Pen & Sword's B-24 Liberator
|Author/Artists:||Graham M Simons|
|Pen & Sword|
|$26.95 from Casemate|
256 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was built in larger numbers than any other Allied bomber. Five different factories constructed the aircraft including the huge Willow Run plant operated by Ford. It was an aircraft that, along with the B-17, carried the brunt of the heavy bombing over Europe and the Pacific.
The Liberator was developed later than the B-17 so was faster, able to carry a larger bomb load, and had greater range than its Boeing companion. This latter item made it especially useful in the Pacific where range was king. On the down side, the aircraft was not as stable in the air as the B-17 and had to be flown constantly, making it a tiring aircraft to fly. It also was not able to handle damage to the same extent as the Fortress. A design flaw was the two separate bomb bays. This limited the side of weapon that could be carried. Something like the Lancaster's long bay would have been preferable, making the Liberator more of a long range medium bomber than a true heavy.
The B-24's wing was also great in regards to range, but not so much in terms of altitude performance so Liberators often had to fly lower than the Fortress. It also tended to be thirsty at altitude so often carried an additional fuel tank in one of the two bomb bays. This limited the load it could carry. Still, it was quite useful and was developed into a long range patrol bomber used by the US Navy and by the British. Eventually, the development of the Privateer for the Navy allowed that service to not only replace the 'standard' Liberator in VPB squadrons but gave the Navy a useful post war patrol aircraft.
This book covers the complete story of the Liberator from its design to its production, to its use in different theaters of combat during WWII. It also provides a look at the different nations that operated it and the Privateer as well as its post war utilization. The Privateer especially became quite useful as a fire bomber and was only recently retired from that service. Chock full of period photos, this is a book that I know you will like. Well written, it will provide you with hours of reading pleasure. Highly recommended. This book also available in hardback.
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