The legendary B-17 Flying Fortress was no doubt the most famous bomber of World War II used by the United States Army Air Corps, and for good reasons. The Boeing heavy bomber outperformed its competitors and exceeded the performance specifications of the Air Corps. Even so, it was not the most produced bomber in history, nor was it even the most manufactured American military aircraft. It was, in fact, its usual companion that could carry heavier bomb loads at higher altitudes and had a higher top and cruise speed:
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator.
Flying Coffin At a Closer Look
The B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress’ developments were equally linked, so it was no surprise that the two served closely alongside one another in the skies of World War II.
B-24 was born when in 1938, the United States Army Air Corps asked Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California, to construct the B-17 Flying Fortress under licensed production. Consolidated reviewed the legendary aircraft and found that they could actually design and build a better and more capable bomber. They went and started to work on designing this better and more capable aircraft. The result was what the company internally called Model 32, with the latest aerodynamic practices applied, including the distinct shoulder-mounted, high aspect ratio “Davis Wing,” which was particularly fantastic at lower speeds. Davis Wing at that time was efficient in terms of producing speeds for bombers while keeping the thick profile that enabled the aircraft to have extra fuel storage for range.