Consolidated B-24L Liberator

The Consolidated B-24L Liberator was an attempt to improve the performance of the aircraft by reducing its weight. Over recent versions the aircraft had gained ever more equipment, increasing weight and reducing performance. In an attempt to recover some of this lost performance commanders of units in the Pacific had been removing the Sperry ball turret, saving the weight of the turret and its bulky control mechanisms. The same modification was soon made in Europe, where the increasing number of escort fighters reduced the perceived need for the extra turrets.

This modification became a standard feature on the B-24L. Another 200 pounds of weight was saved by replacing the Consolidated A-6B turret of the B-24J with a lighter M-6 “Stinger” tail turret. Combined with other changes, the B-24L was 1,000 pounds lighter than the previous model.

By the summer of 1944 the USAAF had decided that the two factories at San Diego and Willow Run would be able to supply all American requirements for the B-24. By August both plans had switched production to the B-24L, leaving the Consolidated plant at Fort Worth to continue building the B-24J to satisfy British orders. By this point it had been decided to leave the tail turret off completely, allowing the Army Modification Centres to add whatever equipment was required in each theatre. The B-24L thus carried a mix of the M-6A “stinger” turret, the standard A-6B turret and a mounting for two hand held .50 calibre machine guns in an open tail position. A total of 1,667 B-24Ls were built before production moved onto the final version, the B-24M.

 Consolidated B-24 Liberator (Crowood Aviation), Martin W. Bowman. A well balanced book that begins with a look at the development history of the B-24, before spending nine out of its ten chapters looking at the combat career of the aircraft in the USAAF, the US Navy and the RAF.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 February 2008), Consolidated B-24L Liberator ,

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