Wednesday, September 19

B-24 Liberator “In Action” by David Doyle in Review

Squadron/Signal Publications have some great new books out this month and last on some of the bigger and more popular subjects of WWII – the bombers – today there is a heavy from the USAAF and RAF that we look at – one of my favourite aircraft, the B-24 Liberator – “In Action”

B-24 Liberator “In Action”
by David Doyle. 
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications
Photos: 250+ photographs (Colour + B/W) + Profiles & line drawings
Paperback: 88 pages
Language: English
Hardcover ISBN = 978-0-89747-665-2,
Paperback ISBN = 978-0-89747-664-5
Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.3 x 0.2 inches (A4 Landscape) 

I have long admired the B-24 Liberator – although it isn’t everyone’s favourite heavy four engined bomber I like it for the rugged toughness of it’s design and short fat and menacing appearance. A little like I prefer the rugged and tough-looking P-47 Thunderbolt more than the more popular and well known P-51 Mustang. I like my WWII aircraft capable, bad and mean looking.

So when I saw this book of one of my favourite bombers in one of my favourite series I took notice straight away – In this book of the “In Action” series, the author describes in 250 period photos (of which 80 are coloured) line drawings and colour profiles the developmental and progressive career of the over twenty variants of the B-24 Liberator. From the initial prototype XB-24 models to the production variants (British and American) with the glass nose without a turret, through the cargo and passenger transport aircraft through to the heavily armed turreted chin and photo recon variants (even a tanker variant is here) the whole career of this distinguished and massively produced aircraft is here in this book in photos and text.

Whilst the “Walk around” series shows you how the machine works with several close ups of the aircraft these “in Action books also make you very aware of the eccentricities of the different variants with detail photos and diagrams, often side by side with other models to show the differences between the two.

There are several sections (over a half) devoted to the most well-known variants the bombers. The raids on Ploesti which this aircraft featured in and is perhaps best known for are featured heavily. There are several pages of these amazing raids and the aircraft that featured in them. There are some excellent shots in this series particularly.
Variants that I was interested in particularly because they were different were the PB4Y naval version in white and blue which look really beautiful in the colour shots here and the heavily gunned version of the bomber that was made to be a heavy (probably THE heaviest) escort to their comrades but like the Fortress version in the same vein was cancelled.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Liberator used by Churchill called “Commando” which served as a personal transport and which was lost later on in a flight without It’s most famous passenger.
There are several pages as well of excellent shots of nose art which people love to see on these Liberators, some of which are the most colourful of the whole war. There are several really colourful, interesting and sometimes a little saucy nose art which looks great in colour.

Interestingly the foreign users of this aircraft don't get much of a run but the RAF and RN models do get a large chunk of information. The “GR” an Liberator 1 2 3 4…. Models do get thoroughly explained and investigated with insightful text and photographs which mostly are not instantly familiar. There are only one or two photos here (mainly from national archive sources) that I didn’t need to see in another book. Most of the pictures and especially the colour shots are superb and really take some investigating and have some excellent detail.

I like this series usually and this book does not disappoint. although there are some already well known pictures included they are of an excellent quality and that i suppose is why they are here. The excellent nose art and nicely informative writing make this an interesting book for all WWII and Liberator fans especially.

Nice art work Mr Greer as well!

Adam Norenberg

We thank the excellent people at Squadron/Signal Products for the book.