B-24 Liberator with weird paint scheme - US Army Air Force | Gallery

B-24 Liberator with weird paint scheme

B-24 Liberator with interesting paint scheme. I've never seen something like this. Would this be one of those "follow me" planes that are sent to help corral the bombers into formation? The date of this photograph is 1945. Nothing else is known.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.ww2incolor.com/gallery/us-army-air-force/18741/b-24-liberator-with-weird-paint-scheme

These planes were painted a bright colour because they were used as "follow me" planes to get the rest of the group/squadron to form a formation around ready for a mission. The bright colours were to avoid other planes running into themm. They used to call planes painted like this sacrificial lambs but I cant remember if they flew the entire mission into enemy territory.

In addition to Koala’s comment: Garishly painted B-24s were used as ‘lead ships’, acting as markers on which the huge Eight Air Force bomber formations would assemble before setting off on raids over Europe.

I’ve always known these aircraft to be called “Formation Ships”. As other commenters have stated, the Bomber Squadron/Group/Wing crews would use them as a reference to assume their own position in the formation. They were not armed and left the formation before it crossed the UK coast.

The ones I have seen were painted bright yellow and returned to base as soon as the formation was in place.