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The Consolidated B-24D “Liberator” heavy bomber was created as a part of “Project A,” a program launched to enhance the USA’s industrial capacity to meet the needs of the Air Force. The contract for the aircraft, which was to be an improved B-17, was received by Consolidated in March of 1939, with a prototype required by the end of the year. The prototype was finished and made its first flight just two days before the deadline on December 29. The new aircraft, although more difficult to control, was superior to the B-17 in range, operational ceiling, and maximum speed. In addition, it could carry a significantly larger bomb load (up to 3629 kg), which largely determined its application: the first models delivered to England were mainly used for coastal protection from German submarines. The first successful modification of the aircraft was the B-24D, which was mass-produced from 1940 to 1942. This model had four 1200 hp engines, and its armament was modified over time, based on pilot feedback. Eventually, it was equipped with eleven 12.7mm machine guns (three in the nose, two remote-controlled guns in the dorsal turret, two in the ventral ball turret, one machine gun in each side window, and two machine guns in the tail turret). The B-24 was the most mass-produced Allied bomber in World War II - all in all, 18,482 B-24s were produced, 2,696 of which were B-24Ds. These bombers were made in several factories. The factory which produced the most was the Henry Ford plant in Willow Run, which in 1944 released a B-24 every hour, 650 planes per month. The B-24 was actively used in the Pacific and European theaters of war.