C-87 / C-109 Liberator
The Liberator represented a generation of aircraft even more advanced than the B-17, a fact not readily apparent from outward appearances. Piloting the aircraft was no easy task, for much of the aircraft's operating system was electric and the cockpit abounded with dials and switches. The B-24 was built around the slender, shoulder-mounted, high-lift Davis wing. Most models of the B-24 aircraft had easily identifiable oval endplate vertical fins and rudders, plus oval-shaped engine cowlings and nacelles. The aerodynamically superior high-aspect-ratio wing enabled the B-24 to achieve a range in excess of 2,000 miles and a speed of 300 mph.
Perhaps the "Lib's" best feature was its versatility. B-24s were used in every theater of the war and in various roles. Liberators raided the oil refineries at Ploesti, Rumania, in August 1943. Others flew maritime and antisubmarine patrol missions.
With nose and tail guns eliminated and a port side cargo door added, "Lumbering Lib" became the C-87 transport, able to carry a crew of five with twenty passengers. Another variant was the C-109 tanker, capable of transporting 2,900 gallons of fuel. The C-109s carried fuel over the Himalayan "Hump" to resupply B-29s operating from Chinese bases.
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