B-24 Liberator

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CONSOLIDATED B-24D-13-CO	In December 1942, a hand-operated gun was added behind each side of the nose enclosure, with another at the bottom. The B-24D-25-CO now had ten .50-caliber guns with 4,800 rounds and 901 pounds of armor and bullet-proof glass to protect crewmen. Bomb capacity was up to eight 1,130-pound bombs, but the B-24D-25-CO, B-24D-10-CF, and later models could accommodate eight 1,600-pound bombs. Under wing racks for two 4,000-pound bombs were tested, but proved unsuitable.

The B-24D-25-COís weight had reached 34,985 pounds empty and 56,000 pounds gross before the end of 1942, and top speed was given as 303 mph. In 1943, the R-1830-65, with a new carburetor, was installed, beginning with the B-24D-135-CO, but the -43 engine continued to be used in some later aircraft for production reasons. Beginning with a B-24D-140-CO, the last 293 B-24Ds had a Sperry ball turret like that of the B-17, but made retractable by Briggs to clear the ground. Deliveries were completed July 22, 1943, with the B-24D-170 version, weighing 35,345 pounds empty.

Consolidated built 2,415 B-24D-CO bombers at San Diego, and shipped eight KD sets to Fort Worth, which completed them from April 30 to July 10, 1942, followed by kits for the first 44 C-87 transports, whose delivery began September 14, 1942. Fort Worth added 295 B-24D-1-CF to D-20-CF models from December 17, 1942, to September 10, 1943. Ten more B-24D KD sets were sent to Tulsa in 1942, to give Douglas Liberator experience while waiting for B-24E sets from Ford. CONSOLIDATED B-24D-25-CO

Fordís B-24E was produced to the same specification as the B-24D, but reflected the auto builderís own practices. Willow Run did fly a B-24E assembled from San Diego parts on May 19, 1942, but acceptances on the remaining 490 B-24E-1-FO to B-24E-25-FO Liberators began on September 30, about four months late. B-24E KD kits were shipped to Tulsa and Fort Worth for completion in 1943. North Americanís first 25 B-24G-NTs (March/ October 1943) were like late B-24Ds, but for the A-5 autopilot and Sperry S-1 bombsight used by the B-24E.

Table 6

Table 6 indicates how many Liberators of each model were completed from 1942 to 1945 by each of the five Liberator builders. So many changes in equipment were requested by the various Air Forces that new aircraft accepted at the factory were then flown to modification centers and depots for final preparations. Unmodified B-24Ds and nearly all B-24E aircraft were used for replacement training in the U.S., the crews getting the most recent models when they went overseas. Certain aircraft were retained for development, such as a B-24D that became the XB-24F when modified to test treated-surface anti-icing equipment in May 1942.

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