[Best] bomber ever?

Thanks to DeptfordX in the thread Worst air fighter ever? I’m starting a new one, where it can be discussed without confusion.

According to this guy here, using the following evaluations:
[li] Did the bomber serve the strategic purpose envisioned by its developers?[/li]
[li] Was the bomber a sufficiently flexible platform to perform other missions, and to persist in service?[/li]
[li] How did the bomber compare with its contemporaries in terms of price, capability, and effectiveness?[/li][/ul]

[li] Handley Page Type O 40[/li][li] Junkers JU-88[/li][li] De Havilland Mosquito[/li][li] Avro Lancaster[/li][li] Boeing B-52[/li]And "honorable mention to Grumman A-6 Intruder, MQ-1 Predator, Caproni Ca.3, Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear,” Avro Vulcan, Tupolev Tu-22M “Backfire.”[/ol]

I don’t think it will be as much fun as talking about worsts, but have at it.

I like starting threads in which I have absolutely nothing to say but which gets Dopers interested and is eminently SD-ish. Should have been a talk-show host.

Um…hed should be “Best bomber ever?”

Carry on.


nm (mod simul-fix)

Do we get to count the Mosquito’s non-bomber utility?

Wow, an über-ninja simulfix, not even different post times, so within 60 seconds.

Let alone being done by peons, but by Mods. I think this a significant SD event.

ETA: über-ninja’ed by Really Not All That Bright.

The B-1b was/is pretty bad. Stability is marginal. Due to mechanical / hydraulic limitations, full roll and full pitch control can often not be used at the same time. The system that is supposed to smooth the ride for the crew can often make it worse.

Unsure if Reagan would get a second term, a plan was concocted to do concurrent flight testing and production, this insuring that production could not be canceled if the power in Washington changed hands. This also assured that problems found in flight testing were very expensive to correct because many of the planes were already built. The fixes tended to be of the band-aid variety, rather than really fixing the root cause, and that was only if the problem could not be swept under the rug completely.

The airplane’s mission disappeared when the Cold War ended a few years after they were deployed. I think they may have been used in recent conflicts, just to give the crews some practice. If you have air superiority, B-52s do the job better and cheaper.

The B-52 is the standout in one imporant respect, at least: it’s been operational for about the same span of time as separates Kitty Hawk Flats from the Sea of Tranquillity…!

Well, I’ll start of with the B17. Beautiful, dangerous and rugged. Sure, it’s payload wasn’t generously large, but she got the job done and brought her crews back when other ships would have failed. Not to mention that when most think of the strategic bomber, it’s the B17 that comes to mind.

Most Americans, maybe, though even there I bet you’d find them outnumbered by B-52 thinkers. Besides, the B-17 wasn’t even the best Allied bomber of WWII. Lancasters dropped about the same amount of ordinance despite being outnumbered nearly 2 to 1.

It’s a little odd that the Tu-95 didn’t make the top 5. It’s been in service for basically exactly the same length of time as the B-52 despite the fall of the Soviet Union.

Reported thread so that it can be moved out of General Questions.

I’ll agree that the Lancaster had a payload much greater than the B17, but I question the ability of the Lancaster to survive combat during daylight and return home missing huge amounts of parts. Hell the B17 was cut nearly in half and was still able to bring it’s crew home.

I would also argue that while delivering less than its British cousin, the B17 caused more “usable” damage due to bombing in daylight hours. I’ll admit that even with the Norden bombsight, bombing results were far from accurate. However seeing your target vs. dropping your bombs blindly in the night most certainly means more bombs on target.

Yes, but the Lancaster had Mosquitoes to mark its targets. The B-17 really wasn’t any more accurate even being able to see its target.

I don’t have any strong arguments against the entries on this list, particularly the Ju-88 and Mosquito, although I think I’d have to find a place somewhere for the B-17. Also, I’ve long had a guilty (due to connotations of nuclear holocaust) personal fascination with some of the cold-war strategic bombers such as the B-36, B-47, B-58 and Vulcan, but certainly can’t argue that any of them would go ahead of the ones on the list.

Does the Tu-95 have much of an actual combat record? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very impressive aircraft, but I was under the impression it was best-known for its surveillance role.

Although I do note one was used to drop the 50-megaton ‘Tsar Bomba’, which must have been a somewhat butt-clenching mission to have flown.

I think that if it had been any other country, the 95 would have been long retired by now. It kept its job for so long because it was supporting the soviet navy, maritime patrol and anti-submarine duty.


I think it’s got to be the B-52. The last one built is now 51 years old, and they’re expected to remain in service for another 25 years.

I was kind of irritated that the article dings some bombers for not being effective at strategic bombing, admits the JU-88 was not good at that, then puts it high on the list. Inconsistent.

Italics added.

A meta-OP, but, WTF, a UAV?

Well, a zero crew fatality has to count for something…

Maybe not the best, but to me one of the prettiest is the light attack bomber, the B-26 Invader (images).