Number of aircraft in a squadron?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by hkishel, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. hkishel

    hkishel New Member

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    If this has been answered a hundred times already I am sorry for asking again. I tried to search for it but was unable to find what I am looking for.

    I would like to find the number of aircraft that would be found in a squadron during WWII. I am interested in all the nations that fought during the war.

    Thanks
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I always thought it was between 12 and 15. I'm sure our smarter people have the correct answer.
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    for Usaaf Operations 16 aircraft for Fighter ops and 12 for bomber ops - each with variations

    Total squadron strength was closer to 24-26 per sqaudron with 4 flights of 8 plus pilots per flight.
     
  4. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Regia Aeronautica (italian Royal Air Force) "squadriglia" strenght 7/12 (7 recce, 9 bomber, 12 fighter), "squadriglia" operational 5/9 (5 recce, 7 bomber, 9 fighter)
     
  5. hkishel

    hkishel New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys.

    If any one knows of websites were I could find more info that would be great too.
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    for the German side check this.....

    High Command of the Luftwaffe

    "The Gruppe (Group) was led by a Gruppenkommandeur or Kommandeur, an executive post held by an aircrew member whose rank could vary considerably - normally it was a Major in the case of bomber units and a Hauptmann in fighter units. He had his own operational and administrative Gruppenstab (Staff), and flew combat operations with his Stabsschwarm (Staff Flight) usually of 3 to 4 aircraft. Under his command there were three, or sometimes four, Staffeln (Squadrons) led by a Staffelkapitän, an executive post that could be held by any aircrew officer from Leutnant to Hauptmann. In the temporary absence of the Staffelkapitän, the unit was led by a Staffelführer. For tactical operations, the Staffel was split into Schwarm (Section of four aircraft) or Rotte (pair of aircraft) in the case of fighters, fighter-bombers or close -support aircraft, or Kette (Flight of three aircraft) in the case of bombers and dive-bombers. The Staffel normally comprised between 12 and 16 aircraft, with the number of aircrew varying according to the strength; normally there were 20-25 pilots and 150 ground crew in the case of single-engined fighter units and 80 groundcrew in the case of twin-engined fighter units. Thus, a Gruppe consisted of 40-50 aircraft on establishment with around 500 ground personnel.

    The Geschwader would thus have between 120-125 aircraft, in the case of a Jagdgeschwader, whereas the Kampfgeschwader had about 80-90 on strength. In October 1943, JG 2 and JG 26 became the first Geschwaders to increase the strength of their Gruppen from three to four Staffeln, thus raising the establishment to about 160 aircraft."

    This was mostly a paper number as the war ground on. Unservicable planes marked as servicable, lack of equipment and pilots, etc., all contributed to many groups not having full strength in reality.
     
  7. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Did the British/Commonwealth have larger squadrons than the US?
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    IIRC the Commonwealth typically flew 12/Sq on ops. US doctrine was two sections comprised of two four ship flights each for fighters
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    An air group of carrier based USN AC during the Guadalcanal campaign consisted of four squadrons. The fighting squadron, VF, comprised 27 F4F4s, the bombing squadrons, VS and VB, each had 18 SBD3s, and the torpedo squadron VT, had 18 TBF1s. You guys always seem to want to neglect the airdales. LOL
     
  10. MFH

    MFH New Member

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    Note: USN Pacific Fleet units only; dates are approximate; not all carriers carried these exact compliments, esp. early in the war and due to combat losses. CAG birds not listed. Errors are due to my memory (or lack thereof).

    For fleet carrier air groups (CVGs; this is mostly from memory, but I think it's right) authorized strength was:

    December 1941 to April 1942:

    VF - 18 (I found one document that indicates this was supposed to be increased to 27 starting 10/1/41, but no unit had this strength until early 1942 due to limited aircraft production)
    VB - 18
    VS - 18
    VT - 18 (usually carried less)

    April 1942 to June 1942 (including Midway):

    VF - 27 (but not all squadrons reached this strength due to squadron composition deployment, see VF-2 VF-42 at Coral Sea)
    VB - 18
    VS - 18
    VT - 18 (usually 12-15)

    July 1942 to March 1943:

    VF - 36 (note: USS Wasp carried only ~30 VF)
    VB - 18
    VS - 18 (note: USS Wasp had two VS and no VB)
    VT - 18 (usually 12-16)

    March 1943 to July 1943:

    VF - 36
    2xVB - 18 each (VS were redesignated VB ~ 3/1/1943)
    VT - 18

    July 1943 to September 1944:

    VF - 36 (could increase to over 40)
    VF(N) - 4 (from ~January 1944 on)
    VB - 36 (2xVBs combined into one unit; could decrease to ~30)
    VT - 18

    September 1944 to December 1944:

    VF - 49 + VF(N) - 4
    VB - 25
    VT - 18

    From December 1944 to August 1945, there was much variation in response to kamikazes:

    (CV-9 [12/44-3/45], CV-18 [1/45-3/45]):

    VF - 50 + VF(N) - 4 (though this might have gone as high as 64, I just don't remember for sure right now)
    VT - 15
    2xVMF - 18

    (CV-13 [3/45], CV-17 [2/45-5/45] CV-20 [2/45-6-45]):

    VF - 36 (includes VF(N))
    VB - 15
    VT - 15
    2xVMF -18

    Others:
    VF - 69 + VF(N) - 4
    VB - 15
    VT - 15

    Still others:

    VF - 36 (includes VF(N))
    VBF - 36
    VB - 15
    VT - 15

    For the invasion of Japan, CVGs were to go be composed as (none saw action with this composition):

    VF - 32 (includes 4 - VF(N) 4 VF(P))
    VBF - 24
    VB - 24
    VT - 20

    For USN Night Carrier Air Groups (though CVG(N)-53 differed by including a VF):

    VF(N) - 37
    VT(N) - 18

    For USN Light Fleet Carrier Air Groups (CVLGs):

    August 1943 to August 1945:

    VF - 24
    VT - 9

    CVLG(N)-41 (8/44-1/45):
    VF(N) - 19
    VT(N) - 8

    For the invasion of Japan (none saw combat with this composition):

    VF - 36

    Let me know if help is needed deciphering anything.
     
  11. Mangrove

    Mangrove Member

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    As a small nation with a small air force the strength of a Finnish squadron varied a lot. A Brewster squadron Le.Lv.24 had +40 planes in Summer 1941 but an other fighter squadron Le.Lv.30 had only few captured Polikarpov I-153s and Fokkers.

    So no one can't write down an accurate number without knowing the unit and time.
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    WW2 R.A.F. Squadrons generally consisted of 12 aircraft available, although there were operational variations. Depending on role, the squadron would be made up of 'A' Flight and 'B' Flight, each of 6 operational aircraft. On fighter squadrons, the Flights were sub-divided into sections, eg, Red Section, Blue Section, etc, of 2-3 aircaft, again depending on operational requirements.
    The actual STRENGTH of a Squadron could, however, be 18 aircraft, allowing for reserves, 'spare' A/C, and aircraft temporarily unserviceable. In some units later in the war, operational strength could be up to 18 A/C, although this was not the norm.
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Thanks very much Airframes! 8)

    I noticed on the (always-reliable :rolleyes: ) Wiki that they have most fighter squadrons of the 1942 Desert AF with 16 or 18 aircraft, would that probably mean 12 operation aircraft and 18 total? (ie - including spares unservicable)

     
  14. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Commonwealth fighter squadrons typically had 12 aircraft Initial Equipment (IE) with an additional 6 as Immediate Reserve (IR). The total strength would vary, however, depending on local circumstances.
     
  15. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    During the BoB, RAF fighter squadrons had 18-22 a/c on hand.
     
  16. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    But again, normally 12 operational - if they were lucky. At that period, on any given day, an average operational strength could vary between 6 and 9 aircraft - often less.
     
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