B-24 bomb bay door question

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Nigel
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Joined: 26 Jul 2020 1926

B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by Nigel » 16 Aug 2020 1117

I've been trying to read about the B-24, and have some questions: how did the bomb bay doors work? I've read they worked similar to a garage door and primarily designed from an aerodynamic point of view, but did the bomb bay doors slide up within the fuselage or external to the fuselage?

I also read that it was possible to release the bombs with the bomb bay doors closed -that would seem to suggest the weight would force them open, which doesn't make sense to me. Additionally, based on the walkway, I assume it was never safe to be walking on those bomb bay doors when they were closed, though I'm not sure if that is because they couldn't take a person's weight or the weight of a person would force them open.

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JollyRoger
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Re: B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by JollyRoger » 16 Aug 2020 2231

Bomb bay doors roll up on tracks ending outside the exterior fuselage surface as they open up. They close rolling down these tracks ending flush to the underside fuse. profile. Crew entry and exit into the ship is also through these doors.

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JollyRoger
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Re: B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by JollyRoger » 16 Aug 2020 2339

DAB2F1D7-75CF-4F89-B035-95D28E6C95CA.jpeg
representing doors closed
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Nigel
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Joined: 26 Jul 2020 1926

Re: B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by Nigel » 17 Aug 2020 0719

Thank you Jolly Roger, that clears it up. Do you have any idea how strong the doors were? I wouldn't have wanted to walk on one during a flight....

Nigel
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Joined: 26 Jul 2020 1926

Re: B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by Nigel » 17 Aug 2020 0727

Following up and if anyone else is interested, I found this:

http://www.worldwar2history.info/air-forces/B-24.html

"There was no aisle to walk down, only the eight-inch-wide catwalk running beside the bombs and over the bomb bay doors used to move forward and aft. It had to be done with care, as the aluminum doors, which rolled up into the fuselage instead of opening outward on a hinge, had only a 100-pound capacity, so if a man slipped he would break through."

RanchLady
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Re: B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by RanchLady » 17 Aug 2020 0815

How very interesting!!! I never had even thought about someone walking and falling through the bomb bay doors!! Great question that was posed, (how did they fold up and down) and being cautious about walking over them on the catwalk.

Nigel
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Re: B-24 bomb bay door question

Post by Nigel » 18 Aug 2020 1815

Thank you for the comments. My wife's uncle (2nd Lt Joseph Horgan) was a bombardier who was killed on 15th July 1945 a couple of hours before dawn. His plane ditched into the pacific taking off from McGuire Airfield (now San Jose airport), Mindoro, Philippines. I've been trying to wrap my head around what these air crews faced.

I'm now tending to think the bomb bay doors were relatively fragile, and probably ripped off in the ditching assuming it came down belly first. Access and exits were primarily through the nose wheel and bomb bay doors and the side windows, though I believe there was a smaller exit in front of the cockpit (imagine undoing that in the dark). I'm realizing that it must have been border line impossible to escape via the back of the plane if you were at the front; heavily clothed, in the dark, bombs either side, trying to get to the rear exits walking on a crazily narrow cat walk with -in all possibility -on rushing water.

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