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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 developmentEdit

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 historyEdit

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

  • 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

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 289 mph (465 km/h)
  • Range: 3,100 mi (4,989 km)
  • Service ceiling: 28,500 ft (8,689 m)</ul>Armament
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See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 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.
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