Airplanes of the Past Home Page B-24 Liberator Bomber Scrapping and Smelting after World War II



B-24 Liberator Bomber Scrapping After World War II

The B-24 Liberator's spacious, slab-sided fuselage was built around a central bomb bay with two compartments that could hold 8,000 pounds of ordnance each. The B-24 provided excellent service in a variety of roles due to its large payload and long range.

B-24 Liberator "Missouri Miss" meets the guillotine at Kingman Army Air FieldConsolidated B-24 Liberator "Missouri Miss" meets the guillotine at Kingman Army Air Field

Included on this website is a table showing a recap of B-24 Liberator production by model, and by manufacturing plant. Numbers represent our best research on the subject; there are minor variations in numbers reported by other sources and outlets.

After the end of World War II in August of 1945, the U.S. Army Air Corp found itself with thousands of surplus, and now obsolete, B-24 Liberators.

Of the 18,493 Liberators that were built, most were sent to military airplane boneyards for temporary storage, sale, or scrapping and smelting into aluminum ingots.

While some Liberators were sold and continued usage in civilian aviation, most ended their service, not in combat, but in the smelter at locations such as Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona.

Few B-24 planes survive today. In the United States, only two aircraft are airworthy, and six complete airframes are on static display. Read more about B-24 Liberator surviving aircraft, serial numbers, location, and photographs

Photos of B-24 Liberators After World War II

B-24 Liberator "Gambler's Luck" awaiting the furnace at Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona as seen in LIFE
B-24 Liberator "Gambler's Luck" awaiting the furnace at Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona
Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Solid Comfort" awaits her final fate at Kingman Army Air Field
Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Solid Comfort" awaits her final fate at Kingman Army Air Field
B-24 Liberator "Atomic Blonde" at the Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona after World War II
B-24 Liberator "Atomic Blonde" at the Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona after World War II
B-24 Liberator "The Dragon and His Tail" with engines removed at Kingman AAF in Arizona
... this aircraft was one of the last scrapped at Kingman
B-24 Liberator "The Dragon and His Tail" with engines removed at Kingman AAF in Arizona
B-24 Liberator "Who's Next" stored in the Arizona desert boneyard at Kingman Army Air Field
B-24 Liberator "Who's Next" stored in the Arizona desert boneyard at Kingman Army Air Field
After 97 missions, B-24 Liberator "Shy Chi Baby" rests in the boneyard at Kingman Army Air Field
After 97 missions, B-24 Liberator "Shy Chi Baby" rests in the boneyard at Kingman Army Air Field
B-24 Liberator "Contrary Mary" ... "The Scroungy 8 Over the Golden Gate"
(LIFE Magazine photo)
B-24 Liberator "Contrary Mary" ... "The Scroungy 8 Over the Golden Gate" awaiting the smelters at Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona
B-24 Liberator "Old Black Magic" at the Kingman Army Air Field desert boneyard in Arizona
B-24 Liberator "Old Black Magic" at the Kingman Army Air Field desert boneyard in Arizona
B-24 Liberator "Virgin Abroad" destined for the smelter after WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "Virgin Abroad" destined for the smelter after WWII at Kingman AAF
Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Hot To Go" ... "You Lucky Girls"
stored in the Arizona desert boneyard Post-WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "Hot To Go" ..."You Lucky Girls" stored in the Arizona desert boneyard Post-WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "The Red Headed Rebel" resting in the Arizona desert after WWII at Kingman
B-24 Liberator "The Red Headed Rebel" resting in the Arizona desert after WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "Windy City Kitty" ... "It's Up to You" ...
awaits an appointment with the smelter in the Arizona desert after WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "Windy City Kitty" ... "It's Up to You" ... awaits an appointment with the smelter in the Arizona desert after WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "Mary Ann" sits in the sun of the Arizona desert after WWII at Kingman AAF
B-24 Liberator "Mary Ann" sits in the sun of the Arizona desert after WWII at Kingman AAF

B-24 Liberator Scrapping and Melting Project at the Kingman Army Air Field boneyard in Arizona

Rows of B-24 Liberators await the scrap heap at Kingman AAF in Arizona
"Old Black Magic" 0333 in the foreground as reported in LIFE Magazine
Lines of B-24 Liberators await the scrap heap at Kingman AAF in Arizona
Ford B-24L-15-FO Liberator "Mabel's Labels" ... "Gimme a Great Big Smile!"
S/N 44-49854 ... Served with the 64th Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group, 5th Air Force
Shown below with engines removed and awaiting the guillotine and smelter
Ford B-24L-15-FO Liberator "Mabel's Labels" ... "Gimme a Great Big Smile!" ... S/N 44-49854
Rows of aircraft engines removed from surplus B-17 and B-24 bombers at the Kingman AAF boneyard
Rows of aircraft engines removed from surplus bombers at the Kingman boneyard
Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Missouri Miss" meets the guillotine at Kingman Army Air Field
B-24 Liberator "Missouri Miss" meets the guillotine at Kingman Army Air Field
Once cut in pieces, aircraft remnants are moved to the smelter (in the distance)
Once cut in pieces, aircraft remnants are moved to the smelter (in the distance)
One of the three smelters, or furnaces, used at Kingman to melt
small pieces of aircraft into ingots
One of the three smelters, or furnaces, used at Kingman to melt aircraft parts
Stacks of aluminum ingots ...
the remains of the great American World War II bomber fleet
Stacks of aluminum ingots ... all that remains of the great American World War II bomber fleet