B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberator

The Liberator first flew at the beginning of WWII and the last was completed before the end of the war. Yet in that time, 15 major variants totalling over 18,000 were built. The B-24 served in every theatre and was the most important long range bomber in the Pacific. It was the first aircraft in history to make North Atlantic crossings a matter of everyday routine.

Designed as a heavy bomber, it was the leading maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrol aircraft and the leading Allied long range cargo transport. B-24s also shot down over 2500 enemy aircraft.

The Liberator was a complicated machine and was demanding to fly. The wing was of superior design (deep section, with a sharp camber and a reflex curve on the underside) and produced less drag than conventional wing. However, as it was cleared for greater weights, its takeoff performance became critical. In-flight controllability was marginal and escape from a stricken aircraft was difficult.

The B-24 D had a crew of ten, four Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial piston engines and had a maximum speed in the order of 275KTAS (490km/h). Its combat radius was about 950 n miles (1730km) with a 5000lb (2270kg) bomb load. It was very vulnerable to head-on attack and despite progressive modifications to increase its armour plating, the shortcoming remained.

B-24 Liberator

The B-24 J was made in greater numbers than any other variant. Five plants in USA were making these aircraft which were delivered to USAAF service depots for fitment of autopilots, tail armament and equipment to suit the operating theatre/s.

The RAAF operated ten Liberator squadrons and flights from mid 1944. 82 Wing (21, 23 & 24 Squadrons), 85 Wing (12, 99 and 102 Squadrons), 25 Squadron and 466 Squadron (in UK) operated the bomber variants and 200 and 201 Special Duty Flights operated VIP and special transports.

All were retired at the end of the war. The Lincoln replaced the B-24 in those squadrons that remained (21, 23 and 24 Squadrons), although the Mustang replaced the aircraft at 25 (City of Perth) Squadron.


Flying Officer Frederick Michael Spafford DFC DFM

World War 2 Bomb Aimer and Dambuster: 455 SQN (RAAF), 50 SQN (RAF), 617 SQN (RAF) Spafford was born Frederick Michael Burke in Adelaide, South Australia, on 16 June 1918, the only son of James Michael Burke (known as Dan), a tannery foreman, and Vida Muriel Spafford....

Reginald Jeffrey “Jeff” Barnes

Reportedly South Australia’s first Aboriginal to join the RAAF NB:This document contains imagery of Aboriginal people who have since died which may cause sadness and distress. Approximately 3000 Aboriginals and 850 Torres Strait Islanders served in Australia’s armed...

Flight Lieutenant Robert ‘Bob’ Claude Hay DFC & BAR

World War 2 Air Observer and Dambuster: 455 SQN (RAAF), 50 SQN (RAF), 617 SQN (RAF) Robert Claude Hay was born in the regional SA Riverland town of Renmark on 4 November 1913. He was the second of six children in a large family with parents John Robert Clare Hay and...

WOFF Norm Ginn

World War 2 Norman Leslie Ginn was born in Mildura on 16 August 1923. His parents were English migrating from England in 1919 to assist family fruit growers in the Riverina. He went to primary and high school in Mildura but left school at the age of 15 and worked as a...

WOFF Doug Hoile (1924 – 2021)

World War 2 Douglas Edward Hoile was born 20 May 1924 in Laura, a rural town in the mid north of South Australia. His father was a Gallipoli veteran having served with the 12th Battalion. His uncle Private Charles Valentine Hoile, served with the 14th Field Ambulance...