The Soviet pilot spoke about the peculiarities of the use of American B-25 bombers during the Second World War

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The Soviet pilot spoke about the peculiarities of the use of American B-25 bombers during the Second World War

A Soviet pilot who fought on an American B-25 bomber during the Great Patriotic War recalls that after training he received the specialty of a gunner-bomber. He became acquainted with the B-25 aircraft after arriving in the combat regiment. By that time, he had a relatively small flight time of 60 - 80 hours.

After arriving at the combat unit, the pilots had to pass additional exams on materiel, then there were flights in a circle and into the zone, after which the newly trained combat pilots were cleared for combat work. The squadron had only nine combat aircraft, and there were no spare aircraft. The pilot generally assesses the pilot training completed before arriving at the combat regiment as quite sufficient, even taking into account frequent night flights under enemy air defense fire.

According to the pilot, the engines and flight equipment of the B-25 were somewhat better than those in Soviet aircraft of that time. Even under conditions of active operation, the engines practically did not fail. Soviet pilots, despite the relatively high flight speed of the B-25, experienced virtually no difficulties in controlling these aircraft.



During the Great Patriotic War, the main Soviet long-range bomber was the Il-4, which was inferior to the American B-25 in a number of characteristics. Firstly, the B-25 was supposed to have two pilots, and secondly, the American car was more comfortable to fly. However, American bombing sights were practically not used, since they reduced the maneuverability of the bomber in the area of ​​enemy air defense. In addition to sights, B-25 bombers were also equipped with Soviet electric bomb releasers, which were better than American ones in a number of characteristics.

The main disadvantages of the B-25 were its lower altitude ceiling and flight range than the Il-4, which reduced its range. Subsequently, a scheme was developed that reduced fuel consumption at cruising speed, which increased the range of American bombers.

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  1. +2
    February 5 2024
    According to the pilot, the engines and flight equipment of the B-25 were somewhat better than those in Soviet aircraft of that time. Even under conditions of active operation, the engines practically did not fail.
    Sorry, but there is apparently still “Soviet influence” here, and our pilots rated the equipment and engines much better than domestic ones, their manufacturing quality was better. And their defensive weapons scheme was especially well thought out, in comparison with the Il-4.
    The relative losses of the B-25 per combat-ready aircraft in 1944 were 2,2 times lower than those of the Il-4, and American bombers were used more intensively than domestic ones.
    On the first bombers that came to the USSR, there was a problem with opening and closing the bomb bay doors, due to an incorrectly selected hydraulic mixture, which froze in our conditions.
  2. +2
    February 5 2024
    I don’t know, I listened and couldn’t get rid of the feeling that it was some kind of mess. Everything seemed to be correct, but the reader kept giving “rooster.” Especially that the navigator could not provide orientation because the speed was higher.
  3. +1
    February 5 2024
    Il-4 (DB-3F) in service since 1936. The B-25 has been in service since 1941. For those times, 5 years difference was an abyss. This is if you do not take into account the technical and technological advantage of the American aircraft industry of those years over the Soviet one. Therefore, it is necessary to compare with the Tu-2, which in terms of combat characteristics was no worse, and maybe better.
  4. +3
    February 5 2024
    Quote: Amateur
    Il-4 (DB-3F) in service since 1936. The B-25 has been in service since 1941. For those times, 5 years difference was an abyss. This is if you do not take into account the technical and technological advantage of the American aircraft industry of those years over the Soviet one. Therefore, it is necessary to compare with the Tu-2, which in terms of combat characteristics was no worse, and maybe better.

    The Tu-2 went into production at the end of the war, so it was the Il-4, especially since it was repeatedly stated that the basic DB-3 and Il-4 were heaven and earth.
    The USSR lagged behind in technology, otherwise they would not have rushed to copy the B-29 after the war.
  5. 0
    February 5 2024
    It even became interesting how much higher was the speed of the B-25 than that of the Il-4, or are all the reported performance characteristics of these aircraft not true? Although, perhaps, the myth about high speed came from mobilized pilots of the Civil Air Fleet or those who had just completed training, who had previously flown only on much slower civilian aircraft.
  6. +1
    February 6 2024
    Mitchell is the most beautiful bomber of World War II. By the way, I took off from an aircraft carrier.
    There is also a great movie "Forever Young".
    1. 0
      February 6 2024
      But as for me, the TU-2 is more beautiful and the silhouette is more rapid
  7. +2
    February 6 2024
    Excuse me, but where in the article is the story of a Soviet pilot about the peculiarities of using American B-25 bombers during the Second World War? I can watch the video myself on YouTube, but it’s more interesting and more informative for me to read the text rather than listen to someone unknown
  8. kig
    +2
    February 7 2024
    Drabkin A. I fought on a bomber. “We bombed all the objects to the ground.” M.: Yauza, Eksmo, 2010.

    Pshenko Vladimir Arsenievich:
    Special quality. Reliable aircraft, especially the engine. The technician was easy to work with. He opened the hood, looked, wiped it with a handkerchief and closed it. There are no oil leaks anywhere. There is nothing. The plane was stable, and the weapons on it were stronger than on the Il-4. We only had one 12,7-caliber drill collar and ShKAS were in front and in the rear. And they had guns. In addition, the B-25 had a co-pilot.

    Vaulin Dmitry Petrovich:
    The B-25 is an interesting machine. Amazing cockpit instrumentation. The motors are good. After all, on the Pe-8 after a combat mission, the technicians turned out the candles. 48 candles. We went to the barracks and cleaned them. There was a lot of care and hassle regarding maintenance. But on these American planes everything was much simpler, and they worked better. The B-25 already had three radio stations, communication with the launch command post. This was not the case on the Pe-8. The B-25 had a urinal, and the Pe-8 had a bucket. On the Pe-8, the technician climbed the planes and looked at the engines after takeoff. After takeoff, he will report and look at the back of the engines and their condition. Then he reports: “The engines are fine.” But on the B-25, of course, it was easier. On the Pe-8, the instruments were illuminated with white light - the illumination was from the side, and on these aircraft there was ultraviolet illumination. The UV light was irradiated from the helm, and the instruments had a luminous dial. Good electric autopilot. The navigator had a good sight, but the ESBR sometimes malfunctioned.
    The bomb load of the B-25 is significantly less - only three tons. Its engine was a Wright Cyclone with 1100 horsepower. On Pe-8 the least is 1350, AM-35A. Then the M-82 already has 1800 horsepower, on the B-29 and on the Tu-4–2400. ASHA-73 and K-19. Turbocharger for air injection. The 82 engines had a two-speed supercharger that was located inside the engine. Thanks to the two-speed supercharger, the aircraft gained greater altitude and took more bombs - up to 5 tons. Some, I think, took 6 tons.
    Retraining took place at the same Alsufyevo airfield. Madame from the Chkalovsky Air Force Research Institute arrived. She introduced us to the instrument panel, with all the inscriptions that are there, but not only in the cockpit, but throughout the entire plane. We wrote down all these inscriptions. We learned everything by heart. Master switch - main switch, oil - oil, fuel - gasoline, buster - pump. With such knowledge of English terms, we mastered this aircraft.
    Of course, the plane was very easy to fly. Excellent instrumentation, excellent air-cooled engines, a three-wheeled landing gear - not with a tail wheel, as on our planes, but with a front wheel. The crew already consisted of 6 people: the ship's commander, a second pilot, a navigator, a gunner-radio operator and two gunners.

    Dudakov Alexander Vasilievich:
    At the end of 1941, B-25 Mitchell aircraft began arriving in Monino, and at the beginning of 1942, several people were released from us to retrain on them. We arrived and began to study new aircraft. We all learned German before, but here we have American equipment. We made the following inscriptions: “ON” - “turned on”, “OFF” - “turned off”. Some instruments are already clear: “artificial horizon” - it is clear that this is an “artificial horizon”.
    ...
    The B-25 was such a simple and good plane that it seems to me simpler than the U-2. Two engines, two keels in the propeller alignment. He was obedient. Also three-wheeled. The nose gear made it easier to pilot. I take off: I gave the gas, picked up speed, took the helm, took off, retracted the landing gear and went. And I sit down: I sit down, run, lower the front wheel, slow down, and that’s it. It’s so simple in piloting technique, I just can’t say. I loved this plane. I'm lucky that I came across it. First came the B-25 S. The armament on it was as follows: the lower turret is retractable, it has two large-caliber coaxial machine guns. The top turret also has two coaxial 12,7 mm heavy machine guns. We must pay tribute - the machine guns are good. And four machine guns from which the pilot fired, and the navigator's cabin. True, not on all planes. More often than not there was one machine gun in the nose.
    When we started flying, we discovered that the lower gun mount was essentially “blind” and was of no use. We asked for machine guns in the stern. The Americans quickly responded to our request. The next type “D” aircraft had a machine gun placed in the very stern.
    And then, somewhere, probably in 1944, they installed two coaxial machine guns in the rear of the “G” type. The lower one was completely thrown out and one machine gun was placed on each side of the windows... Riflemen could shoot from them. These are the weapons. And the crew became not five people, but six...
    ...
    The decision about two pilots is very correct. Subsequently we came to him. The one who flies in the right seat is trained. As a pilot instructor, I think it was easier to teach blind flights, takeoff, and landing from the right seat... This is a big deal.
    ...
    The technology, I must say, is reliable. The service life of our best motors is at most three hundred hours. And the Wright Cyclones worked for up to five hundred hours on the B-25.

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