Consolidated XB-41 Liberator

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XB-41 Liberator
XB-41 Liberator 060713-F-1234S-039.jpg
Role Escort bomber
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
Introduction 1942
Retired 1943
Primary user United States Army Air Forces
Number built 1
Developed from Consolidated B-24 Liberator

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.

Design and development[edit]

The XB-41 Liberator was outfitted with 14 .50 caliber defensive machine guns. These included twin dorsal turrets, a remotely operated Bendix "chin" turret (of the same type as the YB-40 used) under the extreme nose, the usual twin-Browning M2 .50-cal armed, manned tail turret and twin-.50 cal armed, fully retractable Sperry ventral ball turret, plus a twinned-mount pair of Browning .50 cal M2s at each waist window.[1] The port waist mount was originally covered by a Plexiglas bubble; testing showed this caused severe optical distortion and it was removed.[1]

The XB-41 carried 12,420 rounds of ammunition, 4,000 rounds of which were stored in the bomb bay as a reserve.[1] It was powered by four 1,250 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 Twin Wasp radial engines.

Operational history[edit]

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.[2] These indicated significant problems with the aircraft; on 21 March 1943, the Army declared the XB-41 as unsuitable for operational use;[1] 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.[1] It was scrapped at Maxwell Field, Alabama on 2 February 1945.

Specifications (XB-41)[edit]

General characteristics

Performance

Armament

See also[edit]

Related development
Related lists

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e Davis 1987, p.24.
  2. ^ Consolidated XB-41 Liberator. Historyofwar.org. Retrieved on 2011-10-31.
Bibliography
  • Andrade, John M. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Earl Shilton, Leicester: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Birdsall, Steve. Log Of The Liberators. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1973. ISBN 0-385-03870-4.
  • Davis, Larry. B-24 Liberator in action. Aircraft in Action No. 80. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1987. ISBN 0-89747-190-3.