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By September 1942, the U.S. Navy began using the army B-24 Liberator bomber—which it designated the PB4Y-1—to conduct patrols against Japanese shipping and submarines in the Pacific Theater. To meet the navy’s requirements for a dedicated land-based, long-range patrol plane, Consolidated Aircraft built upon its successful B-24 and PBY Catalina designs to develop the PB4Y-2 Privateer. Although it bore a clear family resemblance to the B-24, the PB4Y-2 had a longer fuselage, a single vertical tail, greater armament, and engines optimized for low-altitude patrols over the ocean. Patrol Bombing Squadrons 118 and 119 received their Privateers by late 1944, and began overseas operations early the following year. In addition to their anti-shipping role, Privateers also flew air-sea rescue missions, searching for downed airmen in the vast Pacific Ocean.

(Jim Laurier)

this article first appeared in world war II magazine

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