Consolidated 32 / B-24 Liberator / PB4 Privateer
The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) issued a new specification in 1935. This specification required the development of a new multi-engined, long-range heavy bomber capable of exceeding a top speed of 300 miles per hour, besting a range of 3,000 miles, maintaining a service ceiling of at least 35,000 feet and taking on an internal bombload minimum of 8,000lbs. Production of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was well underway and, in 1938, Consolidated was requested to help in its production. As part of the production initiative, Consolidated executives were brought to Boeing's plant in Seattle, Washington to visit the factory. It was this meeting that prompted Consolidated to submit their own heavy bomber design with a more modern flair. The USAAC granted Consolidated a design study in January of 1939 under C-212 with the intent that this new aircraft exceed the performance specifications (speed, range and ceiling) of the B-17 and be ready in time for production before the end of the war.
Consolidated wasted no time in developing their design - the Model 32 - and brought about a few revolutionary changes in the approach of American bomber designs. Model 32 sported a tricycle undercarriage - the first American bomber to do so. The monoplane wings were also held in a high shoulder-mounted position, themselves made wide and holding two engines to each wing leading edge in underslung nacelles. The high wings were of less surface area but promoted a higher fuel efficiency standard than the low-mounted assemblies on a B-17. Of note here was Consolidated's Model 31 (XP4Y Corregidor) foray which utilized the same "Davis" high aspect wing (or "Davis Wing"). This aircraft was of a twin-engine sort and designed as a flying boat. Ultimately, the design fell by the wayside when an order for 200 examples was cancelled by the United States Navy due to program delays and a lack of available Wright engines.
The Davis Wing emerged from the mind of David R. Davis, an aeronautical engineer working on a new wing planform, a planform utilizing a short chord and high aspect ratio along with thickness suitable to fit engines and fuel while maintaining efficiency. His meeting in the summer of 1937 with Consolidated President Reuben H. Fleet allowed the wing design to flourish as one of the most utilized wing planforms of World War 2. The new wing was intended for use on the company's new flying boat design - the Model 31. Despite the Model 31's cancellation (only one example emerged from development), the wing was seen as a good step forward in the design of the upcoming B-24 Liberator and became a major Consolidated design mainstay thereafter.
Other features of the Model 32 included the selection of 14-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial piston engines, deep bomb bay fuselage and a twin vertical fin tail assembly. Every Liberator had four Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder.radial engines. The development process culminated in an offered contract on March 30th, 1939, for a flyable prototype under the designation of XB-24.
The natural finish prototype, Serial 39-680 which had red-white-blue rudder stripes, flew on December 29, 1939, from Lindberg Field in California with 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-33 radial piston engines of 1,000 horsepower each. The prototype was subsequently modified to become the XB-24B, with self-sealing fuel tanks, armour and turbo-superchargers. The latter were placed beneath the nacelles.
Later B-24s had the R-1830-41, -43 or (from 1942) -65, all rated at 1,200 hp and with power at high altitudes maintained by a turbosuper-charger under the nacelle. Almost all aircraft had 11-ft 7-in Hamilton Standard three-blade propellers, without spinners. A basic feature of the air-craft was large fuel capacity, giving it exceptional range. From the first there were 12 flexible cells between the ribs of the wing centre section, and from 1942 three auxiliary tanks were added in each outer wing. The aircraft failed to reach the projected top speed of the original design intentions but, overall, the first flight was a success. To help iron out the prototype design, a further six YB-24/LB-30A evaluation/pre-production models were ordered, built and delivered. These were followed by the B-24, seven examples of which only one was used for service testing. The B-24 featured de-icing boots and deleted the leading edge slots of previous forms.
Liberators were crewed (depending on the model) by 7 to 10 personnel. The pilot and co-pilot were situated in the high-mounted stepped flight deck with views forward, to the sides and above. The nose gunner, bomber and navigator were housed under a glazed nose well forward in the design. The nose gunner had access to the powered nose turret if the model of Liberator called for one, fitting 2 x 12.7mm machine guns.. Bombardiers and pilots shared a common role for the bombardier would be called on to take flight control of the bomber when engaging in the bombing run via auto-pilot. The navigator could utilise the forward-mounted Plexiglas dome to get his bearings as well as relying on physical landmarks below. If "cheek" machine guns were fitted on a Liberator model, the navigator could man one. The dorsal turret gunner also doubled as the flight engineer and probably maintained the best defensive vantage point, offering an exceptional firing arc when compared to all other available gunner positions. The turret mounted 2 x 12.7mm machine guns. The radioman was situated within the upper portion of the Liberator's fuselage, positioned just behind the cockpit. Radiomen were required to keep logs of all pertinent actions and could be called upon to man one of the waist guns if needed. The forward flight crew was removed from the rear flight crew, with access between the two sections of the bomber made via a thin scaffold running the length of the two bomb compartments. Entry and exit to the aircraft was through a door positioned towards the rear which made for harrowing emergency exits. Forward crewmen were expected to exit the aircraft by walking across the bomb bay scaffold and make their way to the rear all the while fitted with their parachutes and bulky warming flight suits. The smallest bomber personnel were generally enlisted for operation of the ball turret fitting 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns. These fellows wore no parachutes (the small size of the ball turret necessitated this) and made their way inside their turrets after the aircraft was in flight. The ball turret - unlike that on the B-17 - could be retracted into the Liberator's fuselage during take-off and landing. The ball turret was perhaps the coldest position on a given B-24 with many a crewmember reporting frostbite through those frigid high-altitude sorties.
Waist gunners had single 12.7mm machine guns. These two positions - left and right - were later staggered to compensate for each gunners firing arc. Unlike other turreted positions in the B-24, spent shell casings at these waist positions were not jettisoned from the aircraft automatically, forcing crewmembers to clear their areas themselves. Since firing from these side-perspective positions required a great deal of hand-to-eye coordination via tracer rounds while taking into account target speed and the Liberator's airspeed itself, waist gunners relied on simple targeting sights in the early years. Only later did they receive assistance in the form of compensating sights to help improve accuracy. The tail gunner was given a powered 2 x 12.7mm machine gun turret.
The Army Air Corps ordered seven YB-24s for trials and a further three dozen B-24As for service evaluation. The French ordered 120 B-24As, and even more were purchased by Britain, whose orders embraced a score of Liberators similar to the YB-24.
Production began at Consolidated's San Diego plant of which the first six were earmarked for the French Air Force as LB-30A models. With the fall of France in 1940, these aircraft made it to British Royal Air Force hands via Lend-Lease. The French Armée de l’Air had ordered 175 Consolidated 32B7. The RAF found their early production forms to be unsuitable for the rigors of combat for they were not even fitted with self-sealing fuel tanks and relegated them to ferry type duties. The USAAC called for 36 of the aircraft while the British ordered 164 for the RAF. Upon reception of the aircraft, the British bestowed the name of "Liberator", the United States military accepted the British name of Liberator as part of the official designation from then on.
The first of a batch of six Model 32 LB-30s (this latter being the special designation applied to the first British aircraft) first flew on January 17, 1941. These aircraft, AM258-263, were used on the Return Ferry Service between Scotland and Canada from March 1941, and were also operated by BOAC. Since they had been envisaged as bombers they wore the brown-greenblack finish of British machines and had grey serials on their fuselages.
Twenty-six Liberator Is, AM910-929, began to arrive in Britain in the middle of 1941. Five Liberator Is going to BOAC. Some of these were subsequently fitted with a ventral cannon tray in addition to two tail guns and one in each beam position. In such state, and with a full array of ASV aerials on the fuselage top, wings and nose, these aircraft were delivered to No 120 Squadron at Nutt's Corner to supplement, and later to replace, its Wellingtons. The white Liberators, with their grey and green upper surface camouflage wearing what appeared as a faded or washed-out tone, had grey codes and serials. They were very long-range aircraft able to patrol far out into the Atlantic, and began operations in September 1941. On October 22, AM926: OH-F (OH being aft of the roundel on the starboard side, forward on the port) flown by F1t Lt T. Bulloch, DFC, attacked a U-boat; a year later, AM929: OH-H, flown by Bulloch, sank U-653. By this time many other Liberators were in service.
June 1941 saw the initial Liberator deliveries to the USAAC who received nine LB-30s similar to the RAF's Mk Is, and these were used mainly as transports which undertook some very long flights. Some of these B-24As wore the same colouring as the LB-30s, and one was lost in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.
Britain also ordered 165 LB-30s on its own account, and these were built to RAF requirements as Liberator IIs, though only 139 reached Britain (AL503-641), 25 going to the US Army. The Mk II had Boul-ton Paul four-gun dorsal and tail turrets (These were in addition to a .303 in gun in the nose and two others in the beam positions), a lengthened nose of 2 feet 7 inches, Cur-tiss propellers, armour, self-sealing tanks and many other changes. Deliveries began to reach the RAF from March 1942. The second aircraft, AL504, was later rebuilt as Win-ston Churchill’s personal VIP transport, with many features of the later C. IX, including a longer fuselage and tall single fin. To a generally similar standard 38 B-24As were ordered, but only nine were delivered and most were used without armament on the Atlantic ferry service.
In the main these Liberators, which had the green-black-brown finish, were used by Nos 159, 160, 178 and 511 Squadrons. No 160 formed at Thurleigh near Bedford on January 16, 1942. Operational employment for part of the squadron was first found as a unit of Coastal Command from May 8, 1942, at Nutt's Corner.
Meanwhile the main part of the squadron moved East, and eventually settled at Aqir. Following bomber operations, the unit reformed at Ceylon where it was destined to receive Mk IIIAs and later, the Mk V. No 159 Sqn also formed in England and followed a similar career. It participated in mine-laying, overseas patrols, supply drops and even reconnaissance sorties.
No 178 Sqn spent much time in the Middle East where it formed up at St Jean in Palestine, and later took part in operations in the Western Desert, over. Italy and deep into Eastern Europe. Some of the Mk IIs were used by 511 Sqn as transports, whose forerunner, 1425 F1t, had operated Mk Is. Other IIs entered service with Coastal Command.
Meanwhile American developments of the B-24 were materialising. On the XB-24B the engine cowlings appeared oval in shape, since the oil coolers were now placed on the cowling sides. With R-1830-41 engines of 1,200 horsepower, to absorb the greater power at high altitudes paddle-blade Hamilton Standard propellers were fitted. The XB-24 prototype served as the conversion model, which now gained a top speed increase equal to 37 miles per hour. The XB-24B went on to become the first definitive operational Liberator forms in service with Britain and the United States.
This was a feature of the B-24C, which had a dorsal turret immediately aft of the cockpit, and a Consolidated rear turret to increase the defensive power of the beam guns. Nine of this version were built. It was its successor, the B-24D, which was first to join the American bomber groups. Twenty of the B-24As originally ordered were completed as B-24Ds, but when the total production was completed 2,425 B-24D-CO, 303 B-2413-CF and ten more by Douglas Aircraft had been built. On this, the second most numerous B-24 variant, a very large number of modifications were incorporated, including armament changes and modifications to armour, gun positions and fuel loads.
Nine B-24A models became B-24C models with this engine. B-24C models were essentially A-models but fitted with R-1830-41 series turbo-supercharged engines for increased performance. These engines also featured revised cowlings to differentiate the type further from her origins. Additionally, improvements of the this aircraft fell into the category of defense for a Martin powered turret (2 x 12.7mm machine guns) was installed to the forward portion of the fuselage and an Emerson A-6 powered turret completed the armament in the rear tail gun position.
The B-24D became the first quantitative production run of the Liberator series. These were somewhat similar in nature to the B-24C models before them but fitted improved R-1830-43 supercharged radial piston engines. Improvements to defense were made yet again, with the ventral machine gun position replaced by a remote Bendix-brand belly turret during production. This was still further improved upon with the addition of the Sperry ball turret with 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns and a wider firing arc. Late production D-models were given 12.7mm heavy machine guns in their "cheek" positions to protect the forward left and right side angles of the aircraft. 2,381 B-24Ds were made at San Diego, 305 built at Fort Worth and 10 from Douglas at Tulsa.
It was some of the early B-24Ds that the Americans sent to Britain in 1942, when between August and October No 93 Bomb Group settled at Alconbury and on October 9, despatched 24 Liberators (14 of which aborted) with the B-17s that bombed the Fives-Lille factory in Northern France.
During December 1942 the 93rd BG sent a large detachment to North Africa for operations there until March 1943, leaving the 44th BG which had moved to Shipdham, Norfolk, between August and October and commenced operations in November, to continue attacks on the Continent.
The B-24Ds of these units were nearly all despatched to the Middle East late in July 1943 to participate in more attacks in the Mediterranean area, during the invasion of Sicily and in the disastrous Ploesti low-level raid. The survivors returned to Britain late in August, but small detachments continued to operate in the Middle East. For this reason the Liberator element of the VIIIth Air Force remained small until the winter of 1943-44. By this time later versions of the B-24 were in service.
In the course of production the ventral tunnel gun was replaced by a twin 0.5-in Sperry ball turret, standard on most subsequent bomber versions. The RAF equipped 37 squad-rons with the Liberator III (British purchase B-24D) and IIIA (Lend-Lease), these retain-ing the four 0.303 tail turret, while 977 B-24Ds went to the US Navy as PB4Y-1 long-range ASW aircraft.
The British version of the B-24D was the Liberator III, which was also used by the RAF in two other forms, the Mk IIIA with US equipment and armament, and the Mk V with extensive AW radar fitted in a chin radome and another which replaced the ball turret of the bomber. The standard III had 4 x .303 in guns in her tail turret, a two-gun dorsal turret, one gun in the nose and provision for two beam guns.
Three camouflage schemes were worn by these aircraft. The Coastal Command Liberator III/IIIA/V aircraft had white sides and under-surfaces, with grey and green upper surfaces as applied to the Mk Is. Usually the code letters were grey, but some aircraft had black or red coding. Overseas the maritime reconnaissance Liberators also wore these colours. Such Mk IIIs as were used overseas as bombers retained the olive drab/dark grey finish common to Lend-Lease bombers, and when repainting was undertaken the similar British colourings were applied. A few Liberator IIIs had a green-brown-black finish, and were to be seen in use as transports operating from Britain on the India run after the war.
Some of the IIIs had a Leigh Light fitted.
Apart from their chin radomes, the Mk Vs were similar to the IIIs, which usually had their ball turrets replaced, too, by a radome.
For much of the war Coastal Command relied upon the Mk V, and only during the final year of hostilities did the nose-turreted versions enter service. The Mk III was first used by 120 Sqn during the Summer of 1942, when this was still the only home-based Liberator squadron utilising to the full the long range of the Liberator. By the end of 1943 three Coastal squadrons had IIIs, Nos 120, 86 at Thorney Island and 224 at Beaulieu. During the first half of the year the VLR Mk Vs came into service with Nos 59 and 86 Sqns at Aldergrove, with 53 at Thorney Island, 224 at St Eval, and at Beaulieu where 311 was based. The turn of the year found 120 Sqn mainly using Vs, yet holding on to a handful of the old Mk Is. By mid 1944, when the early Liberator strength was at its peak, Nos 59, 53, 120, 224, 200, 311, 354 and 547 had Mk Vs while Nos 86 and 160 were among those still using IIIs.
In the Autumn of 1943 the US VIIIth Air Force rapidly built up its 2nd Air Division, which was entirely equipped with Liberators and based in East Anglia.
Standard US insignia was now to be seen on the B-24s, the period when the Americans had been flying Liberators with grey stars (except for flight leaders) seemingly over. By the turn of the year, such B-24Ds as were still in use had, in a few instances, shed their camouflage; but those which lived longer in many cases were awarded the most bizarre markings ever carried by operational military aircraft. The intention for the strange colourful was to serve as rallying points for the bombers, as they formed up over Eastern England into their battle formations.
Ford Motor Company produced the B-24E model series, these being fitted with R-1830-65 series radial piston engines. Despite the removal of the ventral machine gun in the improved D-models, these E-models retained them over the Bendix/Sperry ball turrets. Due to the limitations in armament, these Liberators primarily served the United States Army Air Force as pilot, bombardier, gunnery and crew trainers.
The B-24E had Curtiss propellers, most having the new R-1830-65 engine. This was the first version made at the Ford plant at Willow Run (490), 144 being added by Fort Worth and 167 by Douglas Tulsa.
The XB-24F was a single prototype modified from a B-24D model and used for de-icing testing.
B-24G models were North American Aviation-produced Liberator B-24D version of which 25 examples were built. These Liberators featured the Sperry ball turret and up to 3 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns in the powered nose turret and armour against head-on attacks. The B-24G-1 was a modified G-model form sporting a new Emerson A-6 tail turret. 405 examples of this model were ultimately produced.
Thousands of B-24Ds were likewise com-pleted with a nose turret, of the same flat-fronted Emerson type as on the G, with a bombardier station in the chin position. These were called B-24H, Fort Worth making 738, Tulsa 582 and Willow Run 1,780. Most of the Tulsa and Willow Run machines had the sloping-front Consolidated hydraulic nose turret, and either this or the Motor Products A-6B was fitted to the B-24J, which also brought in the C-1 autopilot and M-9 bombsight.
The B-24J was produced in 6,678 examples and were based on the B-24H models sans the defensive armament revisions. Nevertheless, these J-models were given a much-improved autopilot and bombsight system.
The XB-24K was a proposed Liberator derivative by Ford. The idea revolved around fitting the empennage of a Douglas B-23 Dragon twin-engine bomber to the existing airframe of the Liberator. A single prototype was produced as such by converting a B-24D. Though the new aircraft flew with promise - providing for improved handling - such a project during the thick of wartime was deemed much too expensive to undertake and thusly was dropped from serious production consideration. Ford would have handled production of this new B-24N but the order was cancelled on May 31st, 1945. The XB-24K did, however, set the stage for the PB4Y-1 navalized production version of the United States Navy's Liberator fleet and ultimately led up to the definitive fully-navalized PB4Y-2 "Privateer" model.
The B-24L appeared as a result of the USAAF wanting the weight of the B-24J models reduced. Revisions to this model included the removal of the ventral ball turret and the replacement of the A-6B tail turret with a lightweight M-6A turret or no tail armament at all. The ventral gun turret was replaced by a ring-mounted system sporting 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns. 1,667 examples of this model were produced.
The B-24M was another attempt to lighten the B-24.This included the use of a lighter A-6B tail turret and uncovered waist gunner positions. The 2,593 M-models represented the last Liberator production models to see the light of day, with a good number never even being delivered to frontline units and instead scrapped.
The Liberator was evolved into a variety of developmental forms. These included the XB-24N with its single vertical tail fin (would have been produced as the B-24N) and the seven pre-production forms of the N-model in the YB-24N. The XB-24P was a single converted B-24D model used by the Sperry Gyroscope Company to evaluate various in-flight armaments and related systems. The XB-24Q was another single prototype examples, this time produced by General Electric, to showcase radar-controlled turrets. The XC-109/C-109 became a fuel ferry transport in support of Boeing B-24 Superfortress missions over Japan. These Liberators were fitted with special modifications to assist in prevention of onboard explosions of fuel during transport.
The XB-41 was a concept to provide flights of B-24 bombers with similar Liberators armed to the teeth as floating gunship escorts. Though promising on paper, in actual practice the system proved unusable with substantial drops in performance. A single prototype was completed for evaluation and sported no less than 14 x 12.7mm Browning M2 machine guns. Instead of a bombload, the bomb bay was fitted with up to 11,000 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition. Power was derived from 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 Twin Wasp radial piston engines of 1,250 horsepower. When evaluated in-flight as escorts alongside the base Liberator bomber, this particular Liberator was unable to keep pace while the aircraft also propagated stability issues and, as such, the proposition for such a machine was ultimately axed in 1943.
The Liberator airframe was utilized for training of various flight crew. These were known by the designations of AT-22 (TB-24), RB-24L, TB-24L and C-87. The RB-24L deserves note here for they were utilized to train Boeing B-29 gunnery crews on remote gun systems as found on the B-24L. The TB-24L was similar to the RB-24L with an increase to radar equipment carried aboard. Base C-87s were used for the training of future Liberator engineers.
The C-87 "Liberator Express" was a 20-passenger transport and appeared in A- (16-passenger VIP transports with R-1830-45 radial engines and sleeping berths), B- (proposed armed passenger transport), and C-models (RY-3 of the USAAF).
Photographic reconnaissance versions of the Liberator were in no short supply. The XF-7 represented the prototype based on the B-24D model. The F-7 was the initial reconnaissance platform developed from the B-24H. The B-24J was the basis of the F-7A while the F-7B was of a similar mold, though sporting up to six cameras in the bomb bay as opposed to the previous type's three.
The BQ-8 were converted B-24D and B-24J models at the end of their useful operational lives, outfitted to serve as radio-controlled flying bombs.
The PB4Y-2 "Privateer" was a truer "navalized" and dedicated form of the Liberator and based on Ford's B-24K idea which fitted the tail section of a Douglas B-32 Dragon and its single vertical tail fin for improved stability. The USN made good on 739 examples of this type of which served on even into the Korean War, ultimately retired in 1954.
The US Navy operated the PB4Y-1, which was basically a stock USAAF B-24D with appropriate naval gear added. PB4Y-1 also served to cover all future G-, J-, L- and M-models of the Liberator in USN service. The PB4Y-P became a photographic reconnaissance variant based on the PB4Y-1. However, the USN wanted their own low-altitude heavy patrol bomber and contracted with Consolidated in San Diego to produce such a craft. Initially known as the Sea Liberator, the new aircraft was a considerable departure from the B-24. While incorporating the same outer wing and landing gear as the B-24, the PB4Y-2 (Consolidated Model 100) featured a fuselage that was lengthened by seven feet and a large single vertical tail. The engines were Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94s without turbosuperchargers and were fitted in new nacelles. XTO bottles could be added to the fuselage and an imposing armament of twelve .50-caliber Browning air-cooled machine guns was distributed in an Erco nose turret, two Martin dorsal turrets, two huge Erco side blisters, and a Motor Products tail turret.
The first operational squadrons to receive the type comprised VPB-118 and -119 who took their Privateers overseas beginning in January 1945. The planes began operating out of Tinian, searching for enemy subs, shipping, aircraft, and land targets. By the end of the Pacific War, the Navy was operating 13 Privateer squadrons while five other squadrons flew a mixture of Privateers and PB4Y-1s.
Whereas many early B-24s and LB-30s were completed or modified as transports, the desperate need for capable long-range transports in the evacuation of Malaya the Dutch East Indies and related areas forced the urgent development of a properly designed model. This went into produc-tion at Fort Worth in April 1942 as the Liberator Express. The main version, with 278 built, was the C-87. This was unarmed (some retained a 0.5-in gun in the tail), but had a large loading door, strong cargo floor and 20 to 25 removable passenger seats. Normal payload with maximum fuel was 4536 kg (10,000 lb), and 24 were sup-plied to the RAF as the C.VII. The RY-1 and RY-2 were navy con-versions, while the C-87A was a VIP version, usually with 16 seats or 10 berths. Five were completed as AT-22 crew trainers, mainly for training flight engineers. A total of 236 B-24Ds was supplied to the RAF, where they were completed as GR.V ASW aircraft for Coastal Command with radar, Leigh light and ASW equipment. Of these, 23 were then converted as C.V transports.
740 P4Y-2's were built for the U.S. Navy and several remained in service in 1955 for overseas reconnaissance P4Y-2S), as motherplanes for Bat guided missiles (PB4Y-2B), and as target drones (PBY-2K). All had four 1350 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 engines.
Early British Liberators were the LB-30A and LB-30B models of which very few were constructed and delivered, these via Lend-Lease. LB-30A's were originally intended for French use and fell into British hands in six examples with the fall of France. The Liberator B.Mk I's (LB-30B) were B-24A's of which 20 were delivered to the Royal Air Force. These were eventual initial disappointments for the RAF which saw fit to give them new life as Liberator GR.1s used in anti-submarine sorties.
The Liberator B.Mk II was next and were closest in nature to B-24C models. These Liberators had their fuselages extended by three feet with a revised deeper fuselage and expanded tail plane unit. 165 examples of these Liberators were produced and became the first "combat-worthy" British Liberators. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill used a refurbished Liberator II as his personal transport.
The Liberator B.Mk III were based on B-24D models fitting appropriate British-requested internal systems. Defense was handled by a single machine gun in the nose (.303 caliber), a twin-gun dorsal turret, two waist gun positions and a 4 x machine gun battery located in an Avro Lancaster-type tail turret. At least 156 of the type were delivered. The Liberator B.Mk IIIAs were nothing more than B-24D models retaining their American-based equipment and armament.
The Liberator B.Mk V were D-models revised to carry more fuel with less armor while retaining the defensive armament capabilities of the Liberator B.Mk III models. The Liberator B.Mk VI were B-24H models with the defensive armament of H-models but Boulton Paul tail turrets. B-24J models were represented as Liberator B.Mk VIIIs.
RAF Coastal Command modified several B-24D models for the anti-submarine role complete with the Leigh Light 22-million candela search light (carried underwing), search radar and air-to-surface rockets. Coastal Command also made use of the Liberator GR.Mk VI (B-24G/H/J models) as long-range reconnaissance forms and B-24J models under the Liberator GR.Mk VIII designation for the anti-submarine role.
The Liberator C.Mk IV were B.Mk VIII models modified to serve as transports while Liberator C.Mk VII was the designation used to cover C-87s. Liberator C.Mk VIII models were nothing more than G.Mk VIII modified to be used as transports.
The Royal Air Force designated their RY-3/C-87Cs as Liberator C.Mk IX.
The C-87 Liberator Express was a transport version of the B-24D bomber.
Serials of C-87 and C-87A Liberator Express:
41-11608 - Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express