Consolidated B-24E Liberator BIV – 223 Sqn Bomber Support Unit, RAF Oulton 1944Add to compare
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Corgi Aviation 1/72 scale AA34012: Consolidated B-24E Liberator BIV of 223 Sqn Bomber Support Unit, RAF Oulton, England, 1944. Limited Edition of 1400 Pieces.
Length 11.25 inches Wingspan 18.25 inches
On 23 August 1944 223 squadron reformed for a second time at Oulton, this time as the second ‘Jostle’ unit in No.100 Group of Bomber Command. The squadron was equipped with a mix of B-24s from the US 8th Air Force and used these aircraft on radar counter measures and electronic intelligence missions to support Bomber Command’s main force. ‘Jostle’ itself was radar jamming equipment. The B-24 could carry up to thirty jamming sets, and carried two special operators to work the equipment. Their role was so secret that the rest of the crews didn’t know what they were doing!
In Mid July 1944 the squadron was given Big Ben equipment, which was mistakenly believed to be able to jam the guidance system of the V-2 Rocket. The first Big Ben patrol came on 19 September (this was also the squadron’s first counter-measures mission with the Liberator). The Big Ben sorties involved four hour long daylight stints off the Dutch coast, but it soon became clear that it was having no effect, and the equipment was removed in November. The squadron’s last daylight patrol had already been flown, on 25 October, and after that it flew at night to support the Bomber stream.
The squadron flew two main types of missions. The most common were spoof raids using ‘window’. One line of aircraft would use ‘window’ to create a radar screen over the North Sea. Another flight of eight aircraft would then emerge from this screen and use ‘window’ to create the impression of a raid heading for a particular target. Once the German fighters were heading for the wrong area the main raid would then emerge from the screen. Once the Germans became used to this plan and ignored the feint the order of events was reversed, with the main raid leaving the radar screen first. The second sort of mission saw two or three jamming aircraft accompany the main force, then circle above the target using their jammers against German radar.
By December 1944 all of the squadron’s aircraft were carrying Jostle, Carpet (designed to jam Wurzburg radar) and Piperack (for use against SN-2 radar). The squadron’s jamming aircraft would remain over the target after the main force had left in an attempt to protect stragglers against German attack.
In March 1945 the squadron began to convert to the B-17 although some B-24s were retained to the end of the war. The squadron’s last operational mission came on 2-3 May 1945 when it carried out a spoof ‘window’ raid over Kiel during the final Bomber Command raid of the war.
In January 1939, the U.S. Army Air Corps asked Consolidated to submit a design for a bomber with higher range and greater capacity than Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress. The resulting design became the most-produced American combat aircraft in Air Corps history. Designed to fill a United States Army Air Corps need for a heavy bomber, the B-24 Liberator was first flown on December 29, 1939. The USAAC originally asked Consolidated to build the B-17 under license, but the company instead chose to submit a more modern design with greater speed, greater range and a heavier bomb load. Despite these advantages, the B-24 was more difficult to fly, had poor formation-flying characteristics, and was much more vulnerable to battle damage, which meant it never became the favored bomber among American aircrews. It did prove more than serviceable, however, especially for long-range missions.