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Red Air Force heavy bombers.

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by 4th wilts, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

    Dec 15, 2007
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    Hi all,Did the Red Air Force have a large force of 4 engined bombers at all,? Or did they concentrate largely on C.A.S.and interdiction.? Thanks,4W.
  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Feb 17, 2010
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    Only a few. Their only wartime 4-engine was the Pe-8 of which, according to wiki, they only built 93. There were also some older TB-3s, basically obsolescent, but they continued in use through the war as bombers and paratroop transports. They were also used a few times to carry fighters which were launched to conduct long-range bombing missions!

    As you say, they were mainly concerned with tactical aviation and air combat. Desingated heavy or long-range bomber units used twin-engine types; the Lend-Lease B-25, a medium bomber in our lingo, was one of their heavier ones.

    Side note, the medium bomber category seems to have been an offshoot of the development of four-engine heavies. Before that, 'heavy bomber' referred to the larger twins like the Wellington which were distinguished from smaller twin-engine light bombers.
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Jul 31, 2002
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    I guess the biggest bombing offensive in Finland was Helsinki bombings in early 1944: They used 1007 planes for these. Among other planes there were two regiments of Petljakov Pe-8 bombers.
  4. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Aug 22, 2010
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    Ontario, Canada
    As others have said, the Soviets did not concentrate on heavy bombers. Furthermore, the Soviets did not recieve heavy bombers under lend-lease (with the exception of one B-24 that I believe was used for liason duties). There were some exceptions:
    • The 18th Air Force operated 28 'captured' B-24s (those forced to land in Eastern Europe, interned, and repaired). I don't know if any of these actually flew missions before the end of the war.
    • The Il-4 medium bomber was used on some long-range missions, including several raids on Berlin.
    • The Pe-8 was the only 'modern' Soviet 4-engined bomber, but less than 100 were built, and they suffered from a very high loss rate. They were essentially withdrawn from service in 1944.
    • The outdated TB-3 flew bombing missions throughout the war (with the focus being from the beginning of the war to 1943, with high casualty rates). I don't know if any of these were strategic missions, but given the situation on the ground, I assume that these were primarily short-range missions to support ground forces. As Carronade said, TB-3s also flew 'Zveno' 'parasite fighter' operations where they would carry small I-16 fighters armed with bombs to attack targets in Romania.

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