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Thread: RAF Squadron Organisation | Forums

  1. #1
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    Ok, this is to discuss how the RAF organised squadrons and below - TO&E, flight and section organisations, differences between Fighter Command and Bomber Command, etc.
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  2. #2
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    RAF Fighter Squadron in 1940:

    A/C on Strength: 16 (12 operational and 2 spares)

    Pilots on Roster: 15-20

    Squadron led in air by Squadron Leader.

    In air squadron max strength consisted of 12 aircraft, separated in two flights, 'A' & 'B'.

    Flights are led by Flight Lieutenants (pronounced leftenant)

    Each flight consists of two Sections of 3 a/c
    Red and Yellow sections in 'A' Flight, Blue and Green in 'B'.

    After 1941 and the general adoption of 4 a/c sections, Green section is dropped.
    Tom

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  3. #3
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    Originally posted by tomtheyak:
    RAF Fighter Squadron in 1940:

    A/C on Strength: 16 (12 operational and 2 spares)

    Pilots on Roster: 15-20

    Squadron led in air by Squadron Leader.

    In air squadron max strength consisted of 12 aircraft, separated in two flights, 'A' & 'B'.

    Flights are led by Flight Lieutenants (pronounced leftenant)

    Each flight consists of two Sections of 3 a/c
    Red and Yellow sections in 'A' Flight, Blue and Green in 'B'.

    After 1941 and the general adoption of 4 a/c sections, Green section is dropped.

    pre-1940 it was three flights

    A flight (red markings)
    B flight (yellow markings)
    C flight (blue markings)

    Those colors were adopted in the mid 20's in place of he original red/white/blue flight colors of the first world war.
    _________________________________
    Some random "stuff" : WTE (Australasian IL2 Squadron): http://www.wte-anga.com/
    RAF 3 Sdn '38 and 72 Sqdn: http://tinyurl.com/3RAF1938 http://tinyurl.com/72sqdn N5519 Charity 1939:
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  4. #4
    A photo from a mission schedule table from 1943 shows the following organisation:

    'A' Flight
    Red Section
    No. 1
    No. 2
    Yellow Section
    No. 1
    No. 2
    White Section
    No. 1
    No. 2
    'B' Flight
    Blue Section
    No. 1
    No. 2
    Green Section
    No. 1
    No. 2
    Black Section
    No. 1
    No. 2

    Each Flight had about 15 pilots.
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  5. #5
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    Originally posted by tomtheyak:
    RAF Fighter Squadron in 1940:

    A/C on Strength: 16 (12 operational and 2 spares)

    Pilots on Roster: 15-20

    Squadron led in air by Squadron Leader.

    In air squadron max strength consisted of 12 aircraft, separated in two flights, 'A' & 'B'.

    Flights are led by Flight Lieutenants (pronounced leftenant)

    Each flight consists of two Sections of 3 a/c
    Red and Yellow sections in 'A' Flight, Blue and Green in 'B'.

    After 1941 and the general adoption of 4 a/c sections, Green section is dropped.
    At the start of the Battle of France on 10 May 1940 few of the RAF fighter squadrons were commanded in the air by their C.O.s. At this time the WWI system of the C.O. running the squadron from the ground was still in force. See Twelve Days in May, the history of the Hurricane squadrons in the Battle of France.
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  6. #6
    Is a squadron commanded by a Commanding Officer (C.O.) or Officer Commanding (O.C.)?
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  7. #7
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    My error, American usage (C.O.)---RAF would definitely be AOC!
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  8. #8
    I'm confused not, isn't AOC (Air Officer Commanding) limited to officers commanding a group?
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  9. #9
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    An expert authority has stated emphatically that a RAF fighter squadron had 18 to 22 fighters and flew them all on combat sorties. Even those squadrons based in northern Scotland flew combat over south-east England during the BoB.

    This same expert authority has stated that a RAF squadron had 5 Flights (A, B, C, D, and E).
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  10. #10
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    Battle of Britain ... Order of Battle
    from:

    http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/0005.html

    Fighter Command was divided into four specific groups, within each of these groups were the main airfields generally positioned well inland called Sector Stations, each of these Sector Stations had what is known as forward airfields or satellite stations positioned further towards the coastline. Each of these airfields were allocated a number of squadrons, the number varied depending as to the intensity of the combat action in any one designated area. Squadrons could be shifted around from one airfield to another to rest them from main combat areas to airfields where there was less action.

    For example, 11 Group was divided into a number of sectors: Debden, North Weald, Hornchurch, Biggin Hill, Kenley and Tangmere. Open up the map then minimise and open it as required:

    Take the "Hornchurch Sector" as an example. Close to London you will see Hornchurch aerodrome, this is the sector station for the Hornchurch Sector. The sector controller would be stationed at Hornchurch and would be in communication with 11 Group headquarters. You will also see that there are a number of other airfields within the Hornchurch sector, these included Rochford, Gravesend and Manston. The controller would move a number of his squadrons to some of these forward bases or "satellite" airfields as they were often called. These forward airfields formed an integral part of the Fighter Command system. Being usually closer to the coast than the main sector station, they could intercept the enemy much quicker than the squadrons based at the sector station, especially just prior to the Battle of Britain when the Luftwaffe was attacking the channel convoys. But later their important task was to intercept and disperse the incoming Luftwaffe formations slowing down their progress, so that when the squadrons from the main sector stations arrived air combat often became so intense that in a number of instances they caused the Luftwaffe missions to be aborted. Careful placement of the squadrons by the Sector Controller was critical, especially as the Luftwaffe was maintaining varied attacks and not concentrating on any one target area for any long period of time.

    Squadrons attached to these forward airfields did not have the luxuries that the squadrons had at the sector stations. Pilot accommodation was often in tents with bedboards as beds, often they did not even have these. Meals on the station were often non-existent and many pilots preferred the local pub or cafe. These forward airfields did not have an operations room, usually just a wooden hut that was equipped with a telephone that linked them with their main sector station. Most of these airfields were not designed with the comforts of home in mind, priorities were given to fuel and ammunition dumps so that aircraft could return, refuel and rearm quickly and efficiently. But, some of the forward airfields were almost as good as their sector stations, but these were far and few. But as primitive and uncomfortable that they were, the squadrons that operated from these forward airfields were often the first to engage the enemy, and quite often suffered many casualties and loss of aircraft.

    Squadrons that did come in for some heavy punishment, could be withdrawn back to the main sector airfield by the Station Controller and fresh squadrons or portions of a squadron (called flights) moved forward to replace tired and weary squadrons. Life was not easy for the squadrons at the forward stations, but they served well and often under the most difficult of situations maintained the task at hand.

    It has always been the basic organisational structure within the Royal Air Force and one that was maintained during the Battle of Britain that each squadron would be equipped with twelve aircraft and that these would be flown by the squadron strength of eighteen pilots. Depending on as to how close each of the airfields were to the main combat action, each Sector Station could have been allocated three or four squadrons at any given time, and combined together they were known as Wings. It was normal practice within Fighter Command that squadrons fly individually unless called upon by the Station Controller to assist another squadron should the situation arise where combat action was exceptionally heavy. It would be more likely that should a squadron require assistance, then Group headquarters would use another squadron from another airfield so as not to deplete any airfield of all of its squadrons. The only time that squadrons flew as a Wing was in 12 Group and became was was later to be known as "The Big Wing".

    But squadrons did not fly together as one unit, each of the squadrons was further divided up into two sections called 'Flights' generally called A and B flights with each of the Flights consisting of six aircraft divided into two sections of three aircraft. To distinguish one Flight from another, each of these Flights was given a coded colour, maybe red, blue, yellow or green. Each Flight was given a Flight Leader and he would always be known as number one, although during communications he would be known by his Flights coded colour and the word leader, hence Red Leader. The other two pilots/aircraft would be known as one and two respectively, hence Red 1 or Red 2.
    _________________________________
    Some random "stuff" : WTE (Australasian IL2 Squadron): http://www.wte-anga.com/
    RAF 3 Sdn '38 and 72 Sqdn: http://tinyurl.com/3RAF1938 http://tinyurl.com/72sqdn N5519 Charity 1939:
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