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The B-24 Liberators

The B-24 Liberator, the Second Air Division's tool of trade, was a large aircraft for its day.

It had a wing span of 110 feet and a gross weight of more than 30 tons.

Powered by four 1,200 horsepower radial engines, it had a maximum fuel capacity of 2,814 US gallons and the bomb load varied from 4,000 to 8,000 pounds depending on the distance of the target to be attacked.

The crew varied from eight to 10 men, five or six of whom acted as gunners, manning the 10 machine guns usually carried for defence.

The operating technique with these heavy bombers was, after take-off, to assemble large formations of from 20 to 40 aircraft while climbing to operational altitude of 20,000 to 25,000 feet.

Such an assembly was despatched from a single airfield and joined with other formations to form a division column of perhaps 500 to 600 bombers.

On reaching the target each formation released its bombs on the aim and signal of the leading aircraft.

(Article contributed by the late Roger Freeman, Second Air Division Memorial Trust governor.)