Something I've never understood. The B-24 beat the B-17 in every performance category except Ceiling and 3 more 50 cals. They built half again as many 24's as they built 17's.
Why is the 17 the glamorpuss and the 24 a forgotten footnote? Euro exposure vs. Asian?
BOEING B-17G FLYING FORTRESS
The Flying Fortress is one of the most famous airplanes ever built. The B-17 prototype first flew on July 28, 1935. Although few B-17s were in service on Dec. 7, 1941, production quickly accelerated after the U.S. entry into World War II. The aircraft served in every combat zone, but it is best known for the daylight strategic bombing of German industrial targets. Production ended in May 1945 and totaled 12,726.
Armament: 13 .50-cal. machine guns; normal bomb load of 6,000 lbs.
Engines: Four Wright Cyclone R-1820s of 1,200 hp each
Maximum speed: 300 mph
Cruising speed: 170 mph
Range: 1,850 miles
Ceiling: 35,000 ft.
Span: 103 ft. 10 in.
Length: 74 ft. 4 in.
Height: 19 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 55,000 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 42-32076
CONSOLIDATED B-24D LIBERATOR
The B-24 was employed in operations in every combat theater during World War II. Because of its great range, it was particularly suited for such missions as the famous raid from North Africa against the oil industry at Ploesti, Rumania, on Aug. 1, 1943. This feature also made the airplane suitable for long over-water missions in the Pacific Theater. More than 18,000 Liberators were produced.
Armament: 10 .50-cal. machine guns and 8,000 lbs. of bombs
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830s of 1,200 hp each
Maximum speed: 303 mph
Cruising speed: 175 mph
Range: 2,850 miles
Ceiling: 28,000 ft.
Span: 110 ft.
Length: 66 ft. 4 in.
Height: 17 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 56,000 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 42-72843
All of this stuff came from here
. Way cool. Visit the joint if ever you're near Dayton, Ohio.
Oh...here's what Wikipedia has to say. Makes more sense now.
Often compared to the better known B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 was a more modern design with a higher top speed and greater range yet it had a similar bomb load and defensive armament. Nevertheless, popular opinion among aircrews and general staff tended to favor the B-17's rugged qualities above all other considerations. The B-24 was notorious among American air crews for its tendency to catch fire.
The placement of the B-24's fuel tanks throughout the upper fuselage and its lightweight construction, designed both to increase range and optimize assembly line production, made the aircraft vulnerable to battle damage. The B-24 was more difficult to fly as well, with heavy control forces and poor formation flying characteristics.
The B-24 nevertheless provided excellent service in a variety of roles thanks to its large payload and long range.