[Best] bomber ever?

I was passing the RAF museum in North London the other week, and i managed to dive in for an hour.

I hadn’t realised because it looks kinda’ fighter shaped so I subconciously thought of it at that size, but the Vulcan bomber is huge. Most of the exhibits, are roped off, you walk around. You can stroll around underneath the Vulcan bomber.

I had the great pleasure of seeing that big bugger fly at the Manston airshow last year. Full afterburner…wow!

One that never got into service was the TSR2, lovely plane but who knows how “good” it would have been.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of the Vulcan. It’s even louder than it is big - I saw one at an airshow once and even at three or four hundred yards off the ground every single person in the crowd was covering their ears with the engines at full chat. It actually hurt.

I should clarify that’s the Douglas B-26/A-26 Invader, and not the Martin B-26 Marauder (ucking fugly thing; images).

My strong bias towards the allied forces, and American planes, is reflected in this list of My Top Five:

B-17 Flying Fortress
B-29 Super Fortress
B-24 Liberator
B-52 BUFF
B-2 Stealth Bomber

That’s in no particular order but my #1 best bomber of all time has got to be the B-17 Flying Fortress because it helped establish air superiority at a time when that was still in question, not like the B-29 that came into widespread usage when the war’s outcome was pretty much decided, save for time remaining, and lives lost.

Curious – where is there a list of bombers and total tonnage ever drooped by plane?

Wherever the list is, I strongly suspect the B-52 has dropped a greater total payload than all other bombers combined (possibly excluding fighter-bombers.)

The B-29 called the Enola Gay made more 80,000 people disappear in roughly 30 seconds, so that may be a candidate for “greatest bomber ever.”

Unless, of course, mass murder really disturbs you.

It was war.

Not as much as allowing a war to continue and kill even more people does, no.

I suspect you’d pick the B-36, since that one deterred war so effectively, never mind its endless mechanical reliability issues.

Moderator Note

Let’s not get into a debate about the morality of a bombing campaign. No warnings issued, but let’s stick to military capabilities.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Wait a minute. Why the hell is the A-6 an “honorable mention”?

Nitpick: The Vulcan was/is not equipped with afterburners.

That’s a frequent point of confusion. Most people assume the Vulcan had afterburners because it used the Rolls-Royce Olympus engines that would later power the Concorde, but the engines had reheat added for the Concorde.

I will chime in with Sailboat that making strategic capabilities a requirement is nonsense. Tactical and strategic bombers require different qualities. Might as well make dive bombing capability a requirement as well, in which case the Mosquito and Ju-88 would be the only ones on the list.

One missing from this list is the Pe-2; fast, nimble, well armed, 11,500 produced. Just because it was Russian is not a reason to ignore it.

Ha! well you learn something new every day, that was always my assumption.

No matter, close up that thing was ripping the sky apart, wonderful stuff.

For the first three, the answers are no.

Heavy Bombers in WWI were a joke.

The JU88 was a decent attack plane, but a horrible bomber.
And the lack of either the B17 or B24 complete invalidates the list.

Beautiful footage, details in 12 minute film of Valkyrie flight testing: http://youtu.be/KMbOl6Hn0yQ

Damn. Doubly folding wing tips, Mach 3 at 70,000. 1966. What a plane.

I don’t where they’d put the bombs.

Plus, its expected service life will last well into the 2040’s, the same span of time as the Sopwith Camel to HAL. Based on sheer utility and length of service, it’s gotta be the B-52, hands down – just think of all those billions of dollars spent on potential replacements, which went nowhere or became major boondoggles.

On the other hand, the B-17 can sometimes feature zombie pilots. :wink:

I’m a fan of the EE Canberra, but possibly only because it’s the only bomber I’ve actually sat in.

Chauvinism maybe creeping in here…

I nominate the Vulcan because it looked so impressive. I was once driving down the A15 where it was re-routed to go round RAF Scampton, when one took off right over me. I was driving a van at the time and I thought it was going to blow me over.