B-24 Liberator (bomber)
The B-24 Liberator bomber aircraft was a Second World War U.S. heavy bomber. It was comparable to the B-17 Flying Fortress, with different tradeoffs: the B-24 had greater range but less defensive armament.
In Navy service, the B-24 was the PBY4-1, which went through a number of upgrades for long-range strike and as a maritime patrol aircraft. The PBY4-2 Privateer exchanged the standard and distinctive dual-rudder tail for a single tail and an extended fuselage.
Yet another variant was the C-87, a long-range, high-speed transport aircraft. Another variant, the C-109, was used for air refueling when "Flying the Hump".
An effort to knock out the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, which provided a third of Nazi oil, cost 54 out of 177 B-24 Liberators. The B-24 had longer range, but less defensive armament, than the B-17. However, the daring raid at very low level (100 to 300 feet) destroyed 40% of Ploesti's capacity. German repair crews made unexpectedly speedy repairs.
- Jay A. Stout, Fortress Ploesti: The Campaign to Destroy Hitler's Oil (2003) excerpt and online search