Flid six formation

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by vinnye, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Would the RAF have been better off adopting a fluid six fighter formation rather than going to the finger four?
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    When Fighter Command dropped its predecessor's tactics (Fighting Area) it adopted the finger four. Since just about all combatant air forces in WW2 adopted some form of this formation it seems difficult to see the advantage of adding an additional element of two aircraft to it. It seems that two pairs were considered the most effective formation and that the third would just make it unwieldy and less flexible, negating the very reason that it was adopted.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  3. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    The fluid six had the three groups of two aircraft at different heights - which meant it would be harder to bounce the formation. You also had two extra pairs of eyes looking for enemy fighters - the more the merrier !
    From Wiki ;
    One tactical innovation adopted by 2nd TAF Spitfires was the "Fluid Six"' formation, which had been developed through combat experience in Europe and North Africa. The first use of the tactic dated back to at least November 1941. It is known that No. 112 Squadron RAF used this in the North African campaign.[100] This formation "was considered the best fighter formation of the war".[101] It abandoned the leader-wingman combination that had existed before. Instead, it was based on three pairs of Spitfires which could provide mutual cover and support: the pairs were 'stacked' in altitude so that the pair (e.g.: 5 6) flying up-sun, and covering the tails of the leaders (1 2), flew higher, while the other pair (e.g.: 3 4) flew lower. Any attacking aircraft could be sandwiched between two pairs of Spitfires, no matter the direction or altitude of the attack. Another advantage of this formation was that when operating at squadron strength a flight commander was able to lead six aircraft of his own flight, "whereas, with formations of four there would more likely be one formation from each flight with the third consisting of aircraft from another flight.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Some air forces already used a larger variation in altitude in the four aircraft "formation" if you can call it that. The flight argument seems entirely spurious to me.
    The six aircraft formation may have been adopted by some 2nd TAF Spitfires (though I notice it doesn't say which) but it certainly wasn't widely adopted by aircraft carrying out the variety of missions that that unit undertook.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  5. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Looks like I will have to try to get a copy of ;
    Shores, Christopher and Chris Thomas. 2nd Tactical Air Force. Volume II: Breakout to Bodenplatte; July 1944 to January 1945.
    But might have to wait a bit as it seems a bit expensive!
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Well worth getting though.
     
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