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    Tinker Celebrates 75 Years: Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft profile

    Tinker Celebrates 75 Years: Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft profile

    Photo By Greg L. Davis | A Consolidated B-24D Liberator receives armament upgrades and modifications at the...... read more read more



    Story by Greg L. Davis 

    72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

    The Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” was a four-engine, heavy bomber produced for the Army Air Corps prior to and during World War II. The aircraft was used in all theaters of the war with particularly heavy use in the European campaign.
    According to official Tinker history documents, the Oklahoma City Air Depot had a short, but meaningful association with the Liberator when on July 15, 1943, Tinker began modifying the armament of 65 B-24s. The modifications were complete by the end of 1943.
    The Liberator carried a weapon payload of 8,000 pounds using an internal, racked bomb bay to reduce drag and give it a 3,200 mile range. It was manned with 12 crew members made up of a pilot, copilot, navigator, radioman, engineer and defensive gunners positioned in the nose, tail, upper and lower turrets and waist positions.
    The B-24 might best be remembered for participation in missions to destroy the Nazis petroleum and synthetics production facilities at Ploesti, Romania, in 1942 from bases in North Africa. The B-24 was the primary aircraft used because of its extended range and necessity to fly at low-level to surprise the defenders of the oil fields and refineries. The missions were of limited success.
    However, in 1943 the 15th Air Force began an intense five month-long follow-up campaign known as OPERATION TIDAL WAVE to finally destroy the Nazi petroleum supplier. Flying from former Axis airfields in Italy now under the control of the Allies, the daylight bombing campaign was rebuffed time-after-time with stiff defenses in the form of flak, airborne fighters and smoke screens meant to obscure the visual sighting of the attacking bombers. On some missions allied aircraft losses approached 50% of formations numbering in the hundreds of aircraft. Wartime news reels characterized the campaigns importance by saying, “The 15th Air Force…did more than merely destroy the enemy oil production, they brought eventual disaster at compounding interest. The German war-machine was stalled for lack of fuel.”
    Other noteworthy use of the aircraft came in the form of converted tanker-transport configured aircraft designated C-87 and C-109s which flew ‘The Hump,’ the challenging high-altitude supply missions through the Himalayan Mountains and across the China-Burma-India theatre.

    Manufacturer: Consolidated
    Aircraft type: B-24
    Nickname: Liberator
    Crew: 12
    Power plant: Four Pratt & Whitney R 1830 radial engines
    In-service dates: 1940-1949
    Number produced: 19,000
    Tinker connection: Armament upgrades



    Date Taken: 01.23.2017
    Date Posted: 01.23.2017 10:32
    Story ID: 220980
    Location: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US 

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