Four-engine heavy bombers played a key role in the theater of operations. "Heavenly Slow Movers" and "Flying Fortresses" - it was they who controlled the air and instilled fear in the enemy troops. First used by the Luftwaffe during the invasion of Poland, strategic bombers were soon owned by almost all participants in the military conflict.
1. Heinkel He 177
During the Polish campaign and the London Blitz, Germany exploited more medium bombers such as the Heinkel He 111, Dornier Do 17 and Junkers Ju 88. After that, the Luftwaffe effectively used only one heavy bomber, the Heinkel He 177, which had been in service since December 1942. of the year. The bomber was nicknamed "Flying Fireworks". The aircraft could transport 1000 kg of bombs on board at a distance of up to 6500 km. In total, just over a thousand copies of the Heinkel He 177 were produced during the war.
2. Avro Lancaster
The four-engine heavy bomber Avro Lancaster has been in service with the British Army since 1942. Until 1963, the aircraft was operated by the Canadian Air Force. The Avro Lancaster accounts for more than half of all RAF bombs dropped during World War II. In total, "Lancaster" made about 150 thousand sorties and dropped 600 thousand bombs. A total of 7,300 copies of this aircraft were produced.
3. Handley Page Halifax
British "Halifax" is one of the three most massive heavy bombers in World War II. The first combat sortie of Halifax on March 10, 1941, during the attack on Le Havre, was unsuccessful - a British fighter mistakenly shot down its own bomber. A total of 6178 Halifax units were produced during the war. In addition to Great Britain, the bomber was in service with France, Australia, Canada, Pakistan and Egypt.
4. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
One of the most effective bombers of World War II is the American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. A total of 12,700 bomber units were produced. Initially, the Flying Fortress was used by the British Air Force, but after the US entered the war, the aircraft gained a second life and received a cult status. The bomber could carry 2, 2 tons of bombs over a distance of 3 thousand kilometers. According to Novate.ru, the B-17 was also famous for its “survivability”. There are known cases when an aircraft successfully returned to the runway with one engine running or without part of the wing.
5. Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Another equally famous US Air Force heavy bomber was the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, which was also used by Britain in the Battle of the Atlantic. It is considered the most massive bomber in the history of aviation. In total, 18, 5 thousand copies of the "Liberator" were produced. The United States often used the B-24 in conjunction with the B-17 as part of a strategic bombing campaign over mainland Europe. Compared to the Flying Fortress, the Liberator's design has been significantly improved. The bomber was much faster, more powerful and more maneuverable.
6. Short Stirling
The Short Stirling was the first four-engined British bomber to enter service during World War II. His combat career was relatively short, as the bomber was soon replaced by more advanced models. Nevertheless, Short Stirling managed to drop about 27 tons of bombs before 1943. Most of Streirling's technologies were subsequently applied at Halifax and Lancaster.
Continuing the topic of the article, read also about thunderstorm of heaven: the legendary bomber of the Russian Empire "Ilya Muromets".