Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

One of the more successful aircraft designs during the World War 2 was the B-24 Liberator which was designed for the US Army Air Corps. However, the US Navy had a requirement for a dedicated maritime patrol plane and decided to use the USAAF’s B-24 Liberator’s design as the foundation for the new aircraft. The first derivation from the Liberator was the PB4Y-1 Liberator which became successful as a long-range anti-submarine bomber. However, since the PB4Y-1 Liberator’s design did not differ from the original B-24 Liberator, the PB4Y proved to be a tiring aircraft during long flights. Only 24 planes of the PB4Y-1 were ever produced before the US Navy further developed the design to achieve the PB4Y-2 Privateer.

In order to develop the PB4Y, the US Navy took three B-24 planes off the production line and made adjustments to its design which included a longer fuselage, an increased defensive in terms of armaments, and modified engine cowlings. The PB4Y-2 Privateer was also fitted with a distinctive, single vertical tail which proved to have increased the aircraft’s capabilities in low flying with an increased range of 2,800 miles.

The first three prototype of the PB4Y-2’s were fitted with four high-wing mounted radial piston engines that were developed by the Pratt&Whitney Company. Defensive armaments included 12 x 12.7mm heavy caliber machine guns that were mounted in the nose, tail, waist and dorsal positions. The Privateer also featured an increased bomb capacity of up to 12,800 lbs.

The PB4Y-2 Privateer was fielded during the final half of the World War however; this WW2 US aircraft was later used in the Korean War and the Cold War as well. During the Korean War, the Privateer earned the nickname “Lamp Lighter” as they were used in “Firefly” missions of dropping parachute flares. The Privateer was also the first US aircraft to be shot down by Soviet forces during the Cold War.

The total production count of the Privateer was well-over 1,300 aircrafts that served the US Navy until it was retired in 1960. A small number of the Privateer was used for as fire-bombers until 2002.


Allied Codename: Privateer / Lamp Lighter
Type: eleven-man crew long-ranged patrol bomber
Design: Ford Motor Company
Engine(s): 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial piston engines
Max Speed: 462 km/h (287 mph; 249 knots)
Max Range: 2,796 nautical miles (4,500 km)
Ceiling: 6,300 meters (20,669 feet; 3.9 miles)
Length: 74.57 feet
Wingspan: 110.01 feet
Loaded Weight: 65,003 lbs
ARMAMENTS 2 x 12.7mm machine guns in forward dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in rearward dorsal turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in tail turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in left waist blister position
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in right waist blister position
Up to 12,800lbs of internal stores.
Share the KnowledgeShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on Pinterest

One thought on “Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

  1. Alan Griffith

    I’m not sure where you got your production numbers on the PB4Y-1, but they are dramatically incorrect. In reviewing serial numbers of B-24’s produced, JUST among the Consolidated B-24D blocks from the D-15 through the D-55-CO, 47 PB4Y-1’s were produced. While I haven’t bothered to go through all the B-24’s into the J’s to do a count, the final total of PB4Y-1’s is easily in the hundreds.

    24049 to US Navy as PB4Y-1 BuNo 31946
    24050 to US Navy as PB4Y-1 BuNo 31947
    24051 to US Navy as PB4Y-1 BuNo 31948
    24053 to US Navy as PB4Y-1 BuNo 31950
    24088 to Navy as PB4Y-1 31949
    24083,24084 to Navy as PB4Y-1 31951/31952.
    24086,24087 to Navy as PB4Y-1 31953/31954.

    B-24D-35-CO Liberator
    40151/40155 to USN as PB4Y-1 31989/31993.
    40204 to USN as PB4Y-1 32043.

    B-24D-40-CO Liberator
    40224/40227 to USN as PB4Y-1 32000/32003.
    40228 to USN as PB4Y-1 31999
    40257 to USN as PB4Y-1 32020 Apr 15, 1943.

    B-24D-45-CO Liberator
    40258 to USN as PB4Y-1 32009 Feb 13, 1943.
    40259/40263 to USN as PB4Y-1 32004/32008.
    40264 to USN as PB4Y-1 32010 Feb 13, 1943.
    40270/40273 to USN as PB4Y-1 32011/32014.
    40274 to USN as PB4Y-1 32019.
    40275/40278 to USN as PB4Y-1 32015/32018.
    40279 to USN as PB4Y-1 32021.
    40281 to USN as PB4Y-1 32031.
    40282/40283 to USN as PB4Y-1 32022/32023.

    B-24D-53-CO Liberator
    40390 to USN as PB4Y-1 32029

    B-24D-55-CO Liberator
    40395 to US Navy as PB4Y-1 BuNo 32053
    40423 to USN as PB4Y-1 32030 Mar 9, 1943.
    40425 to USN as PB4Y-1 32044 Mar 13, 1943
    40429 to USN as PB4Y-1 32032 Mar 9, 1943.
    40430 to USN as PB4Y-1 32038 Mar 11, 1943.
    40432 to USN as PB4Y-1 32033 Mar 9, 1943


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *