Profile Publications No. 19 The Consolidated B-24J Liberator

Above: B-24J-15Q-CO in natural metal finish. Below: An Eighth Air Force B-24J-55-CO o f the 93rd Bomber Group. (Photo: U.S.A.AF.), tory” had limited fields of fire which an interceptor could evade in frontal attack. Some local modifica­tions did much to remedy this shortcoming but the Liberator was still considered vulnerable to frontal interception. NOSE TURRETS MODS A power-operated turret appeared the obvious solution, and in Australia, Fifth Air Force engineers successfully improvised the marrying of a salvaged hydraulically-operated Consolidated tail turret to the nose section of a B-24D. This, and similar experiments by the Seventh Air Force, led to a regular modification programme for a large pro­portion of B-24s in the two SouthWest Pacific air forces, the Hawaiian Air Depot installing turrets in the noses of over 200 Liberators during the spring and summer of 1943. Steps were also taken to introduce a nose turret on production machines, the Pacific theatre improvisations going someway to influence the layout of this feature. Alterations were frequently being made to the Liberator specifica­tion during the first part of 1943, culminating in new models best distinguished from their predeces­sors by production nose turrets, but also embodying improved engines, considerably increased ammuni­tion stowage and many other internal changes. The production turret was the electrically- powered Emerson design, introduced in June 1943 on the Ford production line with their 491st Liberator, and soon after on B-24s from Douglas and Fort Worth. Aircraft from all three plants were designated B-24H, whereas the introduction of the nose turret on North American’s machines brought only a block number change and these Liberators continued to be designated B-24G, as were the first 25 from the factory. 15th Air Force 24Js attack Theole-sur-Mer, near Cannes, on/ 2th July 1944. Note markings on upper tailplane surfaces. 4
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