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The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was a 4-engine, twin-tail heavy bomber designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego. Its first flight was on December 29, 1939, and it began service in 1941.

Rolling out a newly built B-24 Liberator at the Ford Willow Run PlantRolling out a newly built B-24 Liberator at the Ford Willow Run Plant

The B-24 was a more modern design than the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, with a higher top speed, greater range, higher ceiling, and a heavier bomb load. But the B-24 was more difficult to fly, with heavy control forces and poor formation-flying characteristics. The positioning of the fuel tanks also made the plane prone to fire. The high fuselage-mounted wings also made it more difficult to survive crash landings on land or water.

The B-24's spacious, slab-sided fuselage was built around a central bomb bay with two compartments that could accommodate up to 8,000 pounds of ordnance each. The B-24 provided excellent service in a variety of roles due to its large payload and long range.

A follow-up aircraft design by Consolidated was the B-32 Dominator, a plane with some of the B-24's characteristics, built in only limited numbers towards the end of World War II.

Specifications (B-24J)

  • Crew: 11 (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier, radio operator, nose turret, top turret, 2 waist gunners, ball turret, tail gunner)
  • Length: 67 ft 8 in
  • Wingspan: 110 ft 0 in
  • Height: 18 ft 0 in
  • Wing area: 1,048 ft²
  • Empty weight: 36,500 lb
  • Loaded weight: 55,000 lb
  • Max. takeoff weight: 65,000 lb
  • Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-35 or -41 turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp each
  • Performance Maximum speed: 290 mph
  • Cruise speed: 215 mph
  • Range: 2,100 mi
  • Ferry range: 3,700 mi
  • Service ceiling: 28,000 ft
  • Rate of climb: 1,025 ft/min
  • Guns: 10 × .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns in 4 turrets and two waist position
  • Bombs:
    • Short range (˜400 mi): 8,000 lb
    • Long range (˜800 mi): 5,000 lb
    • Very long range (˜1,200 mi): 2,700 lb

B-24 Liberator Production Recap by Model and Assembly Plant

A total of 18,493 Liberators were built, more than any other aircraft in World War II. Several factories produced the Liberator:

  • Original Consolidated plant in San Diego
  • A second Consolidated plant in Fort Worth
  • Ford Motor Co. at Willow Run, Michigan
  • North American Aviation in Dallas
  • Douglas Aircraft Co. in Tulsa

Included on this website is a table showing a recap of B-24 Liberator production by model, and by manufacturing plant. Numbers represent our best research on the subject; there are minor variations in numbers reported by other sources and outlets.

... about B-24 Liberator production totals by model and assembly plant


Willow Run Plant in Michigan

The Willow Run manufacturing plant, located between Ypsilanti and Belleville, Michigan, was constructed during World War II by the Ford Motor Company for the mass production of the B-24 Liberator. On October 1, 1942, the first plane was completed and christened "The Spirit of Ypsilanti."

The Willow Run Airport, with six runways to test planes, was also completed in 1942. At the peak of production, the assembly line was producing a Liberator an hour. On June 28, 1945 production ceased, after 8,685 planes had been manufactured.

... about the history of Ford's Willow Run Assembly Plant and view photos of the plant


B-24 Liberators Face the Scrap Yard After World War II

After the end of World War II in August of 1945, the U.S. Army Air Corp found itself with thousands of surplus, and now obsolete, B-24 Liberators.

Of the 18,493 Liberators that were built, most were sent to military aircraft boneyards for temporary storage, sale, or scrapping and smelting into aluminum ingots. While some were sold and continued usage in civilian aviation, most ended their service, not in combat, but in the smelter at locations such as Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona.

... about B-24 Liberator storage, scrapping and smelting into ingots after World War II

B-24 Liberator Surviving Aircraft

Unfortunately, few B-24s survive today. In the United States, only two aircraft are airworthy, and six complete airframes are on static display.

... about B-24 Liberator surviving aircraft, serial numbers, location, and photographs


B-24J Liberator "Bungay Buckaroo" Photos Courtesy of the PlanesOfThePast Staff

Consolidated B-24J Liberator "Bungay Buckaroo" S/N 44-44175 at the Pima Air & Space Museum
Consolidated B-24J Liberator "Bungay Buckaroo" S/N 44-44175 at the Pima Air & Space Museum

B-24J Liberator "Louisiana Belle II" at the Barksdale Global Power Museum

Consolidated (Ford) B-24J Liberator "Louisiana Belle II" S/N 44-8781 on display at the Barksdale Global Power Museum
Consolidated (Ford) B-24J Liberator "Louisiana Belle II" S/N 44-8781 on display at the Barksdale Global Power Museum

B-24D Liberator at the Hill Aerospace Museum ... Photos by the PlanesOfThePast Staff

Diorama of Consolidated B-24D Liberator S/N 41-23908 at the Hill Aerospace Museum
Consolidated B-24D Liberator S/N 41-23908 at the Hill Aerospace Museum

B-24J Liberator "Witchcraft" Photos Courtesy of the PlanesOfThePast Staff

Consolidated B-24J Liberator "Witchcraft" (S/N 44-44052) of the Collings Foundation
Consolidated B-24J Liberator "Witchcraft" (S/N 44-44052) of the Collings Foundation

More Photographs of the B-24

Nose art on B-24 Liberator "Strawberry Bitch" (Air Force Photo)
Nose art on B-24 Liberator "Strawberry Bitch"
Nose art on B-24 Liberator "Diamond Lil" of the Commemorative Air Force
Nose art on B-24 Liberator "Diamond Lil" of the Commemorative Air Force

Photos of the B-24 During World War II

B-24 on tarmac at Seymour Johnson Field in WWII, hangars in background (Courtesy Louisiana History Museum)
B-24 on tarmac at Seymour Johnson Field in WWII, hangars in background
Consolidated B-24 assembly line at Fort Worth (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
B-24 assembly line
B-24M in flight (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force)
B-24M bomber in flight

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