It also had a lower ceiling and was less robust than the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.While aircrews tended to prefer the B-17, General Staff favored the B-24, and procured it in huge numbers for a wide variety of roles.The single fin did appear in production on the PB4Y Privateer derivative.
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California.
It was known within the company as the Model 32, and some initial models were laid down as export models designated as various LB-30s, in the Land Bomber design category.
Compared to the B-17 it had a 6-foot larger wingspan, but a lower wing area. The relatively thick wing held the promise of increased tankage while delivering increased lift and speed, but became unpleasant to fly when committed to heavier loadings as experienced at high altitude and in bad weather.
The Davis wing was also more susceptible to ice formation than contemporary designs, causing distortions of the aerofoil section and resulting in the loss of lift (unpleasant experiences drawing such comments as 'The Davis wing won't hold enough ice to chill your drink'.) The wing carried four supercharged radial engines mounted in cowlings borrowed from the PBY Catalina (except being oval in cross-section, with oil coolers mounted on each side of the engine), turning 3-bladed variable-pitch propellers.
The forward and aft bomb bay compartments were further split longitudinally with a centerline ventral catwalk just nine inches (23 cm) wide, which also functioned as the fuselage's structural keel beam.
An unusual four-panel set of all-metal, tambour-panel "roller-type" bomb bay doors, which operated very much like the movable enclosure of a rolltop desk, retracted into the fuselage, creating a minimum of aerodynamic drag to keep speed high over the target area, and also allowed the bomb bays to be opened while on the ground; the low ground clearance prevented the use of normal bomb bay doors.
The B-24 was rapidly phased out of US service, although the PB4Y-2 Privateer derivative carried on in service with the US Navy in the Korean War.
The Liberator originated from a United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) request in 1938 for Consolidated to produce the B-17 under license.
At nearly 19,000 units, with over 8,000 manufactured by Ford Motor Company, it holds records as the world's most produced: bomber; heavy bomber; multi-engine aircraft; and American military aircraft in history. It served in every branch of the American armed forces, as well as several Allied air forces and navies, and saw use in every theater of operations.
Along with the B-17, the B-24 was the mainstay of the US strategic bombing campaign in the Western European theater.
Although the B-24 did not meet Project A goals, it was a step in that direction.