War-torn Warbirds: Haunting Images of B-24 Liberators

The B-24 Liberator was, together with the B-17, the workhorse of the United States Army Airforces who used it in every theater of operations. It was also instrumental in the Battle of the Atlantic, where it’s long range enabled it to close the Mid-Atlantic Gap. Twelve thousand B-24s saw service with the USAAF, at the peak, in September 1944 there were 6,043 active!

It featured a very modern design featuring a shoulder-mounted “Davis wing,” which gave the Liberator long-range, a high cruise speed, and the ability to carry a heavy bomb load. For defense, the B-24 carried up to 10 .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns which were located in the waist or in turrets.

It was less robust than the B-17 and the aircrews tended to prefer the B-17, General Staff favored the B-24.

What follows is a haunting collection of photographs of B-24’s, some made it back to base and some didn’t. Let this be a tribute to the bravery of the crews who day in, day out, risked their lives in an effort to shorten the war.

7ea39f4da551ea3856ff9fb5fc725c50The wreckage of a B-24 Liberator in a German field. Of 240 low-flying Liberators that dropped supplies to Allied troops in the Rhine crossing [Via]

85f102a336cbe261020d455638fbf25fA damaged B-24 Liberator from the 376th American bombardment in flight over Toulon 1944. [Via]

5f08b5cf06e547a405a15c7ed572703dB-24 caught just at the moment of crashing during Operation Market Garden, Holland Sept 1944. [Via]

31786ae1e7745bbcc72f7c8c2dbeaaeeB24 Liberator Hit by Flak [Via]

0ceb6cc544cf07af07e9adbb8674d305Crew member examines wing of a Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” which was badly-damaged during pre-invasion raid over Iwo Jima. Marianas Islands [Via]

891bb1601c3d541de7f49514f2de0209Fire spreads rapidly across a damaged B-24 [Via]

8ea07a2b41c4f495a0dfc9ee7f326c35B-24 hit by FLAK and explodes in mid air [Via]

ca9f43444319211b55b7e62595a56811Inspection of a damaged B-24 after being hit by the 1000-pound bombs. March 14, 1945 [Via]

23672d5d7ed4044ff68522e90bcb6be5“T’ings Is Tuff”, the Douglas-Tulsa-built Consolidated B-24H-15-DT Liberator, s/n 41-28931, 724th Bomb Squadron, 451st Bomb Group, 15th Air Force making a belly-landing at its base in Apulia Southern Italy after being damaged by Flak on a mission to Ploesti/Romania [Via]

a3c9de6b8bfe77a6a6da0e0b367e4907Damaged B24 at Manston after emergency landing 15 June 1944 [Via]

321a263c169c4369bdcd2cf2fb500e8aThe Consolidated B-24 bomber “The Chambermaid” after an emergency landing [Via]

7d662351282e2847fdc2c0f85fb02055B-24 flying through thick FLAK, one engine has been hit and is smoking [Via]

99674992c3f6c046a7b3ff05fae6cad0B-24H-1-CF, 392nd BG, 579th BS, “Last Frontier” crash landed at Wendling, UK, after three engines stopped. 1 killed. [Via]

9726b3d64e850eb17c81d5f3fb5b3337The terrible end of a B-24 and her crew [Via]

29d7c77114a2517b763edb3aad85e61dB-24 Belly landing The Hellcat 7 Dec 43 [Via]

a3444dd925b66e0b1952bfa6c7a3ad06B-24J-1-DT Liberator s/n 42-51250 701st Bomb Squadron, 445th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. Damaged over Coblenz,Germany on the return flight from bombing the marshalling yards at Hanau,Germany on November 11,1944. She crashlanded at her home field of Tibenham. [Via]

16e188df719cea8f7b8116f8b1127673458th Bomb Group B-24 Liberator crassh. This is an assembly ship. These planes were painted bright colors to assist in assembling the large bomber formations. [Via]

4b72354f65d37f5d461af2951df10c37B-24 after an emergency landing [Via]

97208fb4089e46f8d83e15f7683785d2Crashed on take off from San Giovanni Field,Italy on April 12,1945 killing 6 of the crew. [Via]

c0488aa6d95f06a0596da4f361176ab2

A damaged B-24 Liberator “Burma Bound”, of the 451st Bomber Group returns to base after a raid on Munich. [Via]