- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Pe-8 is a rank III Soviet heavy bomber with a battle rating of 4.3 (AB/RB) and 5.3 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.53 "Firestorm".
The Petlyakov Pe-8 was an early design Soviet heavy bomber which debuted in 1936. This monster of a bomber was the only four-engine bomber produced by the Soviet Union during World War II. Though impressive as it was, it was only produced in limited numbers and was reserved for special occasions called "morale raids" to encourage and raise the spirits of the Soviet population by hitting important German targets deep behind enemy lines to include bombing Berlin in mid-1941. Other prime targets included the nighttime bombing of factories, German airfields and rail yards. As such an important aircraft to the Soviet people, it became a priority target for the German Luftwaffe pilots to go after. By 1944 all remaining Pe-8s were removed from service but were retrofitted for other jobs such as VIP transport and operations up into the arctic circle.
The Pe-8 though a large and tempting target, it is not without its merits. The huge bomber has a nose gunner, tail gunner, rear-facing dorsal turret and two rear-facing underwing gun pods. Attacking this aircraft especially from the rear whether above, below or directly from the rear is a bad choice as, like with the BV 238, there are many defensive guns which can hit and hit hard. These defensive weapons are critical to protecting the bomber against inbound enemy fighter especially because of the bomb payload which it can carry. Options can range between 2,000 and 5,000 kg bomb loads with as many as 40 x 50 kg or 100 kg bombs, or fewer but heavier bombs such as 6 x 500 kg bombs or a single massive 5,000 kg FAB-5000 bomb.
It is easy to see why the Pe-8 would be a prime target to eliminate as if left unchecked, it could easily wipe out the enemy bases without flinching and move onto the next. Other payload options are useful for carpet bombing areas where clusters of lighter vehicles or fixed anti-aircraft targets may sit. Fleet vessels are not to discount this bomber as it has the means to destroy ships with its accurate bomb sight, pending the pilot slowing the aircraft down enough to let the bombardier line up the target and release the necessary ordnance. For the pilot of the Pe-8, fly high and drop as much as you can on the targets, as a fighter trying to take out the Pe-8 set up your run so that in the event you lose control of your aircraft, it has a good chance of ramming the bomber causing it to crash as this aircraft has a good propensity to soak up bullets.
The Pe-8 has poor flight characteristics: the plane is very heavy for its engines and thus is slow. This limits its top speed as well as its climb rate. The wings being massive, the turn radius is large and the bomber's manoeuvrability is mediocre. Combined with a short tail, this creates instability and causes the Pe-8 to wobble when changing directions. The bomber usually compresses and wobbles after doing sharp turns, which can be very lethal at low altitude. It can take the pilot a certain time to regain control of the bomber. When engaged in a steep dive, the same phenomenon (compressing and wobbling) takes place, restricting it only to a level bombing role.
Note for new Pe-8 pilots - Since this plane's control surfaces are huge and rotate very slowly, they will have lots of inertia: after you release a keyboard button for rolling, the ailerons will keep deflecting for a second or two before stopping, which is unlike the controls of smaller aircraft where the control surfaces stop deflecting immediately as soon as you release the button. Therefore it is a good practice to release the button a second before the Pe-8 is at an optimal position, as the control surfaces' inertia will do the job after letting go the keyboard input.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,900 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 320||< 350||< 380||> 341|
Survivability and armour
The Pe-8 has a durable airframe, meaning the bomber can take some damage, still complete its mission and make it home. Even if its fuel tanks are self-sealing, fires tend to be devastating for the structural integrity of the wings.
- Armour plates
- 8 mm Steel - Plate behind pilot's seat
- 8 mm Steel - Plate behind copilot's seat
- 8 mm Steel - Plate for underwing nacelle gunners x 2
- No armour glazing
- Critical components
- The pilot and the controls are located in front of the aircraft
- Engines and fuel tanks located throughout the wings
- Fuel tanks are self-sealing
Modifications and economy
The Pe-8 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- 40 x 50 kg FAB-50sv bombs (2,000 kg total)
- 40 x 100 kg FAB-100sv bombs (4,000 kg total)
- 12 x 250 kg FAB-250sv bombs (3,000 kg total)
- 6 x 500 kg FAB-500sv bombs (3,000 kg total)
- 4 x 1,000 kg FAB-1000 bombs (4,000 kg total)
- 1 x 5,000 kg FAB-5000 bomb (5,000 kg total)
The Pe-8 can carry the FAB-5000 bomb with over 5 tons of TNT equivalent, which proves extremely deadly in ground RB and naval battles. The 40 x 100 kg bombs loadout is suitable for carpet bombing against columns of vehicles and occasionally base bombing while the 4 x 1000 kg bombs loadout is best suited for destroying bases and airfields, and 2 bombs are required to destroy a base. The stock payload of 40 x 50 kg bombs has very little efficiency against ground targets due to lack of explosive power and is ill-suited for base bombing.
The Pe-8 is defended by:
- 1 x 20 mm ShVAK cannon, dorsal turret (200 rpg)
- 1 x 20 mm ShVAK cannon, tail turret (230 rpg)
- 1 x 12.7 mm Berezin UB machine gun, 2 x engine nacelle turrets (200 rpg)
- 2 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns, nose turret (750 rpg = 1,500 total)
The rear-facing 20 mm ShVAK cannon turrets are quite accurate and easy to aim, they will deal with any enemy fighter daring to come close. The 12.7 mm Berezin MGs in the engine nacelle turrets provide extra coverage from behind. While the defensive armament can be powerful, it is still ridden with weaknesses: the turrets lack any kind of armour, so your gunners can be knocked out easily and each turret has a low ammo count, resulting in frequent reloads that essentially leave you defenceless. The frontal 7.62 mm ShKAS MGs lack power to deal with fighters flying towards the Pe-8 head-on. Aircraft coming from high altitude can also avoid defensive firepower by exploiting their dead angles.
Usage in battles
The Pe-8, as mentioned earlier, is in essence a Soviet Death Star (a.k.a Tu-4 at a lower tier). It both boasts a very effective cannon armament and a high bomb load, able to destroy two bases in one pass. Its 5,000 kg bomb is especially useful in Ground Battles as a "tactical nuke" of sorts, able to wipe out large concentrations of enemy tanks.
However, the FAB-5000's practicality ends there. In Air Battles, the FAB-5000 is woefully overpowered against most targets and makes it inferior to most of the plane's other bomb loadout combinations. In addition, it peculiarly does less damage against an airfield than the 4 x 1,000 kg payload, further decreasing its usefulness. Instead, use the other payloads. The stock payload of 40 x 100 kg bombs, while difficult to aim, can still be used to base bomb, simply drop 12 on a base to destroy it (remember that the first 16 are pylon mounted meaning they drop in pairs, so the first base will require only 6 presses of the bomb release button). Keep using this payload for base bombing until you unlock the 4 x 1,000 kg modification, as all the other payloads yield less damage. You can use your bombs to destroy ground targets as well, however, be sure to be high enough or use a timer so that the bomb's splash damage doesn't knock you out.
Try to side climb around the main battle when going after bases, though your defensive armament is powerful, you will be an easy target for experienced players, heavy fighters, and groups of fighters that encounter you. If you see an enemy, always turn the plane to make sure the rear cannon-armed guns face the pursuer so you can focus as much of your defensive firepower on them as possible while also increasing the time you can put your guns on the target. Make sure to fire in bursts as your guns will jam if fired for too long.
In Ground Realistic mode, the Pe-8 can be used as a CAS aircraft to a devastating effect. If there are no fighter aircraft or few SPAA, try to find the largest group of enemies and drop the FAB-5000 as fast as you can. This usually results in 1-2 targets destroyed, but can easily net many more. Try to spawn early game, as there will be less fighter aircraft and SPAA. Let it be noted that there is a certain terror from seeing a FAB-5000 slam into the ground next to your tank that is not easily replicated elsewhere in War Thunder.
In Naval Battles, the Pe-8's FAB-5000 is capable of destroying any ship. Due to its huge explosive mass, the FAB-5000 is able to create a massive shockwave that can cause an ammunition detonation to nearby ships (~ 50 m from explosion radius), this means it does not require a direct hit to deal a crippling blow to the enemy. With some luck, you can get knock out multiple targets with a single bomb drop, just like in ground battles.
However, delivering the FAB-5000 to the targets can be a bit tricky as anti-aircraft fire in Naval battles is much more accurate, hard-hitting, and plentiful. One would try to compensate for this by flying high up, but you will find that it is hard to aim the FAB-5000 from these altitudes. Thus, it is more effective to bring the Pe-8 to higher-tier battles with larger, less manoeuvrable, and usually slower ships.
To drop the bomb accurately, start by setting the bomb fuse to 0s to ensure that the enemy will not get away from the explosion radius, then fly up to an altitude of at least 4,000 m to avoid most of short range AA barrages (around 4,500-5,000 m is a suitable altitude for an accurate and relatively safe drop), select an isolated or a slow target which has few escorts, then approach them. Make sure to watch the long range flak barrages while flying evasively to ensure that they will not hit you, while getting close. Take a look at the water trail left behind the target to get an idea of its course and speed. Then go to the bomb sight view, aim well and lead the target, and drop the bomb. You can use the bomb tracking camera to see where the bomb dropped and (in case of Arcade battles) adjust your aim for the next drop in case the shockwave wasn't able to destroy the target. With some practice, you can make the bomb drop close enough to the target, allowing the massive explosive blast to do the rest.
When pursuing the Pe-8, try to go for a head-on - nearly all the time there is critical damage and "pilot snipes" to down the aircraft - with the added bonus that the front is the least defended area of the Pe-8. Use your mobility to do so. When in a not so optimal position, try to come up at a angle above the Pe-8 - with a sharp enough angle, you will stop the 12.7 mm MGs from reaching you, and with a bit of luck, you will make it past the single 20 defending the plane.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
Auto control available
Pros and cons
- Good payload options for various mission types, including a massive 5,000 kg bomb
- Powerful defensive armament
- Durable airframe, can take some damage and make it home
- Poor flight performance
- Large, heavy, and slow
- Poor climb rate, top speed and manoeuvrability (large turn radius, wobbling effect)
- Prone to devastating fires
- Stock payload is mediocre
- Large deadzones for defensive armament
- Defensive armament is poorly protected
- In combined ground battles, the very large blast radius of the FAB-5000 bomb can easily cause accidental friendly fire
Pe-8 (also known as TB-7, ANT-42, or "Petlyakov") was initially developed in 1936-1339 as a high-speed, high-altitude heavy bomber as further development of previous heavy bomber TB-3. On November 9, 1936, the aircraft prototype was completed, and serial production of the aircraft started in 1939. Pe-8 was adopted by the Red Army Air Force in 1941 and used in 1941-1954.
Design-wise, the aircraft was a four-engine all-metal monoplane with retractable front landing gear, a non-retractible tail wheel, and a crew of 12. Initially, the plane was designed to use liquid-cooled AM-35A engines of 1200 hp each, but different modifications also used different engines like AM-34FRNV, diesel M-30, M-82FN, and diesel ACh-30. The Pe-8 had an internal bombay capable of mounting up to 5000 kg of ordnance. In 1943, the notorious FAB-5000 was developed. Since the bomb did not fit entirely into the bomb bay of the Pe-8, the plane flew with the bomb bay doors slightly open. The Pe-8 had powerful defensive weapons, consisting of two 20 mm ShVAK cannons, two large-calibre 12.7 mm Berezin UB machine guns, and two 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns mounted at a point on the nose of the vehicle. The aircraft's ability to fly at high altitudes and with impressive defensive weapons allowed the Pe-8 crews to do without fighter escort.
Aircraft saw combat use in 1941-1944 during the bombing of Berlin, Koenigsberg, Helsinki and the Battle of Kursk. One of the most notable aircraft missions was the bombing of Berlin in August 1941, just after the start of the Great Patriotic War. While the raid did comparatively minor damage, it was a huge morale victory as it demonstrated the vulnerability of Germany at that time.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
|V.M. Petlyakov Design Bureau (Опытное конструкторское бюро Петлякова)|
|Fighters||Pe-3 (e) · Pe-3 · Pe-3bis|
|Bombers||Pe-2-1 · Pe-2-31 · Pe-2-83 · Pe-2-110 · Pe-2-205 · Pe-2-359 · Pe-8|
|SB and Ar||SB 2M-100 · SB 2M-103 · SB 2M-103 MV-3 · SB 2M-103U · SB 2M-103U MV-3 · SB 2M-105 · Ar-2|
|Yer-2 (petrol)||Yer-2 (M-105) · Yer-2 (M-105) TAT · Yer-2 (M-105R) TAT · Yer-2 (M-105R) LU|
|Yer-2 (diesel)||Yer-2 (ACh-30B) (e) · Yer-2 (ACh-30B) (l)|
|Tu||Tu-2 · Tu-2S · Tu-2S-44 · Tu-2S-59 · Tu-4|
|Pe||Pe-2-1 · Pe-2-31 · Pe-2-83 · Pe-2-110 · Pe-2-205 · Pe-2-359 · Pe-8|
|IL||DB-3B · IL-4|
|Po-2 · Po-2M · MBR-2-M-34 · TB-3M-17-32 · Yak-4 · Be-6|
|Lend-Lease||▂PBY-5A Catalina · ▂Hampden TB Mk I · ▂A-20G-30 · ▂B-25J-30|