RED ROO MODELS


Australia's Liberators by Charles Darby


Review by David Harvey


Review Type
First Look
Scale:
N/A
Price:
$35.00 AUD from Red Roo
Contents and Media:
224 pages, heaps of images and colour profiles
Advantages:
Very detailed history of the type in Australia
Disadvantages:
Recommendation:
Highly Recommended

 

Introduction

The B-24 is the relatively unsung hero of WWII as it was used in more areas and greater numbers than the B-17 but never received the same media coverage. For a long time I didn't even know that the RAAF used the Liberator here in Australia and was greatly surprised when I found out the extent of usage.

Previously Red Roo had released the book 'Strike Back' by Bob Livingston which was a very nice volume of 99 pages with numerous profiles, drawings and images. Whilst the 'Strike Back' book was good, this book adds a great deal of depth to the RAAF B-24's history and usage.

The book

In the 224 pages of the book it covers the following:

  • Part one - US Army Liberators under Australian command (90th and 380th Bomb Group);
  • Part two - Australia's Liberators. This covers the various OTU, Squadrons, deployments and attacks of the RAAF B-24's.
  • Part three - Communication, Navigation and Electronic Warfare. This comprises eight different areas ranging from Surface search, bombing and homing radar fitted, Jammers and even touching on the possibility of Japanese ASV beacon homing equipment.
  • Appendices covering ASV antenna variants, RCM receivers, Mission reports, ECM modifications, Radar countermeasures, Gas warfare and the B-24, B-24 serial numbers and summary of disposal, RAAF Liberator units and Aircraft Service histories.

As you can see the book crams a great deal in the 224 pages, adding to this are numerous colour side profiles of B-24's and a great number of images, including many previously unseen images of the 'special' aircraft.

When I started reading this I was thinking it would be a relatively 'dry' read covering the B-24 and all the different uses. After reading just the first chapter my thoughts changed as I realised not only the different uses these aircraft had but the death toll that went with it. As the book points out, the aircraft were often used on their own over vast distances and a fair amount of them never came back due to enemy action and weather. In the first chapter I stopped working out the death toll when it went into triple figures in a few paragraphs.

The B-24 was used for a limited number of tasks in the ETO but in the PTO it was used for pretty much everything ranging from heavy strike and tactical bombing to long range, low level, anti-submarine and anti-shipping strike aircraft, as well as a variety of ground strafing, maritime patrol, photo-reconnaissance, agent dropping, air-sea rescue and forward air control (FAC). Added to this they were also used in POW repatriation, VIP transportation, experimental aircraft, forest fire spotters and close support 'gunships' during amphibious landing operations. With all these tasks it is not surprising that the casualty rate was large!

This book covers all of the areas mentioned above and goes into detail in a number of them. The most interesting area that was relatively untold previously is the ECM side. The book goes into depth on this topic and backs it up with the very few photos of the ECM aircraft known to exist, including previously unseen ones.

Recommendation

I could go on for ages about this book as it covers such a wide variety of topics all relating to the use of the B-24 in Australia - but I won't. All I will say is that if you have the slightest interest in the B-24, not only in Australian use but in general, then this is the book you really need to have.

For only $35.00 I feel that this book is an excellent reference and should be in your book case. To that end I definitely highly recommend the book.

The review sample is courtesy of Red Roo Models. It is available direct from Red Roo Models.

 

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