B-36 Question --

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B-36 Question --

Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 11:44 pm

March 29th, 2012, 11:29 pm #1

Years ago, i built the huge B-36 model. Now, i am reading REVOLT OF THE ADMIRALS by Jeffery Barlow. I got to questioning -- Was the B-36 ever really a stragic threat to USSR ?
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Joined: February 26th, 2002, 4:32 am

March 29th, 2012, 11:45 pm #2

it would have been easy prey for the Soviet fighters. It was seriously underpowered before the fitting of the jet engines and even after it was never the most stellar performer. The B50 was basically a third of the size and every bit as effective or more.

However at that stage in the Cold War the plan as I see it was that it was weight of numbers over targets rather than the casualty rates of the aircraft. The other consideration was that in reality if a nuclear war had broken out then there would have been precious little left at the end to come back to.

The reality of the B36 was that it was designed for the early 1940s for use as a trans Atlantic bomber if it had transpired that the US was deprived of a European base for an offensive war against Germany. That never happened and it was put on the low priority list until the post-war nuclear concerns resurrected it. But many at the time argued that the B50 could have done a similar job at a fraction of the cost.
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Joined: February 27th, 2005, 3:54 pm

March 29th, 2012, 11:51 pm #3

Years ago, i built the huge B-36 model. Now, i am reading REVOLT OF THE ADMIRALS by Jeffery Barlow. I got to questioning -- Was the B-36 ever really a stragic threat to USSR ?
was so high that the MiGs went 'ballistic' (lost control as the ailerons, rudder, etc could not move due to speed)...and the B-36 would just do an aileron turn from that intercept flight path.

Now to figure out the above crewman's statement in my interview... what MiGs? Intercepting the B-36? The crewman only responded "denied territory".

The altitude of the B-36 has fascinated me ever since I met a Convair mechanic for the RB-36. He would not say.
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Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 11:44 pm

March 29th, 2012, 11:59 pm #4

it would have been easy prey for the Soviet fighters. It was seriously underpowered before the fitting of the jet engines and even after it was never the most stellar performer. The B50 was basically a third of the size and every bit as effective or more.

However at that stage in the Cold War the plan as I see it was that it was weight of numbers over targets rather than the casualty rates of the aircraft. The other consideration was that in reality if a nuclear war had broken out then there would have been precious little left at the end to come back to.

The reality of the B36 was that it was designed for the early 1940s for use as a trans Atlantic bomber if it had transpired that the US was deprived of a European base for an offensive war against Germany. That never happened and it was put on the low priority list until the post-war nuclear concerns resurrected it. But many at the time argued that the B50 could have done a similar job at a fraction of the cost.
either fighter-interscptors and the advent of air-to-air missiles or surface launched missiles would have made the big bomber an easy target. The thinking was heartland Russia -- which is huge and distant -- and even P-51's etc would not have the range to provide protection to the bombers.

That would apply to B-50's also. It seems the Allies would have had a very difficult to impossible task because of the extemly large territory it would have to cover ... and even a nuclear attack would be less than optimal. George
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Joined: February 26th, 2002, 4:32 am

March 30th, 2012, 12:10 am #5

could have made it work without massive loss of their own resources. The coming of ICBMs put paid to it, and I am inclined to think that at the back of the minds of the commanders that that was the best outcome. Not, I hasten to add, that the threat of an all out nuclear war conducted with ICBMs is exactly a great outcome.
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Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 11:44 pm

March 30th, 2012, 12:15 am #6

I think the real reason that the two bombs on Japan were so "effective" is that so many structures were of wood and the resulting fires gave far greater result than the bombs themselves. George
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Joined: January 26th, 2004, 9:36 pm

March 30th, 2012, 12:37 am #7

was so high that the MiGs went 'ballistic' (lost control as the ailerons, rudder, etc could not move due to speed)...and the B-36 would just do an aileron turn from that intercept flight path.

Now to figure out the above crewman's statement in my interview... what MiGs? Intercepting the B-36? The crewman only responded "denied territory".

The altitude of the B-36 has fascinated me ever since I met a Convair mechanic for the RB-36. He would not say.
In the early 1950's RB-36's operating from RAF Sculthorpe in England began overflights of the Soviet Arctic in 1951. The RB-36 had a reported service ceiling of 57,000 ft. RB-36's performed a numerous "disavowed" reconnaissance missions and frequently penetrated Chinese and Soviet territory. Improvements in Soviet interceptors and surface to air missiles brought an end to these flights. It is believed that over 60 crewmen were lost in "disavowed" missions over the USSR and China before the flights were discontinued. These losses were most always classified as "training accidents."

The MiG 15 had a service ceiling of 50,000 ft. So the statement from the crewman that the MiG went ballistic is indicative that the RB-36 was operating well above the MiG's service ceiling.



It is better to be the stomper rather than the stompee!
It is better to be the Stomper rather than the Stompee!
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Joined: March 2nd, 2005, 3:52 pm

March 30th, 2012, 1:10 am #8

Years ago, i built the huge B-36 model. Now, i am reading REVOLT OF THE ADMIRALS by Jeffery Barlow. I got to questioning -- Was the B-36 ever really a stragic threat to USSR ?
They certainly considered it a threat. Otherwise they wouldn't have spent so much on countermeasures.
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Joined: October 22nd, 2009, 11:44 pm

March 30th, 2012, 1:40 am #9

Same with the XB-70 ... we never hadto build a fleet of them, but threat was there. Yet, ICBM's and ballistic missle subs were a far more realistic threat than the bombers. George
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Joined: March 2nd, 2005, 3:52 pm

March 30th, 2012, 2:32 am #10

ICBMs and nuke subs didn't exist when the B-36 was the big stick. And the Soviets, who read Aviation Leak just like everybody else, knew the XB-70 was never going to be an operational platform.
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