Mods and Versions

I found a couple of references to Modification Centers for B-24s while looking through the Web recently. This short list is an excerpt from The Modification of Army Aircraft in the United States, 1939-1945. (Available on the Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/a529946)

It’s an interesting list for a couple of reasons.  I’m fascinated to see that Republic Aviation ran a Modification Center in Evansville, presumably in fairly close proximity to their other operations like churning out large numbers of P-47s.

  • Birmingham, AL – Betchel-McCone-Parsons Corporation – B-24, C-87, C-109
  • Evansville, IN – Republic Aviation Corporation. – B-24
  • Louisville, KY – Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corporation, B-24
  • St. Paul, MN – Northwest Airlines, Inc. – B-24, C-109, F-7
  • Tucson, AZ – Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corporation. – B-24,  C-87, F-7
  • Tulsa, OK – Douglas Aircraft Company. – B-24, C-87

There are several references in the website of the Minnesota State Historical Society (www.mnhs.org) to the Modification Center at St.Paul, MN being established to accommodate the stream of B-24s coming off the assembly lines at Willow Run.  The State Historical Society has a very nice article on its website about the St.Paul Modification Center, which was operated (as shown above) by Northwest Airlines.  This leads me to speculate that the Jalopy would have been flown to St.Paul for combat modifications in May 1944. I do not have any evidence to corroborate this theory, however.

The other aircraft designations mentioned in the list above are specific versions of the basic Liberator airframe.  I refer  (and defer) to Joe Baugher for the detail.:

  • C-87 Liberator Express was a transport version of the B-24D bomber
  • The designation C-109 was assigned to existing B-24Js and B-24Ls that were converted into fuel transports to support B-29 operations out of China. Unlike the C-87 cargo/passenger transport, the C-109 fuel transports were not new aircraft, but were conversions of existing B-24 bombers.
  • The F-7 was a photographic reconnaissance version of the Liberator, obtained by converting existing B-24 airframes at Army modification centers.

And since you’ll want to know the serial number of C-87, C-109, and F-7 conversions, here are the links to those pages:

c-87_maintenance_1942
Maintenance on a USAAF Consolidated C-87-CF Liberator Express in October 1942 (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
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