Friday, March 15, 2013
Mission for Bats
The NATO designation for the Soviet Tu2S medium bomber is Bat. This plane was first sent into combat in 1943 is considered by many to be one of if not the best medium bomber of WWII. It saved Andrei Tupolev from prison with it’s brilliant design. Not even Stalin could ignore it’s genius. It was almost fast as some of the front-line fighters of it’s day and could carry up to 8,000 lbs for over a thousand miles. This was the equal to the normal load and range of the B-17 heavy bomber which carried 7,000 for a range of 800 miles. Now the Flying Fortress could be called upon to carry up to 17,600 lbs and could fly 2000 miles with 4500 lbs and had much more defensive armament thus the designation heavy bomber. The Tu2S Bat relied on being faster and more maneuverable. It was used as a heavy fighter and did attack other bombers with its 2 forward firing 20 mm cannons.
The initial mission for the Bats in the Second Battle of Britain was to lay down a smoke screen from on high. They had two models of smoke bombs that they were going to be using. One was base on the US E44 Smoke Bomb Cluster and other the German N C 50 Smoke Bomb. Now in today’s vernacular a smoke bomb does not sound very dangerous. These bombs will prove to be very dangerous to the light anti-aircraft guns all over Britain.
Some of the bombs would produce vision blocking smoke for up to 20 minutes. Special IL10 units were being trained to lay down “touch up” smoke screens as well . Smoke screens were used rather sparingly on the Easter Front but they were used and the IL2 Sturmovik came in quite handy in laying them down. Almost impervious to small arms fire and even heavy machine guns they actually cruised at low altitude between the enemy and their forces and put down smoke screens that blinded the enemy to the axis of attack. It worked quite well at times.
The main job of blinding the Bofors 40mm guns, the 20mm guns and heavy machine guns fell to the Bats and their smoke bombs. Once the smaller AA guns were blind other Bats and Beasts will be called upon to finish the job. At low level the 3.7” radar directed gun is not a threat to fast moving planes flying at under 100 feet spewing liquid flames and cluster bombs. The Sturmovik “Circle of Death” will make it self known over 10, 11 and 12 Group.