As extracted from an article at the ListVerse Internet web site:
"10 Air Attacks that Shook the World"
In two of those ten instances NOT SO much the dropping of the bombs in itself but the LOGISTICAL effort involved quite stupendous.
"logistics involved were staggering"
1. "The Falklands Black Buck Attacks"
"The missions to the Falklands, to destroy the Stanley runway and two other radar sites, were codenamed Operation Black Buck."
"There were five missions in all, and the logistics involved were staggering – Each round trip was close to 13000 kilometers – the longest in human history."
"The Black Buck Vulcans had to be refueled several times during the long flights to the Falklands and back. Refueling was done by RAF Victor Tankers using refueling probes. Two Vulcans took off on the 30th of April 1982. Each had 21 bombs weighing 1000 pounds each."
"It was an eight hour journey to the Falklands, and the Vulcans were escorted by no less than eleven Victor Tanker aircrafts. One Vulcan developed some technical problems and had to fly back to base. The mission thus boiled down to a single Vulcan accompanied by steadily decreasing numbers of Victors heading for enemy territory."
Hadley Page Victor. Originally designed as a long-range bomber aircraft, one of three types of British warplanes that constituted the "Vee" series of nuclear deterrent. Converted into an aerial refueling tanker, still very sleek looking and reputed to the largest aircraft ever to break the sound barrier!
"The last Victor pumped in so much fuel in the remaining Vulcan so that it would manage to get within 400 miles of Ascension Island where a new Victor would arrive and refuel the returning 'dry' Vulcan."
Avro Vulcan. Also one of the three types of "Vee" nuclear capable long-range bomber aircraft in the British arsenal. Also very aerodynamic with elegant aesthetics perhaps unsurpassed. Engines: "the . . . engines to be within the wing rather than on pods . . . This 'buried engine' fit contributed to the aircraft's aerodynamic cleanliness." Clean!
2. "Operation El Dorado Canyon"
"Following a series of terrorist attacks on America in 1986, US intelligence agencies claimed that they had 'incontrovertible' evidence that the incidents had all been sponsored by Libya. The Operation El Dorado was America’s response to this growing terror threat. This operation involved a British based-USAF mission to lead a bombing mission, even longer than the Black Buck Raids of 1982."
"The logistics of the missions were further complicated when France, Italy, Germany and Spain refused to co-operate with the US. Only UK was willing to give to the USAF some territory to serve as a base. The bomber chosen for his mission was extremely fast, low flying F-111. Though it was a very advanced bomber, it had never [been] built keeping such long missions in mind.
"Operation El Dorado Canyon would involve a round trip of 6400 miles, taking 13 hours and requiring no less than twelve in-flight refuelings, for each of the 24 F-111s. It was an ambitious mission with almost no room for error."
"NO room for error!" That adage that lieutenants think tactics and generals think logistics undeniably true? Perhaps without question and always will be!!