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"How many fighters in a flight/patrol?" Topic


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808 hits since 9 Sep 2022
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2022 11:10 a.m. PST

My search-fu is not working for me today.
By the time dogfights were a common element, how many planes would typically fly together in a group?
Actually a pointer to a good source on fighter tactics would be appreciated.
Also, how much did these tactics alter during the Interwar period?

stephen m10 Sep 2022 11:36 a.m. PST

2 to 4 planes would make a good fighting unit. Singles were for loners and usually brought quick endings later in the war as the base skill level of the other side's typical pilots got better. Formations of a squadron (Staffel) or two per side would also be reasonable more so later in the war. Gaming the larger formations brings in additional issues wrt command and control (coordination).

emckinney10 Sep 2022 1:57 p.m. PST

Tactics changed little during the most of the internal period, then changed dramatically. The introduction of reliable tactical radios made new formations possible, and the sheer speed of the aircraft made some maneuvers less practical. Best corner speed and sustained turn speed were far lower than maximum speed, moreso than in the Great War.

Blutarski13 Jan 2023 6:31 p.m. PST

Hi Parzival,
You wrote

By the time dogfights were a common element, how many planes would typically fly together in a group?
Actually a pointer to a good source on fighter tactics would be appreciated.
Also, how much did these tactics alter during the Interwar period?

The answer to your questions are complicated and vary by year, by nation, by squadron organization at the time, by mission type, by season ….. it can be complicated (I'm a little bit of a pedant).

A couple of suggestions

> Check out The Aerodrome Forum:
Go here theaerodrome.com/forum

- -

> Check "Amazon Books" for the following titles by Norman Franks:

"Jasta Boelcke, The History of Jasta 2, 1916-1918"

"Under the Guns of the Red Baron: The Complete Record of Von Richthofen's Victories and Victims"

"The Jasta Pilots Detailed Listings and Histories, August 1916-Novemmber 1918"

"Bloody April… Black September"

- -

> Other books I have found useful and interesting:

"High in the Empty Blue", The History of 56 Squadron RFC RAF, 1916-1919", by Alex Revell

"The First Air Campaign: August 1914 November 1918", by Eric and Jane Lawson

"Camel Drivers the 17th Aero Squadron in World War 1", by Otis Lowell Reed and George Roland

"Wings of War an airman's diary of the last year of World War 1", by Rudolf Stark (translated)

"Rise of the Fighter Aircraft 1914-1918", by Richard Hallion

Hope this helps …..

B

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