Why were the masters of the West afraid to use strategic bombers with atomic charges to destroy the USSR? The then "peacefulness" of the Atlantists, or rather, their impotence, is explained by the fact that the Stalinist empire possessed a strong fighter aircraft, tank armada, splendid reconnaissance and sabotage groups and a magnificent corps of commanders burned in the crucible of the Great Patriotic War. In the event of a "hot war", the Soviet Union could simply sweep the Westerners into the Atlantic. This power saved us from a new war.
At the same time, the country's leadership, led by Stalin and Beria, found an effective and cheap response to the American armada of "flying fortresses" and aircraft carrier strike groups. These were ballistic missiles, air defense systems, jet fighter aircraft while maintaining the power of the ground forces. Then the USSR became a nuclear power. And all this time, the Soviet Union was protected by tank armada, the armored fist of the empire, aimed at the English Channel and the Middle East. Westerners were very afraid of the mobile formations of the Soviet Army, the era of light armored, guided missiles was still very far away, as well as helicopters with anti-tank capabilities.
The Soviet armed forces gave the West some hard lessons, showing the full danger of a war with the USSR. So, April 12, 1951 became a black day for American aviation, "Black Thursday". On this day, Soviet MiG-15 fighters shot down 12 B-29 Super Fortress strategic heavy bombers. During the Korean War, the USSR and China supported North Korea, which was fought by Western forces led by the United States. On April 12, 1951, 48 "super fortresses" under cover of 80 jet fighters were sent from Korea to China to destroy the hydroelectric power station on the Yalu River and the Andong Bridge. Through the crossings on the Yalu River, Chinese troops and a stream of military supplies went. If the Americans bombed them, then the war in Korea would most likely be lost, and the Americans would take control of the whole of Korea. We would create another strategic military foothold on our borders, an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" like Japan. Russian radars spotted the enemy. American aircraft met the MiG-15 of the Russian 64th Fighter Corps. Our fighters destroyed 12 heavy bombers and 5 enemy fighters. A dozen more "super-fortresses" were badly damaged. At the same time, Stalin's falcons did not lose a single one of theirs! After that, the American command for a long time stopped trying to send large groups of long-range bombers to operations. Now they flew alone, to solve local problems, and at night.
Pretty soon our pilots repeated their Yankee lesson. On October 30, 1951, 21 heavy bombers tried to break through to North Korea, they were covered by almost 200 fighters of various types. Soviet pilots shot down 12 B-29s and four F-84s. In addition, many of the "super fortresses" were damaged, with virtually every returning plane bringing dead or wounded. The Americans managed to shoot down only one Soviet MiG-15. It was the "Black Tuesday" of the American aviation.
Unfortunately, these and other high-profile aerial victories of Stalin's falcons, glorious Russian aces pilots, like Nikolai Sutyagin (22 downed aircraft), Evgeny Pepelyaev (23 downed aircraft), Sergei Kramarenko, Serafim Subbotin, Fyodor Shebanov (6 victories, Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously, died in an air battle on October 26, 1951) and others, remained unknown to tens of millions of Russian people. These Heroes of the Soviet Union were known only to specialists, their great deeds were hidden by a veil of secrecy.Although the informational effect about Russian victories, which would have been shown in films (as in magnificent films about the Great Patriotic War), documentary investigations, books and articles, would have been colossal.
Stalin's aces did a great job! They instilled fear in the souls of Westerners. Destroying enemy "flying fortresses" and fighters, Soviet pilots showed the vulnerability of the American strategy of "contactless" air warfare, air terror. This became one of the prerequisites for the fact that the masters of the West did not dare to send their huge air fleet to the Soviet empire, to the Russian cities. The armada of "super-fortresses" deployed in Western Europe ceased to be a terrible threat to the USSR. The MiG-15 hawks and Stalin's aces reliably covered the skies of Russia!
Wreckage of a B-29 shot down on November 9, 1950 by Soviet MiG-15s
However, the West did not abandon plans to do away with Russia with the help of an air war. The United States has been actively developing its air force. They created super-high heavy bombers, no longer piston, like the B-29, but turbojets, inaccessible to anti-aircraft artillery. They were supposed to bomb Russian cities from great heights, and Soviet fighters planned to neutralize them with more modern Western machines like the F-86 Saber.
In its air war strategy, the United States relied on a system of overseas bases, ocean-going carrier strike squadrons, and powerful long-range bombers. New machines were created. In 1949, the operation of the B-36 "Peacemaker" intercontinental bombers began. These aircraft, with six piston and four jet engines, became the backbone of the US strategic nuclear forces. They could deliver nuclear strikes against Russia-USSR by taking off from bases in America.
However, the B-36 remained a transitional aircraft and proved to be unreliable and time consuming to maintain. On the way was a more modern aircraft - the B-47 Stratojet, a jet bomber that had been in service since 1951. The Stratojet became the main American bomber until the introduction of the B-52. The car had a graceful body and swept wing, the Americans copied its sketches from promising German projects in the field of aviation. Three-seat bomber with a maximum speed of 978 km / h. The States adopted more than 2 thousand of these machines, often used as a reconnaissance aircraft. On its basis, the Boeing RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft was created. In the early 1950s, these aircraft violated Soviet airspace (mainly in the North), taking advantage of holes in the Soviet air defense system that was still being created. RB-47 was not inferior in speed to the MiG-15, which allowed it to avoid meeting our fighters. Only when the MiG-17s rose to meet the western machines, the westerners had to retreat.
The B-47 was replaced by the B-52 "Stratokrepost", which was put into service in 1955 (they are still in service). The "Stratospheric Fortress" was capable of carrying various types of weapons, including nuclear ones, at subsonic speeds at altitudes up to 15 kilometers. The B-52 was capable of delivering two high-yield thermonuclear bombs to any point in the USSR.
The Americans hatched the idea of an air war that would crush the USSR. The first massive wave - high-speed and super-high-altitude bombers. They hit Moscow and large cities, groups of Soviet troops and military bases with hydrogen (thermonuclear) bombs. Then comes the second wave of heavy bombers, which drop hundreds of thousands of tons of conventional bombs. They destroy the electric power industry, the fuel industry, oil fields, bridges, dams, ports, the Soviet defense industry and the army. After this "air blitzkrieg", it seemed, the western armies would only need to finish off the Russians.
There were all grounds for counting on victory in the air war in the West.The second half of the 1950s was a watershed era when jet-powered heavy bombers gained tremendous importance. At first it seemed that fast fighters could no longer do them much harm. There were unpleasant episodes when a group of Soviet fighters pinned down one enemy heavy aircraft and at the same time managed to escape to their base. The fact was that the armament of jet fighters had lagged behind. Our MiGs, like enemy fighters, carried on board the same weapons as fighters of the Second World War - small-caliber cannons. But the pilots of the World War fired at speeds of a maximum of 700 km / h from a distance of a hundred meters, and the fighters of the 50s fought at speeds of 1000 - 1200 km / h, with the same range of aircraft cannons. The time for attacking and aiming has been drastically reduced. And there was still no air-to-air missile for air combat. At the same time, heavy bombers were significantly improved than the machines of the Second World War. More powerful, better protected and faster. They quickly reached targets and more easily evaded the enemy.
Thus, several fighters were needed to ensure the destruction of one heavy bomber. And the United States could throw thousands of heavy "fortresses" into battle. That is, the threat of a US attack in the second half of the 1950s was very serious. At the same time, after the departure of the great Stalin, the hidden Trotskyist Khrushchev will arrange "perestroika-1", including in the armed forces, and undermine the defense capability of the USSR for several years.
Why didn't the Americans attack then? It's simple. The North Atlantic bloc was very afraid of the tank armada of the USSR, ready in the event of a war, even a nuclear one, to seize all of Western Europe and the Middle East. And the United States did not yet have enough nuclear warheads to be guaranteed to burn the USSR and the advancing Soviet troops. Western military forces could not neutralize the armored divisions of the Soviet army.
The USSR did not have the resources and wealth of the United States (plundered all over the planet). We spent a lot of effort and resources to prepare for the war, suffered terrible damage (unlike England and the United States), a lot of money and resources to revive the western and central parts of Russia from ruins. We could not build a super-expensive fleet of heavy bombers, we had few such bombers. And the existing heavy bombers did not reach the most important areas of the United States. Therefore, it was necessary to develop plans for airstrikes against the Americans through the North Pole, to capture American bases in Greenland, Alaska and northern Canada.
That's why world peace, the security of Soviet civilization were kept by Stalin's tanks. 1945-1950 the West simply did not have the strength to stop the Russian armored forces in Europe. The existing forces, with a very low combat capability, in comparison with the Russians, the Soviet army would simply dare. And there was no German kulak capable of fighting on equal terms with the Russians; it was defeated. In 1952, as reported by the American general Matthew Ridgway, a veteran of the war with Germany, the commander of the Western forces in Korea, the supreme commander of the NATO armed forces in Europe (1952 - 1953), the NATO army in Europe existed only in its infancy. There were only three mechanized reconnaissance units, which together could not make up the armored division, and the 1st division. They were supported by small contingents of British, French and other troops, aviation and naval forces were small. Only three years later, there were already 15 divisions and significant reserves under arms.
When the NATO armed forces in Europe were headed by General Alfred Grünter (1953 - 1956), the Atlanticists already had 17 divisions, including 6 American, 5 French, 4 British and 2 Belgian. In 1955, the Americans received several batteries of 280-mm cannons that could use atomic charges.There were also divisions of rocket artillery, short-range guided missiles.
However, this was not enough! The Soviet Union could throw 80-100 first-class divisions into the attack. Ridgway acknowledged in his memoirs that if the Russians launched an offensive along the entire front from Norway to the Caucasus, NATO would be in a difficult position. The American general admitted that the armament of the Soviet ground forces was modernized, the airfields were good, and the Air Force was better than the NATO air force (conventional aviation, not strategic). NATO reserves are poorly prepared and the NATO Air Force is a weak link in the defense. Atomic weapons stockpiles are limited and vulnerable. Nuclear weapons and arsenals are difficult to hide, they can be destroyed at the beginning of the war by Soviet reconnaissance and sabotage groups, which were famous for their training.
Former enemies of the Union, such as the former General of the Third Reich, Mellenthin, wrote in 1956:
“Tankmen of the Red Army have become hardened in the crucible of war, their skill has grown immeasurably. Such a transformation would have required an extremely high organization, extraordinarily skillful planning and leadership … At present, any real plan for the defense of Europe must proceed from the assumption that the air and tank armies of the USSR can rush at us with such speed and fury, before which all blitzkrieg operations of the Second World War will fade. We must expect deep blows delivered at lightning speed.”
The Hitlerite general also noted the role of the vast Russian spaces in the atomic war, and that no air force would stop the Russians.
Therefore, the masters of the West were afraid to attack the USSR. They feared that the Soviet army would capture all of Europe and a significant part of Asia. The Soviet empire could do this: possessing powerful aircraft, tank forces, reconnaissance and sabotage detachments, excellent combat command personnel who went through the terrible fire of the Great Patriotic War. As a result, the Westerners did not dare to use their air fleet of "super-fortresses" with atomic weapons.
Allied Forces Victory Parade in Berlin on September 7, 1945, dedicated to the end of World War II. A column of 52 Soviet heavy tanks IS-3 from the 2nd Guards Tank Army passes along the Charlottenburg highway. Source: