Petlyakov Pe-8 / Tupolev ANT-42 / TB-7


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Petlyakov Pe-8 / Tupolev ANT-42 / TB-7

The first prototype flew on 27 December 1936. Production Pe-8 were well armed, carrying two 7.62mm machine-guns in a spherical nose turret, two machine-guns or a 20mm cannon in a dorsal turret, one hand-operated 12.7mm machine-gun in the rear of each inboard engine nacelle under the wing trailing edge and a 20mm cannon in a tail turret, plus up to 4,000kg of bombs stowed internally.

Initially the Pe-8 was powered by four 820kW M-105 engines and entered service in this form in 1940. The 1941 model had 1,080.5kW Mikulin AM-35A fitted. During the production run (which lasted until 1944) several other engines were installed either experimentally or as a standard type, including the 967kW AM-38, 1,304kW M-82 and a diesel engine.

On the night of 21 July 1941 German bombers attacked Moscow for the first time. As a reprisal Soviet IL-4 bombers made their first attack on Berlin on the night of 7 August. The resulting damage was minimal but it cleared the way for further attacks. In the spring of 1942 the Soviet ADD or Long-Range Aviation was formed, using the Pe-8 as its main component. Pe-8 raids on Germany began in July 1942 with small numbers of aircraft attacking Konigsberg and then Berlin and elsewhere. However these were not very successful and extremely heavy losses were endured. Although Pe-8 remained operational as bombers until the end of the war, a number were converted into transports.

Petlyakov Pe-8 / Tupolev ANT-42 / TB-7

 ENGINE4 x AM-35A, 880kW
  Take-off weight32000 kg70548 lb
  Empty weight18000 kg39683 lb
  Wingspan39.1 m128 ft 3 in
  Length23.6 m77 ft 5 in
  Wing area188.7 m22031.15 sq ft
  Max. speed440 km/h273 mph
  Cruise speed340 km/h211 mph
  Ceiling11000 m36100 ft
  Range w/max.fuel6000 km3728 miles
  Range w/max payload3000 km1864 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 20mm machine-guns, 4 machine-guns, 2000-4000kg of bombs

Petlyakov Pe-8 / Tupolev ANT-42 / TB-7

sven, 10.09.2015 00:34

Re the very good points made by CK.Russian aircraft orders were very much influenced by the army generals. They wanted low level support for troops and tanks.


martijn k, e-mail, 09.09.2015 17:01

the only bad thing about this bomber is twofold
i only have 3 , all three dont fly ..,snif.


CW, e-mail, 27.03.2015 02:25

The TB-7 /PE-8 suffered from one fatal flaw and it wasn't the aircraft's. She was a heavy, strategic, high-altitude bomber when properly engined with the fifth engine in the fuselage acting as a supercharger for itself and the four propulsive engines.

Technically, she was the best and first of her type in the world, more powerful and with a larger deliverable payload, faster and able to fly above the flak and fighter ceilings of Germany's defenses. And all this in 1936! But, as I said one fatal flaw - she wasn't what Stalin wanted.

Strategic heavy bombers are basically defensive terror weapons. You attack us - we burn your cities to the ground from untouchable altitudes. Had Stalin approved the pending order for 1000 PE-8s, he could have staged a demonstration for the world that would have discouraged anyone from attacking the Soviet Union. Say a flight of 400 dropping their loads on some deserted area of the steppe with bleachers for foreign observers. The early production versions could carry eight bombs internally and four on external hardpoints inboard of the first engine. Carpet bombing unlike anything ever seen before.

Yes, there were some issues as there are in all new production aircraft, but as she proved by flying unmolested from Moscow to Scotland and thence to Washington, DC and back in 1942, she was capable.

Stalin killed TB-7 /PE-8 in favor of the producing the PE-2 which was fast nimble, and capable of tactical missions, precision aerial bombardment and close air support unlike the PE-8, fulfilling the same roles as the JU-87 and ME-110. Specifically, the PE-2 was an aircraft designed to strike fast, hard and deep in support of fast moving armor and mobile infantry columns and capable of shifting missions 'on the fly' as the tactical ground situation changed... in other words, the PE-2 was designed for Blitzkrieg, not defense, which was completely in line with Soviet military doctrine (do not destroy your enemy's resources, strike deep, seize resources and material and use them against your foe) and intent while defensive bombers were not.


Barry, 06.02.2013 17:35

With the final models powered by radial engines the Pe8 was capable of carrying a maximum bomb load of in excess of 11,000lb and was capable of flying as high as 36,000 ft.
Agreed at height it was faster than some German fighters like the Bf109B, but let's face it how many 'B' models were used in the defence of the "Fatherland", and I do not think it was such a contender to later Me109s and more importantly the Fw190. The range was good and it's bomb load was better than the B17 but short of a Lancaster. However, as already noted Uncle Joe did not have much of a view on strategic bombing!


bombardier, e-mail, 23.05.2011 14:56

This aircraft was one of the best 4 engine bombers of the War


Pintér András, e-mail, 26.01.2011 23:07

Diesel was Csaromkij Acs-30(in hungarian orthograph), Charomky Ach-30 (english)


Sturm, 31.05.2010 02:29

Always been one of my favorite (and relatively unknown) heavies.


Leo Rudnicki, e-mail, 22.06.2009 21:57

The engines originally proposed were AM34's with the blower engine in the fuselage. Trouble with the engines resulted in Petlyakov's stay in "desiner's prison". Losses were heavy when bombing German targets so it's hard to belive Molotov would go. Papa Joe himself never flew. Ever. Too scared. Too easy to rig a crash and too many Nazi and capitalist swine pig-dogs willing to do it.


Gary Van Horn, e-mail, 26.04.2009 19:52

The original design of the TB-7 (it was ne-named Pe-8 after the designer's death)included a fifth engine that was used to feed on-board air to itself and the other four engines to allow the bomber to fly at altitudes greater than could be reache by any fighter of that time.


Tommy, e-mail, 21.04.2009 09:13

Were the outer engines cooled by the combined radiators in the inner nacelles?


starwarsfan, e-mail, 23.01.2009 23:33

I've just seen a documentary with an ex Soviet spy named Suworov (an author of several "new line" books on the Soviet strategy during and before the ww2). He stated that Molotov flew over the Third Reich two times with a TB-7 without any sign of fear beeing shot during the flight (well, he could get used to death so close to Stalin). According to Suworov the TB-7 was an unparallel wonder - it flew higher than the Flaks could shoot and was faster than the German fighters. Do you know anything about these flights?


Nick goth, e-mail, 08.01.2009 04:09

Gud rear defence wif tail,top+rear engine guns.any figther attaks reppeld wif such armament?any fighters shot down?no gun undaneath the belly?when,where was 5,000kg bomb droppd?a gud plane reminds me of b17 or italian piaggio p108.


Josh, e-mail, 16.12.2008 00:05

are any Petlyakow Pe-8 left?


Pascal, e-mail, 07.10.2008 13:44

From which material the Pe 8 was made of?


Norbert, 04.03.2008 22:30

The gunners get in over a little door at overside of the wing direcly over the gun post.


Victor, e-mail, 03.02.2008 19:38

How did the gunners get into the gun post at the engine? Did they have to stay there the whole flight?


Aleksandr, e-mail, 21.12.2006 14:56

What was ceiling with max payload (4000 kg of bombs)?


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