- Mar 18, 2022
A large bomber force needs a lot of logistics.
If a large part of your logistics is coming from outside of the Soviet Union it is hard to justify a long range bombing campaign.
If you had a HE bomb that held 200kg of explosives that would be enough explosives to fill 54 122mm howitzer shells (granted you need about 52 more fuses)
You also have to remember that Russian aircraft engines were really petty lousy. Short overhaul life. The AM-35s used in the early PE-8s (and a few later ones) were looked on fondly by their crews because they were usually good for around 50 hours of life compared to the diesels. Merlins in Bombers were good for around 400 hours. Later PE-2s (and TU-2s) got M-82s but they weren't good for more than 100 hours (?).
One PE-8 could do about 6-7 eight hour missions on one set of engines. The same set of engines would power four IL-2s for 25 two hour missions (assuming they don't get shot down).
Even if the y got shot down in under 20 missions they were going to put a lot more bombs into German territory than the single PE-8 was going to.
Adjust flight times as you see fit but long range missions for the Soviets didn't make a lot of sense. Just enough to keep the Germans from moving all the eastern front AA guns to the actual front
I was just reading a detailed history of the Pe-8 yesterday and it seems like the AM-35s were the big stumbling block early on. Four engines also means four times the chance of an engine failure and on a long missions with a heavy bomb load, an engine going out means turning back, usually. Later they got Shvestov 82s which were much better, but the priority of these had (wisely, I think) gone to fighters.