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The XB-41 and XB-40 projects were developed to test the escort bomber concept. Because there were no fighters capable of escorting bomber formations on deep strike missions early in World War II, the Air Corps authorized tests for heavily armed bombers to act as escorts and protect the bomb-carrying aircraft from enemy fighters. Both the XB-40 and XB-41 projects were failures for a variety of reasons -- they were unable to effectively defend other aircraft, the were too slow to keep up with formations returning from bombing missions, they were too heavy, and the basic flight characteristics were changed drastically by the added drag and center of gravity changes introduced with the additional turrets.
The XB-41 was modified from an early production model B-24D (S/N 41-11822) and included 14 .50-cal. machine guns mounted in pairs in a Bendix chin turret, two Martin power turrets on the dorsal (top) fuselage, a belly turret, left and right waist positions, and a tail turret. The XB-41 was completed in late 1942 and testing was done in early 1943. Flight tests were very disappointing and the XB-41 project was quickly canceled.
||B-24D converted to bomber escort
Armament: 14 .50-cal. machine guns
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 Twin Wasp radial engines of 1,250 hp each
Maximum speed: 289 mph at 25,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 200 mph
Range: 3,100 miles
Service ceiling: 28,500 ft.
Span: 110 ft. 0 in.
Length: 66 ft. 4 in.
Height: 17 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 63,000 lbs. (maximum gross weight)
Serial number: (B-24D-CO): 41-11822
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