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American ingenuity -B24

This is a discussion on American ingenuity -B24 within the Military History forums, part of the Armed Services category; Between the two, I'd take the B24 any day. One of the reasons that the B17 got to be the darling of the Eight Air ...


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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:07 AM   #16
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Between the two, I'd take the B24 any day.
One of the reasons that the B17 got to be the darling of the Eight Air Force is that since it was the first US bomber to get to England, most of their bases were closer to London so when the press and officials made filmed visits it was to the closest bases for ease.

The 24 had a heavier payload and longer range. Sure it wasn't a sleek as a 17 and not as easy to fly in formation but it was the bomber used on the longer range bombing missions later in the war that the 17 couldn't do. Especially the Ploesti oil complex raids.

Also remember that the 24 was the aircraft of choice for anti-submarine and patrol work.
Even the Privateer version was designed for the Navy.

The 24 and Privateer accounted for many U-boat and enemy shipping losses.

The 17 was a manufactured legend for propaganda but the 24 was the workhorse of the aerial war.
Plus, I've been in both and being 6'1" I can get around the 24 easier.

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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:59 AM   #17
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The B 17 was designed and flying 5 years prior to the B24. The B24 was concieved, and designed to achieve better performance than the alrady operational B17, and designed to standards that were not achievable when the B17 was concieved in 1932.

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Old March 20th, 2017, 06:11 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Duce View Post
My grandfather was a nose-gunner/togglier on a B24 with the 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force (the memorial on my profile page was taken by me at Attlebridge, near Norwich, England, which was the home of the 466th Bomb Group (Heavy) during WWII where my grandfather was stationed).

Back in 2005, at that time the only remaining flying B24, "Witchcraft" was here in the Twin Cities. I and some professional pilot buddies of mine went to take a first-hand look at it before an air show. Impressive, especially the size of it. However, I simply have no idea how my grandfather could ever squeeze himself into the nose-gunner position. All that was there was literally a 2x6 board for a seat, and there is no way I could fit into it.

Here are some photos that were taken:













I like the warning sign here:







Working on an engine:





Remember how small I said the nose-gunner position was? This is all I could fit into it!

Thanks for the great photos Duce!

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Old March 20th, 2017, 08:07 AM   #19
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I belong to a conservation club, and one of the members was a nose gunner on a B-24. He's only around 5'-6", and he told me he was only 5'7" at his tallest.

He was originally supposed to be a top turret gunner, but his pilot re-assigned him to the nose gunner slot because he was a great marksman. Before he entered the Army, he was a skilled skeet shooter, and the training he underwent was similar to learning to shoot skeet. They practiced with shotguns from moving trucks. I also asked him about leading the targets, etc., and he replied that he always but the sight on the target, and never tried to gauge the lead. When you consider that the muzzle velocity of the M-2 round was over 2600 ft/sec, you can understand why.

After his 25 mission tour in Italy, he returned to the U.S. as a gunnery instructor. Not satisfied with his contribution, he volunteered for another 25, and served another tour, again in Italy.

Although his health is now failing, I saw him, at age 80, run 100 on the skeet field with a 20 gauge Browning O/U.

Vince is just one more of the Greatest Generation who's lived his life in relative obscurity after his service.

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Old March 20th, 2017, 09:36 AM   #20
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Science and Technology magazine did a great write up on the B24 and the Willow Run story. Hurdles overcome, nearby housing built from trees cut from the manufacturing site, layout of the plant to stay in one counties boundary lines, etc.

It took a long time but the one an hour capability was realized late in it's manufacture. Congressman Harry Truman was one official that was overseeing the issues on the delays experienced in it's manufacture.

At the time the story was written Willow Run had become a GM transmission plant.

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Old March 20th, 2017, 10:44 AM   #21
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This is a great thread, with some very interesting reading. The B-17 and the B-24 were both great planes, and very advanced for the timeframe in which they were built. Interestingly, the B-17 was classified as a "Heavy Bomber" with an armament payload of around 17,000lbs - that is the same armament payload of one of our current FIGHTER jets, the F-16. My, how times have changed!

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Old March 20th, 2017, 10:58 AM   #22
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Anyone that fought from 1 of the glass bubbles must have had titanium gonads.
The thought of looking at a Messerschmitt coming up your 6 with only that dome between you and him must have really got the addrenaline moving.

Those guys must have been spent after their fights, not that they all weren't as well. But those tail gunners must be a unique breed.

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Old March 20th, 2017, 12:58 PM   #23
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I had a friend who has since passed away. He was a waist gunner on a B24 flying out of England during the war. Jimmy Steward was a pilot in his unit. He was 19yrs old and the oldest guy in his plane was the pilot and the pilot was 26 yrs old. Most crew members were his age. He told me they got shot up really bad one time and had limp back to England after losing a couple engines.
My wife's father was a top turret gunner on a B24 flying out of Northern Australia bombing the oil fields in Malaysia. He was 22 yrs old. They crashed on take off on his 8th or 9th mission and he was in a coma for two weeks. He finished out the war as a gunnery instructor in Fla. He died at 55 from a brain tumor and I never got to talk to him about his flying days. I have since talked to other B24 crew members and have been told the B24 was not an easy plane to take off or to land but once up she flew nicely.

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Old March 20th, 2017, 01:48 PM   #24
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Got into flying because of my cousin who was pilot on Reluctant Dragon. Liked the 17 but he had a love for the Dragon and flew beautifully but not the easiest to taxi and take off . She was a work horse and brought him home safely through war. Could be wrong but believe I heard they were re creating the reluctant Dragon for display a few years ago. Don't know if project got funding . Wouldn't of become pilot without his help. Anyways, great post and beautiful pics,

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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:19 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by SPEEDGUNNER View Post
This is a great thread, with some very interesting reading. The B-17 and the B-24 were both great planes, and very advanced for the timeframe in which they were built. Interestingly, the B-17 was classified as a "Heavy Bomber" with an armament payload of around 17,000lbs - that is the same armament payload of one of our current FIGHTER jets, the F-16. My, how times have changed!
The difference is the F-16 carrying 6,000 pounds of ordnance can go about 350 miles, unrefueled, and return, with a 4,000 pound bomb load they can stretch it to just under a thousand miles. An F-105D with 6000 pounds of ordnance was closer to the B-17, with a combat radius of 750 miles.

A B-17 carrying 6,000 pounds of ordnance could go about 1000 miles.

There is a fallacy about air-to-air refueling extending your range to "unlimited", your tanker aircraft are slow, unarmed, essentially just airliners, they can only venture so close to enemy airspace.

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Old March 23rd, 2017, 01:21 AM   #26
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Cool

I started my flight crew flying in a Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer = a single tailed B 24 in the mid 50s when the Navy was beginning to phase out the remaining Privateers. I had about 4 months and then we got P2V-5 Neptunes. On both A/C my crew position was what would have been a waist gunner except that none of them had guns on them.
The privateer was a Cold, noisy SOB! The problem was that there were No crew heaters in the aft end of the A/C and the bomb bay doors didn't seal good so in cold weather it was Always cold as hell.
The Neptune on the other hand had a sealed bomb bay And we had a heater in the aft section, of course we had to call the pilot and tell him to turn the dammed thing on since we had no controls for it. The fuselage was also insulated and this made the aft section a very quiet place compared to the Privateer.
Wouldn't trade my flight time in a PB4Y-2 for anything, but I'm dammed glad we got P2V-5s!
Sarge

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Old March 23rd, 2017, 03:54 AM   #27
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I highly recommend "The Aviators " by Winston Groom. It's the story of Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh.

In the book it mentions serious, even scandalous levels of quality control coming out of Willow Run B-24 production. Lindbergh was given the assignment to investigate. Very interesting read

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Old March 23rd, 2017, 03:57 AM   #28
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Also- no way I would climb in a B24 over a B17....

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Old March 23rd, 2017, 07:21 AM   #29
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Last fall I took a ride in the Collings Foundation's B17, 'Nine-O-Nine'. Sat in the bombardiers' seat, poked my head out the radio room hatch in flight... awesome experience. You feel very exposed sitting in the nose in flight...not that the thin skin offered any better protection than the plexi bubbles. Next time they come around I'll hop a ride in 'Witchcraft' their B24.

Since they won't let me fly them in combat I won't be able to give a good comparison of the two.

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Old March 24th, 2017, 08:32 AM   #30
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The 466th Bomb Group (H)--Attlebridge has a Facebook page, and this just popped up... which I'm stealing and posting here:

Quote:
Today, with a little time to kill before flying home from Michigan, I was able to make a B-24 pilgrimage of sorts. This 144,000 square feet of building is all that is left of what was once the largest building under roof in the world; The 3 million square foot Ford Willow Run B-24 plant. More than 1/2 of the 466th BG's original compliment of B-24's were B-24H-15-FO models that were built at this site, and made their first flight from the adjacent airfield. When GM (who purchased the plant after the war and built among other models, the Chevrolet Corvair here) declared bankruptcy in 2009 they shut the plant down and evidently tore most of it down. Fortunately the Yankee Air Museum has purchased this remaining structure and after refurbishing it, will move their collection here from the other side of the airport. So one small part of the B-24 heritage at this site will be preserved.

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