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View Full Version : Fighter mission flying at night: Realistic?



mandrill7
05-17-2007, 07:09 PM
Aside from specially qualified units like "Wilde Sau" squads, were single engined pilots competent to fly at night in WW2?

My info re VVS Yak units is that the overwhelming majority of pilots could not fly instruments or at night. This is a reflection of the fact that they were essentially tac air escorts and interceptors and none of the strike a/c were expected to fly at night. With that in mind, why would you spend precious resources training your fighter jocks to fly instruments. (Also probably explains why there WERE so few instruments in Yaks).

Wondering if the other countries' fighter pilots would even have night flight training.

Freelancer-1
05-17-2007, 07:19 PM
I believe that up until 1943 Anyone could fly at night if the mission called for it.

After the spring of '43 they went full switch so only those who could navigate without a mini map path were authorized to fly night operations.

Divine-Wind
05-17-2007, 08:20 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

I don't know much about this, but I guess it makes sense that many would have trouble navigating at night, which I suppose would be a pretty big issue.

SithSpeeder
05-17-2007, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by mandrill7:
...why would you spend precious resources training your fighter jocks to fly instruments.
Flying instruments and flying missions at night are kinda different things. First, you might find yourself in bad weather at any point in a daylight mission (beginning, middle, or end) and being able to fly by your instruments may be your only way of surviving. Second, you might have to move your aircraft/resources at night so as to avoid detection, either for a future strike or for retreating under the cover of darkness.

Imagine fighting a war where you could only move your aircraft around during decent weather and/or during the day. If the opposition didn't play by your rules (i.e., they were better trained), they could set you up for some nasty surprises.

* _54th_Speeder *

Roblex
05-18-2007, 12:10 AM
Am I missing something here?

We have single engine nightfighters eg Hurricane & Defiant plus there are many instances of strikes timed to arrive over the target at dawn after a long flight.

Old_Canuck
05-18-2007, 02:16 AM
Many moons ago (in the 1970s) I worked for a logging boss named Doug Patton who flew Mosquitos on night missions during WWII. When I asked him what the action was like, two things he said made a lasting impression: 1. he had a favorite evasive tactic that he said worked "every time" -- wish I could remember how he explained it; 2. His main concern was to simply complete his mission and make it home.

rnzoli
05-18-2007, 03:28 AM
Originally posted by mandrill7:
Aside from specially qualified units like "Wilde Sau" squads, were single engined pilots competent to fly at night in WW2?

The Night Witches were doing this in the VVS http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
And without instruments! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
From their accounts, it wasn't worse than getting into bad weather during a mission. Took some practice, but it was possible to recognize the landscape, navigate and when everything failed, they had flares to drop and "make some light".
However, their single engined biplanes were much slower than fighters, which is a big advantage at night, especially when it comes to (loose) formation flying and avoiding mid-air collisions.

Hanglands
05-18-2007, 11:04 AM
Hi,

Hurricane Night Intruders (http://www.rogerdarlington.co.uk/Hurricane.html)

On their own, in the dark, over enemy airfields.

Skarphol
05-18-2007, 12:55 PM
When Germay invaded Norway in april 1940, they had among them 11.(N)/JG2 who flew Bf-109. I asked on this forum a while ago if any one knew what capability a nightfigter staffel with 109's had in 1940. CS_Thor (I think) answered that these guys flew 109D and 109E, and that their nightfighting capability was very low..

Skarphol