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

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BIGpanzer
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Postby BIGpanzer » 08 Mar 2006 16:58

I could find only the following info about Soviet heavy bomber Pe-8 (TB-7).

It was 4-engines all-metal heavy bomber with retractable landing gears. Chief designer - V.M. Petlyakov. The prototype (ANT-42) made the first flight 27.12.1936. Serial production started in June 1940 (aircraft factory N 22 in Moscow and N 124 in Kazan). Used by Soviet Long-Range Air Force (ADD) since spring 1941 (27 such heavy bombers were in service 22.06.1941).
Different series had 4xAM-34FRNV (930 hp) + 1xM-100A (850 hp as charging engine at high altitude) or 4xAM-35A (all bombers were reequipped in summer 1941, 1200 hp) or ACh-30B or M-30 (diesel engines) or M-40F (diesel engines) or M-82 or M-82FN engines in different combinations 4x or 2x + 2x.
Armament: 1x20 + 3x12.7 + 4x7.62 or 2x20 + 2x12.7 + 2x7.62 (first series) or 3x20 + 2x12.7 + 2x7.62 (later series); up to 4000-5000 kg of bombs.
Since 1943 - new nose section, since 9th series - enlarged tail wheel, additional fuel tanks.
Specifications: 27,2-35 t full weight; 39.14 (wings) x 23.59 (length) m; 4x1200-1850 hp engines; 415-450 km/h; rate-of-climb - 5000 m for 16.8 min (5.86 m/s); 8500-10800 m altitude; 3600-6000 km range; 8-12 men crew.

Used as heavy bomber and transport aircraft, participated in the first Soviet raids against Berlin (August 1941). It was the single produced model of Soviet 4-engines heavy bomber during WWII. Production stopped in 1944, removed from service in 1946 (but unarmed bombers were used in arctic aviation as transport airplanes after WWII).

As for the exact losses - I am trying to find something at the moment........ :roll:

http://wio.ru/gal2a/bomb/pe-8.jpg (excellent photo of Pe-8)
http://base13.glasnet.ru/text/shavrov2/095.gif (blueprints of Pe-8)

Photo of the Soviet heavy bomber Pe-8 (ANT-42, TB-7) (1940-1944, 93 copies)
is from http://tupolev-1.hosting.parking.ru/ima ... e-8_02.jpg
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Postby BIGpanzer » 09 Mar 2006 11:21

The first info about losses of Pe-8 I could find - Soviet Long-Range Air Force lost 3 Pe-8 during the bombing raids against the capital of Finland Helsinki in February 1944 (they dropped super-heavy 5000-kg bombs also), but I have no info about the reasons of losses (AA fire or technical problems). The air raid over Helsinki 06.02.1944 was the largest, where Pe-8 bombers were used, - 24 Pe-8 from the 45th division of Long-Range Air Force (ADD). But usually that division had 15 Pe-8 and 5-8 bombers were used during the raid.

Several Soviet sources mention that none from all used Pe-8 were knocked down during the whole WWII 8O , but I don't believe to this info. What I know for sure that several Pe-8 made more than 100 combat flights.

http://www.iremember.ru/pilots/vaulin/pe8.jpg (Pe-8 at the airfield, bomb loading)
http://www.iremember.ru/pilots/vaulin/avaria.jpg (damaged Pe-8 after take-off crash because of pilot mistake)

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Postby BIGpanzer » 10 Mar 2006 10:54

What I could find in addition.

First six heavy bombers Tb-7 were given to the 2nd squadron of 14th air regiment of heavy bombers, 18th air division (airfield Borispol 30 km from Kiev) in summer 1940. Till 22.06.1941 27 TB-7 were built and accepted by Long-Range Air Force (ADD).
14th air regiment of heavy bombers had 10 TB-7 in April 1941 (one was crashed in December 1940, one was heavily damaged because of accident). Another source give the following info - 14th air regiment had 9 TB-7 in April 1941, including 4 nonserviceable. 25.06.1941 German aviation bombed Borispol airfield and destroyed 2 TB-7 (+ several damaged), the rest bombers were moved to Poltava and later to Kazan, where the new regiment, equipped with the rest (13 planes from Ukrainian air bases) heavy bombers TB-7, was formed (412th air regiment of 81st air division of Long-Range Air Force, reserve of supreme command). Additional TB-7 from the Kazan aircraft factory and Air Force research institute were given to the regiment soon (renamed as 432nd regiment) as well as many experienced pilots from civil polar aviation.
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Postby BIGpanzer » 10 Mar 2006 20:50

The first raid against Berlin with heavy bombers TB-7 took place on 10 August, 1941 (10 TB-7 + 16 Yer-2) and the very first Soviet raid against Berlin took place two days earlier (Il-4 bombers) and was quite successful. Before that all bombers TB-7 and Yer-2 were transfered to Pushkino airfield near Leningrad. Operation was planned in a great hurry (1-2 days) and pilots had no time to learn the planned route.
Here is the info about TB-7:
TB-7 started with 4000 kg of bombs each.
1. One TB-7 (N 42046, 1st pilot - major Egorov) crashed during take-off with fuel tanks and bombs because two right diesel engines M-40F were stopped suddenly and takeoff runway was short. The operation was aborted this day. Next day only 7 TB-7 and 3 Yer-2 started the raid towards Berlin.
2. The engine of one TB-7 (N 42035, 1st pilot - lieutenant Vidny) burnt up over the enemy territory, but the bomber continued flight as crewmembers could put out a fire, the bombs were dropped 370 km from Berlin because of continued altitude loss. N 42035 returned back immediately because another engine burnt up (the plane could reach the home airfield, nevertheless).
3. Another TB-7 (N 42045, 1st pilot - captain Tyagunin) successfully bombed Berlin, but also had a problem with one engine on its return way; Soviet AA gunners of Baltic Sea Navy didn't know about the new heavy bombers and knocked down N 42045 over Baltic Sea shore (gunners thought that was German FW200 Condor) - the plane made emergency landing and was heavily damaged.
4. TB-7 (N 42055, 1st pilot - major Ugrjumov) also successfully bombed Berlin, but again suffered from engine problems at high altitudes, landed into Torzhok airfield as there was not enough fuel to reach Pushkino home airfield.
5. TB-7 (N 42026, 1st pilot - senior lieutenant Panfilov) was damaged by German AA fire over Germany after bombing Berlin, two engines M-40F were stopped becauise of oil leakage, the bomber made an emergency landing in Finland (5 crew members were killed during that crash, others tried to reach Soviet territory on foot and was captured by Finns).
6. TB-7 (N 42036, 1st pilot - division commander Vodopianov, Hero of Soviet Union, very famous polar pilot of 1930s) was attacked by Soviet I-16 fighters by mistake during the flight towards Berlin, but damaged bomber bombed Berlin, was dameged again by German AA fire on its return way and made an emergency landing in Estonia, occupied by Germans. Crew members could reach the Soviet territory as the 2nd pilot Pusep was Estonian and could speak with native population.
7. TB-7 (N 42016, 1st pilot - major Kurban) bombed Berlin, was damaged by German AA fire and made emergency landing in Soviet Ropsha on its return way (bomber was destroyed during landing).
8. Only one TB-7 (1st pilot - senior lieutenant Pepegelov) successfully returned back to home airfield Pushkino after bombing raid against Berlin.

It was a very unsuccessful raid (from 10 bombers Pe-8 only 6 could reach Berlin, only two returned back) - reasons: bad organization of the raid during only 1 day according to Stalin order, technical problems with new diesel engines M-40F, "friendly" AA fire and fighter attacks because the majority of Soviet AA gunners and pilots never saw Pe-8 before. The "responsible person" for that failure was found - 1st pilot of TB-7 N 42036, division commander Vodopianov. But as he was a world-known polar pilot and one of the first Heroes of USSR, he was just displaced from the division commander position.

http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... cs/1_8.jpg (TB-7 with AM-35A engines from the 2nd air squadron of 14th air regiment of heavy bombers, Borispol, June 1941)
http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... cs/1_9.jpg (TB-7 with M-40 diesels, first raid against Berlin, August 1941)


http://cherry-m.chat.ru/DA_09.jpg (crewmembers of Pe-8 after one of the more successful next bombing raids to Berlin)
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Postby BIGpanzer » 11 Mar 2006 11:35

I found the following positive statements about TB-7 (Pe-8) in several sources:

1) that this heavy bomber was almost invulnerable for fighters in 1940-1941 as it had powerful defensive armament (including 20 mm guns) and high speed (even more than BF-109 D&E at 9-11 km altitude). That is why TB-7 made bombing raids without fighters escort very often.

2) that this heavy bomber was also almost invulnerable for AA artillery in comparison with other heavy bombers as it had good rate-of-climb, excellent maneuvrability at high altitudes (even fully loaded bomber could perform steep turns with banking angle up to 50 at 10 km altitude). The accuracy of bombing from high altitudes was very good.

3) that was the best heavy bomber of WWII (by specifications) till the appearance of US B-29 "Superfortress". TB-7 was the first bomber which took 5.4-t bombs.

Any opinions............

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Postby Zygmunt » 11 Mar 2006 14:52

Regarding early operations of Pe-8:
From August 1941 to May 1942 the regiment flew 226 operational missions and dropped 606 tonnes of bombs. The total attrition was 14 aircraft (nine were non-combat losses) and 61 crew members.

Regarding later combat losses of the Pe-8:
In July 1943 the Germans strengthened their defences against Soviet heavy night bombers, and their Messerschmitt Bf 110 night fighters shot down four aircraft. This was due firstly to the increase in night fighter activity in the Kurskaya Duga area, and secondly to the fact that the new Pe-8s with M-82 radials were more visible in the night sky because they lacked flame-damping exhausts.

Criticism of the M-82 engine:
Uneven increase of power during take-off could cause the aircraft to veer off, with the attendant danger of damaging its undercarriage. In 1943 alone, six Pe-8s were lost to such accidents.

Regarding overall loss ratios:
In 1942 the loss rate was one aircraft for every 103 flights, but by 1944 on it was up to one for every 46 flights.

All quotes from page 136 of "Soviet combat aircraft of the Second World War", (vol 2), Gordon & Khazanov, 1999, Midland publishing, England.

Unfortunately none of these incidents include specific aircraft serial numbers (or precise dates), but hopefully they are useful.

Zygmunt

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Postby JonS » 16 Mar 2006 20:41

There is a table in Williamson Murrays 'Luftwaffe - A Strategy for Defeat" that list the losses BC suffered year by year, broken down by type. It only goes up to the end of 1944 though. Trawling through the book you should be able to get the figures for 1945. You will alos be able to get the figures for 8th and 15th AFs, by trawling and collating through the same book, although they've already been given above, of course.

Here's the table from Murray:
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Postby BIGpanzer » 19 Mar 2006 16:19

Thanks a lot for the excellent table, JonS!

I could find an interesting info about Soviet TB-7 (Pe-8) last week, here it is.

Zygmunt wrote:
From August 1941 to May 1942 the regiment flew 226 operational missions and dropped 606 tonnes of bombs. The total attrition was 14 aircraft (nine were non-combat losses) and 61 crew members.



I’ve already written about the first raid of Pe-8s from 432th regiment of heavy bombers (81st division of Long Range Air Force) against Berlin on 10 August 1941. After that unsuccessful raid almost all heavy bombers Pe-8 were collected in 746th bomber air regiment for some period of time. They were used in bombing raids (long-range and short-range, that time bombers were based at the airfields near Moscow, also at Pushkino airfield near Leningrad till 10.1941) – several successful raids against Berlin and Konigsberg were done.

http://www.aviapress.com/magaz/avk/avk2 ... 0205_4.jpg (TB-7in summer 1941)

In autumn 1941 almost all heavy bombers Pe-8 were transferred to Kovrovo airfield (near Vladimir) and was used quite widely in winter 1941/1942. Since the end 1941 all new Pe-8s were equipped with gasoline engines AM-35A, which were much more reliable than diesel engines M-40F (but Pe-8s with diesel engines continued long-range raids as they had better flying range). In October 1941 three Pe-8 with diesels made the raid against Berlin (those bombers were equipped with additional 400 l oil tank), all Pe-8 with gasoline engines made raids (usually with 30-40 100-kg bombs) against more closer targets: Konigsberg, Danzig, Marienburg, Innsburg, Allenstein, occupied Soviet cities (Smolensk, Vitebsk). Many bombing operations were made by single plane on high altitude at night.
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/ushakov_sf/08.jpg (crewmembers near TB-7 before bombing raid)
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/ushakov_sf/02.jpg (TB-7 in flight)
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/stefanovsky/20.jpg (TB-7 on skis)

Several heavy bombers Pe-8 were used for close-range tactical bombing during the day against German troops near Moscow in autumn 1941. For example, two Pe-8 under the command of famous polar pilot Vodopianov attacked German tank units near Kaluga during German offensive towards Moscow. All two bombers were damaged by German AA fire but could destroy tank column by heavy bombes and returned back. After that all Pe-8s were used at night only.
The losses of Pe-8 from Kovrov airfield were very low in autumn/winter 1941 – they were used at night on high altitudes mainly and had very experienced ex-polar civil aviation pilots. Several bombers were damaged during take-off/landing but they were repaired. On 7th November Pe-8 No 42025 (1st pilot – Pusep, future commander of the regiment) bombed Danzig, destroying power plant of the city. On its return trip Pe-8 got down for orientation and was damaged by strong AA fire (the forth engine was burned), all crewmembers bailed out.

432th regiment of heavy bombers (the single regiment, equipped with Pe-8) had 14 Pe-8 in October 1941 (only 8 from them were serviceable). As Pe-8 was a single type of modern 4-engine long-range heavy bomber of Soviet Air Force, those bombers were used according to the orders of Supreme High Command General Headquarters (30.11.1941 81st division of Long Range Air Force was renamed as 3rd division of Long Range Air Force, all Pe-8 bombers were transferred from Kovrov airfield to Kratovo airfield near Moscow). 05.03.1942 Long Range Air Force, ADD (eight air divisions) became the independent service arm under the direct command of Supreme High Command General Headquarters. But there were only few Pe-8 in ADD in spring 1942 (all Pe-8 were collected in 746th bomber air regiment from 45th division of ADD) – the regiment had 11 Pe-8 (8 were serviceable) in March 1942. The majority of Pe-8 were equipped with diesel engines, but in the end of 1942 almost all were reequipped with gasoline engines AM-35A. Pe-8 were used widely during 1942 (long-range and short-range raides, the last ones were made during hard situation in summer/autumn 1942)

Stalin decided to produce thousands of new modern Pe-8 but that was impossible for several reasons: heavy bombers were very expensive and complicated in production by evacuating plants, engines and aluminium must be use for the production of medium/dive bombers and battle planes IL-2 especially (for example air factory N 22 produced 8 dive bombers Pe-2 per day and 1-2 heavy bombers Pe-8 per month), also the wide use of thousands heavy bombers caused expensive great reequipment of airfields and construction of many new ones (with concrete air strips near 2.2 km length as Pe-8 had 570 m run) – that was very hard during war time. Another reason - chief engineers of TB-7 (Pe-8): Tupolev and Petlyakov were arrested before WWII as well as many high-rank air commanders, which caused great delay in the serial production of that bomber before WWII.

So only several tens of Pe-8 were used in next operations. They dropped super-heavy 5.4-t bombs FAB-5000 (the most powerful world air bomb in 1943) since the beginning 1943. For that purpose several Pe-8 were reequipped. 29.04.1943 Pe-8 No. 42029 dropped FAB-5000 on Konigsberg, in May 1943 such bombs were dropped on German troops near Mogilev and 04.06.1943 Orel central railway station was completely destroyed by such bombs, which troubled transportation of German tanks towards Kursk. In July 1943 several FAB-5000 were dropped during the tank Battle of Kursk, also on Helsinki in 1944. 13 FAB-5000 were dropped from Pe-8 till spring 1944.

Special missions: heavy bombers Pe-8 were used for flights to UK over the Germany during the whole WWII (transported Soviet ferry pilots for Lend-Lease aircrafts). The most famous mission took place in May 1942 (Pe-8 No 42066 with AM-35A engines, additional fuel tanks and additional oxygen equipment for 6 passengers transported Soviet foreign minister Molotov from Moscow to Washington and back with intermediate landing in Scotland) over occupied Europe and North Atlantic (17800 km route). Bomber made flight on 7 km altitude at maximal speed near 500 km/h. US president was very impressed (he had the talk with all crew members of Pe-8) as well as general public. After return back to USSR both pilots (Pusep and Obukhov) were awarded with the Star of the Hero of USSR, other crewmembers – with different orders.

http://www.aviapress.com/magaz/avk/avk2 ... 0205_8.jpg (Pe-8 No. 42066 surrounding by USAAF B-17 bomber pilots)

In July 1943 746th regiment (in 1944 it was renamed as 25th Guard air regiment, later as 203rd Guard regiment) and 890th regiment of 45th division of ADD had 18 Pe-8 (11 were serviceable). They were used very active during 1943-1944.

Zygmunt wrote:
In July 1943 the Germans strengthened their defences against Soviet heavy night bombers, and their Messerschmitt Bf 110 night fighters shot down four aircraft. This was due firstly to the increase in night fighter activity in the Kurskaya Duga area, and secondly to the fact that the new Pe-8s with M-82 radials were more visible in the night sky because they lacked flame-damping exhausts.



The reasons of high losses of Pe-8 in 1943-1944 (in comparison with 1941-1942) were the following: 1943-1944 was the period of the most active use of heavy bombers Pe-8 (short-range raids against German troops near Kursk, long-rainge raids against German cities, bombing raids against German artillery positions at Leningrad, bombing raids against Helsinki and other cities of Finland in 1944, bombing raids against railway stations in Ukraine and Byelorussia), they were used also as tactical day bombers which caused the highest month losses; they had excellent defense armament with several 20mm guns but their speed (still good) was not enough already to avoid German fighters (in 1940 Pe-8 had higher speed at 8-10 km altitude than last types of I-16 and Bf-109). Also German AA defense had good experience in combats with British and US heavy bombers, so raids of Pe-8 over Germany in 1943-1944 were also not easy, of course.

Pe-8s were used also for transportation of paratroopers (50 soldiers with ammunition)
http://www.aviapress.com/magaz/avk/avk2 ... 0205_6.jpg (Pe-8 No 42015 with the compartment for paratroopers)

Those four Pe-8 you’ve mentioned were Pe-8 with M-82 air-cooled engines (knocked down by German fighters between 15-23.07.1943), also one was knocked down by Soviet AA fire by mistake. That was indeed because of engine exhaust manifolds (one for several engine cylinders), which gave flares very visible at night and blinded bomber gunners also. In August and September 1943 two more Pe-8 with M-82 were knocked down by German night fighters. So in autumn 1943 all Pe-8 with M-82 engines were equipped with effective flame dampers (several types were tested, original and copies of German from captured Fw 200).

As I've mentioned Pe-8 had powerful defense armament (nose turret with 1-2x7.62-12.7mm MGs, upper turret with 1x20mm gun, tail turret with 1-2x20mm guns, two underwing turrets in inboard engine nacelles with 1x12.7mm MG each). But once during the Battle of Kursk in July 1943 one Pe-8, returning back after bombing raid, found the German airfield. Pe-8 attacked German bombers during their landing and gunners knocked down one plane.
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/ushakov_sf/09.jpg (upper turret of Pe-8 with 20mm gun)

Pe-8 could continue the flight on two engines; also engines were equipped with special fire-extinguishers. All 19 ing fuel tanks were self-sealing with neutral gas gassing and emergency defueling. Nevertheless, engines were the most vulnerable place of Pe-8 and German fighter pilots always tried to damage them. Pe-8 could continue the flight with heavy damages of the hull (pilots, navigator and gunners were protected by 9mm armor plates), also its 20mm guns and 12.7mm MGs were very dangerous for fighters, so it was not an easy target.

Since spring 1944 Soviet Air Forces could use medium bombers Pe-2, Tu-2 and Lend-Lease B-25 against Germany, so the number of long-range raids of Pe-8 decreased. In January 1944 45th division had 20 Pe-8, and 30 Pe-8 in summer 1944.
05.03.1944 the serial production of Pe-8 was stopped. It should be noted that one serious technical defect of Pe-8 was found in 1944. Center spar of Pe-8 No. 42611 was cracked during the raid against Helsinki 02.1944, but the bomber could return back. In several days center spar of another Pe-8 was cracked because of fatigue damage. Engineers from the design office repaired both bombers, improved other Pe-8 but recommended to use not more than 3200 kg of bombs later.

In summer 1945 45th division (Orsha airfield) was equipped with US B-17 and B-24, but all Pe-8 were used also. 12.09.1945 the central spar near right wing of Pe-8 No. 42811 was cracked during take-off manoeuvre zoom and bomber crashed (14 crew members were killed). All necessary tests were made and it was found that 19 bombers from 30 had fatigue fracture because of intensive exploitation during the war. 45th division was reequipped soon with new Tu-4 bombers (Soviet improved copies of B-29 “Superfortress”), which were better than old Pe-8s.
Many Pe-8 were used as unarmed transport planes of polar civil aviation till 1950s, also several of them were used as experimental planes for testing new engines and equipment.


Zygmunt wrote:
Uneven increase of power during take-off could cause the aircraft to veer off, with the attendant danger of damaging its undercarriage. In 1943 alone, six Pe-8s were lost to such accidents.



AFAIK several accidents happened with Pe-8 during take-offs (run of Pe-8 was near 475 m). I couldn’t find the info about M-82 as the reason but Pe-8 needed in good airfields with 2.2 km concrete airstrips. Take-offs with several tons of bombs and fuel on board from usual field airfields during rainy/snowy weather could cause accidents. As for the technical reasons – tail wheel of Pe-8 should be fixed during take-off, if tail gunner forgot to do this that caused veer off and possible crash.
M-82 engines (1700 hp) as well as diesels M-30/M-40 were used on Pe-8 instead of AM-35/AM-38 engines because of large-scale production of Il-2 battle planes and MiG-3 fighters with those engines. M-82 were used also by Tu-2 and La-5. In 1943-1944 all Pe-8 were produced with M-82 only. The first Pe-8 with M-82 engines was accepted by Air Force in January 1943. Factory No. 22 produced 18 such Pe-8 in 1943 and 14 in 1944 (+ 4 with diesels AÑh-30B) Those Pe-8 were equipped also with new airproof nose turret and much better night bomber sight for navigator.

http://www.airwar.ru/image/i/bww2/pe8m82-i.jpg (Pe-8 with M-82 engines)
http://www.tupolev.ru/images/pictures/a ... e-8_01.jpg (Pe-8 with M-82 engines in flight)
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/ushakov_sf/22.jpg (emergency landing of Pe-8)

Generally the situation with engines was the following: first Pe-8s were produced with 4xAM-34FRNB + 1xM-100A inside the bomber as air pump for the main engines at high altitudes, later more powerful high-altitude 4xAM-35A engines were used (but altitude decreased from 11,25 km to 9.3 km). Diesel engines M-30 and M-40 were used to increase the flight range (from 3600 km to 5460 km), but diesels were not reliable (stalled often and they couldn’t be started in flight higher than 1.5 km altitude) which was shown during the first raid against Berlin 10.08.1941. One third of Pe-8 were produced with M-82 engines (range increased up to 5800 km), several – with powerful new diesels ACh-30B (range increased up to 7800 km). Also passenger version with Ach-30B (one unarmed Pe-8 with comfortable cabin for 12 passengers and bedroom for 3 passengers) was built in April 1945.

http://www.aviapress.com/magaz/avk/avk2 ... 205_10.jpg
Petliakov Pe-8 4xAM-35A No. 42057. Kratkovo, 1944;
Petliakov Pe-8 4xAM-35A - a flying test-bed for ASh-82AN engines;
Petliakov Pe-8 4xACh-30B, 1940

Some additional colour pictures of TB-7 (Pe-8):

http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... s/1_22.jpg (Pe-8 No. 42055, crashed 14.02.1942 during landing on the airfield of factory No. 22, Kazan)
http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... s/1_11.jpg (Pe-8 No. 42066, made a flight Moscow-Washington with Soviet foreign minister V.M. Molotov on board, May-June 1942)
http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... s/1_21.jpg (Pe-8 No. 42082 from 746th regiment of Long-Range Air Force, December 1942)
http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... s/1_10.jpg (Pe-8 No. 42028, Kratovo, February 1943)
http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... s/1_14.jpg (Pe-8 No. 42057 with new tail turret from 25th Guard regiment of Long-Range Air Force, Balabasovo, 1945)
http://www.airwar.ru/transfer/grishan// ... cs/1_6.jpg (Pe-8 as flying test lab for ASh-82FN engines)
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 15 May 2006 18:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 20 Mar 2006 23:24

I am trying to find correct info about bombing raids of Pe-8 against the capital of Finland Helsinki (and other Finnish cities) in February 1944 (3 raids were made). AFAIK the air raid over Helsinki 06.02.1944 was the largest, where Pe-8 heavy bombers were used - 24 Pe-8 from the 45th division of Long-Range Air Force (ADD).
3 Pe-8 were lost during those raids.

Also some sources mention that the result of the bombing raids against Helsinki was insufficient, others report that the reason of the capitulation of Finland was the raids of Soviet heavy bombers Pe-8 in February 1944 (two super-heavy 5.4-t FAB-5000 bombs were dropped on Helsinki 07.02.1944 - one destroyed cable works, another - railway works). Could anybody provide me with correct info?

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Postby BIGpanzer » 20 Mar 2006 23:58

I found also the description of the loss of Pe-8 No. 42211. That bomber succesfully bombed railway station Borisov by two 2-t bombs, but it was attacked by Bf110 on its return way 27.06.1944. Bf110 attacked Pe-8 at a height of 4 km from below and rear and damaged 1st fuel tank and 3rd engine (which caused strong fire), destroyed pilot cockpit panel and wounded central gunner. All crewmembers could bail out over the enemy territory and rescued by guerillas, but Pe-8 was burnt completely after crash (only tail gun survived and was taken by guerillas).

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Postby BIGpanzer » 22 Mar 2006 19:01

One more loss of Pe-8 (but I didn't find its number) - almost the same date and place where Pe-8 No. 42211 (1st pilot - major Makarenko) was knocked down by Bf110 (see my previous post).
As I've written above Pe-8 No. 42211 successfully destroyed railway station Borisov (Byelorussia, near Minsk) by two 2-ton bombs from the height 4 km at night 27-28.06.1944 but was knocked down soon on its return way by Bf110.

Next day (28.06.1944) another heavy bomber Pe-8 (1st pilot - Hero of USSR major S. Sugak, who participated in many Pe-8 bombing/reconnaissance raids over Stalingrad and Helsinki, made 171 night flights) was sent to Borisov to make a photos of the destroyed railway station. Germans had a very strong AA defense in that region - heavy AA guns, night fighters and radar station. Pe-8 was hit by AA gun shell during photographing (radio operator and undercarriage gunner were killed, bomber control was damaged by shell explosion), other crewmembers bailed out over enemy territory and reached Soviet positions in one week.

Does anybody have additional info about losses of Pe-8 during bombing raids?

P.S. Some short additional info about Pe-8 raids: those heavy bombers made many night flights (several bombers made two night flights per one night) against German positions/railway stations/airfields near Stalingrad, bombed German heavy artillery at Leningrad, bombed Budapest, Bucharest, Constanta, Ploesti and many German cities, once directly hit by 500-kg bomb German HQ in Warsaw (it was supposed that Hitler was there).
432th air regiment of Long-Range Air Force (since 03.12.1941 - 746th regiment, since 18.09.1943 - 25th Guard air regiment of Long-Range Air Force), equipped with Pe-8, participated in almost all front operations of Soviet Army during WWII (raids against airfields, HQ, railroad centers, artillery positions) - only in August 1942 136 combat flights were made (336 t of bombs and 5.5 millions of pamphlets were dropped) with the loss of one Pe-8 and 7 crewmembers. During the liberation of Gomel (Byelorussia, summer 1944) bombers Pe-8 dropped 406 t of bombs.
http://www.svavia.ru/img/foto/ant42.jpg
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 22 Mar 2006 23:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 22 Mar 2006 23:43

Pe-8 were used very widely during WWII, participating almost in all front operations of Soviet Army. One of the most dangerous raids were the raids over Leningrad - heavy bombers transported food, ammunition and medicines, evacuated civilians, destroyed German heavy artillery near the city.
Pe-8 of major S. Sugak (I've mentioned him in previous post) made 15 day flights over Leningrad. Once the bomber was hit by 4 AA shells (navigator was killed, central gunner was wounded, three control cables were broken, etc.), but could reach the airfield near Leningrad, unloaded cargos, was repaired under German artillery fire and returned back the same day.

I found also the mention about combat flight of Pe-8 of major M. Kaminsky during the raid against Orel railroad center 15.07.1943 (the day before that center was already bombed by Pe-8 bombers with super-heavy 5.4-t bombs, which destroyed everything 100 m round). M. Kaminsky couldn't bombed Orel because of strong fog but navigator found a German airfield close by. Pe-8 dropped 5 t of bombs, destroying airfield with AA searchlights and six German bombers on ground, one landed bomber was knocked down by Pe-8 gunners.

Germans began to use squadron of night fighters with experienced pilots (squadron was transferred from Berlin) and ground radar stations near Orel to prevent further bombing raids of Pe-8. At night 21.07.1943 several Pe-8 bombed Orel again from the height of 6 km. Pe-8 of captain V.Ponomarenko on its return way was knocked down by AA fire (3rd engine and right wing was destroyed), 7 crewmembers were bailed out successfully but another 5 were killed. Also Pe-8 of captain M. Ugryumov was knocked down by AA fire during the same raid.
But German night fighters couldn't knock down Pe-8 during the following raids over Orel - Soviet pilots used manoeuvring and strong fire from 20mm guns and 12.7mm MGs. 27.05.1944 the regiment was renamed as 25th Guard Orel heavy bomber air regiment of Long-Range Air Force.
Last edited by BIGpanzer on 24 Mar 2006 23:49, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 23 Mar 2006 00:54

If anybody have additional info about Soviet heavy long-range bomber TB-7 (Pe-8) it is very welcome!
Soviets used only several dozens of those heavy bombers during WWII, but they were used very intensive, successfully and their losses were small in comparison with other types of Allied bombers.

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Postby BIGpanzer » 24 Mar 2006 18:03

I found the info about all 93 produced heavy bombers Pe-8 - what happened with each of them! 8O
If somebody is interested in this info - I will post it here with pleasure, if not - let me save my time............

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Postby Jon G. » 24 Mar 2006 18:58

BIGpanzer wrote:I found the info about all 93 produced heavy bombers Pe-8 - what happened with each of them! 8O
If somebody is interested in this info - I will post it here with pleasure, if not - let me save my time............


Please, BP, go ahead and post the info :) I am sorry if you get the impression that you're posting into the wind. Speaking only for myself, I know next to nothing about Soviet heavy bomber operations during WW2 - so lack of replies on my part only denotes lack of knowledge, not lack of interest.


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