RAF fighter squadron strength

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Airman 1st Class
May 2, 2005
Hi there,
I'd like to know what was the estabilished strength of a RAF fighter squadron during WW2, and if there were some differences through different theater and periods.
I know that there were differences for the actual strength anyway.

For the most part the official figure was 12 (dating back to the the "Vic" formations so each squadron could have 4 Vics) but this obviously varied and there were normally a couple of "reserve" aircraft in each squadron...........
I would have guessed that it was more, and I thought the strength was between 16 and 24 (2 or 3 flights each squadron, plus reserves).
Was it still estabilished at 12 even in late war? The Vic formations were gone by that time.
Taking a look at Western Desert Air Force, Aden, RAF Middle East, 23.10.42 it seems that the number of a/c is 16.
Do you know if the actual strength was often higher than paper strength in late war?

yes it would have been increased and whilst i couldn't say for cirtain i really wouldn't be supprised to hear it'd gone up to 16, as i recall (and we're going back a bit, i can't for the life of me remember which of my books i read it in) at the start of the war Fighter and Bomber commands had 12 aircraft per squadron, Coastal Command having 24, but obviously this increased during the war, particularly in Bomber command, who had the biggest squadron in the RAF i've yet to come across, 101 sqn with a massive 42 aircraft on strength at once!
So, were the bomber squadrons bigger than fighter squadrons?
In US and Italian Air force it was not the case.
This is why I asked. Usually bigger planes were in smaller numbers.

i'd say they were roughly equal for most of the war as, unlike in a fighter squadron scramble in which case you try to get entire squadrons in the air as quickly as possible, in a bomber squadron you may only require two flights 3 times a week and that's why they were in big numbers and lots of them.......
I am surprised to see how difficult it is to confirm the answer to this! I think 16 is right wef the slow adoption of the finger-four formation in 1941. Some squadrons were using flights of four in echelon or line astern in the second half of 1940. The vic went out during/after the Battle of Britain, depending on the degree of brightness of individual Squadron COs. Read Johnnie Johnson's book "Full Circle" for more detail.
Thanks, I'll take 16 as the definitve answer.
And do you know how many a/c were in reserve. I believe at least 2 or maybe 4.

And don't forget the squadron hack aircraft for puddle jumping and visiting.

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