The Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Volume 1: Reuben Fleet, the Factories, and the Product
Imprint: Fonthill Media
880 Pages, 7.02 x 9.75 in, 610
- July 2023
In the first of his massive two volume B-24 Liberator set, Dr. Wolf presents a meticulously researched, truly ultimate look at the B-17’s stablemate from the drawing board to its emergence as America’s preeminent blue-collar bomber. In addition to his personal 25,000-book library and microfilm collection, the author made extensive use of the massive document and photo collections at the NMUSAF, the Pima Aerospace Museum; and Consolidated and Ford Company design and production information. Described is the role of aviation icon, Reuben Fleet, for his and Consolidated’s contribution to the development of Liberator in context of American military and commercial aviation industry. The design evolution of the Liberator and the Davis Wing are highlighted. Since the B-24 was ultimately manufactured by five different factories, primarily Consolidated and Ford, using different manufacturing technics, these are described, contrasted, and pictured in detail. The Ford Knock Down Kits, their manufacture and transport are detailed for the first time. The final section of the book describes the various B-24 models and variants along with detailing today’s surviving B-24s. This book and Volume 2 intends to be the definitive look at the Liberator detailing every facet for the air enthusiast, historian, and modeler.
Preface; Acknowledgments; Foreword; Part I: Reuben Fleet, Consolidated Aircraft, and the B-24 Liberator; 1 Introduction; 2 Reuben Fleet: The Early Years; 3 Fleet in the Service of His Country; 4 Fleet Becomes an Aircraft Builder; 5 The San Diego Plant Goes into Production; 6 David Davis and the Davis Wing; 7 Consolidated Model 31 Long-Range Patrol Boat and the Davis Wing; 8 Consolidated Pre-XB-24 Four-Engined Bomber Proposals; 9 Consolidated Model 32/XB-24: B-24 Precursor; 10 Consolidated Heads toward B-24 Production; 11 Consolidated Confronts the West Coast Labor Unions; 12 Consolidated Merges with Vultee; 13 Epilog: Reuben Fleet After the Merger;Part II: Liberator Production Pool, Committee, and Manufacturer Contracts; 1 Liberator Production Pool; 2 B-24 Committee; 3 B-24 and Knock-Down Kit Contracts;¶Part III: Consolidated San Diego and Fort Worth B-24 Plants; Section 1: Consolidated San Diego;1 Developing the San Diego Facility; 2 The San Diego Plant; 3 The San Diego Consolidated Labor Force; 4 Building the Liberator; 5 Feeder Shop Plan and Subcontracting; 6 Government-Furnished Equipment and Spare Parts; 7 Consolidated Assembly Line; 8 Consolidated San Diego: Summary and Conclusion; Section 2: Consolidated Fort Worth B-24 Plant; 1 Fort Worth’s Aviation Heritage; 2 Enter Reuben Fleet; 3 The Consolidated Fort Worth Plant; 4 Fort Worth B-24 Knock-Down Assembly and Production; 5 B-24 Manufacture is Terminated and B-32 Production Begun; 6 Consolidated Fort Worth Plant Post-War to Present; Part IV: The Magnificent Ford Willow Run Plant; 1 Henry Ford and Automobile Mass Production; 2 The Trimotor Tin Goose: Ford’s First Aircraft Manufacturing Endeavor; 3 The Auto Industry Begins Aircraft Manufacture; 4 Ford and Charles Sorensen Enter the U.S. Air Defense Program; 5 The Willow Run Factory is Conceived; 6 Plant Construction; 7 The Plant; 8 Mass Producing the B-24; 9 The Willow Run Workforce; 10 Production at Willow Run; 11 Ford Implements the Plan; 12 Engineering at Willow Run; 13 Raw Materials and Purchased Parts; 14 Subcontracting: Other Ford Plants and Outside Sub-Contractors; 15 Spare Parts; 16 Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE); 17 Inspection and Government Control; 18 Rate of Production Acceleration; 19 Willow Run Crises; 20 Period of Rapid Production Acceleration; 21 The Passing of Edsel Ford and Its Aftermath; 22 The Fabled Willow Run Production Line; 23 The Center Wing Section: The Essence of Liberator Manufacture; 24 Knock-Down (KD) Kit Production and Transport; 25 Was “Willit Run” a Success?; 26 Willow Run Post-War; Part V: North American Dallas Plant; 1 Planning and Building the Dallas Plant; 2 NAA Builds Plant B for B-24 Production; 3 Assembling KD and Scratch B-24s; 4 NAA Dallas B-24 Production and Costs; 5 NAA Dallas Plant Epilog; Part VI: Douglas Tulsa Plant; 1 Planning and Building the Tulsa Plant; 2 Assembling B-24s; Part VII: Modification Centers and Air Depots; 1 Introduction; 2 Consolidated Finds the Need for Liberator Modification; 3 Modification Centers Become Essential; 4 Modification Procedure; 5 Modification Centers, Air Depots, and Storage Pools; 6 U.S. B-24 Modification Centers and Modifications; 7 Air Depots in the U.K.; Part VIII: The Product; Section 1: B-24 Factory-Built and Assembled Precursors, Variants, and; Modifications; 1 Introduction; 2 Consolidated XB-24; 3 Consolidated XB-24B; 4 Consolidated YB-24; 5 Consolidated B-24A; 6 Consolidated LB-30A; 7 Consolidated Liberator I; 8 Liberator II/LB-30; 9 What’s in a Name? “Liberator” and “LB-30”; 10 Requisitioned Liberator IIs and Consolidated LB-30s in AAF Service; 11 Consolidated B-24C; 12 Consolidated B-24D Liberator; 13 RAF Liberator IIIs; 14 Coastal Command and RCAF Liberator IIIs, IIIAs, GRVs, and CVs; 15 Australian-Manufactured RAAF B-24Ds and Alternate Procurement; 16 B-24Ds That Became Es and Hs; 17 The XB-24P; 14 The Consolidated B-24 Liberator; 18 Consolidated XB-41 Gunship Escort; 19 Ford B-24E; 20 Ford Liberator IV RAF; 21 Consolidated XB-24F; 22 North American B-24G; 23 Ford B-24H; 24 XB-24J with the B-17 Nose; 25 Model 38: Twin-Engined B-24; 26 B-24Js; 27 Consolidated San Diego and Ford B-24L Liberator; 28 The Liberator Mk. VI/VIII for the RAF; 29 Consolidated Ford B-24M; 30 Single-Tail XB-24K (B-24ST); 31 Single-Tail Liberator: XB-24N, YB-24N, and B-24N; 32 XB-24Q; Section 2: Special Liberator Transport and Special Duties Aircraft; 1 Liberator Haulers: Transport and Cargo Liberators; 2 TB-24s; 3 F-7 Photo Reconnaissance; 4 B-24 Electronic Warfare and Electronic Countermeasures; 5 B-24 Leaftlet-Dropping Aircraft; 6 B-24 Carpetbaggers; 7 Assembly Ships; 8 BQ-8 Drone; 9 Navy PB4Y-1s: The Last Twin Tail Liberators; Section 3: B-24 Post-War Survivors; 1 Introduction; 2 Post-War Civilian Use and Testing Extend B-24 Longevity; Part IX: Post-War Scrapping; 1 Introduction; 2 Overseas Scrapping; 3 U.S. Scrapping; 4 The Disposal Process; Bibliography; Index.