Consolidated XB-41

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  1. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    Home > Fact Sheets > Consolidated XB-41

    CONSOLIDATED XB-41

    Posted 6/26/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

    Photos

    Consolidated XB-41. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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    The XB-41 and XB-40 projects were developed to test the escort bomber concept. Because there were no fighters capable of escorting bomber formations on deep strike missions early in World War II, the Air Corps authorized tests for heavily armed bombers to act as escorts and protect the bomb-carrying aircraft from enemy fighters. Both the XB-40 and XB-41 projects were failures for a variety of reasons -- they were unable to effectively defend other aircraft, the were too slow to keep up with formations returning from bombing missions, they were too heavy, and the basic flight characteristics were changed drastically by the added drag and center of gravity changes introduced with the additional turrets.

    The XB-41 was modified from an early production model B-24D (S/N 41-11822) and included 14 .50-cal. machine guns mounted in pairs in a Bendix chin turret, two Martin power turrets on the dorsal (top) fuselage, a belly turret, left and right waist positions, and a tail turret. The XB-41 was completed in late 1942 and testing was done in early 1943. Flight tests were very disappointing and the XB-41 project was quickly canceled.


    Type Number built/
    converted Remarks
    XB-41 1 (cv) B-24D converted to bomber escort

    TECHNICAL NOTES:
    Armament: 14 .50-cal. machine guns
    Engines: Four Pratt Whitney R-1830-43 Twin Wasp radial engines of 1,250 hp each
    Maximum speed: 289 mph at 25,000 ft.
    Cruising speed: 200 mph
    Range: 3,100 miles
    Service ceiling: 28,500 ft.
    Span: 110 ft. 0 in.
    Length: 66 ft. 4 in.
    Height: 17 ft. 11 in.
    Weight: 63,000 lbs. (maximum gross weight)
    Crew: Nine
    Serial number: (B-24D-CO): 41-11822
     

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  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting John. I knew there was an up-gunned B-17 but I never heard of this version of a B-24.

    Geo
     
  3. R Pope

    R Pope Member

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    The whole escort bomber concept was flawed from the get-go. Even if they could have stayed with the bombers all the way out and back, there couldn't have been enough of them to cover the whole formation, and they would never have been in the right place at the right time. With no speed advantage they couldn't "rove" the formations as a fighter could, and they were as easily shot down as the bombers were. A whole formation of them would have been a rude surprise for the Luftwaffe, but it wasn't in the cards.
     
  4. model299

    model299 Member

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    Looking at this photo, several things stand out to me.

    Of the two top turrets, the forward one is mounted on a raised and faired platform compared to
    to rear one. That, and the chin turret I'm certain created quite a bit of drag over the standard airframe.
    Note also the support under the fuselage aft of the rear edge of the wing, indicating that the center of
    gravity on this thing is waaay off. I'm guessing with the additional drag, weight, and off balance
    condition, this thing must have been a beast to fly.

    At least the XB-40 made it into theater before being dropped.
     
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