Aviation of WWII
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Liberator B-24J 2100404/ MK:S, The Grim Reaper

(Rus)  B-24 groups arriving in England and Italy during the winter of 1943-44 were equipped with the B-24H and J models. These featured improved armament, with a power-operated nose turret and a retractable ball turret. Unfortunately these features and revised equipment raised the overall weight of the Liberator, adversely effecting handling qualities as well as reducing operational altitude when fully loaded. The 701st Bomb Squadron's B-24J 2100404/ MK:S, The Grim Reaper, endured to the end of hostilities despite its forbidding name, although it was transferred to another group following repairs. The ball turret usually remained retracted until over enemy territory due to its drag when lowered; the guns can be seen pointing down from the well. To improve handling, most Eighth Air Force Liberators had their ball turrets removed in the spring of 1944, but the Fifteenth Air Force chose to retain theirs. (USAAF)