UNDER THE SOUTHERN CROSS
The B-24 Liberator in the South Pacific
by Bob Livingstone
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is not generally credited with much association with Australia, yet hundreds of Australians served on the type with RAAF Squadrons in bombing, maritime patrol and transport roles, and many others served with US Army Air Force B-24 units operating from northern Australia.
Additionally, the B-24 was the most numerous USAAF heavy bomber based in Australia and New Guinea in the most desperate phase of the Pacific war, and it was the first four-engine heavy bomber to serve with the Royal Australian Air Force home squadrons. It acquitted itself with distinction, and continued until replaced by the British-designed Avro Lincoln.
The Liberator's Australian association is diverse, from front line heavy bomber to hot chip shop, and most recently, as the focus for the efforts of a group of ex-RAAF Liberator aircrew to restore the sole remaining RAAF airframe for public display. RAAF use of the Liberator can be divided into three broad categories: early model B-24s supplied as theatre transfers from US combat groups, late model supplied new by the USAAF, and a unique LB-30 which a RAAF squadron "Acquired" from the Americans. Generally Kenney's 5th Air Force based two Liberator Bomb Groups in Australia, maintained a refresher training organisation and provided the initial training of RAAF crews in both basic and combat operations of the type. Other heavy bomb groups were based in New Guinea, and the Liberator featured prominently as a transport on Pacific and Indian Ocean routes.
Australian author, Bob Livingstone, has done many months of research in the 8.5" x 11", 168 page, hardbound book featuring many never-before-published photographs. Only a limited number of copies were printed. Order a copy today to be assured of receiving yours.
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 6 February 2002
This page last updated 23 January 2020