Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Consolidated LIBERATOR

During World War II, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator was manufactured in larger numbers than any other heavy bomber. In RCAF service, however, the type primarily served the long range maritime reconnaissance and heavy transport roles although some RCAF personnel did fly this type of aircraft on heavy bomber operations in the South East Asia theatre of war. From Canada's east coast, the type was used primarily in the ASW role; this aircraft type provided convoys with air cover as far as the mid-Atlantic. An Operational Training Unit (OTU) using Liberators was also established on Canada's west coast.

Marks: Mk VI-T,  C. Mk VI, B Mk VI, GR Mk V (Canada), GR Mk VI, GR Mk VIII, B-24D

The RCAF B-24 Designations

There has been some confusion over the B-24 designations in RCAF service. Probably the most confusing is the transport models used by 168(HT) Squadron. The following provides a brief guide to the B-24 Liberator designations as used in RCAF service:

Mk VI-T (570-579) were delivered to 168(HT) Squadron as B-24J bombers and were modified into transports. In official documents they have been recorded as B-24J, Liberator Mk VI-T, and Liberator C Mk VI. In J. Griffins book, Canadian Military Aircraft Serial and Photographs, he refers to these aircraft as GR Mk VIT but that is totally incorrect. GR stands for General Reconnaissance and only the anti-submarine aircraft had this nomenclature. Unfortunately, this error as been perpetuated in other books and documents. It would appear that Liberator Mk VI-T is most widely used of the "more official" designations. There was no C Mk VII.
C Mk VI (11101-11105). 11101 was a B-24J and the other 4 were B-24M. They were commonly referred to as the C Mk VI

The GR Mk V (Canada): (Ser 586 to 600) was an official designation for the first 15 (586 - 600) Liberators delivered to the RCAF. They were similar to the RAF GR Mk V but had a number of Canadian modifications which made them unique, hence the GR V (Canada).
GR Mk VI (3705-3742) These 38 Liberators were almost identical to the RAF version with some minor Canadian mods. However, they did not gain the (Canada) sub title after the Mark number.

GR Mk VIII (11120-11135). These aircraft were taken on as B-24L but were re-designated GR Mk VIII, 24 May 1945

B Mk VI. The aircraft operated by 5 OTU were definitely the B Mk VI as they were bombers and were identical to the standard RAF B Mk VI. They were not GR Mk VI as only the anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft of 10(BR) and 11(BR) Squadrons had the "GR" designation
B-24D (3701-3704) These 4 aircraft had been rejected by the USN and were passed onto the RCAF. They lacked ASW gear and were in pretty bad shape. They were turned into Squadron hacks for transport and training. As such, they never receive a "GR" or any other official RCAF designation. They were simply referred to as "B-24D."

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg:
US/NATO Reg.: B-24
Manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft + various other American companies under licence
Crew / Passengers: normal bomber crew of ten
Power Plant(s): four 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-65 14 cylinder radials
Performance: Max Speed: 290 mph (467 km/h) Cruising Speed: 190 mph (306 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 28,000 ft (8,534 m) Range: 2,200 miles (3,540 km)
Weights: Empty: 37,000 lb (16,783 kg) Gross: 65,000 lb (29,484 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 110 ft 0 in (33.5 m) Length: 67 ft 2 in (20.47 m) Height: 18 ft 0 in (5.94 m)
Armament: Provision for ten 0.50 Browning machine guns in 4 turrets and 2 waist gun positions plus two bomb bays for up to 8,000 lbs of bombs or stores
ASW Patrol aircraft in standard camouflage markings (CF Photo)

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