Early in World War II, the Royal Air Force discovered that the maritime patrol aircraft that their Coastal Command units were using were not sufficient to the task. Luftwaffe units were using the FW-200 Condor. The FW-200 was originally designed to be an airliner It had a longer range than the RAF Coastal Command's Sunderland flying boats. The Condors would search for Allied supply shipping and report their positions to patrolling U-Boats. They could go further into the open middle of the Atlantic beyond Sunderland range. Coastal Command had discovered that the weight penalties associated with an airframe designed to withstand water landings cut into the aircraft's range and loiter time .In early 1941 the RAF decided to equip Coastal Command's 120 Squadron with the Consolidated Liberator I .The Liberator I is the RAF name for the B-24A model in US service. Aircraft began arriving in the UK in spring and summer of that year. Operations began late in the year.

   With the attack on Pearl Harbor in December,1941, the United States Navy suddenly found themselves in the same situation. The Navy's Patrol units were mostly equipped with PBY Catalina's, PBM Mariner's and PB2Y Coronado's. The Navy needed to be able to post patrols to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Caribbean. The Pacific ocean by itself covers nearly 64,000,000 square miles. The Navy felt these aircraft were either too slow, too lightly armed, or lacked the range to patrol the vast expense of the Pacific ocean. The Navy now needed an aircraft that that could patrol large areas of ocean and engage enemy aircraft and ships. This would include submarines, above and below the surface.

   In 1940, the Navy engaged the Boeing Aircraft Company to develop their Model 344 into the XPBB-1 Sea Ranger. In 1941, the Navy realized that the PBB-1, while a fine aircraft on it's own, would have the same shortcomings as current flying boats had. They had taken note of the RAF Coastal Command use of the B-24A, or Liberator I. In spring of 1942, the USAAF was desperate to increase heavy bomber production in anticipation of their strategic bombing strategy. The Navy PBB-1 project was to be produced at a new Boeing factory located at Renton, Washington. In meetings with the Navy and Army Air Force, Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall agreed to divert a share of Consolidated B-24's, North American B-25's and all Lockheed B-34's,(PV-1 Ventura's in Navy jargon) to the Navy for the Navy in turn giving up the PBB-1 program and freeing up the Boeing Renton factory for Army aircraft production. The agreement was finalized on July 7th, 1942.

   In a matter of days, the Consolidated production line in San Diego was building B-24D's for Navy use. Other than the Navy style blue and white camouflage, the first Navy B-24D's, known as PB4Y-1's, were identical to it's Army models.

   In the fall of 1942, the US Anti-Submarine Command was activated under the command of Maj. Gen. W. T. Larson, USAAF. Heavy losses in convoys crossing to the UK made a long range patrol presence vital. These USAAF units used B-24's equipped with ASW optimized radars. These units operated from both sides of the Atlantic. On August 24,1943, the USAAF disbanded the Anti-Submarine Command and turned all anti-submarine patrol duties over to the USN.

   The first B-24 equipped squadron in the Navy was VB-101. It evolved from VP-51, which flew PBY's. First stationed in Hawaii in 1942, VB-101 was ordered to Guadalcanal in January, 1943. They went into action on February 12, 1943.

   The first PB4Y-1's had the same "greenhouse" nose as the Army models, usually equipped with several hand-held machine guns . Due to the low level "hit and run" style of VP operations, the Navy needed more punch. Some PB4Y-1's had AAF style Emerson nose turret, some had the Consolidated nose turret, but operational experience showed the need for more firepower. They turned to the Engineering and Research Corporation, (ERCO). The ERCO Model 250SH nose turret was installed on PB4Y-1's and -2's.The ERCO turrets were installed at North Island Naval Air Station after the aircraft were ferried from the Consolidated assembly lines. This turret mounted twin .50-caliber guns with twice the ammunition ,better armor protection and the ability to operate at airspeeds up to 300 miles per hour.

   As more VP squadrons went into action, the Navy began to look for ways to improve the breed. As early as 1942, the Navy had decided that for the low level type missions that the VP's flew, the B-24 could benefit from a single fin design. Consolidated, working from the operational experience came up with an updated version of the B-24 optimized for naval operations. The twin-tail was replaced by a single tail. All of the engine equipment required for USAAF high-altitude use was removed. The ball turret was removed. ERCO supplied nose turrets as before and in addition the open waist positions were replaced with streamlined ERCO 250TH waist blisters. These turrets mounted twin .50-caliber guns and built-in armor and bulletproof glass. A second Martin dorsal turret was also added. The fuselage was also lengthened by 7 feet for more room for extra electronic gear and operators. Now packed with 12 .05-caliber guns, more armor protection and the latest electronic aids, the Navy finally had their best patrol aircraft.

   The Navy accepted 977 PB4Y-1's and 736 PB4Y-2's.The first aircraft were delivered in July of 1942 and the last in October of 1945. The first operational Squadron use of the PB4Y-1 was VP-101 in October of 1942 and the last was the P4Y-1P of VJ-62 in May of 1956. The last Navy use of these aircraft was as target drones. The last QP-4B was shot down during an air-to-air missile test in January of 1964 at the Navy Missile Test Center, Point Mugu, California.

   Post World War II, Privateers were also used by the French Navy .Records also show Nationalist Chinese use for ELINT duties. The last use of Privateers has been as borate bombers, fighting forest fires in the North American west. These aircraft have had the original Pratt and Whitney R-1830 series engines replaced with Wright R-2600's.

   The model was built using the 1/48 scale Revell - Monogram B-24J kit and a conversion kit from Koster Aero Enterprises.

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