Navy squadron designation

Discussion in 'Technical' started by maxs75, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    May 2, 2005
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    On 1 march 1943 there was a major redesignation of US Navy squadrons.

    "A revision of the squadron designation system changed Inshore Patrol Squadrons to Scouting Squadrons (VS), Escort Fighting Squadrons (VGF) to Fighting Squadrons (VF), Escort Scouting Squadrons (VGS) to Composite Squadrons (VC) and Patrol Squadrons (VP) operating land type aircraft to Bombing Squadrons (VB). This revision also redesignated carrier Scouting Squadrons (VS) as VB and VC and as a result the types of squadrons on Essex Class carriers was reduced to three. In spite of this change, the aircraft complement of their Air Groups remained at its previous level of 21 VF, 36 VSB and 18 VTB."

    I tried to make a list of the squadrons involved. Any corrections?

    Escort Carrier fighter squadrons:
    VGF-26 -> VF-26 (Air group 26)
    VGF-27 -> VF-27 (Air group 27)
    VGF-28 -> VF-28 (Air group 28 )
    VGF-29 -> VF-29 (Air group 29)

    Escort Carrier scouting squadrons:
    Note: VGS-27 became a torpedo squadron instead of composite squadron. VC-23 was former VS-23.
    Squadrons with the same hull number of the ships they were intended for.
    VGS-1 -> VC-1
    VGS-9 -> VC-9
    VGS-11 -> VC-11
    VGS-12 -> VC-12
    VGS-13 -> VC-13
    VGS-16 -> VC-16
    VGS-18 -> VC-18
    VGS-20 -> VC-20
    VGS-21 -> VC-21
    VGS-23 -> VC-19
    VGS-25 -> VC-25
    VGS-26 -> VC-26 (Air group 26)
    VGS-27 -> VT-27 (Air group 27)
    VGS-28 -> VC-28 (Air group 28 )
    VGS-29 -> VC-29 (Air group 29)
    VGS-31 -> VC-31
    VGS-33 -> VC-33
    VGS-34 -> VC-34
    VGS-35 -> VC-35
    VGS-36 -> VC-36
    VGS-37 -> VC-37
    VGS-55 -> VC-55
    VGS-58 -> VC-58
    VGS-60 -> VC-60

    Fleet Carrier Scouting squadrons:
    Note: VC-25 was former VGS-25.
    VS-3 -> VB-4 (Air Group 5)
    VS-6 -> VB-13 (Air Group 3)
    VS-9 -> VB-19 (Air Group 9)
    VS-10 -> VB-20 (Air Group 10)
    VS-11 -> VB-21 (Air Group 11)
    VS-12 -> VB-22 (Air Group 12)
    VS-16 -> VB-23 (Air Group 16)
    VS-17 -> VB-7 (Air Group 17)
    VS-22 -> VC-22 (Air Group 22)
    VS-23 -> VC-23 (Air Group 23)
    VS-24 -> VC-24 (Air Group 24)
    VS-25 -> VC-2 (Air Group 25)
    VS-41 -> VB-41 (Air Group 4)
    VS-42 -> VB-42 (Air Group 4)

    Patrol squadrons (Lockeed PV):
    VP-41 -> VB-136
    VP-42 -> VB-135 (15 feb)
    VP-82 -> VB-125
    VP-93 -> VB-126

    Patrol squadrons (Consolidated PB4Y):
    VP-51 -> VB-101
    VP-31 -> VB-105 (15 may)
    VP-83 -> VB-107 (15 may)

    Inshore patrol squadrons:
    Note: VS-41 and 42 were skipped probably to avoid confusion with former Air Group 4 squadrons.
    VS-1D1 -> VS-31
    VS-2D1 -> VS-32
    VS-3D1 -> VS-33
    VS-1D3 -> VS-34
    VS-1D4 -> VS-36
    VS-5D4 -> VS-35
    VS-1D5 -> VS-37
    VS-2D5 -> VS-38
    VS-1D7 -> VS-39
    VS-2D7 -> VS-40
    VS-3D7 -> VS-62
    VS-1D10 -> VS-63
    VS-2D10 -> VS-43
    VS-3D10 -> VS-44
    VS-4D10 -> VS-45
    VS-1D11 -> VS-46
    VS-1D12 -> VS-47
    VS-2D12 -> VS-48
    VS-1D13 -> VS-49
    VS-2D13 -> VS-50
    VS-1D14 -> VS-51
    VS-2D14 -> VS-52
    VS-3D14 -> VS-53
    VS-4D14 -> VS-54
    VS-5D14 -> VS-55
    VS-6D14 -> VS-56
    VS-7D14 -> VS-57
    VS-8D14 -> VS-58
    VS-1D15 -> VS-59
    VS-2D15 -> VS-60
  2. Johnny Signor

    Johnny Signor Member

    Jan 5, 2008
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    Great research there,not too people go the distance checking the whens/wheres/whats of squadron change overs,I do this with WW2 USAAF units and it's a little easier than the USN ones,but what you did is a help to many I'm sure !
    Good job Duuuuude !!!!!
  3. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    May 2, 2005
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    Thanks for the answer.
    Did you make the work about USAAF WW2 antisubmarine squadrons? I believe that about 25 of them were redesignated from bomber or observation squadrons. Some of them went to Uk or Morocco with B-24.
    But I am interested in the ones that remained in US: which kind of planes did they use? I know that they had a mix of planes like B-18, B-25, B-34, A-29 and so on. Do you have more precise information about them?

    thanks in advance
  4. MFH

    MFH New Member

    Jan 9, 2008
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    #4 MFH, Aug 25, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
    All in all, that seems correct (as far as the fleet carrier squadron changes) to me, as it seems to generally match the data found here:

    Index for Naval Aeronautical Organization, Fiscal Year 1923 through Fiscal Year 1952.

    However, I think this is not quite accurate:

    Authorized strength of VF squadrons should have been at 36 by 1 March 1943 (not that every one had all their alloted aircraft, of course! And in the Pacific, the date was actually sometime in July 1942, before the start of Operation WATCHTOWER, with VF-5, VF-6, VF-72 VF-72 having +/- 36 F4F-4s leaving Pearl), and really there were two VBs (no VS, so technically no VSB, but I guess the aircraft were SBDs SB2Cs).

    I'm sure you are aware, but there was another big reorganization about 15 July 1943 (that's the date where VF-3 [Felix the Cat] and VF-6 [Shooting Stars] changed designations), and the two VB squadrons were combined into one, so fleet carrier CVGs then changed composition to 36 VF, 36 VB 18 VT. With this, mostly all of the squadron numbers were brought in line with the air group numbers.

    Before the change, CVG-3 (former Saratoga Air Group) was composed of VF-6, VB-3, VB-13 VT-3, and CVG-6 (former Enterprise Air Group) was composed of VF-3, VB-1, VB-2 VT-7. Also, CV-10's CVG-5 was composed of VF-1, VB-4, VB-6 VT-5. Afterwards, all the squadrons were inline with the air group number (unless one was attached temporarily to another CVG, such as VF-2 to CVG-6 and VF-18 to CVG-17, etc.).

    According to Clark Reynolds in The Fighting Lady: The New Yorktown in the Pacific War, the pilots from the two combined VB squadrons did NOT get along well on CV-10. IIRC, one VB CO was put under the other, and the "slighted" squadron got upset. This was remedied before the ship entered combat 31 August 1943.

    Alot of this type of info can be found here:

    Index for Location of U.S. Naval Aircraft (1942 through September 1945).

    Lastly, I think the CVL VC squadrons resulted from combining the VSB squadron aircraft with the VT squadron aircraft. Of course, soon thereafter, the VSB component was dropped (SBD wings wouldn't fold, and there wasn't a great deal of space on CVLs!), and the CVLGs were soon recomposed of 24 VF 9 VT.

    However, thanks for the overall great original post. There is a lot of good information there. I hope you don't mind my minor corrections.
  5. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

    May 2, 2005
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    thank you for the answer.
    I agree with you about the 36 VF on carriers. And I don't think that Essex class had to have only 21 VF compared to 36 of carriers involved in Guadalcanal.

    I know that there were other organization but I listed only squadrons changes for 1st march. And it's indeed true that even after 1st march the CVG numbering was a mess.

    Re CVL, IIRC at first the designed Air Group was 12 VF, 9 VSB and 9 VT in one VF squadron and one 18 planes VS squadron. In my list, Air Groups 22 through 25 were assigned to CVLs.
    Probably you already know that, but note that there were several kind of VC (composite) squadrons:
    made up of SBD and TBF and teamed with a VF squadrons for CVLs or bigger ACVs (VC-22 to 29, less VC-25 plus VC-2, and less VC-27 that was a only TBF outfit),
    made up of F4F and SBD for Casablanca class ACVs (VC-55+)
    made up of F4F and TBF for other ACVs


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