Heavy and long-range bombers of the allies - exact losses

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Pips
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Post by Pips » 10 Dec 2006 00:06

Bugger! :) I just don't seem to be able to get the spacing on tables right. Sorry.

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Post by Mark V » 12 Dec 2006 20:45

BIGpanzer wrote:the most powerful world's air bomb in 1943.


Hi,

You have several times stated that the Soviet FAB-5000 was the worlds most powerfull aerial bomb in 1943.

I am just curious. What characteristics made it superior to British 12.000lb (also 5400kg) HC bomb ??

British weapon was in service at autumn 1943.


Regards, Mark V

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Post by Mark V » 13 Dec 2006 20:03

BIGpanzer wrote:
As for FAB-5000NG - I don't know if I mentioned its power several times or not, if so sorry :wink:. There are several points here - Pe-8 were the first Allied bombers which dropped super-heavy bombs during WWII (Air Forces accepted FAB-5000 15.02.1943, dropped at first over Königsberg 28.04.1943), British super-heavy bombs ("HC blockbasters", 12000 lb Tallboy) were in service since autumn 1943 AFAIK and began to use since June 1944 (operation Saimur rail tunnel, 8.06.1944) - am I right?
As for weight of bombs - yes, both Soviet FAB-5000NG and British Tallboy had weight ~5400 kg [Length of the bombs - Soviet (5200 mm), British (6350 mm)], but Soviets used reinforced concrete hull at first (light welded hulls then) for their super-heavy bombs which allowed to effectively use very powerful warhead (3200-4000 kg of explosives, 60-74% of bomb weight - that exceeded daywork of munition filling factory and FAB-5000 was filled during the week!) - Tallboy had warhead of 2358 kg only (43% of bomb weight).
FAB-5000 was intended to use against super-strong fortifications, coastal fortifications, large plants, railway stations and airfields (zone of full destruction - 135-150 m, main crater was 12 m in diameter and 4 m deep, so I misprinted somewhere above mentioning 100 m crater, that was zone of destruction, of course :oops: ). FAB-5000 had 6 side detonating fuzes and a system af additional detonating agents, six bomber wrenches were used to lift it to the bomb bay (couldn't be close completely with FAB-5000 inside).

Regards, BP
Gotsha.

I guess many of atleast Brit members knew what was coming, if reading this thread :-)

The bomb i mentioned had NOTHING TO DO WITH TALLBOY.

- British HC bombs had around 80% content of explosive of weight !!. An construction of steel, like water boiler.

It was the widely used 4000lb variety that stripped out the roofs of tens of thousands of German buildings by their blast effect. There was though the heavier variant also. Used first in combat in September 1943. But i guess you don't have a clue about that weapon...

... and for sure, by the numbers you just gave us about FAB-5000, the British weapon must have been absolutely superior. Both were "soft" target weapons, do not talk about "super-strong-fortifications" here, as they are the domain of quality steel aerial bombs, like "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam"... and many other AP-type bombs of lesser weight. Concrete don't pierce much of concrete....

Both the FAB-5000 and British 12.000lb HC were soft target weapons relying on blast of explosion on surface - the British weapon having vastly superior charge-to-weight ratio.

Meaning that British 12.000lb HC bomb was the most powerfull aerial bomb in 1943 by wide margin.


Regards, Mark V

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Post by Mark V » 13 Dec 2006 20:25

Image[/img]

http://www.skylighters.org


Picture here.


Regards, Mark V
Last edited by Mark V on 13 Dec 2006 20:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jon G. » 13 Dec 2006 21:28

[administrativia]I have split off the part of the discussion which is centered on the 1944 Soviet air raids on Finland and their causes and effects to this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=112732

[/adminstrativia] Carry on gentlemen, both threads are very interesting :)

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Post by BIGpanzer » 13 Dec 2006 22:36

Hi, Mark V! No, I know quite good the bombs you've mentioned but I just didn't understand which bombs you described at first (and if you read my post ones more more carefully you will see that, nevertheless, I mentioned British HC ''blockbaster" bombs exactly also - the photo you've posted is from http://www.skylighters.org/photos/powee ... buster.jpg).
British super-heavy 12000 lb bombs were not absolutely superior (as you want to believe, probably) but they had comparable and even less effect as FAB-5000 (the opinions of many air weapon specialists of the WWII period). You don't take into consideration the type of explosions used in both bombs and detonation agent systems. As for strong fortifications, of course, concrete couldn't pierce of concrete, but what about burst wave - for example, FAB-5000 which was dropped over Königsberg, caused the full destruction of strong bunkers and all buildings 130 metres around; soldiers in underground bunkers were killed because of strong contused wound. As for large railway station in Orel - it was completely destroyed and a lot of platforms with heavy tanks PzVI on board were dispensed around.
Please, post the data for 12.000 lb bomb you have, I will check them and try to agree with you, if possible.


PS. British HC bombs conatined not 80% but 75% of explosives to be 100% correct, and this is the high rate indeed, but you must take into consideration that HC design was little more than a cylinder full of explosive - it was unaerodynamic and many models didn't even have fins (Soviet super-heavy bombs had fins of usual type, but of large size). Accuracy in the case of British bombs was not important - these bombs were designed for blowing the tiles off the roofs of buildings, in the case of Soviet super-heavy bombs the accuracy was much more important as they were used against fortifications, tank units and large railway stations from the high altitudes. I think that missions of both bombs were quite different during WWII.
Regards, BP

Image - from http://www.constable.ca/bombs.jpg British heavy/super-heavy bombs
Image - from http://www.airwar.ru/image/i/weapon/fab5000-2.jpg Soviet super-heavy FAB-5000NG (note the side detonating fuzes)

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Post by BIGpanzer » 15 Dec 2006 19:57

There is an interesting book "Anxious Sky" by Endel Pusep - Estonian by nationality, who was the well-known Soviet polar pilot of 1930s and Pe-8 pilot during WWII (major, Hero of USSR, commander of 890th long-range air regiment). He was the first pilot of Pe-8 during the famous flight over occupied Europe and Atlantic to USA and back to Moscow via Great Britain with the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs V. Molotov and his secretariat on board in May-June 1942. There are a lot of interesting technical, historical info in the book, which was written by nice language style (I found it in Internet and trying to translate some chapters). For example, E. Pusep wrote in his book about not very successful collaboration with the English radio operator, who was given as additional radio operator to Soviet crew of Pe-8 in Scotland (airfield Prestwick). Pusep was against this (and he could refused from British navigator because of overweight of the Pe-8 with additional fuel tanks, oxygen equipment and ministry secretariat on board) as his Pe-8 was equipped with two Soviet radio operators already for the so long-range flight. But British government asked to equipp Soviet aircraft with one of the most experience RAF radio operators for flight to USA, that was Mr. Campbell.
Short fragments from the Pusep's book
"...I was afraid about additional kilos of thick Mr. Campbell....Ok, no problem, we will try to find the place for him inside our bomber, it is possible to take the 14th crewmember...Mr. Campbell seems to be the very sanguine person, but, probably he likes to drink additional glass of beer, look at his red face. Good guy, I believe that my crewmembers will find the common language with him, but only our radio operator can speak English well...Later Soviet embassy in London informed us that Mr. Campbell should also inform British secret service about everything he see inside the plane....".
We started the flight to Iceland....I asked Mr. Campbell who had a very large book with him ("Radio from all over the world" as he explained to us) to radio communicate with Reykjavik and asked about the weather over city, to our great surprise, the "best radio operator of RAF" could't contact Reykjavik during 10 min....My radio operator from Moscow didn't meddle especially because he took exception that Mr. Campbell sat at his place.... The calculations of my two navigators were very accurate despite the very cloudy weather and we saw the coastline of Iceland when we got down, ....two fighters from US air base escorted us and radio operator Shtepenko saluted them with the navigation map, one US pilot saluted us to, looking upon unknown for him large bomber....After landing on the one of the Reykjavik's airfield (it had short takeoff strip for our overweighted Pe-8 I need to say, and for the quite dangerous take-off as airfield was surrounded by civil buildings we needed to drain one ton of fuel) I had a very friendly discussion with the colonel Arnold - pilot of "Liberator", who was very interested in specifications of Pe-8 and I showed him our plane proudly, colonel also described me in details the good way to airfield Goose Bay in Newfoundland, our next point of destination, I sincerely thank him for the important details about weather in that region....After take-off we saw US destroyer and all his crewmembers flourished arms to us, we also saluted them by, rocking the wings......
Several hours of flight, the seashore of North America will be soon, unfortunately, Mr. Campbell couldn't catch the radio signal again, but I very need the weather report....We have fuel for 2.5 hours of flight, minister asked me about landing, I answered: "In one hour in Goose Bay"....After landing in Goose Bay I recognized with surprise that some old airfield workers speek Russian as they were offsprings of Russian settlers of Alyaska....The eating house was not so comfortable as we saw in Scotland but all army pilots were very friendly and always tried to communicate with us, we too despite the fact that we are very tired after high-altitude Atlantic flight and bad weather over the ocean...US pilots asked for souvenirs and we gave them our coins, matches, lighters, even buttons from the uniform. One US lieutenant asked me to present him my Red Star order...!!! I grew numb because of great syrprise and didn't know how to answer, minister Molotov answered instead of me - "Came to USSR and participate in hard combats with Germany, and you will get such order"....
Soon we took off and started the flight to Washington, the land below us looks like Siberia - hunderds kilometres of forests, I remembered my parents and began to sing my childhood Estonian song.......In 30 min will be Montreal, Mr. Campbell began to work unexpectedly very active, receiving the radio messages - he asked me to land in Montreal but I decided to continue the direct flight to Washington.....We saw silvery Boeing B-17 bomber who tried to escort us but lost us very soon because of cloudy weather and the maximal speed of our engines......
Mr. Campbell again tricked us as he couldn't accept the radio messages from Washington (he said us that he couldn't find the right calling signal in his book about the "radio from all over the world"), our radio operators look for him with the great irony.....I swithched off the fourth engine because of overheating, fortunately, Washington will be soon....I damaged quite seriously the tyre of one wheel during landing, US engineers said that it seems impossible to find such large aircraft tyres in USA but they asked specialists from Gudrich Co. to repair our tyre during 3 days, one US engineer asked me where I am from exactly - I answered that I am a Soviet pilot but Estonian, unfortunately, he didn't know such land as Estonia and didn't understand my explanations which offended me a lot....
Way back - friendly US pilots and engineers presented us a lot of boxes with beer and oranges, all navigator's compartment was loaded by these boxes and I am very angry on my navigators, for the first time they could't find right direction and their maps between the presents....Flight through the extremelly bad stormy weather to Greenland, 2 km altitude, Mr. Campbell couldn't catch the radio messages from Iceland again, nobody of us paid an attention to this "specialist" now, he became red.....Landing in Scotland, British officers congratulated us with double flight over stormy Atlantic and adviced us to return back to Moscow over Africa and Iran, not over France and Germany because of strong enemy AA defense, also German spies sent the info about our flight with the minister on board and German fighter aces will wait us. I strictly refused this idea - we will returne back over Europe at 8-10 km altitude, I hope our Pe-8 can give more than 500 km/h because of fair wind....
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 16 Dec 2006 00:17, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by Mark V » 15 Dec 2006 20:54

Hi, BIGpanzer.

Just some notes:

- British HC bomb had indeed more closely 75% charge/weight content, like you said. That though varied between Amatol/Minol charge.
- 12.000 lb HC had fins.
- The terminal velocity of such weapon bear little or no significance, as they rely for blast effect of explosives. On the other hand "water boiler" type contruction gave the best weapon weight/payload possible in confined spaces of bomb-bays. Mosquito (among other RAF types) could carry the smaller HC bomb, the 4000lb, which was used in vast numbers during NW European airwar.
- Both Soviet FAB-5000 and Brit 12.000lb HC were bombs fit for same purposes. It is not weapons fault they end up used differently. Both were explosive blast relying weapons (in other words - the bomb cases only purpose was to contain the explosive for delivery and keep it together until fuze could trigger the HE). Soviet FAB was no more anti-fortification weapon than Brit weapon. Neither could had survived intact the delay fuzed use against hardened target (in same scale as weapons, word hardened here DOES NOT mean an "hardened" roof of MG-bunker) - they were not Tallboys...

I said that HC bombs blowed many roof tiles away in Germany during the war. They also blowed away many city blocks on side of their primary task of "opening" the well built German houses for firebombs to work. Normal load in firebombing mission per bomber for urban targets was an one 4000lb HC and whole lotta of small firebombs.

Anyway. I see you have somewhat anknowledged the existance and performance of other weapon in same class as FAB-5000. I believe that you don't no-more wrote lines like "the worlds most powerfull bomb in 1943...".

That was my aim from the start.


Regards, Mark V

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Post by BIGpanzer » 16 Dec 2006 00:34

Hi, Mark V!
Almost completely agree with your post this time. But I have one question - many sources mention that British 12.000 lb HC didn't have fits, but I saw fits on the photos I know. Why is it so?
As for the most world's powerful bomb for 1943 - let's say that FAB-5000 was ONE of the most powerful high-explosive bombs of WWII :wink:, to say the truth I didn't pay much attention to that phrase. As I understood from my sources Pe-8 was the first Allied bomber which dropped super-heavy bombs...
the bomb cases only purpose was to contain the explosive for delivery and keep it together until fuze could trigger the HE
Exactly. Soviet engineers also experimented with 6.5 t bombs which should be assembled together from light steel parts inside the bomber.

Also I have one personal and very friendly note - me seems that you like to post critical posts (except very good this one) without exact proofs but according to your personal feelings - especially this concerns your post about Soviet ADD tactics and organization. I've already shortly answered this point when we disputed about air raids against Helsinki in 1944, but I would like to repeat that Soviet tactics of use of heavy/long-range bombers was just very differ (usually, only several bombers were used for one mission) from British/USA because of another style of air war on the Eastern Front (battle planes and medium bombers were in favour the same is truth for Luftwaffe). Soviet long-range bomber pilots performed a lot of heroic and extremelly hard missions during the war indeed. Soviets paid a large attention to recon photo confirmation of strategical bombing raids during the whole war (except 1941 when it was impossible to send recon planes over targets again), in many less important cases the photos were made by bomber gunners or navigators themselves - it was impossible for Soviet long-range bomber pilots to ascribe nonexistent results except possible mistakes or artifacts because of importance of every mission, the same is correct for British/US aviation. Pilots of battle planes of all nations made more mistakes because of differ kind and style of missions, less important small targets, difficulties in target identification and intensive air combats at low/medium altitudes.

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Post by Mark V » 16 Dec 2006 12:33

BIGpanzer wrote:Soviet long-range bomber pilots performed a lot of heroic and extremelly hard missions during the war indeed.
I agree.
BIGpanzer wrote:Soviets paid a large attention to recon photo confirmation of strategical bombing raids during the whole war (except 1941 when it was impossible to send recon planes over targets again)
They did, but you should understand, exactly like you said, the airwar was different, equipment was different, tactics were different - so were the standards with results were verified.
BIGpanzer wrote:in many less important cases the photos were made by bomber gunners or navigators themselves
Hand-held camaras were carried all-over world on many missions. With those cameras you could take nice photos to publish in newspapers....

Those hand helds offer no proof of bomb release point for night ops on middle/high altitudes.
BIGpanzer wrote:it was impossible for Soviet long-range bomber pilots to ascribe nonexistent results except possible mistakes or artifacts because of importance of every mission, the same is correct for British/US aviation.
All participants surely made errors in result assessment. Without an good aerial reconnaissance, and means of controlling the invidual bomber crews results... it would had become an habit rather than an exception. Everywhere. The "importance" of target makes no difference, if it does not in some way show in procedures. I believe you don't mean that just by saying to crews, that target is important - they would miraculously improve their performance. There is the "Peenemunde-threath", but that might work once or twice. No more than that.

Regards, Mark V

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Post by BIGpanzer » 16 Dec 2006 15:25

Hello, Mark V! Thanks for the reply.
What about the additional info about British 12.000 lb HC bombs?
They did, but you should understand, exactly like you said, the airwar was different, equipment was different, tactics were different - so were the standards with results were verified.
Without any doubt.
Hand-held camaras were carried all-over world on many missions. With those cameras you could take nice photos to publish in newspapers....
Those hand helds offer no proof of bomb release point for night ops on middle/high altitudes.
For sure. And Soviet long-range bombers operated during the night time mainly as we know. I also don't have the exact info about usual photo camera equipment (if so) of Soviet long-range bombers, I have the detailed info about models of photo cameras of Soviet recon planes only.
All participants surely made errors in result assessment. Without an good aerial reconnaissance, and means of controlling the invidual bomber crews results... it would had become an habit rather than an exception.
I agree. The another method to prove the destruction of enemy target could be the messages from ground agents and spies - for example, the direct hit of FAB-5000 to large Orel railway station was proved that way as I understand.
I believe you don't mean that just by saying to crews, that target is important - they would miraculously improve their performance.
You believe correct, dear Mark :wink: It just should be mentioned that, of course, only very experienced (or the best, sometimes even commanders of regiments/divisions) crews participated in the missions of great importance - so the possibility of success was much higher than in the case of usual crews.


PS. Interesting photo of Pe-8 on one of the English airfield (1942) - http://home.arcor.de/sivanov/aviation/t ... b-7-02.jpg
Regards, BP

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Post by Mark V » 16 Dec 2006 22:51

BIGpanzer wrote:

PS. Interesting photo of Pe-8 on one of the English airfield (1942) - http://home.arcor.de/sivanov/aviation/t ... b-7-02.jpg
Regards, BP
Hi,

For long range overseas passanger mission during that timeframe i would fly DC-4

http://www.stinsonflyer.com/prop/dc4-12.jpg

... with comfort, and would leave Molotov suffer inside crude Pe-8 interior (the actual flight cealing of Pe-8 on flights from USSR to GB was between 6000-8000 metres, and commercial Douglas ac could hit straight middle of that).


Regards, Mark V

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 16 Dec 2006 23:04

Mark V wrote:the actual flight cealing of Pe-8 on flights from USSR to GB was between 6000-8000 metres
AFAIK just a bit lower (7800 - 4000m)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... ht=#991561

Regards, Juha

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Post by BIGpanzer » 17 Dec 2006 00:21

As for the flight of Pe-8 from Moscow to Washington via Scotland/Iceland/Newfoundland and back (17800 km flight) in June 1942 - as I've already mentioned that was the serial Pe-8 with AM-35A engines, the only differences with usual Pe-8s were additional fuel tanks (in addition to standard 16-19 self-sealing fuselage, wings and centre-section fuel tanks), additional radio antennas with anti-icing system and additional oxygen cylinders (in addition to standard 20x8 litres + 4x4 litres + 2 portable cylinders), also the second navigator and the second radio operator were added to the crew (consisted of 14 men together with the Canadian radio operator, see above). In UK the armor plates were removed as well as one ammunition load for MGs/guns and crewmembers took life vests for all men and two large inflatable boats on board before flight over Atlantic. Minister V. Molotov and his secretaries (including several women) sat in the fur flight suits and the flight was indeed not comfortable for them, of course.
Pusep mentioned that during the whole flight Molotov sat and read the book under poor light of lamp, sometimes he opened the window curtain and tried to see something through the small window, Molotov also spoke with his secretaries (when they didn't use oxygen masks) and with crewmembers by internal communication system. During the stay in Scotland crewmembers replaced metal benches in "passenger" compartment with soft couch to make the flight over Atlantic more comfortable for VIPs.

But as you understand, Mark V, it was impossible for Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs to use US-built aircraft for such important mission. USSR should show that the country had excellent long-range airplanes which could make successful day flights over occupied Europe and Atlantic during the extremelly hard for Soviets year 1942, and only Pe-8 could make this. And British and US officers, engineers and civilians really looked upon modern long-range/high-altitude Soviet heavy bomber with great interest (Pusep mentioned that everywhere in UK and USA there were hordes of people, surrounding Pe-8, everybody would like to see and touch it). DC-4 Skymaster was the very good passenger plane with excellent flight range of the period indeed and AFAIK President F. Roosevelt used exactly this model as his private airplane (VC-54C Sacred Cow modification), USSR didn't get those aircraft, they also didn't have defensive armament and had lower operative ceiling (6700-6800 m in comparison with 9300 m of Pe-8 with AM-35A engines).

As for actual flight ceiling of Pe-8 during that flight - it was indeed 6-8 km over Europe (mainly 7-7.5 km according to pilot Pusep's memoires, sometimes 8 km to overcome stormy clouds and possible strong German AA defense area, the altitude over the North Sea was 3-4 km). The flight ceiling over Atlantic was between 2-7 km.
Pusep wrote in his memoires: "the most powerful AA gun is unaimed and enemy fighter acts like sleeping fly at the maximum ceiling of Pe-8. Nobody can make something with me..." After WWII Soviet government commission made the detailed analysis of German AA defense along the flight route of Pusep's Pe-8 with Molotov on board in June 1942 - there were no take-offs of interceptor fighters, no alarms of AA batteries, no any signals from lookouts - Germans didn't detect that single bomber even, which made flight over Europe at high altitude under extremelly bad weather conditions.

Mark V, it is not a surprise for me that you don't know (do you recognize your "friendly" phrase? :? ), that the passenger modification of Pe-8 (Pe-8 ON, ON means Osobogo Naznacheniya = Special Purpose) was built in 1944 especially for such kind of flights - that model was equipped with the comfortable cabin for 12 men with windows, heating and soundproofed decor covering, sleeping saloon for 3 men, bar-room and toilet room; bomb bays were modified as baggage compartment (1200 kg); diesel engines ACh-30B were installed; the upper gun turret was removed and dorsal fin was added; range was 5600 km. Two Pe-8 (No. 42612, No. 42712) were reequipped that way and tested in flight in February-April 1945 but never used for their intended purpose.
Several sources mention that V. Molotov used Pe-8 ON for his flight to Washington, but this is a big mistake.
http://www.zorich.ru/articles/day9/pe8on-i.jpg (passenger modification of Pe-8)
http://www.airpages.ru/img/ru/pe8_6.jpg (Pe-8 ON No. 42712)
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 17 Dec 2006 13:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Mark V » 17 Dec 2006 07:26

BIGpanzer wrote:And British and US officers, engineers and civilians really looked upon modern long-range/high-altitude Soviet heavy bomber with great interest (Pusep mentioned that everywhere in UK and USA there were hordes of people, surrounding Pe-8, everybody would like to see and touch it).
Oh. It was that good ?? People in GB and US seeing something with red stars, propably first time in their lives, and becoming interested - surely is an definite proof of quality of ac.

Thanks for information.

Also thank you for posting information about the radical changes made to that one Pe-8 variant.


Regards, Mark V

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