Monday, August 18, 2014

B-24 Magic - Diamond Lil

One of only two B-24s currently in flyable condition, the Commemorative Air Force's Diamond Lil was at Thunder Over Michigan. The most produced bomber in American history and only two are still flying today.

Made famous by the Ploesti raids, this bomber fought in every theater in World War 2.

The 25th of over 18,000 B-24 Liberators built, Diamond Lil never saw combat, being damaged in a landing accident shortly after being built on its delivery flight and then used by its builder Consolidated Aircraft Corporation as a company transport.

The roar of her four radial engines was impressive.

A less well known function of the B-24 Liberator in World War 2 in addition to being a strategic bomber was its yeoman work as an anti-submarine patrol aircraft. With it's long range, B-24s were able to reach areas out of range of other aircraft and were responsible for sinking or assisting in the sinking of 93 U-Boats.

She also made a pass with the gear down:

The B-24s had many notable occupants as crew, including Jimmy Stuart and Congressman Stewart Udall.

While this B-24 was not one them, many a B-24 was built right at the home field of Thunder Over Michigan - Willow Run. At Willow Run, Henry Ford's Bomber Plant mass produced the B-24 Liberator for the allied war effort, and he turned them out at the rate of one per hour.

Diamond Lil is living history on the wing.


Old NFO said...

Big ugly... and a handful to fly! A great book is Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini, who flew B-24s as a Nav.

Aaron said...

Old NFO: Yep, and the movie about him should be good assuming they don't mess it up.