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B-24 Liberators of the 15th Air Force/ 49th Bomb Wing in World War II (Schiffer Military History)
By Michael D. Hill
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing 2006 160 Pages
PDF 24 MB
Silting on the ground the B-24 Liberator appeared to be a designen's nightmare. She had long thin tapered wings attached to a slab sided fuselage. The wings did not look like they would support the weight in-flight, and the fuselage cried out for garish nose art adornment. Add to this two oval rudders, and one would think that she wouldnit get off the ground. But get off the ground she did! Once she was in the air, the long wings flexed upward to support the aircraft, and she assumed a grace all her own.
Built in more numbers than any other American bomber of World War II. the Liberator was the most advanced heavy bomber until surpassed by the B-29 Superfortress. She was overshadowed by the B-17 Flying Fortress through no fault of her own.
It was merely a matter of public relations. Used by the 8th Air Force, she was saddled with a bad reputation based on losses sustained during operations against Hitleris Germany. This reputation was in large part based on the fact that the 8th Air Force was primarily a B-17 Air Force. In most cases the Liberator units were forced to fly missions behind the B-17 units. Since the B-24 had a higher airspeed they would have to hold back in order to stay with the formations. This placed the Liberator at a severe operational disadvantage.
The 15th Air Force was made up of 21 heavy bomber groups, of which 15 groups were equipped with the B-24 Liberator. In this area of operations the B-24 was not hindered by the performance differences between the B-17 and the Liberator. In most cases the missions were planned and assigned to the groups to optimize the capabilities of each bomber type.