Dogfight In Slow Motion: B-24D Liberators Over The Atlantic


Fighter planes were not the only ones to get into dogfights. During World War II, if an allied bomber plane crossed paths with an enemy aircraft, they did their best to shoot it out of the sky. The Germans were hitting the British hard in the Battle of the Atlantic. Nazi U-boats attacked ships taking out food and military supplies.

Large Aircraft Dogfights

The American B-24 Liberator was used for find and destroy missions, getting rid of the U-boats before they could take out another ship. However, the Allies were not the only ones with birds in the air.

The Luftwaffe were flying the four-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor. Originally, the plane was used as a transatlantic airliner as a way to still fly military aircraft after the restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty at the end of World War I.

The Condors attacked Allied shipping from the air. In July 1941, a British Royal Air Force Hudson shot down a Condor in the waters near Ireland. The two-engine bomber was being used for patrol. The Hudson was also an airliner retrofitted with .303 caliber Browning machine guns.

In 1943, B-24 bombers in the North Atlantic shot down as many as five Condors, three German flying boats, and a Junkers JU-88 bomber. At one point, two Condors were shooting a ship, and a B-24 shot down the first Condor.

However, it did not come out of the fight unscathed. It was hit by the other Condor and landed in the water. An Allied destroyer rescued the B-24s and Condors crews while the second Condor crashed in France.

Run-ins All-Around

In the Mediterranean theater, the B-26 Marauder’s job was to stop Luftwaffe and Italian cargo planes flying from Italy to North Africa. The plane was quick and agile. It fired .50 machine guns which were attached to the fuselage. As a result, the planes shot down many Axis aircraft.

In the Pacific, the Americans faced off against the Japanese. A Navy B-24 Liberator took out a Japanese Kawanishi H8K2 “Emily” flying boat. The Emily was armed with a 20mm cannon and 7.7 mm machine guns, whereas the B-24 had .50 caliber machine guns.

The B-17 Flying Fortresses also took out some of the Japanese planes. One B-17 had a dogfight last over 20-minutes. In the end, the Japanese plane had a water landing.




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