Apparently, the very first information about the appearance in the United States of a new heavy bomber with unusually high characteristics came to the Soviet leadership during the visit of E. Rykenbaker to the USSR in 1943. The foreign department of the General Staff of the Air Force was then in a difficult situation. On the one hand, Rickenbaker, as advisor to President Roosevelt, demanded an appropriate retinue. On the other hand, since the times of the First World War, he retained the rank of army captain and, according to diplomatic rules, could not get a higher rank in the accompanying officer. As a result, a young officer, a recent graduate of the Air Force Academy, captain A. I. Smolyarov, who spoke English well, was assigned to him. In the USSR, Rickenbacker was shown a number of military factories and military units. Flying from one airfield to another, Smolyarov and Rickenbaker spent time on conversations on various topics. During one of these conversations, the American guest mentioned the new B-29 bomber, reporting its high flight data. As it was supposed, after Rickenbacker's departure home, the attendant made a report, including in it information about the new aircraft. This item caused immediate interest, and Smolyarov had to prepare a special report in which he recalled everything that was said about B-29. After that, a systematic collection of information about this machine began on all official and unofficial channels.
On July 19, 1943, the head of the Soviet military mission in the United States, General Belyaev, asked the Americans about the possibility of supplying Lend-Lease samples of P-38, P-47, B-24 and B-29 aircraft. From this list, the Americans handed over to the Soviet Union only three P-47s. Two years later, on May 28, the USSR already requested 120 B-29s for use in the Far East against Japan. However, the Americans did not give a single one. By this time, the Soviet Union already had three, so far American, bombers of this type. In total, five B-29s crossed the border with the USSR. The first of them sat on the sea airfield aviation Central-Angular, located approximately 30 km north of Vladivostok, in July 1944, the aircraft from the 771th squadron of the 462nd bomber group, had the number 42-6256 and the designation "Ramp Tramp". This B-29-5-BW was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft gunners over Anshan in Manchuria. The crew commander was Captain Howard Jarell. Due to the damaged motor, the commander decided not to "pull" to his airfield and entered the airspace of the Soviet Union. Pacific Air Force fighter aircraft intercepted fleet and brought him to the airport near Vladivostok. According to the then Soviet-Japanese neutrality agreement, the bomber and crew were interned. This practice applied to all American planes that fell into the territory of the Far East during the military operations, starting with B-25 E. York from the Doolittle group, which landed on Unashi airfield in April 1942. In this way, a significant number of B-25, B-24, PV-1 and PV-2, which landed mainly in Kamchatka, at the airfields of the 128th mixed air division subsequently fell into the hands of Soviet pilots. Some of them were used in combat against Japan in August 1945. B-29-5-BW remained on Central Angular, and Jarell’s crew was transferred to a special department, which ensured the delivery of Americans to a special camp in Central Asia. Although the camp was watched by representatives of the Japanese embassy, American pilots were periodically staged an “escape” and declared at US bases in Iran.
20 August 1944 th another aircraft shot down over the border on the Amur River. This time B-29A-1-BN №42-93829 (according to other data - №42-9329) from the 395 squadron of the 40 group. He was hit during a raid on steel mills in Yavat. The commander of the aircraft R.Mack-Glynn, dragging across the river, gave the order to jump. All crew members landed safely on parachutes. Uncontrolled bomber crashed into the mound in the Khabarovsk region. The next was the B-29-15-BW No.42-6365. In November of 1944, he hit a typhoon during a combat flight to Japan and was slightly damaged by lightning. The crew led by captain W. Price lost orientation and flew to the coast of the Soviet Far East on the remnants of fuel. Price went down at the Central-Corner airport, in the same place as the first B-29. This aircraft with the inscription on board "General H. Arnold Special" was part of the 794 Squadron of the 486 Group. The fourth car sat down in November 1944. This B-29-15-BW by Lieutenant Mikish (or, according to another document, Miklish) bombed Omura and left the target on three engines, the fourth put out of action Japanese fighters. On the coast, he was met by Soviet fighters and led to the airfield. This B-29 had the number 42-6358 and the side sign "Ding Hao". Much later, in August 1945, the fifth B-29 hit the USSR. The aircraft appeared in the area of the airfield Kanko, where the 14 th fighter regiment of the Air Force of the Pacific Fleet was based. He was intercepted by two pairs of Yak-9 and fired, resulting in a leftmost engine on the bomber caught fire. B-29 sat right there at the airport Kanko. Since all this happened after the USSR declared war on Japan and, accordingly, the denunciation of the treaty of neutrality, the car, apparently, was returned after repairs. It was not possible to establish the number of this aircraft and the division to which it belonged (at about the same time, the NKAP sent a letter to the NPO stating that, according to the available data, in Korea, the territory of our troops is B-29. In this regard, the NKAP asked to take measures to move the aircraft in the USSR, and if this is not possible, then dismantle the necessary units and equipment. It is quite possible that this was the fifth B-29).
In general, in the hands of the Pacific Fleet Air Force Command there were three damaged B-29. People's Commissar of the Navy, Admiral NG Kuznetsov ordered to organize the study of new American technology. For this purpose, the Deputy Chief of the Flight Inspection of the Air Force of the Navy, Lieutenant Colonel S. B. Reidel, was sent to the Far East. Raidel, who had previously worked as a tester in the Separate Marine Detachment of the Air Force Scientific Test Institute (OMO NII VVS), and then in the NII VVS Navy in Sevastopol, mastered many types of aircraft during his life, spoke English. Since at that time there were no pilots familiar with American cars in the Pacific Fleet (Lend-lease aircraft went directly to the front), two more pilots were sent from the Black Sea (one of them was VP Marunov) A-20. Engineers A.F.Chernova and M.M. Kruglov were selected from the air force of the Pacific Fleet. On January 1, two B-29s were at the disposal of the Pacific Fleet Air Force and another in the 35-th separate long-range bomber squadron. This part was formed specifically for the B-29 test. In the end, it includes two B-29 and one B-25. The flights were conducted from the Romanovsky airfield, which had good approaches (it was not surrounded by hills, like most other Far Eastern airfields). Raidel independently mastered B-29, using the documentation found on one of the aircraft. At first he drove on the airfield, made flights and, finally, took off. Since January, 1945 has begun a systematic study of B-29.
One of the B-29s was assigned to test VP Marunov and AF Chernov. On the development of the aircraft took two days. Since both were not very good with English, they crawled over a thick volume of the English-Russian dictionary on a bomber. On the third day, Reidel officially accepted the credit. January 9 performed four outbound flight (Raidel - on the left seat, Marunov - on the right). From January 11, Marunov began to fly on his own. The B-29 tests in the Far East continued until June 21. It was possible to determine the basic data of the aircraft. They were slightly lower than those obtained in the USA. For example, the maximum speed determined in tests did not exceed 580 km / h, and the climb 5000 m took 16,5 minutes. However, it was natural, considering that the plane was not new and was being repaired. Several high-altitude flights were carried out, flights to check the maximum range on a closed route and to bombing. In June-July, two B-29 overtook to Moscow. The first aircraft was led by Reidel with co-pilot Major Morzhakov and flight engineer MM Kruglov. Landing made at the airport in Izmailovo, on the outskirts of Moscow. There was a special purpose 65 regiment, which combined transport and experimental test tasks in the naval aviation system. The runway there was rather short, but, having developed the remains of fuel, Reidel managed to sit down. The plane piloted by Marunov landed safely. Later, the third B-29 arrived in Moscow from the Far East. One B-29 (No.42-6256) at the request of the commander of the long-range aviation Marshal A.E. Golovanov was transferred to the 890-th regiment, which was then at the Balbasovo airfield near the city of Orsha. He was commanded by E.K.Pusep. It was an unusual regiment. Due to the lack of domestic heavy bombers, the Soviet Air Force began to assemble and repair American aircraft that made forced landings in Eastern Europe. On 1 July 1945, in addition to 9 Soviet Pe-8, the regiment had 19 B-25 and 12 B-17 (modifications F and G). Another regiment of the same division was equipped with B-24 aircraft. Thus, the American four-engine bombers by this time had already been mastered by Soviet pilots. Since both B-17 and B-29 were designed by the designers of the same Boeing company, they were considered "close relatives".
In the 890-th regiment on the "Superfortress" flew the crew N.A. Ishchenko. The plane, like many cars in this part, retained on board the inscription "Ramp Tramp" and the image of an unshaven vagabond. The veto was imposed only on pictures of naked girls painted over at the request of watchful political workers. All other emblems, including the signs of connections on the keel of the B-17, remained. For example, K.Ikonnikov recalled that on his B-17F flaunted a hare with a bomb. But in the regiment the plane did not stay long. Already in May, 1945 in the leadership of the country began working out the possibility of copying B-29 for the Soviet Air Force. The plane was clearly very successful. If we could quickly copy it, then the Air Force had a chance to get a modern heavy bomber, bypassing the troublesome stage of fine-tuning the newly designed machines. In the documents of the People's Commissariat of the aviation industry, the first mention of copying B-29 is found in the letter of the aircraft designer V.Myasishchev to the People's Commissar of the aviation industry A.I. Shakhurinu from 25 in May 1945. In particular, it said: "All the work on the production of drawings (B -29) can be performed by the design bureau Comrade Nezval, the serial-design department and part of the designers of our OKB, located at the 22 plant, exempt from work on the serial Pe-2. " In the same letter, it was recommended to use the domestic ASH-72 engines and the B-20 guns instead of the American machine guns.
But the task of copying an American bomber and adjusting its release under the designation B-4 ("four-engine bomber") was assigned to a more reputable design bureau, AN Tupolev. The decision on this was taken by the State Defense Committee under the chairmanship of I.V. Stalin on June 6, and two weeks later a corresponding order was issued by the People's Commissariat of the aviation industry. He read: "Chief Designer Comrade Tupolev immediately begin to develop drawings, plazas and technical documentation for the aircraft B-4, considering this work as a priority task for the design and production teams of the plant No. XXUMX. ... In order to fully speed up work on the aircraft B -156 to create at the plant No.4 to help the main OKB comrade Tupolev experimental design bureau on the aircraft B-22 with the inclusion of all the personnel of the OKB comrade Nezval, OKB comrade Myasishchev at factory XXNXX and the experimental workshop of the plant X4 " . Further, the order clarified the range of tasks of various organizations. Tupolev was instructed to disconnect the B-22 to the aggregates, remove the theoretical contours, dismantle the equipment and transfer it to the appropriate factories; Head of VIAM Tumanov - to organize the study of all construction materials B-22 and give orders to plants for undeveloped materials; Polikovsky, Head of CIAM, to organize a study of the propeller group and carry out the necessary tests and refinements that would allow us to supply the domestic ASH-29 engines and special turbo-compressors to the new aircraft; the head of TsAGI Shishkin - to study the aerodynamics and durability of the aircraft; Head of the Scientific Institute of Aircraft Equipment - to study the equipment B-29 and prepare tasks for the factories for its serial production. The first "Soviet B-73" B-29 was ordered to be released for testing a year later - in June 29.
B-4 was supposed to correspond to the smallest detail to B-29 with the exception of ASh-73ТК engines (with copying of American turbo-compressors), small arms (guns instead of machine guns), batteries, identification of "friend-foe" and more advanced short-wave radio station, also American sample. B-4 was introduced into production at plant No. 22 in Kazan, where, in connection with this, the Pe-2 bomber was discontinued and the work on preparing for the construction of an experimental instance of the four-engined bomber ANN.Tupolev "64" was stopped. As part of the B-4 creation program, the B-29 aircraft No.42-6256 was transferred to the Flight Research Institute (LII) for study and for fine-tuning of the motor installation with ASH-73ТК engines. Aircraft №42-6365 decided to disassemble for removal of the drawings, and №42-6358 just to be left as a reference. Ramp Tramp drove from Balbasov to Zhukovsky a mixed crew: from the 890 regiment - the commander of the aircraft N.A. Ischenko, and from LII - the famous test pilot M.L. Gallay. Training Gallay held on the go - during the flight. After the B-29 was delivered to LII, Gallay was loaded with tests of the German captured rocket plane Me-163B, and the American bomber was received by the crew of N.S. Rybko (co-pilot I.Shuneiko). Before the construction of the first B-4, they wanted to thoroughly study the piloting features of the B-29. All three American cars in the USSR received tail numbers in the form of the last three digits of the serial number - "256", "365" and "358". They were inflicted on the keel above the old number, in larger numbers. In place of the symbols of the American Air Force drew red stars.
The plane "365" on the night of 10 on 11 July was delivered to the Central Airfield in Moscow, setting in a large hangar. After inspecting Tupolev and his assistants, the car immediately began to undock and measure for drawing sketches. Each individual unit studied a separate team of designers and technologists. The item was carefully weighed, removed all sizes, photographed and made a technical description. In addition, the parts were subjected to spectral analysis to determine what material they are made of. Tens of thousands of drawings were made. The work carried out showed that the majority of technical solutions and construction materials B-29 differ from those mastered in domestic aircraft construction. It turned out to be more perfect and production technology. “It is necessary to do tremendous work, to raise aviation culture to a new, very high level,” said one of the leaders of the aviation industry, P.V. Dementiev, at a special meeting on the B-4 aircraft in December 1945. To speed up the launch of the new aircraft into the series, they wanted to purchase in the USA, components such as starters, AN / APQ-13 radar stations, BC-733 blind landing systems, landing gear wheels, Hamilton Standard propellers, bearings, various instruments, candles to motors. But in the end, they began to make all this in the USSR. It was the various equipment that was missing in our country and that was being created anew, which was the main reason for the lag behind the original plans, although all the work on the B-4 was given top priority. The order of the NKAP clearly stipulated: "All orders for the B-4 aircraft are considered to be the most important and to ensure that they are executed out of turn."
In the middle of 1946, a full-size model of the future aircraft was produced at the Tupolev Design Bureau, and the first B-19 took off on 1947 in May (the aircraft received the designation Tu-4 in the autumn of the same year). The prototype was not built, they immediately laid a series of 4 machines. Mikhail Gallyi recalls: “When the first series of the“ Tu-fourths ”arrived at the Kazan plant, the first car was received by Rybko and Shuneiko. I was assigned to the second one, and before leaving for Kazan I flew again to refresh my skills. the same Ramp Tramp. Tu-20 No.4, although it was a copy of B-2, but unfortunately had no differences for the better. The review, already constrained by the frequent binding (frame) of the nose of the car, is quite strong distorted distorted everything visible through the glazing. At the landing look through one "square" - like, high. reject through another - low. Running ahead, I will say that the last car of the experimental series - the “twenty”, which my crew also experienced, didn’t get rid of this lack - we hadn’t yet learned how to distort curved glass. The second drawback of Tu-29 compared to the B-4 - heavy control, especially in roll. Whether the optimum tension of the cables was not selected, or the bushings differed in something, through which the control wiring came out of the pressurized cabin, I don’t know. Later, I happened to fly B-29 airplanes, and I was surprised to find that the Boeing's transition to the B-17 was a step backwards, not forward. Both the review and the ease of management of the B-29 were better. Apparently, the costs of switching to pressurized cabs affected. "VP Marunov also participated in the tests of the first B-17s, invited by A.N. Tupolev to the OKB as a test pilot. In August 4-th three B-1947 participated in the air parade in Tushino. In the West, it is still often believed that these were American B-4.
The destinies of the three "super-fortresses" were formed as follows. The plane "358" (standard) and stood in Izmailovo, where it was occasionally examined by various experts. For example, the Air Force Academy became very interested in the power plant and prepared detailed descriptions and diagrams for it. Fly this car was no longer possible. The disassembled "365" was delivered in parts to Kazan, where from December 1945 was started to be mounted again. But the bomber was never brought to its original form. This was due to the fact that from the beginning of the 1946 Tupolev OKB, it was engaged in the passenger variant of the B-4 - the aircraft "70" (Tu-70). To speed up the construction of the prototype in it decided to use some of the nodes from "365". They took entirely detachable parts of the wing, engine nacelles (the dimensions of the R-3350 and ASH-73ТК were very close), flaps, main landing gear and tail assembly. Something used from B-29, crashed near Khabarovsk. In October, 1947-th Tu-70 finished factory tests, a year later - state. But the plane did not hit the series due to the overload of the industry engaged in the release of Tu-4 bombers. The only built Tu-70 flew to 1954 g. He participated in various experimental programs, carried out passenger and transport traffic on special tasks.
The most intensively exploited B-29 №256, located in LII. When the serial Tu-4 appeared, they began to use it as the carrier of the experimental supersonic 346 rocket plane of the German designer G. Ressing. In April, the 1948-th B-29 was sent to Kazan for conversion. The pylon for the suspension of the rocket aircraft was mounted under the right console between the engine nacelles. In 1948-1949, at the military airfield in Teplyy Stane (now it’s one of the residential areas of Moscow), the 29-P and 346-346 were dropped from the B-1 - non-powered versions of a German rocket plane. They were piloted by the German pilot V. Tsize and the Russian pilot P.I. Kazmin. After completing the test program, B-29 was returned to Zhukovsky. For a short time it was used for small research work, and then it was written off, dismantled for scrap.
So ended история three B-29, trapped in the Soviet Union. Their descendants, the Tu-4, were produced before 1952. In total, 847 built airplanes of various modifications - the usual Tu-4 bomber, the carrier of the nuclear weapons Tu-4, missile-carrier Tu-4KS with two cruise missiles "KS" under the wings. Subsequently, by reworking existing machines, amphibious transport vehicles Tu-4D and Tu-4T, reconnaissance Tu-4Р, training Tu-4USHS, command and staff aircraft, tanker aircraft and a number of experimental variants appeared. In the Air Force, these cars flew before the 60s began. During this time, they were raised only once for a combat departure - on the night from 3 to 4 in November, 1956. Tu-4 from the 43 th Air Army sent the insurgent Budapest to bomb, but when the 450 km remained to the target, the order was canceled. The Tu-4, which replaced the outdated Pe-8, Il-4 and B-25 in the Air Force, allowed the Soviet long-range aviation to be raised to a new qualitative level, creating a truly strategic Air Force. But he himself was quickly replaced by the bombers of domestic design - the jet Tu-16 and the turboprop Tu-95.