The Consolidated XB-41 Liberator was a single Consolidated B-24D Liberator bomber, serial 41-11822, which was modified for the long-range escort role for U.S. Eighth Air Force bombing missions over Europe during World War II.
|Primary user||United States Army Air Forces|
|Developed from||Consolidated B-24 Liberator|
The XB-41 Liberator was outfitted with 14 .50 caliber defensive machine guns. These included twin dorsal turrets, a remotely operated Bendix turret (of the same type as the YB-40 used) under the chin, the usual twin Browning M2 .50 cal tail turret and twin-.50 cal fully retractable Sperry ventral ball turret, plus a twinned-mount pair (similar to the twinned tail-guns of a B-17E or -F Flying Fortress) of Browning .50 cal M2s at each waist window. The port waist mount was originally covered by a Plexiglas bubble; testing showed this caused severe optical distortion and it was removed.
On 29 January 1943, the sole XB-41 was delivered to Eglin Field, Florida. Tests were carried out for two months at Eglin during the early winter of 1943. These indicated significant problems with the aircraft; on 21 March 1943, the Army declared the XB-41 as unsuitable for operational use; the conversion of thirteen Liberators to YB-41 service test aircraft was cancelled. Despite this, Consolidated continued to work on the XB-41 prototype; wide-blade propellers were fitted, and some of the armor was removed to reduce the aircraft's weight. Tests resumed at Eglin on 28 July 1943; however, the basic flaws of the "gunship" concept remained, and the XB-41 program was abandoned. The prototype XB-41 was redesignated TB-24D; it served as an instructional airframe for training mechanics on the B-24. It was scrapped at Maxwell Field, Alabama on 2 February 1945.
The Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress was a modification for operational testing purposes of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber aircraft, converted to act as a heavily armed gunship for other bombers during World War II. At the time of its development, long-range fighter aircraft such as the North American P-51 Mustang were just entering quantity production, and thus were not yet available to accompany bombers all the way from England to Germany and back.Consolidated Aircraft
The Consolidated Aircraft Corporation was founded in 1923 by Reuben H. Fleet in Buffalo, New York, the result of the Gallaudet Aircraft Company's liquidation and Fleet's purchase of designs from the Dayton-Wright Company as the subsidiary was being closed by its parent corporation, General Motors. Consolidated became famous, during the 1920s and 1930s, for its line of flying boats. The most successful of the Consolidated patrol boats was the PBY Catalina, which was produced throughout World War II and used extensively by the Allies. Equally famous was the B-24 Liberator, a heavy bomber which, like the Catalina, saw action in both the Pacific and European theaters.
In 1943, Consolidated merged with Vultee Aircraft to form Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft, later known as Convair.Consolidated B-24 Liberator
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 production aircraft were laid down as export models designated as various LB-30s, in the Land Bomber design category.
At its inception, the B-24 was a modern design featuring a highly efficient shoulder-mounted, high aspect ratio Davis wing. The wing gave the Liberator a high cruise speed, long range and the ability to carry a heavy bomb load. Early RAF Liberators were the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean as a matter of routine. In comparison with its contemporaries, the B-24 was relatively difficult to fly and had poor low-speed performance; 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. At approximately 18,500 units – including over 4,600 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.
The B-24 was used extensively in World War II. It served in every branch of the American armed forces as well as several Allied air forces and navies. It 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. Due to its range, it proved useful in bombing operations in the Pacific, including the bombing of Japan. Long-range anti-submarine Liberators played an instrumental role in closing the Mid-Atlantic gap in the Battle of the Atlantic. The C-87 transport derivative served as a longer range, higher capacity counterpart to the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.
By the end of World War II, the technological breakthroughs of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and other modern types had surpassed the bombers that served from the start of the war. The B-24 was rapidly phased out of U.S. service, although the PB4Y-2 Privateer maritime patrol derivative carried on in service with the U.S. Navy in the Korean War.Gunship
A gunship is a military aircraft armed with heavy guns, primarily intended for attacking ground targets.
In modern usage the term "gunship" refers to fixed-wing aircraft aircraft having laterally-mounted heavy armaments (i.e. firing to the side) to attack ground or sea targets. These gunships were configured to circle the target instead of performing strafing runs. Such aircraft have their armament on one side harmonized to fire at the apex of an imaginary cone formed by the aircraft and the ground when performing a pylon turn (banking turn).The term "helicopter gunship" is commonly used to describe armed helicopters.History of Eglin Air Force Base
Eglin Air Force Base, a United States Air Force base located southwest of Valparaiso, Florida, was established in 1935 as the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base. It is named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Frederick I. Eglin (1891–1937), who was killed in a crash of his Northrop A-17 pursuit aircraft on a flight from Langley to Maxwell Field, Alabama.
Eglin is the home of the Air Armament Center (AAC) and is one of three product centers in the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC).List of aircraft by tail number
This list is only of aircraft that have an article, indexed by aircraft registration "tail number" (civil registration or military serial number). The list includes aircraft that are notable either as an individual aircraft or have been involved in a notable accident or incident or are linked to a person notable enough to have a stand-alone Wikipedia article.List of aircraft of World War II
The List of aircraft of World War II includes all the aircraft used by those countries, which were at war during World War II from the period between their joining the conflict and the conflict ending for them. Aircraft developed but not used operationally in the war are in the prototypes section at the end. Prototypes for aircraft that entered service under a different design number are ignored in favour of the service version. The date the aircraft entered service, or was first flown if the service date is unknown or it did not enter service follows the name, followed by the country of origin and major wartime users. Aircraft used for multiple roles are generally only listed under their primary role unless specialized versions were built for other roles. Aircraft used by neutral countries such as Spain, Switzerland and Sweden or countries which did no significant fighting such as most of those in South America (except Brazil), are not included.List of cancelled military projects
This is a list of cancelled military projects.