Aviation brings death from heaven. Suddenly and inevitably. “Heavenly slow moving” and “Flying fortresses” - these are the main ones in the air. All other planes and ground-based missile systems, fighters and anti-aircraft guns - all this was created to ensure the successful operation of bombers or to counter enemy bombers.
The “Military Channel” TV channel made a rating of the best bombers of all times from 10 - and, as always, a hell of a mixture of cars of different classes and time periods came out. I think it necessary to rethink some points of the American program in order to avoid panic among the morally weak members of Russian society.
It is worth noting that many accusations against the Military Channel seem unreasonable - unlike Russian television with its endless comedy clubs, Discovery makes a truly bright, interesting program for the mass audience. He does as he can, often making absurd mistakes and frankly delusional statements. At the same time, journalists are not without objectivity - every Discovery rating contains truly outstanding models of equipment. The whole problem with the numbering of places, in the place of journalists, I would have canceled it altogether.
10 place - B-17 "Flying Fortress" and B-24 "Liberator"
Strategic bomber. Max. take-off weight 30 tons. Maximum speed 515 km / h. Combat radius: 3200 km with two tons of bombs. Ceiling 11 000 m.
Armament: up to 8 tons of bombs, 13 defensive machine guns caliber 12,7 mm.
In flight Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" and Consolidated B-24 "Liberator"
Henry Ford was repeatedly asked why his Willow Run aircraft factory had such a strange L-shape: in the midst of production, the conveyor suddenly turned at a right angle. The answer was simple: a giant assembly complex rested on the territory of another state, where the land tax was higher. The American capitalist considered everything up to a cent and decided that it was cheaper to set up factory workshops than to pay extra taxes.
Willow Run Main Assembly Line
Built in 1941-1942's. at the site of the former Ford parent farm, the Willow Run plant assembled the B-24 Liberator four-engined bomber. Paradoxically, this aircraft remained virtually unknown, giving up all the laurels of the “Flying Fortress”. Both strategic bombers carried the same bomb load, performed similar tasks and were very similar in design, while the B-17 produced 12 thousand aircraft, and the production volume of B-24, due to the talent of businessman Henry Ford, exceeded 18 thousand machines.
Heavy bombers actively fought on all fronts of the Second World War, covered the Arctic convoys, were used as transport aircraft, tankers, photo reconnaissance aircraft. There were projects of a “heavy fighter” (!) And even an unmanned projectile aircraft.
But the “Kreposty” and the “Liberators” were especially famous during their raids on Germany. Strategic bombardments were not an American invention - for the first time the Germans used this tactic, bombing the Dutch Rodders on 4 in May 1940. The British liked the idea - the very next day Royal Air Force planes crashed the Ruhr industrial area. But the real madness began in 1943 year - with the advent of the allies of the four-engine bombers, the life of the German population turned into a hellish disco.
Boeings in the skies of Europe
There are various interpretations of the combat effectiveness of strategic bombing. The most common opinion is that the bombs did not harm the industry of the Reich - despite all the attempts of the allies, the volume of German military production in 1944 was constantly increasing! However, there is the following nuance: military production continuously increased in all the warring countries, but in Germany the growth rates were noticeably lower - this is clearly seen in the figures for the production of armored vehicles (“Royal Tigers”, “Jagdpanthers” - only a few hundred units) or difficulties with the launch of a series of jets. Moreover, this “growth” was bought at a high price: in 1944, the civilian production sector was completely curtailed in Germany. The Germans had no time for furniture and gramophones - all forces were thrown into the war.
9 Place - Handley Page 0 / 400
Heavy bomber. Max. take-off weight 6 tons. Maximum speed 160 km / h. Flight range 1100 km. Ceiling 2600 m. Interesting fact: to climb 1500 m "super-bomber" required as much as 23 minutes.
Armament: 2000 pounds (907 kg) bomb load, 5 defensive machine gun caliber 7,7 mm.
Handley Page 0 / 400
Probably, "Discovery" meant the best bomber of the First World War. Well, I will disappoint the highly respected experts. The Handley Page 0 / 400 was, of course, a great airplane, but in those years there was a much more formidable bomber — the Ilya of Murom.
The four-engine Russian monster was created as a car for a peaceful sky: with a comfortable passenger cabin with heating and electric lighting, sleeping compartments and even a bathroom! The fantastic winged ship made its first flight in the 1913 year - 5 years before the British Handley Page, there was nothing like it in any country in the world at that time!
Promenade deck "Ilya Muromets". Ladies and gentlemen could go out into the fresh air during the flight
But the world war quickly set its priorities - 800 kg of bomb load and 5 machine gun points - this was the lot of "Ilya Muromets". 60 bombers of this type were continuously used on the fronts of the First World War, while the Germans managed with enormous efforts to knock down only 3 machines. “Muromtsy” and after the war were used - the planes returned to their peaceful duties again, serving the first passenger-mail airline Moscow - Kharkov in the RSFSR.
It is unfortunate that the creator of this amazing machine left Russia in 1918 year. He was none other than Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky - the brilliant designer of helicopters and the founder of the world famous corporation Sikorsky Aircraft.
As for the Handley Page 0 / 400 twin-engine bomber, who admired Discovery, he was just an aircraft of his time. Despite the more advanced engines and equipment, its characteristics corresponded to the "Ilya of Murom", created on 5 years earlier. The only difference is that the British were able to deploy large-scale production of bombers, as a result, in the autumn of 1918, the sky over Europe plied around 600 of these “air fortresses”.
8 Place - Junkers Ju-88
High-speed bomber. Maximum take-off weight 14 tons. Speed (at a height of 5300 m) 490 km / h. Flight range 2400 km. Ceiling 9000 m.
Armament: 4-5 defensive machine guns caliber 7,92 mm, up to 3000 kg of combat load.
(These figures correspond to the modifications Ju.88A4)
According to Discovery, the planes with black crosses on the wings showed themselves perfectly in Europe, but they were absolutely not suitable for attacking industrial facilities in the Urals and Siberia. Hmm ... the statement is, of course, fair, but Ju.88 was originally created as a front-line aircraft, and not as a strategic bomber.
The Schnellbomber became the main attack aircraft of the Luftwaffe - for Ju.88, any tasks were available at any height, and its speed often exceeded the speed of enemy fighters. The aircraft was used as a high-speed bomber, torpedo carrier, night fighter, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, attack aircraft, and “hunter” for ground targets. At the end of the war, Ju.88 mastered a new exotic specialty, becoming the first rocket carrier in the world: in addition to the Fritz-X and Henschel-293 guided bombs, the Junkers periodically attacked London with airborne V-1 cruise missiles.
Ammunition under the belly of Yu-88 is of most interest.
Such outstanding abilities are explained, first of all, not by any outstanding technical characteristics, but by the competent use of Ju.88 and the prudent attitude of the Germans to technology. "Junkers" was not without flaws - the main of which is called weak defensive weapons. Despite the presence of firing points from 7 to 9, all of them were controlled, at best, by 4 crew members, which made it impossible to conduct defensive fire simultaneously from all barrels. Also, due to the small size of the cockpit, there was no possibility to replace the small-caliber machine guns with a more powerful weapon. The pilots noted the insufficient size of the internal bomb storage compartment, and with the bombs on the external sling, the combat radius of the Yunkeras was rapidly decreasing. It is fair to say that these problems were characteristic of many WWII front-line bombers, and Ju.88 was no exception here.
Returning to the previously stated assertion that Ju.88 was unsuitable for bombardment of targets in the deep rear of the enemy, then for such tasks there was another machine for the Fritz - Heinkel-177 “Griffin”. The two-screw (but four-engine!) German long-range bomber even surpassed the American “Air Fortresses” in a number of parameters (speed, defensive armament), however, it was extremely unreliable and fire-hazardous, having received the nickname “flying fireworks” —that the strange power plant cost when two engines rotated one screw!
A relatively small number of issued "Griffins" (about 1000 units) made it impossible to conduct large punitive operations. Heavy He.177 appeared on the Eastern Front only once - as a military transport aircraft to supply the German troops, surrounded at Stalingrad. In general, the Griffin was used at Kriegsmarin for long-distance reconnaissance in the vast Atlantic Ocean.
If we are talking about the Luftwaffe, it is very strange that the Junkers Ju.87 was not included in the list of the best bombers. “Laptezhnik” has more rights to be called “better” than many of the planes present here; he received all his awards not in an air show, but in fierce battles.
The abominable flight characteristics of the Ju.87 were leveled by its main advantage - the possibility of a steep dive. At a speed of 600 ... 650 km / h, the bomb literally "fired" at the target, while it usually fell into a circle with a radius of 15-20 m. Standard armament Ju.87 were large bombs (weighing 250 kg to 1 tons), therefore such targets as bridges, ships, command posts, artillery batteries were destroyed with one call. After a careful analysis, it becomes obvious that Ju.87 was not so bad, instead of a slow-moving clumsy “laptezhnika”, a completely balanced aircraft appeared in front of us, a formidable weapon in capable hands that the Germans proved to all of Europe.
7 place - Tu-95 (according to NATO classification - “Bear”)
Strategic turboprop bomber - missile carrier. Maximum take-off weight 190 tons. Maximum speed 830 km / h. Flight range 11 thousand. Km. Ceiling 12 000 m. Interesting fact: for 17 hours of flight, a bomber spends 96 tons of aviation kerosene!
Armament: multi-position drum launcher for launching cruise missiles, underwing holders. Up to 20 tons of combat load in various combinations. Aft defensive installation: 2 cannon GSH-23.
(These figures correspond to the modern version of the Tu-95MS)
February 2008 of the year. Pacific Ocean south of the coast of Japan. Two Russian strategic bomber Tu-95MS approached the carrier-based strike force of the US Navy led by the nuclear aircraft carrier Nimitz, while one of them flew over the deck of a giant ship at an altitude of 600 meters. In response, four F / A-18 fighters were raised from an aircraft carrier ...
Nuclear "Bear", as in the old bad times, still continues to pull the nerves of our Western allies. Although they now call it differently: barely seeing the familiar silhouette of the Tu-95, American pilots shout “Ba-Bush-ka” joyfully, as if hinting at the age of the car. The world's first and only turboprop bomber was put into service in the distant 1956 year. However, like his colleague B-52 - along with the American “strategist”, the Tu-95 became the longest-lived aircraft in stories aviation.
In October, 1961 was dropped from that Tu-95 by that monstrous “Tsar Bomb” with a power of 58 megatons. The carrier managed to fly off on 40 km from the epicenter of the explosion, but the blast wave quickly overtook the fugitive and randomly twisted the intercontinental bomber in a whirlwind of incredible power for several minutes. It was noted that a fire had arisen on board the Tupolev; after landing, the plane never again rose into the air.
Tu-95 became especially known in the West due to its interesting modifications:
Tu-114 - long-haul passenger airliner. The beautiful, impetuous plane created a sensation during its first flight to New York: For a long time the Americans could not believe that they were facing a civilian plane, and not a formidable “Bear” with a nuclear club. And realizing that this is indeed a passenger liner, they were surprised by its capabilities: range, speed, payload. In all felt military hardening.
The Tu-142 is a long-range anti-submarine aircraft, the basis of the naval aviation of our Fatherland.
And, perhaps, the most famous modification of the Tu-95RC - the "eyes and ears" of our fleet, a distant marine reconnaissance. It was these vehicles that monitored American aircraft carrier groups and participated in “joint maneuvers” with the raised deck-based Phantoms.
Discovery experts toured the Russian aircraft and carefully “appreciated” the comfort of the cockpit. Americans have always laughed very much at the barrel parasha behind the seats of the Tu-95 pilots. Indeed, despite the resilience of the Russian soldier, building an intercontinental bomber without a normal latrine looks at least silly. The strange problem was nevertheless solved, and the Tu-95MS still remains in service, being an integral part of the Russian Nuclear Triad.
6 Place - B-47 "Stratojet"
Strategic jet bomber. Max. take-off weight 100 tons. Maximum speed 975 km / h. Combat radius: 3200 km with a bomb load of 9 tons. Ceiling 10 000 m.
Armament: weight of combat load up to 11 tons, defensive tail set with two 20 mm guns.
The most beautiful bomber according to the Americans
... The first object was a large air base near Murmansk. As soon as the RB-47 turned on the cameras and started photographing, the pilots saw a spiral of predatory silver planes spin around the airfield - the MiGs went to intercept the intruder.
So began the air battle over the Kola Peninsula 8 in May 1954, the whole day the Soviet fighter air regiment unsuccessfully chased an American spy. RB-47E filmed all the “objects” and, scaring away the MiGs from the cannon fodder, dissolved in the sky over Finland. In fact, at that moment the American pilots didn’t have fun - the MiGs ’guns broke the wing, the scout barely reached the UK with the last drops of fuel.
The golden era of bomber aviation! The reconnaissance flights of the RB-47 clearly showed that the fighter, not having missile weapons and speed advantages, was not able to successfully intercept a bomber. There were no other ways to counteract then - as a result, the American B-1800 X-NUMX Stratojet could surely break through the air defenses and launch a nuclear strike on any point on the Earth’s surface.
Fortunately, the domination of the bombers was short-lived. 1 July 1960, the USAF failed to repeat its favorite focus with flights over Soviet territory - the ERB-47H electronic surveillance aircraft was mercilessly drowned in the Barents Sea. For supersonic MiG-19 interceptors, the pride of American strategic aviation has become a slow-moving, unwieldy target.
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