Consolidated XB-41 Liberator
|Primary user||United States Army Air Forces|
|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
The XB-41 Liberator was outfitted with 14 .50 caliber defensive machine guns. These included twin dorsal turrets, a remotely operated Bendix turret (of the same type as the YB-40 used) under the chin, the usual twin Browning M2 .50 cal tail turret and twin-.50 cal fully retractable Sperry ventral ball turret, plus a twinned-mount pair (similar to the twinned tail-guns of a B-17E or -F Flying Fortress) of Browning .50 cal M2s at each waist window. The port waist mount was originally covered by a Plexiglas bubble; testing showed this caused severe optical distortion and it was removed.
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. These indicated significant problems with the aircraft; on 21 March 1943, the Army declared the XB-41 as unsuitable for operational use; 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. It was scrapped at Maxwell Field, Alabama on 2 February 1945.
- Crew: nine
- Length: 66 ft 4 in (20.22 m)
- Wingspan: 110 ft 0 in (33.54 m)
- Height: 17 ft 11 in (5.46 m)
- Max. takeoff weight: 63,000 lb (28,576 kg)
- Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 radial engines, 1,250 hp (934 kW) each
- Davis 1987, p.24.
- Consolidated XB-41 Liberator. Historyofwar.org. Retrieved on 2011-10-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Consolidated XB-41 Liberator.|
- 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.