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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

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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  

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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

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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

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    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 They were essentially withdrawn from service in 1944.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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