A video of Jay Leno taking a tour of the Commerative Air Force's B-24 is here:
Below is a line drawing of a B-24 Liberator. There are various areas on this picture that you may click on to be taken to the appropriate descriptions below as described by B-24 veterans on the B-24 mailing list.
The put-put was located forward of the Bombay below the floor boards on the left side of the B24 bomber. I'd like to tell you a story about the put-put, a radio, a battery and a loud speaker. I was stationed with the 451 Bomb Group 727 Squadron of the 15th Air force. The engineer of a B24 crew who was living in the tent adjacent to ours had confiscated a put-put, a battery and a radio. For some reason, he had flown in a B24 to another air field with his pilot and co-pilot. While there, he picked up the mentioned items. It was his intent to have a radio in his tent for his crew. The crew buried the put-put, and battery. They ran an exhaust line to a stand up pipe out side the tent. At night, they would run the put-put whenever they needed to charge the battery. Every once in a while I would here that put-put running. I became interested in the radio. I wanted a radio for my tent. The engineer (I forgot his name) who was the recipient of The Distinguished Flying Cross showed me how to make a speaker. Using a single English type earphone that our radio man acquired for me, I made a loud speaker. I ran a wire to the radio in the adjacent tent. Of course the wire was buried. So, whenever the radio was played we would hear it in our tent. At night you would hear that put-put putting a long. We enjoyed the music from Naples. No one ever caught on.
Nose gunner Dan Marchi
UNIT P-3 HOMELITE AUXILIARY POWER PLANT, Type C-10, Model HRU-28
Location: Homelite Model HRU-28, 2000 watt. 28.5 volt gasoline engine driven generator is installed just forward of bulkhead No. 4.0 on the left side of the airplane, starting with B-24D, No. 41-11757.
Function: This unit is for recharging the batteries while the airplane in on the ground or for an auxiliary source of electrical energy for the main system during flight.
Operation: 1. Supplementary Base Installation
(a) Base is to be installed, open side of channel up, so that Power
Plant will be level when plane is in taxiing position.
(b) Drill four mounting holes in channel of supplementary base
locating these holes as necessary to meet plane structural
Note: A locating fixture shall be used to hold supplementary base
in position while fastening in place. This fixture should be
designed for attachment to the supplementary base by means of
the four tapped holes (11 1/4" center to center width and 23"
center to center length) as supplementary base is not sufficiently
rigid to maintain these dimensions before fastened in place
(c) Fasten supplementary base in position.
2. Place unit is position on supplementary base and fasten with four
3. Connect flexible exhaust line (not a port of Power Plant) to tail pipe
of auxiliary muffler to lead exhaust gases outside.
4. Connect Fuel Tank Vent Line (not a part of Power Plant) to Fuel
Tank Vent Connector.
5. Remove voltage regulator housing cover and attach voltage
regulator (not a part of Power Plant) by inserting prongs in clips at
front, or engine end and snap rear clips in place. Replace cover.
6. Connect receptacle on Power Plant to plane wiring in accordance
with wiring diagram.
7. Fuel and Oil.
(a) Thoroughly mix 1/2 pint lubricating oil, Spec. 2-91A, Grade 62
SAE-30 with each gallon of gasoline and then pour into fuel
container (capacity 1 gallon). To measure the oil, fill the
container cup four times (capacity 1/8 pint). Lubrication for
the entire engine is obtained by mixing oil gasoline, and it is
extremely important that the oil be thoroughly mixed with
the gasoline. Gas of 70 to 100 octane is satisfactory,
therefore regular ships gasoline is usable.
(b) The generator end requires no lubrication.
(a) Place shut-off valve on top of fuel container to "ON."
(b) To Choke: Pull all the way up on plunger button on priming
pump (on top of air cleaner) and release two or three times.
In cold weather operate plunger 5 to 8 times.
(c) See that equalizer switch on control box is in "Off"
position unless main engines are running.
(d) Depress starting switch on control box and release as soon
as engine starts.
(e) After engine starts, it may be necessary in cold weather to
keep operating the carburetor priming pump at short
intervals when the engine falters, until it warms up
sufficiently to ren smoothly, this should take about one
(f) If the engine does not start within 5 seconds after following
above procedure, is may be flooded. To relieve this
condition open drain cock on crankcase and turn over engine
for a few seconds, by depressing starting switch, to expell
raw gas. Close drain cock and depress starting switch.
(g) Emergency Manual Starting. If batteries are dead, the
engine can be started manually by following preceding
instructions (a), (b), and (c), and then winding starting rope
on starting plate, in direction of arrow. Brace one hand on
unit and pull rope hard to give a quick spin to engine. Repeat
if necessary until engine starts. If necessary, follow
instruction on choking, preceding paragraph (e), and if
does not start, see instructions on flooding in preceding
(h) Summarized, the Starting Procedure is as follows:
(1) Prepare fuel and oil mixture;
(2) Pour fuel mixture into fuel container;
(3) Place shut-off valve in "ON. position;
(5) Set equalizer switch, if required; and
(6) Depress starting switch or start with rope manually.
9. Operation: After the Power Plant is started it should require no
further attention than refuelling and setting equalizer switch to
"ON" position if it is desired to charge batteries in parallel with
main engine generators while main engines are running. If main
engines are not running keep switch in "OFF" position. Correct
voltage is maintained automatically by voltage regulator mounted
above generator yoke. In normal operation the voltmeter will
register approximately 28.5 volts, but if batteries are under
heavy load, a lower voltage will be registered.
(a) To stop turn shut-off valve on top of fuel container to"OFF."
The unit will run for approximately 1/2 minute until fuel is
consumed in carburettor and sump on bottom of fuel
(b) For emergency stopping or if unit is to be restarted soon,
press red stop button on magneto stator plate and hold
firmly until engine stops.
The Yank Down Under
The B24 had one bomb bay. If you were inside the aircraft it looks like one bomb bay. It contained four racks of bombs. Four doors covered the bomb bay. From the outside view one might think that there are two bomb bays. The bomb bay doors were corrugated doors that rolled up the side of the aircraft on rollers. These rollers were subject to freezing at high altitudes. Bombs were sometimes dropped through the doors.
To the rear of the aircraft was the camera hatch. Gunners were shown how to use the portable camera. I was one of them. One bomber would be assigned a camera man to take pictures. These camera men were gunners who volunteered to be camera men so that they could finish their tour early (35 missions). They would fly often. I knew one of them. It was considered a jinks to have one on board. The time I'm talking about is near the end of the war in latter part of 1944 to the end of the war in 1945. The famous Polesti picture that you might have seen a painting of was taken by the 727 Squadron of the 451 Bomb. The squadron I served with. These camera men would take pictures of the bomb hits as well as any parachute or bombers going down. The information would be related to the Italian Partisans. When the war ended, I understood later that the Germans were made accountable for the airmen who were shot down and who were missing. The procedure for bailing out would be to have anyone in the nose of the aircraft go through the nose wheel door opening. The Martin gunner (top turret), pilot and copilot would go through the bomb bay opening. The people to the rear of the aircraft beyond the bomb bay would use the camera hatch opening.
Nose Gunner Dan Marchi
After running through those posts about evacuation - the hatches, the bomb bays, etc., one thing is apparent. There are almost as many viewpoints and remembered views as there are those who post them! It is wonderful to read the different memories - each one brings back more memories to me. We always considered that there were four bomb bays, and four doors, although that is certainly subject to question. (I haven't looked at any of the "manuals" or books.) We had fuel tanks in our forward bomb bays, cameras in the starboard (that's the right side, Harry) and sometimes bombs in the aft port. The doors were all opened by the same mechanism, and normally opened simultaneously. They were separate in the sense that any one could be taken off by itself. We did drop our bombs "onto the door" which tore loose and flapped in the wind. It happened one time when the navigator/bombardier used the mechanical device to open the doors and did not stop at the detent. The mechanism was supposed to stop at the detent, allow the doors to open, then the bombardier moved the handle to the full position which dropped the bombs. He just grabbed the handle and shoved it forward without stopping, so the bombs fell before the doors could open. I don't remember that we had a plan for evacuation. I know that I did not look forward to jumping. First, I didn't like heights (!) and looking out of that hatch or bomb bay with a thought of jumping did not appeal to me at all. Then jumping into the ocean was not a very happy prospect. Better than dying in a burning aircraft, but not much else. I always figured I would try to go out through the bomb bay - more space to get out. I wanted to be able to throw myself out, not have to sit and deliberate about it. There was a top hatch forward of the top turret, the nose wheel hatch, actually some used the cockpit windows I think, the bomb bay, the after side hatches and the tail hatch. the cockpit windows were awfully close to the engines and they and the waist hatches and top hatch all were threatened by the tail section (in my opinion.) I'm just glad as hell that I never had to bail out.
God bless America!
The Hoosier Hotshot
BOMB BAY DOORS
The bomb bay doors are made up of a corrugated hat section, spot welded and riveted to an outer skin of dural. This type of construction gives sufficient strength, and at the same time provides the flexibility required for the doors to follow a curved track without strain when operated. Rollers on which the doors move are attached to each end of the hat section. At the top of the sections and on the second from bottom corrugation, rollers are replaced by shoes, which keep the tracks clear of dirt.
Operation--The doors are operated by cables, attached to a crosshead on the end of an hydraulic jack, which run through a pulley system and around sprockets mounted on bearings on the fuselage at each end of the doors. The sprockets engage in the brackets to which the rollers are attached, and in revolving run the doors up and down, utilizing rack and pinion principle.
Bomb Bay Door Latch--To eliminate bomb door creep, when doors are open, bomb bay is equipped with a spring loaded latch. When hydraulic pressure is applied to piston ram, moving it forward, pin ridding along surface forces latch pivoted at inboard against tension of spring. By the time pin is contacted by aft end of slot in clevis moving crosshead forward, latch has moved inboard far enough to allow the pin to pass latch surface.
The Yank Down Under
B-24D ANTENNA SYSTEM
The Antenna system used on B-24D airplanes consist of six separate antennas, each with a specific purpose.
The Command Antenna is a single wire which extends aft from alongside the top turret to the top of the left vertical stabilizer.
The Liaison Fixed Antennas is also single wire which extends aft from alongside the top turret to the top of the right vertical stabilizer.
The Radio Compass "Sense" Antenna is a "vertical whip type," mounted on top of the airplane at Station 5.1 and accessible through a junction box mounted in the top compartment aft of the life raft area.
The Marker Beacon Antenna is mounted underneath the plane below the catwalk on stand-off insulators. The lead-in is at Station 5.0.
The Radio Compass Loop is mounted topside at Station 5.3 to 5.4.
The Liaison "Trailing Antenna" is a single wire wound on an electrically operated reel located under the flight deck.
P.S. What! No TV Antenna?
The Yank Down Under
The dual controls in the B-24D Airplane provide for Pilot and Co-Pilot to be seated side by side. The control wheel units mount under the instrument panels in front of the Pilots and are conventional in operation. The rudder pedals are adjustable over a four inch fore and aft range, in inch steps. To adjust the pedals kick the lever on the right side of left hand pedals and left side of right hand pedals, then move the pedal to the desired position. The springloaded pin will drop into place in the selected hole.
Both Pilots have access to the aileron, elevator and rudder tab controls mounted on the control pedestal. Each control has its own adjacent position indicator.
CONTROL SURFACES of this airplane consists of two each, ailerons, rudder, and elevators. Trimming tabs are provided on both rudders and elevators and right aileron. Surface control cables are identified by 1/2" color bands at cable ends as follows:
Left aileron UP - White
Left Aileron Down - White and Black
Aileron Trim Tab Up - White
Aileron Trim Tab Down - White and Black
Elevator Up - Yellow
Elevator Down - Yellow and Black
Rudder Right - Green
Rudder Left - Green and Black
Rudder Trim - Tab Right Green
Rudder Trim Tab Left - Green and Black
Lock Surface - Blue and Black
Unlock Surface - Blue and Black
Brake Lock - Red
Brake Release - Red and Black
P.S. I hope none of the Pilots were color blind!
The Yank Down Under
FROM AND B-24D SERVICE AND INSTRUCTION MANUAL 1942
RETRACTABLE TAIL SKID
Beginning with B-24D, Airplane Serial No. 23640, a retractable tail skid has been installed in production. This change will be accomplished on airplanes from Serial No. 41-1187 and on, as soon as parts are available.
The tail skid assembly is located on the centerline between Station 7.2 and 7.3. The skid swings downward in an arc of approximately 70 degrees from a fitting located at Station 7.2. A jack knife linkage consisting of two struts member connects with the lower end of the skid through a compression member composed of twelve rubber rings, which is connected to a second member of the linkage which swings from a fitting located between 7.2 and 7.3. The mechanism is raised and lowered by a hydraulic jack. The jack is attached to an "I" beam fitting immediately forward of Station 7.3. On later ships the compression member is being replaced by a fluid compression cylinder.
On B-24D Airplanes prior to above Consolidated Numbers, a tail bumper consisting of twelve streamlined rubber pads extends vertically downward from the fuselage at Station 7.2.
The purpose of the tail bumper and tail skid is mainly to protect the belly of the turret from striking the ground in case of a sudden shift of weight to the aft section. The tail bumper assembly will be torn out of the fuselage if it should happen to drag on landing.
Airplanes equipped with a retractable skid may be landed with the tail low, as in airplanes without a nose wheel. The retractable mechanism, while not recommended for full tail landing loads, will stand the load of "rocking back" after landing, and be "dragging" the skid. The shoes is thin and must be replaced frequently.
The Yank Down Under
On B-24D Airplanes up to and including Serial No. 41-23640, the oxygen supply comes from ten oxygen cylinders (Type G-1), located between wing Stations 12 and 13, five oxygen bottles in each wing. After Serial No. 41-23640 the cylinders are located over the bomb bay Stations 5.2 and 5.4. Outlet manifolds are provided for crew members as noted below.
The purpose of the system is to furnish oxygen to the plane's crew while flying at high altitudes.
On B-24 Airplanes up to and including Serial No. 41-23640, oxygen bottles (Type G-10 are strapped in saddles. The second bottle from the wing leading edge, is removable for access to the wing outer panel and is equipped with a Parker needle valve, which must be closed before removing cylinder. A line leads from each cylinder to man manifolds; one located in each wing rear spar just inboard of the bottles. Two lines from each manifold, one leading to the filler valve, detail located on the left side of the fuselage between Station 4.2 and 4.3; the other leading through a relief valve (Parker No. 8-1440-7) on right side of the fuselage between Station 5.1 and 5.2 above the sing center section to the main oxygen shut-off valve located near the center section rear spar. From the shut-off valve. lines lead forward and aft to eight regulators (Type A-9); one on the right side of the nose compartment for the Bombardier, one under each side of the instrument panel; one over the Radio Operator's table; one on the aft side of bulkhead at Station 4.0 on the right side; two in the rear compartment; one opposite the lower turret;; one located opposite the camera position; one located at Station 9.9 at the tail turret.
The oxygen battles are charged with chemically pure oxygen to 350 p.s.i. through the filler valves at Station 4.4 left side. To operate: open main valve on rear spar of center section. This delivers oxygen at manifold pressure to the distribution system. Each outlet is an adjustable reducing unit controlled by the individual user. The pressure scale is translated in terms of altitude and the user maintains a regulator setting 5000 feet higher than the indicated altitude. A rubber tube connects the face mask to the station regulator outlet.
From Serial No. 41-23640, the oxygen system has the following changes:
Manifold--replaced by block type manifold and located just to left of bottles.
Capacity increased from 10 bottles to 18 bottles on main system:
10 bottles--located to rear of rear spar on center line on decking at Station 5.2 to 5.4.
5 bottles--Located under Side Gunner's floor.
1 bottle--Located on each side lower turret well.
1 bottle --Located above lower turret well.
2 bottles--Installed on top turret for Gunner.
P.S. The smoking lamp is out, when the oxygen in on!!
The Yank Down Under
PROPELLER ANTI-ICER SYSTEM
The anti-icer system consists of two electrically driven pumps installed underneath a six-gallon fluid reservoir located in the nose wheel compartment on the right side. One-fourth inch aluminum alloy tubes lead from the reservoir to the slinger rings on the propeller. A switch and rheostat assembly is mounted on the Co-Pilot's Control Panel to control the speed of the pumps.
Operation--When the switch is turned "ON" the electric motors pump fluid, (85% denatured alcohol and 15% glycerine) from the reservoir through the lines to slinger rings on each propeller.
The fluid is then thrown by centrifugal force along the propeller blades and prevents ice from forming, due to chemical action of the fluid.
On future ships a new Anti-Icer System is being installed with a 21 gallon tank Located on top of the enter section between the life raft doors.
The purpose of the de-icer system is to prevent the formation of ice on the leading edge of the critical lifting and control surfaces of the airplane, viz: Wings, Stabilizer, and Fins.
The De-Icer System consists of a rubber shoe, or boot assembly, with longitudinal air compartments secured to the leading edge of the wing, vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer. These shoes are connected by tubing and flexible hose connections to the main distributor valve which has ten outlets, four to the left wing, four to the right wing, and two through a "Y" fitting to the tail group. The distributor, oil separator (Eclipse Model 559), and control valve are in one unit located near the enter of the ship on the front spar of the wing center section. From the control valve of this unit, lines run along the front spar through a check valve, a pressure relief valve, another oil separator near the vacuum pump, and then are attached to the exhaust side of the vacuum pumps on No. 1 and No. 2 Engines. The pressure for operation of the de-icer system is supplied by the pressure discharge of the engine driven vacuum pumps on Engines Nos. 1 and 2. Both pumps operate the pressure for the system, but only one pump can provide for the vacuum of the De-Icer; the other pump provides vacuum for flight instruments.
Discharge from the de-icer system passes through a check valve at No. 3 Engine Nacelle and is there discharged into the slip-stream.
The purpose of the defrosters is to keep the inside of the windows from steaming up and impairing the vision of the Pilot, Co-Pilot, and Bombardier.
Flexible cloth defroster tubing leads from each Stewart-Warner heater unit to the Pilot, Co-Pilot, and Bombardier. These tubes are adjustable so that they, may be directed on each window.
The Pilot's and Co-Pilot's Controls are located on the instrument panel while the Bombardier's Control is on the heater.
When the defrosters are not in use they can be collapsed into containers provided for this purpose.
The Yank Down Under
We got our B-24H airplane in Oct 43. During my tour in the 15th the only time I ever saw a B-24D in combat was a few D's belonging to the 98th and 376th BG. This was in Jan and maybe early in Feb. They were painted desert "pink" and we called them pink elephants, From then on all planes I ever saw were H's, J's, a few G's. The planes that flew the low level attack on Ploesti were all D's. The D's were the last ones to have nose guns. All the rest had the Emerson turret up front.
BTW Al Berger is right that I did things a little differently down in the nose of our H. Back in Topeka where we staged I got the maintenence folks to cut me a table that I fitted into the nose on top of the split navigator table. I sat on the table facing forward so I was not in the way of the bombardier. I preferred to look forward because almost all of the time in combat all navigation was by eyeball. I also preferred to stay in the nose because of the easy way out if anything happened. I lost a good friend (navigator) on 30 Jan, 44 because he stayed on the flight deck.
We used the Jungle Escape Kit. This consisted of a one-piece, denim overall full of pockets of every size. There was a hat of the same material with it's own mosquito netting [bit like Crocodile Dundee's] and also a machette. The 'tools' provided were a mini-telescope so small and useless you would have been disappointed to get one in a Christmas cracker. Yes;- we did have a button-compass. Mine pointed permanently south-west and we had bar compasses disguised as sewing-needles. Also, we had a saw for cutting out prison bars [ I suppose]. This saw was 1.5" long by .5" wide. It was encased in rubber so that you could conceal it, - probably in the very first place the Japs would look! We didn't have any money - no shops in the jungle! .......... but we had bits of silk saying "Feed and hide this guy and after the war we'll give you a farm and a pension for life". In eight languages.[ I didn't get my silks because the store guys used to nick them.] There was no food in our escape kit but there was a survivors' manual.
This said :- You can eat anything monkeys eat. At a pinch, you can also eat the monkeys. I have previously recorded my thoughts on chasing monkeys up 200ft trees whilst dressed in flying boots, an over-all denim-canvas one piece suit and in temperatures of approx. 150F..Especially with escape tools concealed about the body as directed by the escape kit designers.
358 Special Duty Squadron
I flew with the 15th AF. I checked out ten escape kits before each mission. These were rather small sealed waterproof packets that just fit in one of the pockets of our gaberdene flight suit. As far as I can recall, all the escape kits we used were identical. We were told by intelligence during our briefings what they contained, but I never opened one. When I bailed out, I
opened mine. There were the 48 gold seal American dollar bills. I was expecting to see 48 bills of one dollar denomination each. When I saw them, I knew a banker type had chosen the denomination, rather than someone that would imagine what denominations were needed. There were four tens, one five and three ones, a total of eight bills. Now who would really expect one of the partison soldiers or some civilian in a foreign country would be able to make change for you. You had eight chances to use the money in return for some favor, not the 48 I expected. I lost my money when the Germans captured me. However, in talking to some of the crew that managed to get with the Partisons, the encountered just the problem I mention above. When their eight uses were up, they were broke. There were the maps. Quite interesting. There was also the small saw blade. I questioned if I would be able to cut anything with it. There was also the compass, about the size of a dime, and about a quarter of an inch thick. I never saw one that could be used as a button.
We also made up personal escape kits. In these we, of course put anything we wanted. Most of all extra socks, chocolate bars etc. I never got out with mine. I do not know what happened to it. It might have been thrown overboard while the crew was lightening the load as we had ordered them to do. Otherwise, it lay beside my seat, where I placed it before takeoff.
460th BG 760th BS 15AF