When i observed the performance of the B47 i went for a flank attack
Main article: US aerial reconnaissance of the USSR
The only B-47s to see anything that resembled combat were the aerial reconnaissance variants. The first overflight of Soviet territory with an RB-47 took place on 15 October 1952, when an RB-47B flying out of Alaska overflew Soviet airfields in Eastern Siberia. RB-47s operated from almost every airfield that gave them access to the USSR, and they often probed Soviet airspace, and on occasion, their pilots were caught in situations from which mostly speed and evasion in retreat saved them. At least five of these aircraft were fired on, and three of these were shot down. The RB-47s fired back with their tail turrets, although it is uncertain if they scored any kills. Nonetheless, these were the only shots fired in anger by any B-47.
On 8 May 1954, after a top secret reconnaissance mission in the Kola Peninsula, a 4th Air Division 91 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing RB-47E reconnaissance aircraft, with Hal Austin at the controls, flew west from the Soviet Union. The RB-47E was flying at high altitude, out of reach of MiG-15s, but unknown to USAF intelligence some MiG-17s had been stationed in the area that were able to intercept the intruder. The RB-47E was chased by three Soviet MiG-17 fighters attempting to destroy the aircraft with their guns over Soviet and Finnish airspace. Although sustaining damage, the RB-47E managed to escape over Sweden back to its home base at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. Its top speed and combat radius superiority to the Soviet fighter jets were the deciding factors. The mission marked the first time a jet aircraft equipped with modern photography equipment was used for American military reconnaissance. The incident was kept secret by all parties.
Other interceptions resulted in losses. An RB-47 flying out of Alaska was scouting out the Kamchatka Peninsula on 17 April 1955, when it was bounced by Soviet MiG-15s in international airspace. The RB-47 and its crew disappeared. Between 21 March and 10 May 1956, 16 RB-47Es and five RB-47Hs operating from Thule performed overflights the length of Siberia 156 times under Project HOMERUN. The Soviets filed an angry complaint with the U.S. government, which attributed the overflights to "navigational difficulties". MiGs bounced RB-47s on three separate occasions in the fall of 1958: over the Black Sea on 31 October, over the Baltic on 7 November, and over the Sea of Japan on 17 November.
On 1 July 1960, a PVO Strany MiG-19 shot down an RB-47H (AF Serial No. 53-4281) reconnaissance aircraft in the international airspace over the Barents Sea with four of the crew being killed and two captured by the Soviets, but released in 1961. The co-pilot reported that the MiG-19 jammed ("whited-out") his MD-4 FCS scope, rendering the RB-47H defenseless. The last known confrontation between MiGs and RB-47s took place on 27 April 1965, when an ERB-47H was jumped by North Korean MiG-17s over the Sea of Japan. The MiGs scored hits on the aircraft, but the ERB-47H managed to make it back to Yokota Air Base in Japan with two engines out.
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