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History Of The Consolidated B-24 Liberator
The B-24 Liberator was a four engine, heavy American bomber used in World War II. Built by Consolidated Aircraft, it was also aided in production by Ford Motor company, at it's Willow Run facility. Originally, Willow Run had been a farm that was owned by auto business magnate Henry Ford. The Ford Motor Company developed the Willow Run site to include an airfield as well as an aircraft assembly plant. In 1944 Willow Run was producing around 650 B-24s every month. By 1945, The Ford Motor Company had produced half of the 18,000 total B-24s at it's Willow Run plant. The B-24 was the most produced heavy bomber in WWII. More B-24's were built than any other bomber, with each B-24 costing almost 280,000 dollars.
First employed by the RAF, who first utilized the bombers as transports, then for anti submarine services, they were eventually sent to the middle east. Once the U.S. entered the war, the B-24 Liberator's were deployed, in just about every wartime theater.
The B-24 Liberator was powered by four, turbosupercharged Pratt and Whitney R-1830 radial engines with a maximum speed of 290 mph. The B-24 Liberator had a service ceiling of 28,000 feet and a range of 2,100 miles.
The B-24 Liberator was armed with ten .50 cal Browning machine guns and could carry up to 8,000 lbs of bombs on short runs.
Initially, B-24 bombers and other bombers were grouped in mass formations while bombing enemy targets, hoping that the combined, machine gun armaments could defend themselves against enemy fighters. This proved to be an ineffective strategy and was resolved by using escort fighters like the P-47 Thunderbolts, P-51 Mustangs and P-38 Lightnings to accompany the bombers on raids.