so, heavy monsters, carrying tons of bombs over great distances. Yes, it's them. Four-engine colossus, bristling with trunks, with large crews, armored and in general - the beauty and pride of any aviation.
Not all countries were able to create such aircraft. French people, eg. They had a very, very decent project from "Breguet" Br.482 and even assembled copies of "Bloch" MV.162, but it didn't go beyond one or two copies. Alas, the "Breguet" bomber looked very solid.
Because we will consider those planes, who actually fought on the fronts of World War II. not important, with what success, but fought.
1. Heinkel He.177 «Greif». Germany, 1939
I do not know, how to treat the findings of homebrew experts correctly, who call the "Griffin" failure. And it doesn't matter at all, by Heinkel's failure, ministry of aviation, Geringa, Hitler ... the main thing is failure.
Meanwhile, "failure" was released in more numbers 1000 units, fought, but in fact the plane was wonderful. At all, in it, the Heinkel gang managed to implement absolutely all the technical innovations of that time, for peaceful purposes, their energy ...
But no ingenious design solutions will help, if the aviation circles themselves get bogged down in undercover games. Well, then, that long-range / strategic aviation turned out to be an unbearable burden for the German industry ... So it was in the USSR that they could not produce more than a hundred Pe-8 for various reasons.
And what was so unusual about the "Griffin"?
Twin propulsion system. Yes, at the beginning I said, that today we will talk about four-engine heavy bombers. I didn't lie, the non-177 had four motors. more precisely, two 12-cylinder V-shaped units, created on the basis of DB 601, mounted side by side and worked on a common shaft through a gearbox, connecting both crankshafts. And it was called DB 606.
Remote control of shooting installations, having significantly less aerodynamic drag compared to manually guided turrets. Very useful.
No.177 was considered a dangerous and underdeveloped aircraft due to engine problems, but the pilots from a specially created «Test Squadron 177» had a different opinion. They very well received a pleasant bomber to fly..
He.177A-3 / R3 became the first carrier of a guided weapon - a guided bomb «Henschel» Hs 293. He could carry three of these bombs, two under the consoles and one under the fuselage. by the way, it was the "Griffins" that successfully worked on Italian ships by UABs.
dignity: good flying and fighting qualities.
disadvantages: general underdevelopment of the machine.
2. Piaggio P.108B/A. Italy, 1939
You can't forbid living beautifully, even in such a frankly poor country, like italy. Generally, why do they need heavy bombers, hard to say. But - for the prestige of Duce Mussolini wanted to have at least one air group, and there, you look, useful ...
We have developed projects of several forms, it even got to that, that they wanted to build an American B-17 under license, but it didn't happen. But in the end, a more or less intelligible heavy bomber was obtained by the Piaggio company.. Although - well, very similar to the B-17 ...
Despite the obvious borrowing of individual parts, italian «flying fortress» turned out to be harder to manage and performance characteristics were much worse. In general, it was a fairly modern plane, advanced technology.
At all, the Italians looked at the use of the FW-200 "Condor" by the Germans as patrol and anti-submarine aircraft. Where did it come from, eternal rival France has not been canceled, while in the Mediterranean and the British sat, like at home.
Hot Italian guys were going to hang three torpedoes from the plane. One in the bomb bay, and two on external nodes. The division got a big name (but how else in that Italy) "Knights of the Ocean", and the son of the Duce became the commander, Bruno Mussolini.
true, did not command Bruno's Knights for long. If the hydraulic system fails on one of the training flights, the plane crashed and Mussolini Jr. was killed.
The catastrophe and death of Duce's son severely undermined the credibility of the new bomber. Release Р.108В, already walking not shaky, our Valko, slowed down even more. But some of the equipment has been replaced with more reliable, German.
The P.108V bomber remained in service with the Italian Air Force until Italy's withdrawal from the war., and its transport version served in the Luftwaffe until the surrender of Germany. But the aircraft's combat career cannot be called successful, it was used quite sporadically and without much zeal of Italian pilots.
In general, the R.108V can be called a completely modern aircraft., but he was not brought to mind because of the war. Unreliable engines and equipment, very mediocre and difficult management
Italy was unable to contain numerous strategic aviation, and the few sorties of the only squadron P.108B have no effect on the course of hostilities, naturally, could not.
But you can just put a "tick": the Italians were able to create and serially build a heavy long-range bomber.
dignity: Have not found.
disadvantages: generally "raw" aircraft.
3. Petlyakov Pe-8. the USSR, 1941
ABOUT Pe-8 we just talked recently, it remains only to make a short "take". It was a very nice car., with its own "zest". Its only drawback was the eternal leapfrog with engines and a small number of aircraft released.
Basically, there were no targets for the Pe-8. The bomber could not work in the frontline zone, since on the one hand, there was someone to do it, on the other hand, the bombing of point objects from a great height did not make sense at all.
As a result, the actual targeted use of the Pe-8 by single sorties did not play any role in the war.. But - as a "goal of prestige" quite.
I think, Pe-8 brought great benefit, carrying crews to ferry aircraft to the UK.
dignity: good performance characteristics, decent armament and bomb load.
disadvantages: weak point - unsuited engines and a small series.
4. Boeing B-17 «Flying Fortress». USA, 1936
"Flying fortress". What else can be added? Really, fortress. Really, flying. The B-17's only problem throughout its service was vulnerability to frontal attacks..
The plane was created as a land bomber, ship-oriented. I.e, capable of causing damage to ships of any class, including the largest.
The Flying Fortress immediately became a legend due to its ability to return to the airfield even with significant damage. Really, strength and reliability have become the hallmark of V-17. Cases have been recorded, when the Fortresses crushed by German fighters crawled on two (best case scenario) motors of four. And it happened that on one.
B-17 entered the war in 1941 year in the ranks of the Royal Air Force. And they were engaged in daytime bombing of German factories.
"Fortresses" were dropped only in Europe 650 195 tons of bombs. for comparison, B-24 dropped 451 690 tonnes, and all other American planes still 420 500 tonnes.
Respectively, and the Germans beat on the "Fortresses" so, that only duralumin flew in tatters. Only the recognized losses of the US Air Force were 4 752 units B-17, which is actually a third of the total.
Only 14 October 1943 of the year, on "Black Thursday", German fighters and air defenses shot down 59 cars from 291 attacking factories in Germany. Another "Fortress" drowned in the English Channel, 5 crashed in England and 12 were written off due to combat or landing damage. Everything is lost 77 machines. 122 bomber were finished like this, that needed a major overhaul. Only 33 B-17 returned without damage.
Decent plane. Went through the whole war, and passed with dignity.
dignity: vitality, flying qualities, weaponry.
disadvantages: vulnerable to attacks from the front.
5. Consolidated B-24 «Liberator». USA, 1939
The story began in 1939 year, when the US Air Force began to figure out, how will the B-17 be changed. The result is a slightly smaller aircraft., but with a greater flight range and speed.
Fight "Liberators", like "Fortresses", started in Britain. Furthermore, they were even armed like British planes, i.e, armament B-24 consisted of six 7.69-mm machine guns: two in the tail, one in the nose, one at both side points and one at the bottom of the hatch.
not enough, if in my opinion. "Browning" 12.7 mm are still more confident units.
The British began to massively convert the B-24 into anti-submarine aircraft, Doenitz's guys have already really started to get the empire with their "wolf packs".
A container with 20 mm cannons was placed under the front of the fuselage., put on radar machines, antennas mounted in the nose and on the wings, provided a suspension in the bomb bay of depth charges.
But for the most part, the B-24 was doing the same, as B-17. I.e, carried tons of bombs and dumped them on German cities. Or the islands, occupied by the Japanese.
However, German and Japanese fighter pilots quickly discovered, that the "Liberator", like "Fortress", completely unprotected from frontal attacks. And if the Germans with frontal were so-so, then the Japanese began to shoot down the B-24 like this, that I had to re-equip the plane.
Didn't help much, true. Although two more 12.7 mm machine guns were installed, firing forward, but they had very large dead zones.
But nonetheless, stop states, who took a running start in aircraft production, it turned out to be impossible. And upgrades followed one after another, and the number of four-engine monsters was overwhelming.
And there is such a nuance here: precisely the release of a huge number of long-range heavy bombers, which were later replaced by strategic bombers, a new US military doctrine was born.
In general, the B-24, like its predecessor, went through the entire war on all fronts., where aviation and the USA took part, and UK.
dignity: speed, vitality, range.
disadvantages: vulnerable to attacks from the front.
6. Handley Page «Halifax». United Kingdom, 1941
"Halifax", though late for the start of the war, Nevertheless, plowed her until the very last day. And, not only in the RAF. The bomber was in service with the Australian Air Force, new Zealand, Canada.
Halifaxes replaced Stirlings in a timely manner, which were clearly targets for German fighters and practically could not oppose them.
The Halifaxes made their first raid on the night of 11 on 12 Martha 1941 years to the captured French port of Le Havre. It was the debut, followed by many other operations, the essence of which was the classic bombing.
During their service in the RAF, Halifaxes performed 82 773 airplane departure and dropped 224 000 tons of air bombs.
There were built 6178 "Halifax" of various modifications, losses were 1833 Aircraft.
At all, from "Halifax" turned out to be a very good multipurpose aircraft. He fought submarines in anti-submarine configuration, towed gliders, dropped cargo to partisans in Yugoslavia and Poland, landed troops.
And this is one of the few planes, whose career continued after the war as a cargo and passenger aircraft.
dignity: strong middling.
disadvantages: range and weapons.
7. Euro «Lancaster». United Kingdom, 1941
This is where British engineers can exclaim: “We are not on purpose! it happened!»
Really, "Lancaster" emerged from the project of a medium bomber and is clearly the most-the most British bomber.
Its development has begun, when there was a war in Europe for three months, but by then, when the war ended, "Lancaster" was built for about 7300. And, they were used so heavily, which is about half (3345) were officially lost on combat missions.
Lancaster dropped more than 600 000 tons of bombs. no wonder, that the corresponding losses. In general, for the second half of the war, defensive weapons were frankly weak. clear, Why did British Air Command switch to night flights. Fighting with rifle-caliber machine guns against armored German fighters became more and more difficult every year..
And Lancaster appeared as a compromise. One side, the project of the company "Avro" "Manchester" was rejected. Therefore, in the design of the "four-engine" Manchester "elements of the serial" Manchester "were used in full. tail, stabilizer washers, bow (FN5) and tail (FN4A) turrets «Fraser Nash» and much more.
Lancaster was built in large numbers, but existed only in four production variants: two main and two less important.
This is a very reasonable approach in a war.. The same plane was produced, improvement in performance occurred only by upgrading the Merlin engine.
Since the mid 1942 g. until the end of the war «Lancaster» was the main weapon of the Bomber Command. On his account the destruction of the Ruhr enterprises, including the memorable operation to destroy dams. And it was the "Lancasters" who eventually finished off the "Tirpitz" and thereby saved the Admiralty from the problem of replacing diapers. Finally, Britain could again calmly "rule" the seas.
Most of «Lancaster», survivors of the war, was scrapped, but a small part was sold to other countries and used as peaceful aircraft.
French "Lancaster" served in North Africa until 1961 city, while in the South Pacific, in Noumea, to 1964 g.
dignity: good flying qualities, unparalleled bomb load.
disadvantages: weak defensive weapons.
They really were in some way the highest point in the development of bomber aviation., then it's time for jet bombers, but these planes were exactly that, what they were: a symbol of total destruction of everything on earth.
/Roman Skomorokhov, topwar.ru/