The B-24 Liberator was a powerful symbol of US industrial might, with more than 18,000 produced by the war’s end. Flown in all theaters and entering the fray before America did through Lend-Lease with Great Britain, Liberators flew faster, higher and farther than the older B-17, thanks to greater fuel capacity and an innovative low-drag wing design.
B-24D Liberator Fuselage Over Exposed
This forward fuselage is made possible through a gift of Jim Sowell, whose father, Billy Z. Sowell, flew a B-24 with a photo reconnaissance squadron. The B-24 is painted with the markings and nose art of Mr. Sowell’s plane, Over Exposed.
Type: Heavy Bomber
Date Introduced: 1942
Manufacturer: Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corporation; Ford Motor Company; North American Aviation; Douglas Aircraft Company
Number Produced: 2,698
Crew: 10 (Pilot, Co-Pilot, Bombardier, Navigator, Radio Operator, Flight Engineer, Ball Turret Gunner, Tail Gunner and two Waist Gunners)
Wingspan: 110 feet
Length: 66 feet
Maximum Speed: 303 miles per hour
Cruising Speed: 175 miles per hour
Maximum Range: 2,850 miles
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43s (1,200 hp each)
Maximum Bomb Load: 8,000 pounds
Armament: Eleven .50 caliber machine guns
Developed as a strategic bomber in the 1930s, the rugged B-17 was used in every theater in World War II, and became legendary for its ability to sustain heavy damage in battle while maintaining self-sufficient firepower.
The B-25 bomber soldiered in every theater of war, excelling in multiple roles, chiefly as a ground-attack aircraft later in the war. They gained fame in April 1942 in the daring Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.
The US Navy’s primary dive-bomber at the war’s start, the Douglas SBD Dauntless earned its reputation—and helped earn victory—at the 1942 Battle of Midway, sinking four Japanese carriers.
Despite disappointing action at Midway, the Avenger served as the US Navy’s primary torpedo bomber, effectively interdicting enemy shipping and delivering ordnance on enemy positions throughout the Pacific.
The F4U Corsair entered combat in 1943, and gave Allied naval aviators a winning edge against their opponents. Renowned for its speed, ruggedness, and firepower, the Corsair excelled as both a fighter and an attack aircraft in support of ground forces.