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Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

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Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 27 Oct 2002 02:16

Question for Jagan or anybody: Why were these B24 liberators demolished after WW II. and if they were why were they attempted to be resurrected not a long while later

http://www.rquirk.com/fail/322mu/322mu.htm

"The first signs of the intended demolition came in October’ 45 when the United States ended Land Lease and ordered all armament (.05mgs) removed from the Liberators, as can be seen in the photographs of KH 399 ‘B’ of 99 Squadron with armourers removing the guns from it. Then the US ordered the demolition of all Liberators in SEAC at the end of October and the Squadrons 159 and 355 were allowed to continue to do a photographic survey of Bengal for the then Bengali government. These two squadrons were re-equipped with Liberators MK V111, in serial number ranges, KL, KN, & the KP. See Z and Q in the photos KL 678 and KN771, ‘U’ was ...
"

http://indianairforce.nic.in/airforce/history1.htm
The Service, wishing to establish a heavy bombing element, contracted with HAL to "re-construct" a force of B-24 Liberators from the mouldering remains of nearly 100 ex USAF bombers of this type at the immense Care and Maintenance Unit Depot at Kanpur.

Despite the scepticism on the part of the US and British advisers concerning the feasibility of the scheme, the first half-dozen HAL-reconditioned B-24s were ready by November 1948 and, on the 17th of that month, No. 5 Squadron was formed with these heavy bombers. Later, in early 1950, No. 6 Squadron was to re-form at Poona also with B-24s, while No.16 Squadron was to be established to provide back-up training on the type

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Jagan » 27 Oct 2002 06:51

Kaushal,

The Liberator expert on the forum is Sree, but I will try to tell what i know here.

All the Liberators were supplied by the USAF to the UK as part of the Lend-Lease pact which was concluded before the US entered the war.

The Lend Lease pact in simple terms allowed UK access to UK weapons with the condition that once the war was over, UK will have to pay for all the aircraft and equipment that it holds.

After the pact was undertaken, the Yanks entered the war and at the end of the war, it was tacitly put across that the British may not pay for equipment that they do not hold at the end of the war. Thus many aircraft , tanks and ships were wrecked to avoid being counted "On Charge" on British strengths.

The liberators too were damaged and "Struck off charge" so that Britain would not have to pay for them to the US. Similarly lot of naval fighters were dumped off sea in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea as part of the pact.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Jagan » 27 Oct 2002 06:54

To answer the second part of the question:

India wanted a bomber force, Britain offerred us Lancaster bombers, which were similar to the Liberator. In order to save Forex and use it for the Vampire Jet fighter, the IAF was convinced that it can resuccitate the aircraft lying in Kanpur graveyard. INspite of the skepticism from the brits, the IAF and HAL officials were able to make these aircraft airworthy.

more info at http://www.warbirdsofindia.com/Ovb24.html

or go to Overseas section in the above site and click liberator.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 27 Oct 2002 09:30

Thank you , that was quick.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Victor » 27 Oct 2002 10:06

Kaushal, you may have touched a nerve!

I remember people saying that the brits simply 'drilled holes' in the engines to render the planes kaput, never believing that the Indians could both cannibalize AND lobotomize!

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 27 Oct 2002 10:43

I just find it hard to believe that the US would have come down hard on britain after WW II ' you still have those B24's and you owe us for those. So instead of leaving them around for the Indians to use they destroyed them. The kanpur maintenance facility was one of the largest of its kind.If they had flown them back to England (somehow ) all 100 of them ,it would cost them and then they would have to explain to the Yanks why they were so valuable that they had to fly them back. Some of the B24 were acquired only in 1946 after the war and yet they were all scuttled. i smell a dog in the manger story here.

I remain skeptical of the lend lease explanation which is of course the official story.

In any event the Indians did make use of some of them and they were in use till the late 1960's.The only B24's still in use at that time.

kaushal

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Badar » 27 Oct 2002 13:48

Hi,

Kaushal, There was also an postwar economic angle for destruction of bombers and naval shipping by the US. The US fear was that a large surplus naval transports and heavy bombers could be converted to civilian use (as airliners and commercial cargo carriers) the world over. This in turn would mean no postwar construction orders at all for the massive aircraft plants and shipyards developed during the war.

For this reason perfectly good aircraft and ships like large landing crafts and troop transports were purposely wreaked, not only those in british possession but also those owned by US Armed forces that were surplus to their reduced postwar requirements.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Johann » 27 Oct 2002 14:35

Kaushal, Victor I know that there's this general feeling that all British actions can be explained in terms of its special animus to independant India. Sometimes however it is more important to look at the actual *facts*

- While the Royal Air Force and the Indian Air Force fought together in WW2, but they were seperate organisations. Only the latter and it's equipment belonged to the (imperial) Government of India

- IAF squadrons as far as I know were *never* equipped with the B-24 Liberator during WW2. There *were* however Liberator equipped RAF squadrons stationed in India and SE Asia

- In the event of Indian independance (which was seen as a long way of in Aug 1945) the RAF would have *no* obligation whatsoever to leave its Liberators to the RIAF. The question of destruction for denial would never have come up.

In fact it might be interesting to see all of the British figures in 1946 who approved of the RIAF's expansion plan - including the bomber squadrons. The RIAF at that point was headed by a British officer, and he answered to another British officer, who answered to the Viceroy. If a bomber equipped RIAF was such an anethma you could have expected that the plan would not have gone through.

here are two links worth exploring

History & Operations of Indian Air Force I: 1932 - 1950

South East Asia Command Liberators

Deliberate destruction of materials was not something seen as far as I know until Mountbatten arrived in Feb 1947 and announced that no matter what hapened transfer would occur no later than June 1948. This came as a great shock to most British officer who imagined a leisurely 5-10 year transfer period. In particular the Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence burned their files before leaving.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On the other forum Kaushal you said something about Britain unwilling to supply military equipment to Independant India.

After WW2 the UK owed a substantial sterling pound debt to the Government of India. For the next 20 years India largely bought war-winning front line British equipment - Centurion tanks; Hunter, Vampire, Canberra and Gnat aircraft; INS Vikrant (in 1961 the first aircraft carrier outside the Americas, W.Europe and Australia!), other naval vessels, etc.

In mid 1964 the US Navy transferred a WW2 era submarine to the Pakistanis (renamed PNS Ghazi), part of their CENTO re-equipment programme. Under strong American pressure the UK refused an equivalent sale to the IN. Shortly after the Indians began negotiating with the Soviets who were offering everything for sale at very attractive rates. The deal was signed in the background of Indo-Pak tensions but before the official start of the 1965 war and the American arms embargo on both parties.

British and American roles in the subcontinent you might say had inverted from 1947-49 as far as backing Pakistan went. The difference between the two countries positions was actually much starker in 1971. Here is Chapter 17, "Politics in the United Nations" from the unpublished Indian official history of the 1971 war. Indian diplomats seem quite appreciative of the nearly identical British and French stands.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 27 Oct 2002 20:20

Johann,

not in overall disagreement with much of what you say, but let me make a few points which differ in nuance from yours. I do not want this to turn into another rancorous debate ;

1. The US lend Lease was a massive program by any measure and the UK was the major beneficiary by far (by no means the only one)

http://www.paulcreescollection.com/how_still/howstill2.htm

"The US instigated the Lend Lease aid to the British Empire, a lifeline of hope in our joint struggle against tyranny. It gave us 50 destroyers and it gave us food and it provided our war effort with $30 billion. When America joined the war its people and its troops joined us in the battle for freedom. The British people will forever be grateful."

The B24 liberators were a teeny miniscule part of the total.

2. In all the thousands of words of gratitude to the US, and the references to standing alone against NAZI Germany, very little is said about the contribution of the empire, in particular India, which was also massive by any measure. So, while Britain was under no obligation to do India any favors, and to discuss motives is a pointless exercise, many Indians including me remain somewhat skeptical about the urgency of destroying a hundred perfectly good aircraft.

3. You make a good point about the reversal of roles in Kashmir after WW II between Britain and US. This was merely a small part of the major reversal of roles where the US took over the role of Britain as a major superpower. In my view the US Lend Lease Act is a turning point where the leadership baton was passed on to the 'colonies'. The rebellious child has reached maturity and has surpassed the parent.

But the role of Britain in J&K post WW II remains a perfidious one, the true contours of which are only now being realized. This is one of the projects i am interested in and I plan to work on for the next year.

On a personal note may i say i remain astonished and in admiration, at the alacrity with which you come to the defense of Britain at the slightest hint of a remark, a quality we Indians do not seem to exhibit in equal measure. This is the reason in my view that the British Empire lasted as long as it did, a point that i emphasize in the thread onthe Great Game. One day not in the very distant future Britain and India will get over the rancorous aftereffects of 200 years of empire. Until then it is a tribute to both the British and the Indian that the relationship, while not close has not been an unduly bitter one.

Kaushal

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Johann » 28 Oct 2002 03:14

Kaushal,

The lend-lease programme was essentially designed to help Britain fight the Nazi Germany (which was in America's essential interests) without actually becoming a belligerent. FDR was constrained by the the sensible reluctance of the American public to commit itself to a complicated war across the ocean. Then of course Pearl Harbour happened and Hitler like the grandiose fool he was declared war on Hitler. This was the event that Churchill had been praying for. Continuing lend-lease even after the US entered the war was in British interests because it allowed the country to contribute fighting units that would have been manned by Americans with a consequent reduction in decision making weight at the highest levels. When the war ended while there was suspiciion of the Soviet Union the cold war had not yet started. The Americans had their own priorities. Their post war lend lease offer to Britain and Nationalist China was actually the most generous terms offered to any lend-lease recepients, but they were still too expensive for an utterly exhausted and broke Britain that mostly wanted to go back to its farms, towns and cities.

To give you an idea of the magnitude of the demobilisation consider this - at the end of WW2 there were 5.1 million men under arms. By 1949 the British army had been reduced to 700,000. Where do you think alll of that excess equipment went?

British built equipment, already paid for went in to storage, and in some cases disposal if it was obsolescent. American equipment was generously put on credit, but for which we would still have eventually had to pay was handed back or scrapped (if distances were to great) as quickly as possible. Britain could not afford any luxuries. If you think i'm exaggerating I urge you to look at how long and how strenuously rationing continued after the war in the UK.

The Royal Navy for example gave up 78 lend-lease Destroyer Escorts at the end of the war which were promptly scrapped. The 'short stack' DEs were the most essential part of the lend-lease agreement when it was signed. They were needed to prevent the catastrophic losses of Atlantic merchant shipping keeping Britain fed and armed in the dark years of 1939-41.

The RAF near the end of the war began to re-equip its tactical squadrons in the Far East with more capable American P-47 thunderbolts. When the war ended this programme was immediately ended and in fact reversed.

Even after Marshal plan money began to come in the government needed to pay for Labours ambitious and revolutionary cradle to grave national welfare plans, not to mention operational requirements in Malaya, Cyprus and then West Germany/NATO.

As far as the events surrounding partition and the first Kashmir war, I too support the need for historical research. Britain has in the last 45 years has chosen to deal with the loss of empire by generally 'devaluing' it (in the process trivialising its impact on other affected peoples) and eventually basically forgetting it in order to move on and redefine itself. Even for those in senior policy positions are only vaguely aware of the circumstances of the final act, but are wary of accepting outside claims of one sort or another. In India these events have been kept fresh an painful by the continuous conflict with Pakistan and until recently India's relative estrangment from the West. I dont think the Indo-British relations can really move on until there is a historical dialog. This is increasingly likely to happen as India grows more important to Britain, and more British fgiures understand the importance of dealing with all the collected hurt and suspicion of the past. I beleive that comprehensive research will result in greater sensitivity to Indian concerns, but it will also finally put to rest the more lurid conspiracy theories that have flourished among Indians aware of conflicting British interests but without access to substantive records.

So you see, thats my belief, and my interest in the matter - that the objective truth will help India and Britain get along together because I see difficult times ahead that will demand a mutually benefitting relationship. My aim is not to 'defend' Britain but to encourage greater objectivity by demonstrating factually that Britain, British interests and the workiing of empire have been often skewed by a one dimensional prism. The 'empire' is a single word that conceals a welter of conflicting forces, trends and personalities. It was never even remotely monolithic or consistant in its goals or strategies.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby ramana » 29 Oct 2002 01:53

Kaushal, Raja Menon has some insight about this and I posted his review of Bharat Karnad's book in the Book Reviews folder in the SSI forum.

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=004987;p=3

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Johann » 29 Oct 2002 04:17

I would be interested to see what Bharat Karnad actually said in his book re. the Liberators, and how he supported it.

Unless he has demonstrated that the B-24s were transferred to the RIAF before demolishment it just does not make any sense as a claim.

If British authorities thought that the Liberators were useful aircraft and it wanted to keep them out of the hands of Indians all they would have to do is fly them out of India instead of leaving them lying around. The RIAF had no claim on these aircraft.

The fact is that what hapened to RAF Bomber Command B-24 squadrons stationed in India and South East Asia were not in the least bit remarkable.

Bomber command decommisioned all of its B-24s worldwide by June 1946. Coastal Command (which did not for obvious reasons did not deploy squadrons to India) had followed suit by the next year.

Here is a beautifully detailed and sourced reference: Liberator VI/VIII for RAF

Post war you can certainly make the case that Britain wished to keep India dependant on it for arms purchases, and was reluctant to do things like transfer technology or really build up local capacity.

Until the submarine deal of 1964 I'd like to know what it was turned down for as far as major platform acquisitions went.

The Canberra bomber was the premiere medium range bomber of its time, and India became the second largest user of the type after the RAF. This was an aircraft that the UK trusted with its nuclear deterrent.

Around the same time India purchased HMS Vikrant - again a power projection platform that you dont hand to someone you want to keep weak. Even the Soviet Union's first naval aviation platform came four years later, and only supported ASW helicopters.

This was extraordinary for a country not tied to Britain by treaties and obligations eg. W.Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

I'm not arguing that this was done because Britain sought long term strategic partnership, but because it saw no harm in arming India to the teeth so long as India paid it in hard currency. Until of course the Americans in 1964 decided that the needs and desires of its new CENTO ally came before that of its secret partner against the PRC.

Hear is a passage from the IDSA's "Aircraft Carriers: An Indian Introspection" from the March 2000 edition of its monthly journal

India decided to go “the carrier way” within ten days of its independence from British rule. 7 It is all too evident now that Britain’s post-World War II strategic needs and economic compulsions dictated the architecture of the post-independence Indian Navy. “In May, 1947, Earl Mountbatten, assisted by P.M.S Blackett, Nobel Laureate and later adviser to the Government of India, was able to convince Jawaharlal Nehru of the uniqueness of aircraft carriers as “floating airfields” and of the concept of a carrier battle group which would make India a naval power to reckon with in the Indian Ocean” 8.The plan was to structure the Indian Navy around aircraft carrier battle groups composed of two light fleet carriers, two cruisers and eight destroyers/frigates. “The sale of a Second World War vintage aircraft carrier, cruisers and destroyers—in surplus to Britain’s post-war requirements—to India, eased Britain’s problem of clearing outstanding pound sterling balances and ensured India’s dependence on the British Navy for maintenance, especially of bigger ships”. 9

India acquired its first aircraft carrier, also the first one in South Asia, in 1961...

Endnotes:...

Note 8: Subimal Mookerjee, “Aircraft Carriers for the Indian Navy: The Case For and Against”, Vayu, Vol. VI, 1995, p.19-28 Back.

Note 9: Ibid, at 8 Back.
Britain sold comparable volumes and types of equipment to only one other nation that it was not tied by treaty obligations. In fact the close defence relationship continued about 15 years longer than it did with India without any American interference. Yes, you guessed it. I'm talking about Argentina.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 29 Oct 2002 05:26

I agree Karnad's book needs to be read before we can comment. I am going to India. I will try to get a copy.

Just to recall the history of the Liberators, this is Jim Fail's account in the link posted in the first post. see also

http://www.rquirk.com/jimfaill.html

"The Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) later to become the Indian Air Force (IAF) formed the Maritime Reconnaissance, 6(MR) Squadron. The Indians proved to be brilliant engineers and managed to keep 6 MR flying for twenty years, 1948 – 68. Hindustan Airworks managed to supply the squadron with 39 Liberators over the 20 years by cannibalising other Liberators at Chakeri. The IAF had no fatal accidents during the 20 years Liberator service. Their bases were Poona and Palam with Poona as the main base.

When the Squadron gave up flying Liberators, they graciously gave one to the RAF museum at Cosford. One to the CAF (Formally the Royal Canadian Air Force) and three were given to the United States. The Liberators were KN751, KN820, KH304, KH401, and KH191. See ‘The Survivors’ On Robert Quirk’s web site, where the story is told in full."

http://www.rquirk.com/fail/article/Failsurv.htm

"Tribute to the I.A.F.

The fullest possible credit .;must be given to the Royal Indian Air Force - later the Indian Air Force for maintaining and flying these Liberators for 2O years (longer than any other Air Force) without any serious accident and for the excellent standard of maintenance, in particular, obtained through the spare parts canabalised from the many Liberators left by the Royal Air Force at Chakeri. Parts were taken from as many as forty aircraft to keep 6 Squadron with 16 serviceable Liberators.

There are believed to be several Liberators at Poona in various states of serviceability including HE 848 'D' and HE 846 'T'. There are two other static Liberators on display one in the capitol Delhi and one in Bangalore. At Palam is HE 924."



Note: The author would welcome any information on the Squadron Unit history of KH 191 between September 1944 and May 1945.

J.E.H. Fail
Hill House
Northlands Road
Morpeth
Northumberland
U.K.
NE61 1JJ

Phone: 01670 512 714

And then there is the warbirds site

http://www.warbirdsofindia.com/ovb24.html

which has an account of the rebuild also.

Kaushal

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Sree » 29 Oct 2002 13:37

Sorry not to have participated earlier, but I had a few minor distractions at the day job ... ;)

... But then, most of the discussion has centred around strategic fundamentals rather than type history, so there isn't much I can add. A few quick points, though:

I haven't read Karnad's book, but I have read one or two others describing the events around the demolition and the rebuild of the Libs, including AVM Harjinder Singh's biography (which is as nationalistic as any of us could wish for). I've also read some neutral accounts of the treatment of Lend-Lease assets at the end of WW2; and fortuitously, I have spent some time listening to some of the engineers and test pilots involved in the Indian Lib re-build effort. And with the utmost respect to Kaushal Guruji and others, I have to say that I am inclined to the view that it may somewhat overstate British perfidy, to assert that the attempted destruction the Liberators at Kanpur was part of a plot against India.

First off Johann is right, the Libs at the time of their attempted destruction in Kanpur were not IAF assets, nor were they earmarked for India on Independence (which was still probably considered some way off at the time). There are other stories, about the British treatment of other assets during the transfer process a few years later, in the period 1947-48, which admit of interpretations suggesting perfidy; but in the case of the demolitions in Kanpur you really do have to make too many assumptions about what would at the time have been considered relatively low-priority assets at an out-of-the-way location, for that interpretation to make sense.

Second, the British were doing exactly the same to all kinds of US-sourced equipment, all over the world, at this time -- not just to the Libs, and not just in India. Within India, as Jagan has peripherally referred to, there is a story that a huge cache of US-origin naval aircraft at Cochin was disposed of by the simple expedient of tipping them into the sea, in one of the two channels leading into the harbour around Willingdon Island. There have been occasional stories about dredgers bringing up bits and pieces of Corsairs and Martlets since then -- what a treasure trove that dump would have been, to a warbird collector of suitably billionaire standing!!

From elsewhere in the world too, there are plenty of accounts, including from locations in the British Isles themselves, of British demolition of assets originally acquired under Lend-Lease from the USA. These run to huge quanitites, of assets that would have been considered much more central to British and American post-war interests and priorities than the Libs in India, and they were all subjected to quite as ruthless a destruction process. So I don't think we can treat the British demolition of the Libs at Kanpur as part of an explicit conspiracy against India.

In the United States itself, at the end of WW2, some of the last Libs off the production lines (there were five production plants, owned by different companies) were actually flown, directly from the factories where they'd been produced, straight to the bone-yards where they were broken-up , without so much as a single hour of operational service. Again, I think this was all just part of the world-wide winding-down of the military machine, at the end of WW2.

(Don't get me wrong, I'm as ready as the next Indian to believe in accounts of American, British or Chinese perfidy -- sorry Johann!! -- but I don't think this case is one of them.)

Finally just for the record, there are one or two minor errors in Jim Fail's articles on the Libs. I have written previously to Robert Quirk, who hosts the site, and received a gracious acknowledgement from him, and a promise to pass my corrections to Jim Fail; but I have not seen the corrections on the site. They do not take away from the basic facts, and the thrust of the articles, so I am not too concerned. Jim Fail's articles still make a good read, are mostly accurate, and are respectful of the Indian Air Force -- as far as I'm concerned, we can't ask for much more. For the really detailed lowdown on Indian airframes and type histories, there's always Jagan, Gp Capt Bhargava, and WoI!!

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 29 Oct 2002 13:48

Sree, I take your word for it that the destruction of the Liberators was not unique but part of the Lend lease requirements. Thank you for taking the time to answer this. Happy to admit that I was wrong in expressing skepticism. I still have to read B Karnads book, but as Johann says if the planes belonged to RAF, they could do what they pleased with them. In any event india salvaged 16 of them and flew them for 20 years which is an achievement.

Britain's perfidious role in J&K during 1947-48(and subsequently) is another matter altogether which has nothing to do with these planes

Time to close the thread as the question has been answered.

Kaushal

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Sree » 29 Oct 2002 14:10

Originally posted by Kaushal:
... In any event india salvaged 16 of them and flew them for 20 years which is an achievement.

...

Time to close the thread as the question has been answered.

Kaushal
Kaushal Guruji, not meaning to extend the discussion unnecessarily, and apologies for nit-picking; but again just for the record, the IAF and HAL actually put more than 16 of these aircraft back in the air -- the exact number is something between 39 and 45. (I have 39 serials, but there is a possibility there were a few more.) This is one of the minor inaccuracies in Jim Fail's article -- he refers to the Libs being operated by No 6 Squadron of the IAF -- in fact, they were operated by Nos 5, 6 and 16 Squadrons, although Nos 5 and 16 only operated them for around ten years each.

Happy for the Admins to close the thread, if that's the consensus. Regards all around.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 29 Oct 2002 14:15

If they eventually put 45 in service, that is even more impressive (almost half the number demolished).

Let us salute the IAF and HAL for this great job and say chiao to the Liberators(next time i go to Colorado i will try to look for the Indian refurbished liberator),

Kaushal

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Johann » 29 Oct 2002 22:41

Kaushal there's also a fine Liberator survivor at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

Rather uniquely it sports IAF markings on one side and USAAF colours on the other.

Sree, why the apology :) ? I brought up two examples from mid-1947 myself in this thread.

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Sree » 30 Oct 2002 13:59

About the fine Lib survivor at Tucson, with IAF markings -- couldn't resist posting this link :) , describing that particular bird (Yes, I know it's a shameless plug!):

http://www.warbirdsofindia.com/ovb24-3.html

Originally posted by Johann:
... Sree, why the apology :) ? I brought up two examples from mid-1947 myself in this thread.
Johann, just a nod to a good sport, while acknowledging a predilection for an occasional spot of Brit-bashing!!

(In all seriousness, though, I actually do agree with the point you made earlier on this thread, that Indo-British relations can only improve, from their sometimes somewhat ambivalent standing, if there is a proper appraisal of the history and influence of the two on each other.)

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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby vsunder » 30 Oct 2002 19:42

I remember very much the graveyard in Kanpur where the Liberators were. They were all lying an a huge field opposite the Traffic Police Lines in a part of Kanpur Cantt. called Mirpur. The bits and pieces were still there in 1959. But by the middle 60's everything was gone. Years later I visited Pima museum in Tucson(they have the flight log of the aircraft from Poona/Pune to Pima). The Liberators had huge holes in the perspex, and landing gear was smashed, I dont recall much about the engines whether they were damaged I was very young then, 4 years old but very interested in a/c so whenever I got a chance I would go clambering around there in the graveyard. The salvageable a/c were then moved to the GT road about a mile from the graveyard and then south for about 7-8 miles to
IAF/Chakeri. Interestingly enough midway on this route a township sprang in the late 60's called Harjinder Nagar named after AVM Harjinder Singh.
I also remember the first Avro being built at HAL Kanpur, it was covered in a marroon colored special paint when they were assembling it and it was named "Subroto". Those days all the hangars
were open and kids were welcomed, I remember being hoisted into Hunter and Vampire cockpits by people and imagining myself soaring away. Thats why to me the Hunter is a special a/c.

Kaushal
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Re: Why were B-24 Liberators demolished after World War II?

Postby Kaushal » 31 Oct 2002 01:26

Thank you vsunder for the trip down memory lane.

I flew on one of the Avros made in Kanpur long time ago.They were on limited service with IA. All i remember is that the cabin attendant had a difficult time closing the cockpit door. It would refuse to close. But other than that i survived the flight.

Kaushal


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