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Old 27th December 2013, 07:53
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Is this a true statement about the B24?

A volume of 284 B24 Liberators with their revolutionary Davis Wing were delivered to the RAF in 1941. Of these aircraft, 120 had been ordered by France. But instead of being stationed in Iceland (occupied in May 1940) and used to close the mid-Atlantic air gap to defeat the U-boats, all B24s were converted in Montreal into transports for VIPs and also used to ferry pilots across the Atlantic. Kapitän Werner Furburger predicted in a pre-war exercise that Britain would need two years to assemble the anti-submarine assets required to force the fleet of Type VII submersibles - they were not true submarines - to stay submerged. This would destroy their productivity and make them both ineffectual and sitting ducks ripe for destruction. Had Coastal Command been assigned the 284 B24s, then Furburger's forecast would have been achieved. As it was, it took until mid-1943, four years rather than the two forecast by Furburger, to finally close the mid-Atlantic air gap. Tony
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Old 27th December 2013, 12:25
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

About the only correct statement is that the B-24 had a Davis wing, the rest is rubbish.

AM258 to AM263 (Liberator LB.30A) 6 a/c delivered Mar 41 to May 42 - used by Ferry Command

AM910 to AM929 (Liberator LB30B/Mk I) 20 a/c delivered Apr 41 to Aug 41 - mainly used by 120 Sqn Coastal Command

AL503 to AL641 (LB.30/Mk II) 165 a/c ordered but only 85 delivered between Sept 41 and May 42 (rest retained by USAAF after Pearl Harbour). At least 15 went to Coastal Command

LV336-46 - (Liberator Mk III), not delivered until Mar 42
FK214-45 - (Liberator Mk III), not delivered until Jun-Nov 42

So up to August 41 had 26 Liberators and around 100 by the end of the year. On arrival in UK/Canada they had to be fitted out so delay between leaving factory and entering active service with units

The LB30 was definitely underdeveloped and not fitted in 1941 with all the anti submarine bells and whistles that they got later in the Mk III and V

Even if all engaged in anti submarine warfare they were unlikely to close the gap

Regards

Martin
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Old 28th December 2013, 01:01
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Thank you, Martin. Would you not agree, however, that RAF tests showed the B24 was not suitable for bombing Germany - no self-sealing fuel tanks, slower than quoted speed - while these factors were not relevant for Coastal Command's anti-submarine patrols. Was therefore the need for speed, requiring a change of engines, rather than lack of operational range the reason why the LB 30 was judged 'underdeveloped'? Does anyone know of any historian of the air gap? Tony
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Old 28th December 2013, 01:05
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Peter Clare Peter Clare is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

I have to agree with Martin, the above statement is a complete fabrication. The very first official op carried out by the B-24 was on 20 September 1941 when Liberator I AM924 D/120 carried out an anti-submarine patrol from Nutts Corner, Norther Ireland. The RAF even beat the US with this first OP.
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Old 28th December 2013, 02:17
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Do you do any research Tony before you start a thread?

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_bombers/b24_5.html
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Old 28th December 2013, 11:04
Larry Larry is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

I suppose it depends what was searched.

I search for things on the web with a question and get nothing, then re-phrase and get what I want.
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Old 28th December 2013, 14:51
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

One significant point worth raising is whether the operation of a transatlantic communications link, including the recycling of ferry crews, was not every bit as much as important at the time?

There is also the question of just how useful a handful of B-24s would have been without the parallel success in breaking the German Navy's codes, and the equally delayed strengthening of the convoy escorts. I don't think the Battle of the Atlantic was won, nor could have been won, by any single factor.
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Old 28th December 2013, 20:03
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Hello,
If you are restricting the question to deal with B-24 Liberator II's only.

These were those in the RAF serial number range "AL" with one aditional replacement aircraft in the "FP" RAF serial number range.

86 Liberator II's ( B-24B's) delivered to the RAF between September 1941 and May 1942 to contract F-677.
It is believed that AL642 through to AL667 (25 a/c) were not built.

86 + 25 = 111 a/c
Balance of an order for 165 a/c diverted before delivery.
165 - 111 = 54 a/c (Retained in the US ?).

I have arrived with this "AL"list plus 1 "FP" :

1 – AL503 crashed into San Diego Bay during acceptance flight, killing all aboard including Consolidated chief test pilot William Wheatley.
2 - AL507 repossessed by USAAF. Turned over to Britain Mar 25, 1943. To BOAS Aug 1, 1944 as G-AHYC. Bellylanded Heathfield Oct 2, 1946 and salvaged.
3 - AL508 repossessed by USAAF. (7th BG, 11th BS) arrived in Java from Darwin via Pacific route Jan 26, 1942. Based at Jogia from Jan 27, 1942. Crashed at Essendon airfield May 18, 1942 on takeoff. Condemned May 15, 1943
4 - AL515 commandeered by USAAF. Arrived via Pacific Route via McDill Fl, Hamilton CA, Hickam Hi, Palmyra IS, Canton Is, Nausori (Fiji), Garbutt(Townsville Qld), Darwin (NT) to Malang, Java. Last LB30A
out of Java on Mar 2, 1942 in 7 hour flight to Broome, landed, refuelled and flew on to RAAF Pearce before the Broome Raid the next day. Returned to Broome to evacuate survivors of Raid to RAAF Pearce. Left RAAF Pearce to RAAF Laverton Vic Mar 6, 1942 taking 8Hours 20 mins. Surviving 3 Pacific based LB30A's were established into a flight within the 435th BS/19thBG at Garbutt, Townsville. AL515 eventually went on to bigger things,
but bellied in at Milne Bay airstrip on the Aug 20, 1942. Was stripped, but a week later was strafed by Japanese and destroyed on Aug 27, 1942. Condemned Aug 28, 1942.
5 - AL521 requisitioned by USAAF. Lost in Japanese raid on Darwin, Australia Feb 19, 1942.
6 - AL527 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked near March Field, CA Jul 1, 1942 when crashed and burned after takeoff
7 - AL532 requisitioned by USAAF. To C-87 with USAAF. To RFC at Kingman Oct 5, 1946
8 - AL533 requisitioned by USAAF. Arrived at Darwin Jan 30, 1942, to Jogia, Java. w/o in combat when strafed and destroyed at Jogjiakarka Mar 1, 1942.
9 - AL535 requisitioned by USAAF. Damaged by fighters and force landed on beach at small island of Greater Mesalembo Jan 18, 1942. Crew picked up by PBY Jan 25, 1942. First USAAF Liberator combat loss.
10 - AL539 requisitioned by USAAF. Crashed Jun 8, 1943. Condemned Jun 9, 1943.
11 - AL543 requisitioned by USAAF. Surveyed May 29, 1943
12 - AL567 requisitioned by USAAF. Destroyed on ground by strafing attack on Jogiakarta Feb 22, 1942.
13 - AL568 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Walnut Ridge Jan 13, 1946.
14 - AL570 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Walnut Ridge Jan 9, 1946
15 - AL572 requisitioned by USAAF. Hit by bomb in hangar Jogiakarta Mar 1,1942.
16 - AL573 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked Jan 1, 1942 at MacDill Field when gear unlocked during landing rollout. Repaired. Became transport in Australia as VH-CBM. To RFC at Walnut Ridge Jan 17, 1946.
17 - AL575 requisitioned by USAAF. Landing gear would not extend, crew bailed out Jan 2, 1942, San Diego, CA
18 - AL576 requisitioned by USAAF. Arrived via Africa Jan 12, 1942 at Malang, Java. Later forced landed at Makassar, Jan 7, 1942. crew picked up by US Navy PBY and returned to Malang, Java.
19 - AL583 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Walnut Ridge Jan 15, 1946. To civil registry as NL4674N, later RX-102 (Transportes Aereos de Panama).
20 - AL586 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Kingman Jan 9, 1946
21 - AL589 requisitioned by USAAF. Lost with 5th BG on raid from Midway to Wake Island Jun 7, 1942. MACR 600. General Clarence L. Tinker was on board.
22 - AL594 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Kingman Oct 8, 1946
23 - AL596 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked at Westover Field Jan 31, 1943, converted to ground training aircraft Feb 5, 1943.
24 - AL598 requisitioned by USAAF. to RFC at Kingman Oct 6, 1946
25 - AL601 requisitioned by USAAF. Crashed into hill Jun 4, 1942, Hamilton Field, CA. 14 on board killed.
26 - AL602 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked at Kodiak, Alaska May 22, 1942 when overshot landing and fell into ravine
27 - AL604 requisitioned by USAAF. Exploded in midair north of Rio Hato AB, Canal Zone Jun 15, 1943. 2 killed, 3 parachuted to safety.
28 - AL605 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked in landing accident Jun 17, 1943, Rio Hato AB, Canal Zone when landing gear collapsed.
29 - AL606 requisitioned by USAAF. Ditched between Palmyra and Canton Islands Jan 31, 1942. Only 2 survived. Condemned Oct 31, 1944.
30 - AL607 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked 5 mi S of Hanna, WY when abandoned by crew during ice storm Jun 27, 1942.
31 - AL608 requisitioned by USAAF. Used to evacuate General Wavell to Ceylon Feb 26, 1942. Condemned Oct 31, 1944
32 - AL609 requisitioned by USAAF. Destroyed in strafing attack Mar 1, 1942.
33 - AL611 requisitioned by USAAF. Salvaged Jul 31, 1945
34 - AL612 requisitioned by USAAF. Damaged Jan 12, 1942, broken left wing on landing. Salvaged for parts at Malang. destroyed in strafing attack Feb 27, 1942.
35 - AL613 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Kingman Jan 9, 1946
36 - AL615 requisitioned by USAAF. Condemned Oct 7, 1944.
37 - AL617 requisitioned by USAAF. Salvaged Jul 31, 1945
38 - AL618 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked Panama Apr 9, 1943, SOC May 6, 1943.
39 - AL621 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked at Tucson, AZ during force landing and hit a house Dec 23, 1942. Surveyed Jan 1, 1943.
40 - AL622 requisitioned by USAAF. Condemned at Kodiak Oct 30, 1943.
41 - AL623 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked in landing in Carribean Dec 13, 1942.
42 - AL626 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked Mar 29, 1942 at Patterson AAF, OH when nosewheel collapsed, but repaired. SOC as worn out by Dec 31, 1945.
43 - AL628 requisitioned by USAAF as C-87. To RFC at Walnut Ridge Feb 1, 1946.
44 - AL629 requisitioned by USAAF. Condemned Oct 7, 1944, Salanis, Ecuador.
45 - AL631 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked on beach at Buenaventura, Columbia Apr 14, 1942. SOC Jun 10, 1942.
46 - AL632 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC at Kingman, AZ Jan 12, 1946.
47 - AL633 requisitioned by USAAF. Condemned in Hawaii sometime in 1945.
48 - AL634 requisitioned by USAAF. Wrecked in landing accident Dec 31, 1942.
49 - AL637 requisitioned by USAAF. Converted to C-87. To RFC at Cincinatti, OH Jan 31, 1946.
50 - AL639 requisitioned by USAAF, converted to C-87. To RFC at Cincinatti, OH Jan 10, 1946
51 - AL640 requisitioned by USAAF, converted to C-87. Salvaged as C-87 Nov 3, 1945
52 - AL641 requisitioned by USAAF. To RFC as C-87 Walnut Ridge, Ark Jan 7, 1946.
53FP685 Replacement for AL503; to USAAC 12.1.42.



Thanks to the JB website and AB's books.


Alex

Last edited by Alex Smart; 28th December 2013 at 20:41.
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Old 28th December 2013, 21:51
tcolvin tcolvin is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Thanks all. The usual prickly responses galvanised me to get the answer, which seems to be as summarised below in seven points. I look forward to having holes picked in it, but please be specific and leave out unhelpful words like 'rubbish'. However, I cannot respond for the next eight days as I shall be hors de combat in the Perche district Normandy.

1. According to Air Marshal John Slessor, when he became AOC Coastal Command on February 5, 1943, a maximum of 100 B24 Liberators were needed to close the Air Gap - source Edward Offley: 'Turning the Tide'; page 47.

2. But although by this time 3,500 B24s had been built, Slessor could not get his required number released even though the Casablanca Directive of January 1943 gave absolute top priority to victory over the U-boats. Harris would not make available his B24s, and Churchill supported Harris whilst also signing the Casablanca Directive. As Americans say - Go figure.

3. Any Mark of B24 could be turned into a VLR. To achieve the required range of 2,300 miles (endurance of 20 hours), any B24 had to be stripped of armour, of self sealing gunk around the petrol tanks, and of gun turrets, while radar needed to be installed, an additional fuel tank fitted in the bomb bay, and anti-submarine munitions such as bombs and depth charges loaded.

4. Also required was a crew willing to undertake 20 hour mind-numbing flights circling a convoy. This was unacceptable to those trained in the ways of Bomber Command who liked to see a bang for their efforts. They suggested, and won the day, that instead of escorting a convoy, they should patrol the trackless ocean searching for U-boats. So this was what Coastal Command did in the Bay of Biscay, hoping to catch a submarine in transit to its base, even though Operations Research demonstrated that a kill on such a patrol absorbed 4,020 hours, while a kill on escort duty absorbed only 120 hours.

5. 111 Liberators were delivered by May 1942 according to Alex Smart (thank you Alex!). However, 111 were more than enough to close the Air Gap (see Point 1), which would therefore have been closed by mid-1942 instead of mid 1943, saving many lives and much treasure. All it required was for the Minister of Defence to send the RAF an 'Action This Day' note instead of humouring them.

6. "This confusion between various Allied commands over the allocation and proper deployment of B24 aircraft almost cost the Allies victory in the Battle of the Atlantic", wrote David Syrett in 'The Defeat of the German U-Boats', page 16.

7. So, instead of being used to close the Air Gap, the first Liberator II to reach England was converted into a VIP transport for Churchill - the RAF being long practised on keeping that sybarite on side. According to Joe Baugher (thanks Kutscha) some were delivered as unarmed transports, some used to ferry pilots, and some were operated by BOAC, no doubt to ferry top RAF and other influential personnel. A few went to Coastal Command who misused them as explained in point 4, while others to Bomber Command but not for night bombing because of their flame trail. Happy New Year everybody, including the moderators and the website owner who keeps this indispensable show on the road. Tony

Last edited by Nick Beale; 28th December 2013 at 23:20. Reason: Inserted paragraph breaks for easier reading.
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Old 28th December 2013, 23:22
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Bill Walker Bill Walker is offline
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Re: Is this a true statement about the B24?

Oh brother, here we go again.

The RCAF had more experience than just about anybody in long range operations over the North Atlanitc early in the war. They gave up on close escorts of conveys after finding that patrolling at higher altitudes over a broad area, rather than just close to a convoy, gave much better results. I guess they were all idiots too, Tony?

Can you provide a source for that "kill every 120 hours" on close escort? Using that math, the RCAF alone should have got several kills a week in 1940 and 1941 on close escorts. Instead they averaged more like one every two or three months. Switching to wider ranging patrols in 1942 got that up to one a month. Something doesn't add up here.

The majority of the long range transport conversions of Liberators with BOAC were used to return ferry pilots from the UK to North America for the next delivery. Closing the air gap wouldn't have helped much if the Luftwaffe had air superiority over the harbours in the UK, where all the "saved" ships ended up. Air defence of the UK required aircraft as well, and many of them came from North America.

Your point four makes no sense. Coastal Command and the RCAF regularly flew 20 hour plus patrols in 4 engined aircraft and Catalinas/Cansos. Are you claiming some crews refused to fly 20 hour patrols?

Tony, wars are very complicated. Don't believe anyone who tells you one little fix here or there will change everything.
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