Consolidated B-24 Liberator's of the RCAF
The Royal Canadian Air Force had 148 Liberators on its roster between April 1943 and June 1948
Liberators served operationally with both 10(BR) and 11(BR) Squadrons on the East coast. To Liberator III's go the distinction of sinking two submarines and seriously damaging another. In addition 168 (Transport) Squadron used converted GR.VI's on trans-Atlantic transport duties during the closing months of the war. The conversion to transport was made to a number of Liberator GR.Mk.VI from July 1944 onward. No. 412 Squadron used transport "Libs" briefly in 1947 and until the type was retired in the summer of 1948. Liberator Mk.III and Mk.V were virtually indistinguishable from one another. Both frequently had a "chin" radar installation - a bulbous, half tear-drop under the nose - not unlike the present day Argus installation, while the others had a clean "chin" with the radar in a cylindrical housing which retracted into the belly, aft of the bomb-bay. Liberator GR.Mk.VI had a nose turret, thus making it slightly slower but offering greatly improved forward fire power on the final run in on a submarine. The belts were well laced with tracer to further convince submarines, well protected by armour, that they were in grave danger. Both versions could be fitted with a Leigh light, which from the pilot's point of view was an improvement over the landing lights normally used in night attacks. However it gave the aircraft the performance one might logically expect from a Liberator with a permanently dead fifth engine hanging outboard of number four on the right wing.
The Liberators used by Coastal Command were known as VLR (Very Long Range ) aircraft. The term was most appropriate because 12 to 15 hours out of sight of land without the luxury of a Sunderland's galley or the Canso's bunks certainly heightened the illusion of VLR, a term no doubt coined by the first returning crew. The Liberator GR.Mk.VIII was essentially a GR.VI made by another manufacturer. Old "Lib" pilots recognized them instantly, while kicking the nose wheel tire, because the nose wheel doors opened outward instead of Inward. It is perhaps significant that all the major improvements made to the Liberator detracted from its speed, which is reason enough for quoting a profound observation made by another observer of this phenomenon, "The Liberator was the only Allied aircraft which depended on the curvature of the earth for take off." All GR (General Reconnaissance) Liberators were finished in white overall, except for the plan view which was patterned in the temperate sea scheme. The white paint produced a true matte finish which required frequent scrubbing with Varsol to keep it from absorbing the oil and grime produced by the turbo-superchargers on the underside of the four engine nacelles, two of these being cleverly lined up with the twin fin and rudders. To those who flew the "Lib" she was an absolutely reliable aircraft - mild mannered, if somewhat ponderous; stable to the point of being unmanoeuverable; reliable; dry in wet weather; quiet on the flight deck and unbearably noisy aft; a long, gymnastic trek from nose to tail turret while in flight; reliable; and much maligned by Lancaster crews who insisted on behaving like fighter types when in the presence of a lady.
The Liberators of the Royal Canadian Air Force were as follows:
EW127-37, EW208-14, 216-18, 270, 281, 282
|B.Mk.VI||KG880, 886, 888, 891-892, 894,
KG920, 922-24, 929-31, 978,
KH105-10, 171-76, KH285-88,