von Liberators beteiligt. Von der Gesamtproduktion wurden 1.694 direkt an die Royal Air Force für den Dienst beim Coastal Command und beim Bomber Command geliefert.

Vorläufige Studien wurden Anfang 1939 begonnen, als die Consolidated Aircraft Corporation von den USAAC-Behörden gebeten wurde, einen neuen schweren Bomber zu entwickeln, der moderner sein sollte und eine höhere Leistung in Bezug auf Geschwindigkeit, Reichweite und Höhe bieten würde als die Boeing B-17, die bereits in Produktion. Der Chefdesigner von Consolidated, Isaac M. Laddon, entschied sich für eine Hochdecker-Konfiguration mit Doppelleitwerk und Seitenrudern. Aber das Flügelsystem war sicherlich das originellste und fortschrittlichste Merkmal des Flugzeugs. Vor kurzem hatte Consolidated damit begonnen, die Davis-Patente für extrem aerodynamische laminare Konturen zu nutzen, und diese Patente wurden auch für das neue Projekt verwendet. Die Flügel des Liberators waren sehr lang, was seine Ladekapazität erhöhte, seine Aufstiegseigenschaften verbesserte und ihm eine größere Reichweite verlieh. Am 30. März 1939 wurde ein Vertrag über den Bau eines Originalmodells und eines Prototyps unterzeichnet. Der Prototyp hob am 29. Dezember erstmals in die Luft. Der neue Bomber hatte einen tiefen Rumpf und einen großen Bombenraum mit Schiebeluken. Ungewöhnlich war das dreirädrige Vorderfahrwerk, bei dem die Haupträder horizontal in die Tragflächen eingezogen wurden. Die in aerodynamischen Gondeln untergebrachten Triebwerke waren ursprünglich vier Pratt & Whitney R-1830-33 mit zweistufigen mechanischen Kompressoren. Pratt & Whitneys wurden in nachfolgenden Modellen weiter verwendet, jedoch mit Turboladern, die vom Abgas angetrieben wurden.

Sieben Vorserienflugzeuge wurden gebaut, und 1940 ging ein erster Auftrag über 36 Flugzeuge ein. Nur neun davon wurden gebaut, der Rest wurde als B-24C produziert. Die B-24C hatte Pratt & Whitney R-1830-Triebwerke mit Turbolader, daher mussten bauliche Veränderungen an den Motorgehäusen vorgenommen werden. Auch die Bewaffnung wurde erhöht. Die erste wichtige Version war jedoch die B-24D, für die 1940 Großaufträge eingingen. Weitere Bestellungen im folgenden Jahr brachten die Gesamtzahl auf 2.738 Maschinen, und die Produktionsanlagen mussten erweitert werden. Consolidated baute B-24 in San Diego und fügte dann eine zweite Montagelinie in Fort Worth, Texas, hinzu. Beginnend mit dem D-Modell und weiter mit späteren Versionen bauten Douglas, Ford und North American auch B-24.

Die B-24D war der erste Liberator, der im April 1942 in den Kampf ging. Der größte Teil der frühen Kampfkarriere des Liberators konzentrierte sich auf den Nahen Osten und den Pazifik. Die nächste Version war die B-24E, die verschiedene Motoren und Propeller hatte. Dann kam die B-24G. Beginnend mit der 26. B-24G wurde eine wesentliche Modifikation eingeführt. Ein mechanisch gesteuerter vorderer Turm wurde installiert, der eine zusätzliche Verteidigung gegen Frontalangriffe bot, für die das Flugzeug besonders anfällig war.

Die neue Bewaffnung war in nachfolgenden Versionen Standard. Insgesamt wurden 3.100 B-24H von Consolidated, Douglas und Ford hergestellt. Bei der Ausstattung gab es einige Unterschiede. 1943 erschien das größte Serienmodell. Dies war die B-24J, mit neuen Steuerungen für die Motoren, einem neuen Visiersystem und Änderungen an den Kraftstoff- und Zufuhrsystemen. Die endgültigen Versionen, die B-24L und B-24M, hatten Verbesserungen in der Bewaffnung. Bis zum 31. Mai 1945 wurden insgesamt 1.667 Ls und 2.593 Ms gebaut. Zu den wichtigeren experimentellen und abgeleiteten Modellen gehörten die F-7, für die fotografische Aufklärung der C-7 Transport, der AT-22, ein fliegendes Klassenzimmer für die Navigatorenausbildung und die C-109 für Transport und Treibstoffversorgung. Die Liberator XB-41, eine modifizierte B-24D mit vierzehn 12,7 mm. Maschinengewehre und als schwere Jagdeskorte für Bomber gedacht, kam nie über das Prototypenstadium hinaus.

(Quelle: Enzo Angelucci & Paolo Matricardi, in "World War II Airplanes, Volume 2)

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Spezifikationen (XB-41)

Allgemeine Eigenschaften

  • Besatzung: neun
  • Länge: 66   ft 4   in (20,22   m)
  • Spannweite: 110   ft 0   in (33,54   m)
  • Höhe: 17   ft 11   in (5,46   m)
  • Max. Abfluggewicht: 63.000   lb (28.576   kg)
  • Kraftwerk: 4 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 Sternmotoren, je 1.250 PS (934 kW)
  • Maximale Geschwindigkeit: 289   mph (465   km/h, 251   kn)
  • Bereich: 3.100   mi (4.989   km, 2.700   sm)
  • Leistungsgrenze: 28.500   ft (8.689   m)

US-WAFFENSCHIFFE ZWEITER WELTKRIEG: YB-40 Flying Fortress und XB-41 Liberator Bomber Escorts

Collana della Osprey Publishing dedicata agli aerei sperimentali e ai prototipi militari &lsquohigh-tech&rsquo. Ogni monografia illustra l&rsquoaereo trattato con dovizia di particolari sulla tecnologia, le sue caratteristiche, i voli di prova, i successi e i fallimenti, dati tecnici completi e ricca iconografia che comprende foto in bianco a color tratiero profile.

Die XB-40 und die XB-41 waren geheime, wenig bekannte experimentelle Modifikationen der B-17F bzw. Sie wurden während des frühen Zweiten Weltkriegs als Reaktion auf das Fehlen eines USAAF-Langstrecken-Jagdflugzeugs entwickelt, das in der Lage war, reguläre B-17-Formationen auf der Rundreise von Großbritannien tief nach Deutschland zu eskortieren und zu schützen. Anhand vieler ehemals klassifizierter Dokumente aus seiner großen Mikrofilmsammlung präsentiert William Wolf deren bisher unveröffentlichte Geschichte. Es beschreibt erstmals ausführlich die Politik und Entwicklung und die damit verbundenen Probleme beider Begleitpersonentypen.

Leider wurden diese "Protektoren" in mehrfacher Hinsicht als mangelhaft befunden - nach dem Hinzufügen von Geschützen und Munition wurden sie übergewichtig und schwanzlastig, was zu Problemen mit dem Schwerpunkt führte, und jeder erlebte zahlreiche Verzögerungen bei der Entwicklung und Lieferung ihrer verschiedenen Waffenzusätze und -verbesserungen. insbesondere der Bendix-Kinnrevolver. Am Ende nahm die YB-40 Mitte 1943 nur an 14 glanzlosen Betriebstestmissionen teil, bevor sie aus dem Dienst genommen wurde. Der XB-41 Liberator wurde nie im Betrieb getestet, bevor er auch wegen seiner schlechten Leistung abgesagt wurde.

Das Scheitern des Kanonenschiff-Konzepts hinterließ eine riesige Lücke in den Fähigkeiten der achten Luftwaffe. Ihr Scheitern führte jedoch zur Einführung der P-51 Mustang mit Merlin-Antrieb, des herausragenden Begleitjägers, der der Schlüssel zum Sieg der Alliierten im Luftkrieg über Europa war.


Mục lục

Nguon GOC của chiếc Liberator xuất Phát từ một yêu cầu vào năm 1938 của Không Lực Lục Quân Hoa Kỳ dje Nghị HANG Consolidated Tham GIA SAn xuất dưới Giay PHEP nhượng Quyền chiếc B-17 trong một Chương Trinh "kE hoạch A" để mO Rong công nghiệp và sản xuất, tăng cường cho các yếu tố chủ yếu cho sức mạnh không quân. [5] Sau khi các viên chức cao cấp của công ty Konsolidiert, bao gồm cả Chủ tịch Reuben-Flotte, viếng thăm xưởng của hãng Boeing tại Seattle, đã có quyết địnhếtế hi a ra mđạt [6] Tháng 1 năm 1939, Không lực Lục quân Hoa Kỳ chính thức mời Konsolidierte Flugzeuge .

Hợp đồng chế tạo chiếc nguyên mẫu được trao vào tháng 3 năm 1939, với yêu cầu là chiếc nguyên mẫu phải hoàn thành trước cuối năm. Thiết kế n giản nhưng tiên tiến vào thời ó. So với B-17 Flying Fortress, chiếc được đề nghị tên Kiểu 32 ngắn hơn, diện tích cánh nhỏ hơn 25% nhưng có sải cánh dài hơn 1,8 m (6 ft) và tải trọng lớn hơn. Trong khi chiếc B-17 sử dụng động cơ 9-xy lanh Wright R-1820 Cyclone, Consolidated dùng kiểu động cơ 2-hàng, 14-xy lanh Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp bố trí hình tròn công l suất 1.000 1.000 mã (746 kW). Trọng lượng cất cánh tối đa in 32.000 kg (70.547 lb) là lớn nhất vào thời ó. Konsolidierte cũng tích hợp các tính năng sáng tạo: là máy bay ném bom Mỹ đầu tiên dùng hệ thống hạ cánh ba bánh, cánh dài và mỏng vớt visi thiết kếhi rộng cao cho phép có hiệu quả nhiên liệu tối đa. May bay cũng được thiết kế cánh đuôi kép khá đặc trưng. Do các yếu tố thiết kế tinh vi, việc thử nghiệm trong hầm gió và các chương trình thí nghiệm sử dụng một kiểu sẵn có của Konsolidiertes là Kiểu 31, một loại thủy phi cơ dân dụng hai động cơ, cung cấp các số liệu mở rộng về c tính bay của kiểu cánh Davis. [8]

Konsolidierte hoàn tất chiếc nguyên mẫu, được biết n dưới tên XB-24, và nó sẵn sàng để bay chuyến bay đầu tiên hai ngày trước khi kết thúc Konsolidiert aber u chuẩn bị dây chuyền sản xuất. [9] Các đơn hàng đặt sớm, ngay trước khi chiếc XB-24 cất cánh, bao gồm 36 chiếc cho Không lực Lục quân Hoa Kỳ, 120 chiếc cho Không quân Pháng quân Khôgia và 164 Khôgia 164 Hầu hết những chiếc B-24 được sản xuất đầu tiên được gửi đến Anh Quốc, kể cả những chiếc do phía Pháp đặt hàng vì họ đã tuhchiđặ thất trn gọ nmator 1940 quân Hoàng gia nhưng sau đó được Không lực Mỹ chấp nhận là tên chính thức của kiểu này. [10]

Thiết kế Sửa đổi

Chiếc B-24 có một thân rộng rãi và cao (tạo cho nó biệt danh "Fliegender Güterwagen", toa chở hàng bay) [11] được chế tạo quanh một khoang bom trung tâm chứa lb bođược . Khoang được chia thành ngăn trước sau và lại được ngăn ra bằng một lối i giữa, cũng là sing sườn của thân máy bay. Có lời than phiền chung về lối đi quá chật hẹp, và đôi khi cũng bị dèm pha là „Chiếc quan tài bay“ (Der fliegende Sarg) vì lối ra vào máy bay duyđộ nhất là singen máy trước mũi không tài nào đi qua c nếu họ mang dù. Một dạng nắp khoang chứa bom khác thường kiểu "con lăn" cho phép rút vào thân khi mở ra, tạo lực cản khí động học ở mức ducả mc ducả tốiđượp thiểu, trc mc ducả tiđượptu geb. [12]

Giống như chiếc B-17, chiếc B-24 trang bị một loạt các súng máy M2 Browning cỡ nòng.50 in ở phía đuôi, bụng, trên lưng, bên hông và trướcôngn thủ chông côngngá thủ chôtngn tiêm kích đối phương. Tuy nhiên không giống B-17, tháp súng xoay có thể thể c vào trong thân khi không sử dụng, trong khi tháp súng của B-17 gắn cố định bên ngoài

Sản xuất Sửa đổi

Việc sản xuất Liberator gia tăng ở một tốc độ ngạc nhiên trong những năm 1942 và 1943: Konsolidierte đã tăng gấp ba lần kích thước nhà máy của Die họgo vànhà mâ . Việc sản xuất cũng c tham gia bởi Douglas Tulsa, Oklahoma vả nordamerikanisch xây dựng một nhà máy tại Dallas, Texas. Đây không phải là những hoạt động nhỏ, nhưng tất cả chúng đều trở nên nhỏ nhoi so với nhà máy xây mới bởi Ford trên đất will gnhà thànhà Detroit v. nhất Hoa Kỳ (330.000 m² Heu 3.500.000 ft²), và là nhà máy lớn nhất ở khắp mọi nơi ngoại trừ Liên Xô. [13] Việc sản xuất hằng loạt bắt đầu vào tháng 8 năm 1943, và vào lúc cao điểm xưởng hoàn tất được 428 chiếc B-24 mỗi tháng. Nhiều phi công ngủ trên giường võng tạm trong khi chờ i chiếc B-24 "của họ" lăn bánh ra khỏi dây chuyền sản xuất. Mỗi nhà máy sản xuất B-24 được nhận diện bằng một mã sản xuất: Konsolidiert / San Diego (CO), Konsolidiert / Ft Worth (CF), Ford / Willow Run (FO), Nordamerika (NT) và Douglas, Tulsa (DT).

Vào tháng 4 năm 1942, phiên bản vận tải C-87 Liberator Express được đưa vào sản xuất tại Fort Worth. Nó có cửa để chất hàng zu, không có tháp súng, có sàn trong khoang chứa bom chứa hàng và các cửa sổ hông.

Kiểu u tiên được sản xuất hằng loạt, chiếc B-24D (Befreier III trong Không lực Hoàng gia) được đưa vào sử dụng đầu năm 1943 nó có động cơ và tăngữ l Thêm ba khẩu súng máy M2 Browning 12,7 mm (0,50 in) nâng tổng số vũ khí phòng vệ lên 10 khẩu súng máy. Với trọng lượng cánt cánh tối đa lên n 27.000 kg (59.524 lb), nó là chiếc máy bay nặng nhất thế giới, và chỉ có những chiếc máy bay nélicà nélibom à nQum bomaster v.

Năm 1943, phiên bản Befreier được nhiều người cho là phiên bản "sau cùng" được giới thiệu. Chiếc B-24H dài hơn 0,25 m (10 in), bổ gesungen một tháp pháo vận hành bằng điện trước mũi để giảm sự mong manh tu tấn công kiểu đối mặt, vả bộ c gắn lái tự ng và hệ thống chuyển đổi nhiên liệu. Nhà máy của Consolidated, Douglas và Ford cùng sản xuất kiểu này, stark khi phiên bản được chế tạo tại Dallas bởi Nordamerikaner được t tên B-24G. Cả năm nhà máy cùng chuyển đổi sang sang kiểu gần như tương tự B-24J vào tháng 8 năm 1943. Những phiên bản B-24L và B-24M sau phnh ónc hánnkhà das.

Việc bố trí ban đầu Sửa đổi

Việc bố trí những chiếc Befreier đầu tiên nhằm khai thác khả năng bay tầm xa khi những phi công vận chuyển Mỹ bay đến Anh Quốc và kay trở v (BOAC) trong những nhiệm vụ vận chuyển xuyên Đại Tây Dương không lâu sau cũng tham dự vào nhiều nhiệm vụ vận chuyển các loại. [10] Vai trò nổi bật không thay thế c trong đợt sản xuất đầu tiên của kiểu Befreier GR I trang bị Radar ASV Mark II hoạt động cho Bộ chỉ huy Duyên hải Không quân Hoàng gia Anh là tầm bay xa của nó „gần gấp đôi khả năng của các lực lực trinyhạ [1 tra chống tàu ngầm trong Trận chiến Đại Tây Dương. [2]

Cuối năm 1941, những chic Liberator II đầu tiên được đưa vào hoạt động. Kiểu máy bay này được trang bị thùng nhiên liệu tự hàn kín và các tháp singen vận hành bằng iện. Cùng lúc ó, Konsolidiertes kéo dài thân trước thêm 79 cm (2 ft 7 in) để zu thêm chỗ cho đội Bucht. Befreier II được chia sẻ giữa Bộ chỉ huy Duyên hải, Bộ chỉ huy Ném bom và BOAC. Hai phi đội Không quân Hoàng gia sau ó c bố trí sang Trung đông vào năm 1942 trong việc sử dụng lần đầu tiên chiếc Befreier như một máy bay ném bom. [fünfzehn]

Cùng lúc ó, Không lực Lục quân Hoa Kỳ cũng bắt đầu nhận được những chiếc B-24A đầu tiên. Giống như người Anh, họ sử dụng chúng trước tiên như là phương tiện vận tải. Các công việc tiếp tục phát triển bởi Konsolidiert tạo ra một số chiếc máy bay chuyển tiếp B-24C sử dụng động cơ có bộ turbo tăng áp thayngơp thayu cho băkng si dục dẹp đặc trưng cho các phiên bản Befreier sau này.

Hoa Kỳ tham gia chiến tranh Sửa đổi

Những chiếc B-24 Hoa Kỳ tham gia chiến đấu lần đầu tiên vào tháng 6 năm 1942 với trận ném bom gồm 13. Cuộc tấn công được mô tả bởi Lục quân là "không thành công" và nó báo động cho những người phòng vệ về những mối nguy mới, cho hđể thờ kh th g Một năm sau, khi 178 chiếc B-24 tấn công trở lại Ploesti trong Chiến dịch Flutwelle (Song thủy triều) ngày 1 tháng 8 năm 1943, 53 chiếc đã không quay trở về.

Các phi đội Befreier được bố trí trên tất cả các mặt trận: Bắc Phi, Châu Âu, Đại tây Dương, Đông Nam Á và Thái Bình Dương. Tại Thái Bình Dương, B-24 trở thành máy bay ném bom hạng nặng chủ yếu nhằm n giản việc tiếp liệu.

Khi chiến tranh tiếp diễn, sự phức tạp trong việc bảo trì những chiếc B-24 ngày càng lớn. Vì B-24 được sản xuất bởi nhiều hãng khác nhau, các cơ xưởng sửa chữa phải dự trữ một lượng lớn phụ tùng thuộc nhiều kiểuả khác chi. Mai thay, vào mùa Hè 1944, vấn trở nên nhẹ nhàng hơn khi ba nhà máy ngưng chế tạo B-24, chỉ còn lại nhà máy của Konsolidiert tại Runa San Diego và c

Tính n tháng 9 năm 1945, có tổng cộng 18.482 chiếc Befreier được chế tạo. Bổ sung vào con số 12.000 chiếc phục vụ cho Không lực Lục quân Hoa Kỳ, Không quân Hoàng gia Anh sử dụng khoảng 2.100 máy bay trong 46 liên đội và ngà ngà chiém 41 phi độmâ gia , Hải quân Hoa Kỳ có khoảng 1.000 chiếc PB4Y-1 (và khoảng 800 chiếc PB4Y-2 Privateer là kiểu phát triển từ chiếc Liberator), Không quân Hoàng gia Australien (RAAF) có 287 vJếcó B-24 chiế-có B-24 chiế-có -24M - (Befreier là kiểu máy bay ném bom hạng nặng duy nhất mà RAAF hoạt động tại Thái Bình Dương). Hai phi đội của Không quân Nam Phi bố trí tại mặt trận Địa Trung Hải được trang bị B-24.

Tuần tra duyên hải Sửa đổi

Chiếc Befreier đã đóng góp lớn vào Trận chiến Đại Tây Dương. Quyết định bố trí những chiếc Befreier B Mk I cho lực lượng Bộ chỉ huy Duyên hải Không quân Hoàng gia Anh lập tức đem lại kết quả. Những chiếc Liberator VLR (có tầm hoạt động rất xa) đã lấp được Khoảng trống Đại Tây Dương thiết yếu và là chiếc máy bay có tầm bay xa đủ làm việ. Phiên bản VLR hy sinh vỏ giáp và thường là các tháp súng để có trọng lượng nhẹ trong khi mang theo các thùng nhiên liệu trong khoang chứa bom. Radar và đèn Leigh cho phép chúng có khả năng săn tìm những chiếc tàu ngầm U-Boot cả ngày lẫn đêm. Chúng hoạt động từ cả hai bờ Đại Tây Dương với Không quân Hoàng gia Kanada từ bờ Tây và Không quân Hoàng gia Anh từ Anh Quốc và Island. Tuy nhiên, B-24 cũng còn mong manh khi tấn công, đặc biệt là sau khi nhiều chiếc U-Boot được trang bị pháo phòng không và sử dụng chiếnđểt thuật nặ Phi công Lloyd Allan Trigg thuộc Không quân Hoàng gia Neuseeland đã được truy tặng huân chương Chữ Thập Victoria sau một trận đấu tay đôi ngoài khơi Tây Phi. Chiếc Liberator của Trigg và toàn bộ đội bay bị mất, cùng với đối thủ của nó là chiếc tàu ngầm Đức U-468. Huân chương Chữ Thập Victoria của Trigg là một trong số ít những trường hợp được tặng thưởng tun đề nghị từ quân nhân đối phương, bảy thủy thủo đoến củ

Nhung Phien bản Liberator sau này có Kha Năng LIED SOT TOT HON ​​bên trên không Phan Châu Âu bị Chiem Đông Heu Chŏng lại các máy bay Tiem KICH của Phe TRUC, nhung Vì các trang bị Phòng Thủ làm cho kein CO Trọng Luong NANG hon, nó c.ng có t.m bay ng.n h.n. Đã không có việc cải tiến hay thay thế các máy bay tuần tra cho đến giai đoạn cuối của chiến khi mà mối đe dọa từ những chiếc qua i. Trong vòng 12 tháng, Phi đội 120 Bộ chỉ huy Duyên hải Không quân Hoàng gia Anh, với chỉ một tá chiếc Befreier đời đầu được cải tiến và chắp qua Khoảng trống Đại Tây Dương, ngay cả khi việc cung cấp B-24 cho các phi đội được tăng lên gấp đôi rồi gấp ba (không có chiếc Befreier nào phục vụ quân Hoàng gia Anh trong chiến tranh tại châu Âu, nhưng Phi đội 223 thuộc Liên đội Hỗ trợ Ném bom 100 được trang bị 20 chiếc Befreier mang các thiếtnga phựi Bước ngoặt đột ngột mang tính quyết định thuận lợi cho phe Đồng Minh của Trận chiến Đại Tây Dương vào tháng 5 năm 1943 là kết quả của nhiều . Tuy nhiên, không phải là ngẫu nhiên khi nó trùng hợp với việc giao hàng đã bị trì hoãn kéo dài thêm nhiều chiếc VLR Liberator dùn cho vitra.i duê Những chiếc Befreier được ghi nhận chiến công hoàn toàn hay một phần trong việc đánh đắm 72 chiếc U-Boot. Ngoài khả năng tuần tra với tầm bay rất xa, B-24 cũng có vai trò sống còn trong việc tuần tra với bán kính nhỏ hơn 1.609 km (1.000 dặm) tại mhà cá Dươ ngi Tây B và PB4Y-1 schwul tổn thất lớn cho tàu thuyền Nhật Bản. Có tổng cộng 977 chiếc PB4Y-1 thuộc Hải quân Mỹ được sử dụng trên Mặt trận Thái Bình Dương tại các phi đội VB và VPB.

Vai trò vận tải Sửa đổi

Những kiểu Befreier đời đầu c sử dụng như là máy bay vận tải hàng hóa không vũ trang. Nó thực hiện những chuyến bay giữa Anh Quốc và Ai Cập (với một vòng rộng kéo dài ra Đại Tây Dương vòng qua Tây Ban Nha) và cũng đượcđả trong việcụ r Thành công này đã dẫn n việc phát triển kiểu vận tải chuyên dùng, được biết đến dưới những tên như C-87 Liberator Express, RY-2, Cargo hoặc Liberator Hoa Kỳ chỉ chế tạo khoảng 300 máy bay vận tải (so với tổng số hơn 18.000 chiếc các phiên bản khác) nhưng chúng lại chính là xương sống cn các Chiếc C-87 không được ưa thích đối với những đội bay nào buộc phải bay chúung. Chiếc máy bay thường phải chịu đựng tình trạng mất nguồn cấp điện khi cất cánh và hạ cánh, độ tin cậy kém của động cơ, và phi công gặuở u cn kúng ca. Trong quyển tự truyện của mình, Schicksal ist der Jäger, tác giả Ernest K. Gann cho biết, khi đăng bay chở hàng tại Ấn Độ, ông suýt nữa đã phải rơi chiếc m

Không lực Lục quân Hoa Kỳ cũng chuyển đổi 218 chiếc B-24D và B-24E thành máy bay chở dầu C-109. Những máy bay này được sử dụng trên mọi chiến trường, nhưng chúng được sử dụng nhiều nhất trong Chiến dịch Hump. Chúng bay từ Ấn Độ, ngang qua Himalaya đến các căn cứ của máy bay B-29 đóng tại Trung Quốc. Với mọi thứ vỏ giáp và thiết bị quân sự được tháo bỏ cho nhẹ cân, chiếc C-109 có thể chở 11.000 L (2.905 gal) nhiên liệu nặng đến 10.000 kg (22.000 lb). Thêm vào đó, một số lớn máy bay B-24 không chuyển đổi bị buộc phải thực hiện các nhiệm vụ vận tải. Qantas Empire Airways sử dụng chiếc Liberator trên lộ trình Perth-Colombo, vào lúc đó là lộ trình không dừng chân dài nhất thế giới, cho đến khi nó được thay thế bởi những chiếc Avro Lancastrian.

Một chiếc Liberator II được tân trang thành máy bay vận tải hành khách VIP và được Winston Churchill sử dụng như là máy bay riêng của ông.


XB-41 Escort Bomber

In 1942, the US Army Air Force did not have fighters capable of accompanying heavy bombers to the full range of their action. As Americans bombed targets in the daytime, they experience heavy losses from enemy fighter aircraft. Therefore, the American generals came to the idea of the escort bombers. The escort aircraft did not carry bombs, but instead were equipped with additional defensive weapons and armor. They had to fly along the edge of the bmber formation and drive the enemy fighters away with a wall of fire.

The XB-41 and XB-40 projects were developed to test the escort bomber concept. Because there were no fighters capable of escorting bomber formations on deep strike missions early in World War II, the Air Corps authorized tests for heavily armed bombers to act as escorts and protect the bomb-carrying aircraft from enemy fighters. Both the XB-40 and XB-41 projects were failures for a variety of reasons -- they were unable to effectively defend other aircraft, the were too slow to keep up with formations returning from bombing missions, they were too heavy, and the basic flight characteristics were changed drastically by the added drag and center of gravity changes introduced with the additional turrets.

The Americans revived the idea of a "cruiser", which was actively developed in the USSR in the late 1920s and early 1930. The heavy-bomber brigades of the RKKA Air Force then included "cruiser squadrons", complete with R-6 aircraft (later Kr-6). They were to guard the TB-3 formations in the long-distance raids. Designed as "cruisers", these included thehuge four-engine TK-4, armed with guns, machine guns and rockets. The last Soviet "cruiser" was TsKB-54, it was also DB-3SS. This aircraft based on the DB-3 bomber was produced in only two copies.

In the early 1940s a similar machine was created in Japan by the designers of the Mitsubishi concern. It was even released in a small series. But the Americans first built a "cruiser" based on heavy bombers. Boeing and Consolidated worked in parallel on projects XB-40 (based on B-17F) and XB-41 (based on B-24D).

The only experimental XB-41 was converted from a serial production bomber in Fort Worth. January 29, 1943 it was sent to the Eglin Airfield in Florida. Armament was increased from 10 machine guns to 14. The XB-41 was modified from an early production model B-24D (S/N 41-11822) and included 14 .50-cal. machine guns mounted in pairs in a Bendix chin turret, two Martin type A-3 power turrets on the dorsal (top) fuselage, a belly turret, left and right waist positions, and a tail turret. The first dorsal turret was redesigned so that it could rise, increasing the sector of fire, or drawn into the fuselage, reducing the drag in the cruise position. In the onboard installations, now mechanized, were mounted twin machine guns. A Bendix remotely-controlled turret was added in a chin position underneath the nose, and the nose glazing was modified to give the operator of the Bendix turret a clear field of view. During the tests, the left installation was covered with a transparent blister, but it distorted the view, and the blister was removed. The aircraft carried a total of 12,420 cartridges, including 4,000 in spare boxes in the front bomb bay. The armored protection of the crew was significantly strengthened. The additional weight of armor, machine guns and ammunition lifted take-off weight up to 63,000 pounds, 6,000 pounds heavier than a standard B-24D.

Tests at Eglin were conducted in winter 1942 and spring 1943. On March 16, the Air Force command approved an alteration, but a week later, on March 21, an order was issued to close the work. On March 21, 1943, the Army declared the XB-41 as being operationally unsuitable, and plans for thirteen YB-41 Liberator conversions were cancelled.

Boeing had already managed to get a small series of YB-40 to the advanced airfields in England. And this revealed the main shortcoming of the "cruisers": while the bombers were flying with bombs, the "cruisers" could still keep up with them in one formation, but after dropping bombs by bombers, "cruisers", whose weight did not change, began to lag, becoming easy prey for enemy interceptors. The same was true of their Soviet and Japanese predecessors. The experimental XB-41 was renamed into TB-24D and used as a simulator for training mechanics.


Military paper model

"B-24" redirects here. For other meanings, see B24.
B-24 Liberator
U.S. Army Air Forces Consolidated B-24D Liberator over Maxwell Field, Alabama.
Role Heavy bomber
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
Designed by Isaac M. Laddon
First flight 29 December 1939
Introduced 1941
Retired 1945
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
Marine der Vereinigten Staaten
königliche Luftwaffe
Royal Canadian Air Force
Produced 1940-1945
Number built 18,482
Unit cost $297,627[1]
Variants PB4Y Privateer
XB-41
C-87 Liberator Express
Consolidated R2Y
Consolidated Liberator I

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, built by Consolidated Aircraft. It was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft of World War II and still holds the record as the most produced U.S. military aircraft. It was used by many Allied air forces and every U.S. branch of service during the war, attaining a distinguished war record with its operations in the northern European, Pacific and Mediterranean theaters.

Often compared to the better known B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 was a more modern design with a higher top speed and greater range yet it had a similar bomb load and defensive armament. Nevertheless, popular opinion among aircrews and general staff tended to favor the B-17's rugged qualities above all other considerations.[2] The B-24 was notorious among American air crews for its tendency to catch fire. The placement of the B-24's fuel tanks throughout the upper fuselage and its lightweight construction, designed both to increase range and optimize assembly line production, made the aircraft vulnerable to battle damage.[3] The B-24 was more difficult to fly as well, with heavy control forces and poor formation flying characteristics. The B-24 nevertheless provided excellent service in a variety of roles thanks to its large payload and long range.

The Liberator originated from a United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) request in 1938 for Consolidated to produce the B-17 under license. This was part of "Project A", a program to expand American industrial capacity for production of the key components of air power.[4] After company executives including President Reuben Fleet visited the Boeing factory in Seattle, Consolidated decided instead to submit a more modern design of its own.[5] In January 1939, the USAAC, under Specification C-212, formally invited Consolidated [6] to submit a design study for a bomber with greater range, higher speed, and greater ceiling than the B-17.

The contract for a prototype was awarded in March 1939, with the requirement that a prototype be ready before the end of the year. The design was simple in concept but advanced for its time. Compared to the B-17, the proposed Model 32 was shorter and had 25% less wing area, but a six foot (1.8 m) greater wingspan and a substantially greater carrying capacity. Whereas the B-17 used 9-cylinder Wright R-1820 Cyclone engines, the Consolidated design used twin-row, 14-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radials of 1,000 hp (746 kW). The 70,547 lb (32,000 kg) maximum takeoff weight was one of the highest of the period. Consolidated also incorporated innovative features: the new design would be the first American bomber to use tricycle landing gear and it had long, thin wings with the efficient "Davis" high aspect ratio design (also used on the projected Model 31 flying boat)[7] promising to provide maximum fuel efficiency. The aircraft also had a distinctive twin tail and rudder assembly.
YB-24.

Wind tunnel testing and experimental programs using an existing Consolidated Model 31, a twin-engined commercial flying boat, provided extensive data on the flight characteristics of the Davis airfoil.[8]

Consolidated finished the prototype, by then known as the XB-24, and had it ready for its first flight two days before the end of 1939. Seven more YB-24 development aircraft flew in 1940 and Consolidated began preparing production tooling.[9] Early orders—placed before the XB-24 had flown—included 36 for the USAAC, 120 for the French Armée de l'Air and 164 for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Most of the first production B-24s went to Britain, including all those originally ordered by the Armée de l'Air after France collapsed in 1940. The name, "Liberator" was initially assigned by the RAF and subsequently was adopted by the USAAC as the official name for the type.[10]

The B-24's spacious slab-sided fuselage (which earned the aircraft the nickname "Flying Boxcar")[11] was built around a central bomb bay that could accommodate up to 8,000 pounds of bombs. The bomb bay was divided into front and rear compartments and further divided by a central catwalk, which was also the fuselage keel beam. A universal complaint arose over the extremely narrow catwalk. The aircraft was sometimes disparaged as "The Flying Coffin" because the only entry and exit from the bomber was in the rear and it was almost impossible for the flight crew and nose gunner to get from the flight deck to the rear if they were wearing their parachutes. An unusual set of "roller-type" bomb bay doors retracted into the fuselage with a minimum of aerodynamic drag, keeping speed high over the target area.[12]

Like the B-17, the B-24 had an array of .50 caliber machine guns in the tail, belly, top, sides and nose to defend it from attacking enemy fighters. Unlike the B-17, the ball turret could be retracted into the fuselage when not in use.

Liberator GR Is in British service were the first B-24s to be used operationally. The very first use of a Liberator I in March 1941 was as a long-range transport: it was used to bring U.S. ferry pilots back from the United Kingdom.

The most important role for the first batch of the Liberator GR Is was in service with RAF Coastal Command on anti-submarine patrols in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Later in 1941, the first Liberator IIs entered RAF service. This model introduced self-sealing fuel tanks and powered gun turrets. At the same time, Consolidated added a 2 ft 7 in (79 cm) plug in the forward fuselage to create more space for crew members. The Liberator IIs were divided between Coastal Command, Bomber Command, and BOAC. Two RAF squadrons with Liberators were deployed to the Middle East in early 1942, in the first use of the Liberator as a bomber.[13]

B-24s bomb Ploieşti oil fields in August 1943

The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) took delivery of their first B-24As in 1941. Like the British, they used them as transports first. American B-24s entered combat in June 1942. On June 6, in the Pacific, four B-24s staging through Midway tried to attack Wake Island (they could not find the target).[14] On 12 June, thirteen B-24s flying from Egypt attacked the Axis-controlled oil fields and refineries around Ploieşti, Romania.

Over the next three years, B-24 squadrons deployed to all theaters of the war: Africa, Europe, India, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. In the Pacific, the B-24 was designated the standard heavy bomber to simplify logistics, replacing the shorter-range B-17.

[edit] Later development and production

Continued development work by Consolidated produced a handful of transitional B-24Cs with turbocharged instead of supercharged engines. The turbocharged engines led to the flattened oval nacelles that distinguished all subsequent Liberator models.

The first mass-produced model was the B-24D (or Liberator III in British service), in service in early 1943. It had turbocharged engines and increased fuel capacity. Three more 0.50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns brought the defensive armament up to ten machine guns. At 59,524 lb (27,000 kg) maximum takeoff weight, it was one of the heaviest aircraft in the world comparable with the British "heavies" the Stirling, Lancaster and Halifax.
B-24s under construction at Ford's Willow Run plant

B-24 production increased at an astonishing rate through 1942 and 1943. Consolidated tripled the size of its plant in San Diego and built a large new plant outside Fort Worth, Texas. More B-24s were built by Douglas in Tulsa, Oklahoma. North American built a plant in Dallas, Texas, which produced B-24Gs and B-24Js. None of these were minor operations, but they were dwarfed by the vast new greenfield factory built by Ford at Willow Run near Detroit, which opened in August 1942 and began mass production in August 1943. This was the largest factory in the United States, and the largest anywhere outside the USSR. It had the largest assembly line in the world (330,000 m² or 3,500,000 ft²) at the time of completion. At its peak Willow Run produced 428 B-24s per month. Many pilots slept on cots at Willow Run while waiting for 'their' B-24s to roll off the assembly line.[15]

Each of the B-24 factories was identified with a production code: Consolidated/San Diego, CO Consolidated/Fort Worth, CF Ford/Willow Run, FO North American, NT and Douglas/Tulsa, DT.

In 1943, the model of Liberator considered by many the "definitive" version was introduced. The B-24H was 10 inches (25 cm) longer, had a powered gun turret in the nose to reduce vulnerability to head-on attack and was fitted with an improved bomb sight, autopilot and fuel transfer system. Consolidated, Douglas and Ford all manufactured the B-24H, while North American made the slightly different B-24G. All five plants switched over to the almost identical B-24J in August 1943. The later B-24L and B-24M were lighter weight versions and differed mainly in defensive weaponry.
WASP pilots (left to right) Eloise Huffines Bailey, Millie Davidson Dalrymple, Elizabeth McKethan Magid, Clara Jo Marsh Stember. In the background, a B-24.

As the war continued, the complexity of servicing the B-24 grew greater and greater. The B-24s made by the different companies were slightly different, so repair depots had to stock many different parts to support various B-24 models. Fortunately, this problem was eased in the summer of 1944, when North American, Douglas, and Consolidated/Fort Worth stopped making B-24s, leaving only the Consolidated plant in San Diego and the Ford plant in Willow Run.

In all, 18,482 B-24s were built by September 1945. Twelve thousand saw service with the USAAF. The U.S. Navy operated about 1,000 PB4Y-1s and almost 800 PB4Y-2 Privateers, which were derived from the B-24. The Royal Air Force flew about 2,100 B-24s in 46 bomber groups and 41 squadrons, the Royal Canadian Air Force 1,200 B-24Js, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 287 B-24Js, B-24Ls and B-24Ms. (Liberators were the only heavy bomber used by the RAAF in the Pacific.) Two squadrons of the South African Air Force deployed in the Mediterranean flew B-24s.

The B-24 was one of the workhorse bombers of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in the Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany. Thousands of B-24s, flying from bases in England, dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs and incendiaries on German military, civilian and industrial targets.

B-24s of the Ninth Air Force, operating from Africa and Italy, and the Fifteenth Air Force, operating from Italy, also took a major role in strategic bombing. 13 of the Fifteenth AF's 18 bombardment groups flew B-24s.

The first B-24 lost over German territory occurred on 26 February 1943. By a cruel twist of fate there had been eleven men aboard the aircraft. For some time newspapers had been requesting permission for a reporter to go on one of the missions, and on this date Robert B. Post, and five other reporters of the The New York Times were granted permission. Mr Post was the only reporter assigned to a B-24 equipped group, the 44th Bomb Group, and flew in the B-24 41-23777 Maisey on Mission No. 37 to Bremen. Intercepted just short of the target the B-24 came under attack from JG 1s Messerschmitt Bf 109s. Leutnant Heinz Knoke (who finished the war with 31 kills) shot down the Liberator, only two of the 11 men survived. Neither was Post. Knoke reported:

The fire spread out along the right wing. The inboard propeller windmilled to a stop. And then, suddenly, the whole wing broke off. At an altitude of 900 metres there was a tremendous explosion. The bomber had disintegrated. The blazing wreckage landed just outside Bad Zwischenahn airfield[16]

A total of 178 B-24s carried out the famous second attack on Ploieşti, Operation Tidal Wave, on 1 August 1943.

RAF Bomber Command did not use B-24s as bombers over Europe. No. 223 Squadron RAF, one of Bomber Command’s 100 (Bomber Support) Group squadrons, used twenty Liberator VIs to carry electronic jamming equipment to counter German radar.

The B-24's long operating range made it suitable for other duties including maritime patrol, anti-submarine patrol, reconnaissance, tanker, cargo hauler, and personnel transport. Winston Churchill used a refurbished Liberator II as his personal transport aircraft.

[edit] Operation Carpetbagger

Between August 1943 until the end of the war in Europe, specially modified B-24Ds were used in classified missions. A joint venture between the Army Air Force and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) code named "Operation Carpetbagger", pilots and crews flew the specially modified B-24Ds painted with a glossy black anti-searchlight paint to supply friendly underground forces throughout German occupied Europe. They also flew C-47s, A-26 Invaders, and British De Havilland Mosquitos. They flew spies called "Joes" and commando groups prior to the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day and afterwards and retrieved over 5,000 officers and enlisted men who had escaped capture after being shot down. The low altitude, night-time operation was extremely dangerous and took its toll on these airmen. The first aircrews chosen for this operarion came from the anti-submarine bomb groups because of their special training in low altitude flying and pinpoint navigation skills. Also, because of their special skills, they were called upon to fly fuel to Patton when he outran his fuel supply. When this mission was completed, it was recorded that 822,791 gallons of 80 octane gasoline had been delivered to three different airfields in France and Belgium..[17]

[edit] Maritime Patrol
B-24 Very Long Range Liberators at the Consolidated-Vultee Plant, Fort Worth, Texas in the foreground with the dark green and white paint scheme. To the rear of this front line are C-87 "Liberator Express Transports" in various assembly stages.

The B-24 made a massive contribution to Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic against German U-boats. The decision to allocate some Liberator Is to Coastal Command in 1941 produced immediate results. The Very Long Range (VLR) Liberators "almost doubled the reach of Britain's maritime reconnaissance force". [18] This added range enabled Coastal Command patrols to cover the Mid-Atlantic gap, where U-boats had operated with near impunity. [19]

For twelve months, No. 120 Squadron RAF of Coastal Command, with its handful of much patched and modified early model Liberators, supplied the only air cover for convoys in the Atlantic Gap.

The Liberator was the only aircraft with the range for this. The VLR Liberators sacrificed some armor and often some gun turrets to save weight while adding extra fuel in bomb bay tanks. Liberator Is were equipped with ASV Mark II radar. Radar and the Leigh light gave them the ability to hunt U-boats by day and night.

They were operated from both sides of the Atlantic with the RCAF to the west and the RAF from the UK and Iceland. This role was dangerous, especially after many U-boats were armed with extra Flak guns and adopted a policy of staying on the surface to fight.

The sudden and decisive turning of the Battle of the Atlantic in the Allies' favor in May 1943 was the result of many factors. However, it was no accident that it coincided with the long delayed arrival of many more VLR Liberators for maritime patrol. Liberators were credited in full or part with 72 U-boat kills.

In addition to very long range patrols, the B-24 was vital for patrols of a radius less than 1,000 miles (1,600 km), in both the Atlantic and in the Pacific where B-24s and PB4Y-1s took a heavy toll of Japanese shipping. A total of 977 USN PB4Y-1s were used in the Pacific Theater in VB and VPB squadrons.

Early model Liberators were used as unarmed long-range cargo carriers. They flew between Britain and Egypt (with an extensive detour around Spain over the Atlantic) and were used in the evacuation of Java. Liberator IIs were converted for this role and used by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) for trans-Atlantic service and other assorted long-range transport duties. This variant was designated LB-30A by the USAAF.[10]

In early 1942, a B-24 Liberator damaged in an accident was converted into a cargo transport aircraft by elimination of the transparent nose and installation of a flat cargo floor. In April 1942, the C-87 Liberator Express transport version entered production at Fort Worth. The C-87 had a large cargo door, less powerful supercharged engines, no gun turrets, a floor in the bomb bay for freight and side windows. The navigator's position was relocated behind the pilot. Early versions were fitted with a single .50 Browning machine gun in the tail, and a few C-87s were also equipped with two .50 fixed machine guns in the nose, operable by the pilot, though these were also eventually eliminated. A more elaborate VIP transport, the C-87A, was also built in small numbers.

The C-87 was also designated the RY-2 or Liberator Cargo VII. The U.S. only made about 300 C-87s but they were nevertheless the backbone of the Army Air Force’s heavy transport operation. The C-87 flew in many theaters, including much hazardous duty in flights from Labrador to Greenland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. The aircraft proved extremely vulnerable to icing conditions, and was prone to fall into a spin with even small amounts of ice collected on the Davis wing.

In the China Burma India Theater (CBI), the C-87 was used to transport cargo and fuel over the Hump from India to China. The C-87 was not popular with either the military or the civilian transport crews assigned to fly them. The aircraft had a distressing habit of losing all cockpit electrical power on takeoff and landings, while engine power and reliability with the less-powerful superchargers often left much to be desired. The plane was designed as a bomber that dropped its loads while airborne. So the C-87's nose gear was not designed for landing with heavy loads, and frequently collapsed from the strain. Fuel leaks from the transport's hastily-modified fuel system were a common occurrence. In his autobiography, Fate is the Hunter, author Ernest K. Gann reported, while flying cargo in India, he barely avoided crashing a severely overloaded C-87 into the Taj Mahal. As Douglas C-54 transports became available, the C-87 was rapidly phased out of service.

The USAAF also converted 218 B-24Ds and B-24Es into C-109 tankers. These tankers were used in all theaters but they were most heavily employed transporting fuel in the CBI theater. C-109s flew from India to B-29 bases in China. With all armor and military equipment removed to save weight, a C-109 could carry almost 2,905 gal (11,000 L) of fuel, over 22,000 lb (10,000 kg). However, while a combat-loaded B-24 could safely take off with room to spare from a 6,000-foot (1,800 m) runway, a loaded C-109 required every foot of such a runway to break ground, and crashes were not uncommon. With its forward fuel tank filled to capacity, the C-109 tanker version proved to be longitudinally unstable while airborne as well.

The B-24 was also used heavily in the Pacific after the war to transport cargo and supplies during the rebuilding of Japan, China, and the Philippines.

In addition, a large number of unmodified B-24s were pressed into transport duties. Qantas Empire Airways used Liberators on the Perth-Colombo route, at the time the longest non-stop route in the world at 3,580 miles, until they were replaced by Avro Lancastrians.

[edit] Variants and conversions

[edit] U.S. Army Air Force Variants

XB-24 (Consolidated Model 32)
Designed in 1938 as an improvement on the 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 1939 March, and first flew on 29 December 1939. (Total: one)
YB-24/LB-30A Preproduction prototypes
Six examples were sent to Great Britain under lend-lease, under the designation LB-30A.
B-24
Service test version of the XB-24, ordered on 27 April 1939, less than 30 days after the XB-24 was ordered, before the XB-24 design was complete. A number of minor modifications were made: elimination of leading edge slots, addition of de-icing boots. (Total: seven only one used for actual testing)

B-24 ex-"Diamond Lil" from the Commemorative Air Force collection. Airframe returned to B-24A configuration and renamed "Ol 927".[20]

B-24A/LB-30B
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. Some sent to Great Britain under Lend Lease as LB-30B. (Total: 38,20 LB-30Bs, nine B-24Cs)
XB-24B
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 addition of the turbo-superchargers made the engine cowlings elliptical. The XB-24B version also lacked the engine slots of the original. (Total: one converted XB-24)
B-24C
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 an Emerson A-6 power 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 Liberator flight in formation.

B-24D
First model produced on a large scale ordered from 1940 to 1942, as a B-24C with better engines (R-1830-43 supercharged engines). During the production run, the tunnel gun in the belly was replaced by a remote-sited Bendix belly turret this was later replaced by a Sperry ball turret. In late B-24Ds, 'cheek' guns were added. (Total: 2696, 2381 Consolidated, San Diego 305 Consolidated, Fort Worth, ten Douglas, Tulsa, Oklahoma). One famous B-24D was the Lady Be Good which was a basis for the TV movie Sole Survivor (1970 film).
B-24E
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 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
A prototype made to test thermal de-icers, instead of the standard inflatable rubber "boots." (Total: one converted B-24D)
B-24G
Sperry ball turret, three .50 caliber- (12.7 mm) machine guns in nose. All B-24Gs were built by North American Aviation, which was contracted in 1942. (Total: 25)
B-24G-1
Modified Emerson A-6 tail turret in nose instead of two- three .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns in earlier models. The B-24G-1 was based on the design of the B-24H (Total: 405)
B-24H
Because of obvious vulnerability of the B-24 to head-on attack, the B-24H design made by Ford used a nose turret, generally a modified Emerson A-6 tail turret. The entire aircraft was redesigned to better fit the turret 50 airframe changes were made, including a redesigned bombardier compartment. The tail turret was given larger windows for better visibility, the top turret a higher bubble, and the waist gunner positions were offset, to reduce their interference during battle. (Total: 3100)

Consolidated B-24J-55-CO Liberator, Serial number 42-99949 belonged to 93rd BG, 328th BS lost 21 September 1944 over Belgium.

B-24J
The B-24J was very similar to the B-24H, although the defensive improvements made in the B-24H were not incorporated in the B-24J. 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-24Js. (Total: 6678)
XB-24K
An experimental aircraft, made by Ford by splicing a B-23 Dragon tail empennage onto a B-24D airframe. The aircraft was more stable and had better handling than other models, but changing the B-24 design was too expensive to do at the time. However, the XB-24K was the ancestor of the Navy's PB4Y-1. (Total: one converted B-24D)
B-24L
Because of the immense weight of the B-24J, the Army pushed for a lighter version. In the B-24L, the 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. In later aircraft, no tail armament was installed, and when it arrived at its airfield, either an A-6B, an M-6A, or a dual-mount manual .50-caliber (12.7 mm) gun was field-installed. (Total: 1667)
B-24M
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. For better visibility, the windshield was replaced by a "knife-edge" dual pane versions. 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 scrap heap. (Total: 2593)
XB-24N
A redesign of the B-24J, made to accommodate a single tail. It also featured improved nose and tail turrets. While 5168 B-24Ns were ordered, World War II ended and there was no longer any need for them. (Total: one)
YB-24N
Pre-production service test version of the XB-24N. (Total: seven)
XB-24P
A modified B-24D, made by Sperry Gyroscope Company to test airborne fire control systems. (Total: one converted B-24D)
XB-24Q
A General Electric conversion of the B-24L, using radar-controlled tail turrets. (Total: one converted B-24L).
XB-41
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 escorts for bombing missions. It was completed in 1942. Die Testergebnisse von 1943 waren sehr negativ und das Projekt wurde schnell abgebrochen. Die Leistung änderte sich drastisch durch das Hinzufügen weiterer Türme. Auch nach dem Abwurf der Bomben konnten die Eskorten nicht mit den Bomberformationen mithalten.
Die XB-41 hatte 14,50-Kaliber (12,7 mm) Maschinengewehre, zusätzlich zu einem Bendix-Kinnturm und einem dorsalen Martin-Power-Turm am mittleren Rumpf. (Gesamt: eine umgebaute B-24D)
AT-22 oder TB-24
C-87 für die Flugingenieurausbildung verwendet.

* RB-24L: Entwickelt für das Training von B-29-Schützen mit einem identischen Fernwaffensystem, das auf einer B-24L installiert ist.
* TB-24L: Wie RB-24L, jedoch mit zusätzlicher Radarausrüstung.

Experimentelle B-24J mit B-17-Nasenteil, mit Kinnrevolver, gepfropft auf Modifikation, die nicht für die Produktion übernommen wurde.

C-87 Befreier-Express
Personenbeförderung mit Unterkunft für 20 Passagiere.

* C-87A: VIP-Transporte mit R-1830-45 statt -43-Motoren und Schlafgelegenheiten für 16 Passagiere.
* C-87B: Projizierte bewaffnete Transportvariante mit Buggeschützen, dorsalem Turm und ventralem Tunnelgeschütz, die nie produziert wurden.
* C-87C: Bezeichnung der US Army Air Force/Air Force für die RY-3.

XC-109/C-109
Tanker mit spezieller Ausrüstung zur Verhinderung von Explosionen, die verwendet werden, um Treibstoff von Indien nach China zu transportieren, um die ersten B-29-Angriffe gegen Japan zu unterstützen.
XF-7
Aus der B-24D entwickelte fotografische Aufklärungsvariante.
F-7
Aus dem B-24H-FO-Block entwickelte fotografische Aufklärungsvariante.
F-7A
Fotografische Aufklärungsvariante entwickelt aus der B-24J drei Kameras in der Nase und drei im Bombenschacht.
F-7B
Fotografische Aufklärungsvariante entwickelt aus der B-24J sechs Kameras im Bombenschacht.

[Bearbeiten] Nomenklatur und Untervarianten der US-Marine

PB4Y-1
B-24D mit anderem Bugturm für die US Navy. Die Bezeichnung wurde später auf alle G-, J-, L- und M-Modelle angewendet, die die US-Marine erhielt.[21]

* PB4Y-1P: Aus der PB4Y-1 entwickelte fotografische Aufklärungsvariante.

PB4Y-2 Freibeuter
Siehe Hauptartikel
RY-1
Bezeichnung der US Navy für die C-87A.
RY-2
Bezeichnung der US Navy für die C-87.
RY-3
Transportvariante des PB4Y-2.

[Bearbeiten] Britische Nomenklatur und Untervarianten
Seltenes Farbfoto einer LB-30A (YB-24) im RAF-Dienst

Befreier B Mk I
B-24A (Gesamt: 20), Direktkaufflugzeuge für die RAF. Als ungeeignet für den Kampf angesehen, einige als GR.1 umgebaut und in britischen U-Boot-Patrouillenstaffeln verwendet.
Befreier B Mk II
Die erste kampfbereite B-24. Zu den Modifikationen gehörten eine drei Fuß lange Bugverlängerung sowie ein tieferer Achterrumpf und ein breiteres Höhenleitwerk. Eine kleine Serie von B Mk IIs wurde als unbewaffnete Transporter rekonstruiert, die bei der USAAF als LB-30 bezeichnet wurden. (Gesamtproduktion: 165)
Befreier B Mk III
B-24D-Variante mit einem einzelnen .303 Browning-Maschinengewehr in der Nase, zwei in jeder Strahlposition und vier in einem Boulton-Paul-Heckturm - ähnlich wie bei zeitgenössischen britischen schweren Bombern wie der Lancaster - sowie anderer britischer Ausrüstung. Der Martin-Rückenturm wurde beibehalten. (Gesamt: 156)

* Liberator B Mk IIIA: Lend-Lease B-24Ds mit amerikanischer Ausrüstung und Waffen.

Befreier B Mk IV
Reserviert für die B-24E, aber es gibt keine Aufzeichnungen darüber, dass die RAF tatsächlich welche erhalten hat.
Befreier B Mk V
B-24D modifiziert für zusätzliche Treibstoffkapazität auf Kosten oder Panzerung, mit der gleichen Bewaffnung wie der Liberator Mk III.
Befreier B Mk VI
B-24Hs im RAF-Dienst mit Boulton Paul Hecktürmen ausgestattet, aber den Rest ihrer Bewaffnung behalten.
Befreier B Mk VIII
RAF-Bezeichnung für B-24Js.
Befreier GR Mk V
B-24D modifiziert vom RAF Coastal Command für die U-Boot-Abwehrrolle mit Suchradar und Leigh Light. Einige waren mit acht Nulllängen-Raketenwerfern ausgestattet, vier an jedem Flügel.
Befreier GR Mk VI
Typ B-24G/H/J, der vom RAF Coastal Command als Langstrecken-Aufklärungsflugzeug eingesetzt wurde.
Befreier GR Mk VIII
B-24J, modifiziert vom RAF Coastal Command für die Anti-U-Boot-Rolle.
Befreier C Mk VI
Liberator B Mk VIII umgebaut für den Einsatz als Transportmittel.
Befreier C Mk VII
Britische Bezeichnung für C-87.
Befreier C Mk VIII
Liberator G Mk VIII umgebaut für den Einsatz als Transportmittel.
Befreier C Mk IX
RAF-Bezeichnung für den RY-3/C-87C


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