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Book Review
B-24 Units of the CBI
B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI, Osprey Combat Aircraft * 87
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:


USAAF strategic heavy bombers darkened the skies over Europe first by the hundreds, then the thousands, running gauntlets of heavily armed Luftwaffe fighters to pound the strategic targets of the Axis; scores could fall during each mission. The ETO (European Theater of Operations) boasted three air divisions in the Eighth Air Force alone. Strategic heavy bombers fighting the Japanese fought a war very different than their brethren across the globe. Only two groups, the 7th and the 308th, wrote the heavy bomber chapters of the war over the CBI (China-Burma-India) theater. Flying for the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces, they faced extreme conditions of weather, geography, and supply before they could even come to grips with their tenacious and determined foe.

The heavy bomber war over the CBI lacked the industrial targets of the European air campaign. The Japanese were also at the end of a very long supply line. Liberators in the CBI bombed docks, railroads, bridges, marshaling yards, airfields, shipping, and mined waterways to impede the Japanese. These missions were curtailed in the summer of 1944 to fly 2,000,000 gallons of fuel over ‘The Hump’, the treacherous Himalayan Mountains, to support the 14th AF i n their desperate defense of China. The fuel missions cost the B-24s more than twice the losses suffered from Japanese fighters in 1944!

Having just finished the books FW 190 Defense of the Reich Aces and Aces of the 357th Fighter Group, the differences between the ETO and the CBI is striking. A single ETO mission could lose more bombers than would be found in a CBI Liberator mission. Rarely could the Japanese put more than a dozen ‘Oscars’, ‘Tojos’ or ‘Nicks’ in the air to attack the B-24s; an hour of fighter attacks might inflict only minor damage to the big bombers. While ETO bombers attacked pulling contrails, CBI B-24s could be found attacking bridges and railroads from as low as 300 feet.


Accomplished author and researcher Edward Young brings us the story of the 7th and the 308th Bomb Groups as they carried the war to the Japanese across China and South East Asia. This is his third title for Osprey. Through fine research and writing, Mr. Young reveals the triumphs, tragedies, heroism, and accomplishments of those bomber crewmen and ground crews who fought to protect China, Burma, and India. This book delves into the origins of the groups and their squadrons, their histories (one started as the B-17s which flew into the attack on Pearl Harbor), milestones, and the tactical evolutions to best counter the Japanese. In doing so they both earned a Distinguished Unit Citation.

From showering bombs (and beer bottles) onto airfields and troops, mining rivers and gulfs and seas, busting bridges with dumb bombs and guided bombs, hauling gas over the hump, and braving terrible weather, Mr. Young weaves together the story of the Liberators of the CBI.

B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI is presented to you in 96 pages through six chapters:

1: China-Burma-India
2: Operations During 1943
3: Strategic Air Force
4: Fourteenth Air Force
5: Sea Searches and Ichi-Go
6: Endgame In China
• Appendices
• Colour Plates Commentary
• Index

Photographs and Illustrations

This dramatic story is fortified by dozens of photographs. Some I have seen before, some are new to me. CBI Liberators sometimes required camouflage not seen in the ETO. One similarity between the crews of the CBI and those of the ETO is nose art. Being at the end of the war’s longest supply line did not dull their appreciation of the big broad canvas the B-24 nose afforded. Dozens of these decorations are presented to you with the 30 aircraft profiles via the talents of artist Mark Styling.


I like the B-24 better than the B-17, and the Pacific more than the ETO. This book brings both together in a detailed and interesting text. The many photographs enrich and support the text. Whether you are a historian or modeler, B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI is a fascinating book. With the amount of detailed research, clarity of delivery, and abundance of supporting photographs and images, the B-24 war over the CBI is certain to educate and expand your understanding of this chapter of the Liberator war.

Please remember, when contacting manufacturers and sellers, to mention you saw this book here—on Aeroscale.
Highs: Authoritatively researched, documented, and presented. Outstanding illustrations and photographs.
Lows: None really.
Verdict: This work should be appreciated by anyone interested in B-24s and the CBI heavy bomber war.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781849083416
  Suggested Retail: $22.95, 13.99 GBP
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 22, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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