Finger Four Formation Origins

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Njaco, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I've always read that the "Finger Four" formation of flying was developed by Werner Moelders during his time with Condor Legion J/88 in Spain. A book I recently added - "Bf 109: The Operational Record" by Jerry Scutts - makes mention that Moelders did NOT invent the formation , he just improved on it as it had been in use even before the Spanish War.

    Whats the history on the formation?
     

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  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Independent of the Person that instituted or conveived of finger 4 - the evidence is overwhelming that LW were the first operational practitioners..
     
  3. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    #3 Ratsel, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
    The history of it was just a modified echelon formation that has been used since WWI. Definiatly used by the Germans in Spain. I think the Fins ' invented' it. not 100% sure on that though.

    EDIT: wiki ( :rolleyes: ) says the finger four formation used by the Fins in the mid- 1930s was adopted from various airforces in the early- 1930s.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Most military tactics are an evolution of existing tactics. I suspect this aerial formation is no different. So you cannot point to a single inventor.
     
  5. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    I didn't point to anything. Hence invented in quotes me stating I'm not 100% sure. And to get to the bones of things, I'm sure most military aviation formations, maneuvers are variations of what birds have already been doing for tens of thousands of years.
     
  6. Mustang nut

    Mustang nut Banned

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    I think the spacing of the planes was as important as the actual formation it also made them harder to spot.
     
  7. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    too add: The Finnish air force claims to have adopted a finger four pair of wingmen as early as 1935, and the mutually supporting wingmen on which the finger four is based dates back to the summer of 1915, when the Fokker E.I, with its synchronized machine gun, began decimating Allied aircraft. That August, pioneer German ace Oswald Boelcke disobeyed a standing order to stay within his own lines – to prevent his secret weapon from falling into enemy hands – and while attacking one Allied plane was almost shot down by another. For him, the incident revealed what we now consider obvious: Lone wolf tactics don’t gain control of the air.

    Boelcke responded by formulating the idea of two Fokkers working as a team, with a wingman flying slightly above and to the side, to guard the leader’s tail. In spite of the friendly rivalry that developed between him and his partner, Max Immelmann, the two worked well as a team. Their scores were tied at six on January 12, 1916, when both were awarded the Orden pour le Mérite. Immelmann’s lack of Boelcke’s tactical vision did not prevent him from working with other wingmen, such as Max Mulzer, when Boelcke was assigned elsewhere.

    As is often the case, it’s hard to state that anything is “the origin” of an action or a device, because you can usually find a precedent elsewhere.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    In a book I have read recently, there was a quote by RAF Group Captain J.E. Johnson, that described the "new" German flight formation used in the Spanish Civil War (this quote was credited to G/C Johnson's book: Wing Leader):

    The book I mentioned, is titled: Me109 (Me109: Willy Messerschmitt's Peerless Fighter) by Martin Caidin. Which, by the way, is a really good read...lots of good information and photos (even if they are all in B&W)
     
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