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View Full Version : Did fighters escorted B-17s all the way.



adadaead
06-03-2004, 08:24 AM
I know that B-17s used to take off in England then fly over Europe (bomb target) and land in Russia, well did escort fighters could fly all the way, if not then why there is a mission where you have to protect a russian airfield with B-17s (refueling,repairing) against german atack in a P-51.


Peace out http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

"Only in the spirit of attack, born in a brave heart, will bring success to any fighter aircraft, no matter how highly developed it may be."

[This message was edited by adadaead on Thu June 03 2004 at 07:35 AM.]

adadaead
06-03-2004, 08:24 AM
I know that B-17s used to take off in England then fly over Europe (bomb target) and land in Russia, well did escort fighters could fly all the way, if not then why there is a mission where you have to protect a russian airfield with B-17s (refueling,repairing) against german atack in a P-51.


Peace out http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

"Only in the spirit of attack, born in a brave heart, will bring success to any fighter aircraft, no matter how highly developed it may be."

[This message was edited by adadaead on Thu June 03 2004 at 07:35 AM.]

jenikovtaw
06-03-2004, 08:33 AM
I don't think landing on Russian airfields was all that common for B17s. Maybe i'm wrong.

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BlitzPig_Ritter
06-03-2004, 08:38 AM
Shuttle raids were occasional events, IE there were only two or three that I can recall. P-51's were capable and on at least one occasion did go all the way to Russia, then returned with the Fortresses after both bombers and fighters were re-armed and refueled.

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Freefalldart
06-03-2004, 08:55 AM
Interesting... B17's & P51's flying to Russia... I didn't know about that.
Any links with information about those missions, please?

Thanks!

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FWdreamer
06-03-2004, 09:08 AM
S!
In moost cases yes the p51s would stick right with the b17s through the whole bomb run, though i do believe they climbed up to a higher alt. above them to avoid a majority of the flak and get ready to bounce bandits. As for landing in Russia that is rare, only as a last resort. I do know that 2 or 3 b29s landed in Soviet far east after not being able to return from raids in Japan. These three superforts were then kept and intensively studied by the soviets. Which by 1949 or 50 i believe unveiled there "new" super heavy bombers, which shocked the hell out of the west. At first the US ambassador thought a flight of b29's were in the May day parade. Luckily though by 1950 the four prop engine bombers were obsolete to the US and British jet bombers. These did help push russian designers in designing heavy bombers.

Chuck_Older
06-03-2004, 09:23 AM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif WIth external fuel tanks, a P-51 could and did go from England to the Soviet Union. The 4th fighter group did it in at least one Operation, in perhaps (probably) multiple trips, and George Loving mentions that also at least once his group joined the 4th on their return trip to the Soviet Union, from Italy. He recounts flying to that Soviet base in his book.


On a 'regular' escort mission, a raid over Berlin would be eight and a half hours for a B-17, and over 5 for a P-51. The P-51s would rendezvous somewhere with the heavies, and then fly the mission, so they weren't always travelling at the speed of the bombers. They also left escort duty at a set point on the return trip, for instance over the Dutch coast.

While escorting a section of the bomber stream, it was standard practice to fly above and to the side of the bombers, lest a P-51 be mistaken for a Bf109. In fact, it was often the job of the most inexperienced and newest escort pilots to ease up to a section of the stream, taking care not to point his nose at the bombers, and while rocking his wings, to read the tail numbers and ID markings of the bombers, to identify which section of the bomber stream they were flying with, and to see if it was their assigned group. They rocked the wings and never pointed their nose at the bombers so they wouldn't be thought a lone German plane.



I never heard of B-17s making shuttle missions though, but technically of course it was possible.

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SKIDRO_79FS
06-03-2004, 09:36 AM
During "Operation Frantic" - a series of missions where 8th. AF Groups flew from England attacked targets in England, then proceeded to land at selected airfields in Russia, then the next day they would fly from Russia, hit their targets, and continue on to Italy, where they landed and remained overnight before returning to England- P-51s and B-17s did indeed land in Russia. In fact the inability of Russian forces to provide proper anti-aircraft defensive measures at one field cost the USAAF a number of B-17s when German aircraft bombed the airfield.

For those of you wishing to learn more about this type in "Operation Frantic" on Google and you will find alot of sites to explore. There is also an exclent chapter in Jack Ilfrey's autobiography "Happy Jack's Go Buggy" which goes into detail about what the missions were like.

BTW there were definitely more than 2 shuttle missions, the 20th. Fighter Group flew Frantic VI and I beleive there were a few more after that.

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[This message was edited by SKIDRO_79FS on Thu June 03 2004 at 10:17 AM.]

WOLFMondo
06-03-2004, 10:03 AM
I thought the common way to escort was for the bombers to take off and head to there objective and for fighter wings to escort for a while, rendevous with another wing, the previous wing left and travelled back attacking targets of opportunity. The current wing would escort for a while and then would meet up with there replaicement and the cycle would continue until the bombers were back in the UK airspace. So at any one point 1 flight of bombers might have 5 or 6 different flights of escort fighters enroute, escorting or going home depending on there schedule.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FWdreamer:
S!
As for landing in Russia that is rare, only as a last resort. I do know that 2 or 3 b29s landed in Soviet far east after not being able to return from raids in Japan. These three superforts were then kept and intensively studied by the soviets. Which by 1949 or 50 i believe unveiled there "new" super heavy bombers, which shocked the hell out of the west. At first the US ambassador thought a flight of b29's were in the May day parade. Luckily though by 1950 the four prop engine bombers were obsolete to the US and British jet bombers. These did help push russian designers in designing heavy bombers.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think there were 3, 1 of them is still in a museum in Russia. The pilots were kept there for years and had to be moved back to the US by moving them under cover via Iran to avoid letting the Japanese know they were there (the USSR wasn't at war with them at that point) or so the story goes.

But the B29's were copied exactly, even down to the plates where the plane number and factory where it was built in the US were engraved. I think the engines were different though and the thickness of the skin of the aircraft was slightly thicker because of the measurment system used. There was a program a while ago on discovery channel about it.

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FWdreamer
06-03-2004, 10:10 AM
S!
AHHH thanks Wolf that is where i saw it, could not think of where i heard the info. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif

horseback
06-03-2004, 11:20 AM
There were a number of 'shuttle raids', when bombers based in England or Italy would just continue on into Russia, on at least one occasion to Piryatin, in the Ukraine I think.

It may actually have been shorter than the round trip to England, and allowed hitting targets too far from England for a round trip raid. The accompanying fighters often flew around 15000 ft for maximum fuel efficiency and minmum oxygen use, with a regular 'top cover' escort in the usual relay system over the bombers until they cleared the target area and then dropped down to join the 'shuttling' fighters.

The 4th FG made a trip from England to Russia and then from Russia down to Italy and then back to England in late June or July of '44, escorting bombers who hit targets on each leg of the trip.

cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

Breeze147
06-03-2004, 11:39 AM
They pulled out very close to the end.... http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif



Aww, come on, you guys..... http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/blink.gif

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Zyzbot
06-03-2004, 11:42 AM
Don't forget the famous Poltava raid:

June 21st 1944:

This was a shuttle run. The Group was to bomb Germany, land,
re-load in Poltava; then bomb Germany on the way to Italy; land, reload and bomb Germany and on the way back to its base in England.

June 22nd, 1944:

The Luftwaffe launched a surprise night raid (60 aircraft) on the US 8th Air Force's shuttle base at Poltava in the Ukraine, destroying 44 B-17s and 500,000 gallons of fuel.

Atomic_Marten
06-03-2004, 11:52 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by adadaead:
I know that B-17s used to take off in England then fly over Europe (bomb target) and land in Russia, well did escort fighters could fly all the way, if not then why there is a mission where you have to protect a russian airfield with B-17s (refueling,repairing) against german atack in a P-51.


Peace out http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

"Only in the spirit of attack, born in a brave heart, will bring success to any fighter aircraft, no matter how highly developed it may be."

[This message was edited by adadaead on Thu June 03 2004 at 07:35 AM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Please post info about that mission in IL-2(which one is it? single mission P-51 I guess http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif). P-38,P-47,&P-51 have all the most impressive service range, and yes they often escorted B-17's all the way from England to Germany and back.

BlitzPig_Ritter
06-03-2004, 12:31 PM
Its one of the single missions for the P-51D

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Art-J
06-03-2004, 03:35 PM
Yep, US bombers hit some targets in Poland during "Frantic" missions as well. Few of them were lost (including two Mustangs, one of them accidenaly "team killed" by his sqn mate, shooting the german fighter). There has been some interest in finding crash sites and planes remainings recently, here in Poland. Sometimes in magazines, one can find an article about these events. That's good, because people here still don't know much about shuttle flights. For many years under "big brother" protection, this topic had been a taboo. Now it finally changes... These guys deserve memory, wether these missions were strategically effective or not.

As for the Tu-4 "Bear" part, yes, it was a very close copy of Superfort. The only noticeable differences were new engines (designed using both Russian and R-3350 construction), armament (can You imagine Superfort with AI controlled UBSs/UBTs in FB? http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Or maybe even cannons? Don't remember precise data on this. Anyway, it would require balls of steel to shoot sth like that down http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/59.gif). The aluminum skin thickness was the most serious problem for Tupolev engineers. American skin plates, based on imperial system didn't have their precise metric equivalents. They couldn't replace them with too thick ones because of increase in airframe weight. Using thin ones was not good either (airframe strength issues). So they used mixed set, depending on sructural strain of the different fuselage & wings sections. At the end, they got slightly heavier plane, with some minor performance differences from his "dad". Although not very modern for 1950s, the "Bear" gave Russian engineers useful experience in building heavy strategic bombers, something they had previously lost, designing only tactical planes.

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