Consolidated C-109

Last revised August 16, 1999






The designation C-109 was assigned to existing B-24Js and B-24Ls that were converted into fuel transports to support B-29 operations out of China. An early plan called for ten B-29 groups to be stationed in China for operations against Japan, and these bombers were to be supported by no less than 2000 C-109s which would fly in aviation gasoline over the Hump from India for the bombers.

Unlike the C-87 cargo/passenger transport, the C-109 fuel transports were not new aircraft, but were conversions of existing B-24 bombers. All armament and bombardment equipment was removed and both the forward and aft turrets were removed and faired over with sheet metal. The waist windows were retained. Eight fuel tanks were installed inside the fuselage that could carry 2900 US gallons of aviation gasoline. Most C-109s were equipped with a dual ADF system, as indicated by the presence of two football-shaped antennae on top of the fuselage. C-109s were generally devoid of any armament, although photographs do show that some of the turrets were retained on a few aircraft.

A total of 218 Liberators were modified to C-109 tanker specifications at the various modification centers in the USA. They were not popular with their crews, since they were very difficult to land when fully loaded, especially at airfields that were above 6000 feet in elevation. In addition, longitudinal stability was rather poor when the tank in the forward fuselage was full, so quite often the C-109 flew with this tank empty.

The C-109s were initially operated by the 20th Air Force in the CBI theatre in support of the B-29 operations out of China. The original plan to acquire up to 2000 C-109s was cut way back when the B-29 Superfortress operations relocated from China to the Marianas, from where they could be much better supported by US Navy seaborne tankers. The C-109s were then transferred to the Air Transport Command. Some limited use was also made of the C-109 in Europe.

Conversions of B-24s to C-109s:

42-7172/7229		Ford B-24E-20-FO Liberator
				7221 converted to XC-109
42-51293/51395		Douglas-Tulsa B-24J-5-DT Liberator
				51368 converted to C-109
				51390 converted to C-109
42-51396/51430		Douglas-Tulsa B-24J-10-DT Liberator
				51411 converted to C-109
				51420 converted to C-109
				51424/51427 converted to C-109
				51429 converted to C-109
42-51611/51825		Ford B-24J-10-FO Liberator
				51615 converted to C-109
				51647 converted to C-109
				51659 converted to C-109
				51676 converted to C-109
				51684 converted to C-109
				51697 converted to C-109
				51706 converted to C-109
				51712 converted to C-109
				51716 converted to C-109
				51721 converted to C-109
				51727 converted to C-109
				51730 converted to C-109
				51734 converted to C-109
				51740 converted to C-109
				51748 converted to C-109
				51756 converted to C-109
				51758 converted to C-109
				51766 converted to C-109
				51774 converted to C-109
				51782 converted to C-109
				51784 converted to C-109
				51786 converted to C-109
				51788 converted to C-109
				51792/51793 converted to C-109
				51809/51810 converted to C-109
				51817 converted to C-109
				51825 converted to C-109
42-51826/52075		Ford B-24J-15-FO Liberator
				51826 converted to C-109
				51830 converted to C-109
				51839 converted to C-109
				51844 converted to C-109
				51846/51847 converted to C-109
				51849/51850 converted to C-109
				51854 converted to C-109
				51857 converted to C-109
				51860 converted to C-109
				51862 converted to C-109
				51876/51877 converted to C-109
				51883 converted to C-109
				51887 converted to C-109
				51890 converted to C-109
				51893 converted to C-109
				51901 converted to C-109
				51904 converted to C-109
				51921 converted to C-109
				51930 converted to C-109
				51962 converted to C-109
				51982/51983 converted to C-109
				52000/52001 converted to C-109
				52005/52006 converted to C-109
				52012 converted to C-109
				52014 converted to C-109
				52020/52021 converted to C-109
				52023 converted to C-109
				52033 converted to C-109
				52042 converted to C-109
				52049 converted to C-109
44-48754/49001		Ford B-24J-20-FO Liberator
				48755 converted to C-109
				48792 converted to C-109
				48877 converted to C-109
				48879 converted to C-109
				48882/48883 converted to C-109
				48888 converted to C-109
				48890/48892 converted to C-109
				48948 converted to C-109
				48968 converted to C-109
				48974 converted to C-109
				48979 converted to C-109
				48984 converted to C-109
				48995/48996 converted to C-109
				49001 converted to C-109
44-49002/49251		Ford B-24L-1-FO Liberator
				49007/49009 converted to C-109
				49011/49020 converted to C-109
				49022/49023 converted to C-109
				49025 converted to C-109
				49030/49031 converted to C-109
				49034/49035 converted to C-109
				49037 converted to C-109
				49040 converted to C-109
				49045/49046 converted to C-109
				49050/49051 converted to C-109
				49057 converted to C-109
				49059/49060 converted to C-109
				49062/49063 converted to C-109
				49065 converted to C-109
				49067 converted to C-109
				49071 converted to C-109
				49075 converted to C-109
				49077 converted to C-109
				49079 converted to C-109
				49184 converted to C-109
				49191 converted to C-109
				49197 converted to C-109
				49204 converted to C-109
				49208 converted to C-109
				49219 converted to C-109
				49222 converted to C-109
				49230 converted to C-109
				49234/49236 converted to C-109
				49238 converted to C-109
				49240 converted to C-109
				49245/49249 converted to C-109
				49251 converted to C-109
44-49252/49501		Ford B-24L-5-FO Liberator
				49253 converted to C-109
				49255/49258 converted to C-109
				49265 converted to C-109
				49267 converted to C-109
				49269/49272 converted to C-109
				49274/49277 converted to C-109
				49280/49281 converted to C-109
				49283/49285 converted to C-109
				49288/49290 converted to C-109
				49292 converted to C-109
				49295 converted to C-109
				49299 converted to C-109
				49302/49303 converted to C-109
				49305 converted to C-109
				49313 converted to C-109
				49317 converted to C-109
				49319 converted to C-109
				49326 converted to C-109
				49330 converted to C-109
				49333 converted to C-109
				49337 converted to C-109
				49344 converted to C-109
				49348 converted to C-109
				49351/49354 converted to C-109
				49358/49359 converted to C-109
				49445 converted to C-109
				49466 converted to C-109
				49490 converted to C-109
44-49502/49751		Ford B-24L-10-FO Liberator
				49510 converted to C-109
				49615 converted to C-109
				49621 converted to C-109
				49628 converted to C-109
				49660 converted to C-109
				49662 converted to C-109
				49684 converted to C-109
				49691 converted to C-109
				49704 converted to C-109
				49715 converted to C-109
				49720 converted to C-109
				49723 converted to C-109
				49728 converted to C-109

Sources:

  1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.

  2. Liberator: America's Global Bomber, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co, Inc, 1993.

  3. The Consolidated B-24J Liberator, Roger A. Freeman, Profile Publications, Inc. 1969.

  4. B-24 Liberator in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1987.

  5. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecesssors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  6. Consolidated B-24D-M Liberator IN USAAF-RAF-RAAF-MLD-IAF-CzechAF and CNAF Service, Ernest R. McDowell, Arco, 1970.

  7. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  8. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  9. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J.H. Taylor, Mallard Press.