US Navy fighters

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by mikewint, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    does anyone know if the letters VF used to designate a navy fighter squadron in WWII stand for anything?
    like the VF-24 squadron on the USS Santee
    i've looked all over and can find nothing specific
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I've read that the "V" stands for "heavier than air aircraft". I think, but am not sure, that it was a latin word. That is the first letter in all USN aircraft that are not blimps or such. Thereafter, the second letter is for the job the plane does. "F" is for Fighters, "B" is for bomber, "S" is for Scout, "A" is for attack, ect.

    Marines add an "M" after the "F", obviously for Marine. So a Marine fighter squadron is "VMF".
     
  3. jugggo

    jugggo Member

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    #3 jugggo, Apr 1, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
    "V" stands for "fixed wing" and "F" stands for Fighter.


    U.S. Navy Squadron Designations and Abbreviations



    The system of squadron designations was established to help define part of Naval Aviation's organizational structure and help identify the operational and administrative functions of aviation within the fleet. Just as the designations for ships, such as DD, CA, BB, etc., were used to define the duties of the specific units and their alignment within the fleet organization, so also were the squadron designations established to formulate the responsibilities and alignment within naval aviation and the fleet structure.


    During naval aviation's early years there were big question marks concerning naval aviation's ability to succeed as a functional component of the fleet and whether it would survive due to the limited capabilities of the aircraft. In official publications and references, such as the Daily Aviation News Bulletin of 1 October 1919, casual terms were used to describe or identify various aircraft squadrons and units. The casual terms were used because no specific fleet aviation organizational structure for squadrons had been officially established. Prior to 1919, naval aircraft, excluding Marine Corps planes, were primarily assigned to shore stations. Therefore, in order to integrate aviation into the fleet, it was necessary to develop a fleet organization that included aviation units. The development of a system of squadron designations is discussed in Chapter 1.


    In general terms, the Navy's system for designating naval aircraft squadrons has usually conformed to the following loose classification structure:

    (1) Squadron designations were based on specific letters used for indicating the missions for each particular type of squadron and its assigned aircraft. As an example, a World War II squadron operating the F4U Corsair aircraft would have been designated a fighting squadron (VF). The letter F, for fighting or fighter, was the key in identifying the type of squadron and was also used in the aircraft's designation.
    (2) Identification numbers were assigned to each squadron, such as VF-1. The number 1 separates Fighter Squadron 1 (VF-1) from Fighter Squadron 10 (VF-10).




    There have been many variations to this basic system throughout Naval Aviation's history. Changes were also made to the designation system when new plane types were developed and new squadrons were formed to carry out those new missions. There is no logical sequence for the numerical designation assigned the various squadrons throughout most of Naval Aviation's history. The Marine Corps did establish a logical sequence for their squadron designations, however, there are variations to this system, too.


    As Navy squadrons were established, disestablished or redesignated, many of the same letters and numbers were reused and assigned at a later date for newly established or redesignated units, hence, the lineage of a squadron cannot always be traced or linked by using the same designation. As an example, VF-1 from World War II has no direct relationship to VF-1 established in the 1970s. The rich tradition and heritage of the various squadrons in the Navy has not always been carried over because of the break in continuity between units. Once a squadron is disestablished that ends its history. If a new squadron is established using the same designation of a previous squadron it does not have any direct relationship with that unit. The reuse of many of the same letters and numerical designations adds considerable confusion to the squadron designation system. A new squadron may carry on the traditions of a previous squadron, just as a ship that has been assigned the same name more than once carries on the traditions of the past ships with the same name. However, a squadron, just like a ship, can not claim a heritage or historical link to the old unit with the same designation.



    Here is the linkSquadron Designations
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Jugggo, many thanks, the f for fighter i had pretty well guessed at but that V threw me. Do you have any idea how V got associated with "fixed wing"?
    i had been looking into VF-24 in WWII and many sites led me to a totally different VF-24 with jet aircraft so i see now how that happened
     
  5. jugggo

    jugggo Member

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    #5 jugggo, Apr 1, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
    The Squadron you are looking for is what I found was 1st VF-24 it was established 31 Dec 42 and disestablished 25 Sep 45 then came back in Jun 1955 but at the same time was redisgnated as to VF-211.

    Here is a link for it go to page 7

    http://www.history.navy.mil/download/vf-lin.pdf


    Also if you know what type of plane the used that could be helpful also. Here is a link I found that has somewhat of a history of Air Group 24 that had VF-24 with them during WWII. Hopefully this willget you on the right path. :)

    History of Air Group 24


    ALSO you look around this for some leads: VF-24 On the Belleau Wood CVL24; Jan '44 thru July '44 and Santee CVE29; Jan '45 thru May '45
     
  6. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    #6 Timppa, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    Even the Navy does not seem to know more than this:

    "The use of the “V” designation with fix-wing heavier-than-air squadron designations has been a question of debate since the 1920s. However, no conclusive evidence has been found to identify why the letter “V” was chosen.
    It is generally believed the “V” was in reference to the French word volplane. As a verb, the word means to glide or soar. As a noun, it described an aeronautical device sustained in the air by lifting surfaces (wings), as opposed to the bag of gas that the airships (denoted by “Z”) used."
    http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/APP16.PDF
     
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    #7 R Leonard, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    Truth be known, the “F” in VF was the abbreviation of the word “Fighting,” not “Fighter.” Squadrons were known as “fighting squadrons” and in both print and conversation an individual squadron would be known as, e.g., “Fighting 3” or “Fighting 11”. These designations came about with the USN system for ship nomenclature approved by the Secretary of the Navy on July 17, 1920, in General Order No 541, “. . . with a view to the classification of all naval vessel and small craft so as to indicate the type and class to which assigned, to distinguish between those available for general fleet action and those suitable only for subsidiary service, and to provide official identification numbers which are to be employed in official correspondence, for the marking of spare parts, etc.” The order established type designations and class designations for then existent ship and aircraft types. To quote No 541:

    “HEAVIER-THAN-AIR-AIRCRAFT
    Type Designation: V
    Class Designations:
    Fighting plane: VF
    Observation plane: VO
    Scouting plane: VS
    Patrol plane: VP
    Torpedo and bombing plane: VT
    Fleet plane: VG”

    By the time WW2 came along, the VT as representing torpedo and bombing plane types had devolved to just torpedo planes and the bombing types were designated as VB. The business of adding an “ing” to a type designator lasted through the war years, eventually giving way to the more modern, e.g., “fighter”.

    Squadrons, then, operating from carriers in the war years were referred to as fighting, scouting, bombing, torpedo squadrons . . . and starting in January 1945, the new type carrier squadron “VBF” which was referred to, in a reversal of its designating letters, as “fighting-bombing.” It is the mark of an old hand or someone very, very, familiar with the subject to see squadrons referred to in this manner. Squadrons operating from cruisers were designated VCS or “Cruiser Scouting.” Battleships used VO, and here we start to get grey as the generic type of duty was VOS you see them referred to as both “Observation Scouting” or “Observing.” In my experience, “Observing” by practitioners, “Observation Scouting” by non. Cruisers were, of course, part of the Scouting Force, so their planes were Cruiser Scouting and battleships were the Battle Force so their aircrafts' primary mission was Observing. Note, though that torpedo squadrons did not have the “ing” on the end of the designation description. With that one exception, the “ing” thing appears to be related to squadrons operating aircraft which could be operated from ships. Land-base squadrons were referred to as Patrol, or Utility, or Rescue, or Photo(graphic) and so on, without the “ing.”

    It gets worse, just to keep things confusing, there’s the shorthand. A fighting squadron would also be referred to as a “FitRon” or, sometimes "FightRon" and likewise you see the like of BombRon (sometimes BomRon), ScoutRon, TorpRon, PatRon, PhotoRon, RescRon, and so on with the number tacked on, e.g., "FitRon 11," "FightRon 85," or "BombRon 20."

    Anyway, in the vernacular, in the WW2 period, a navy fighter squadron would be referred to as “Fighting (number),” thus VF-24 would be “Fighting 24” or "FitRon 24". In print one might easily find the 24 written out, Twenty Four.

    All that being said, in late 1944, the designations did officially change, dropping the "ing" practice and substituting "er" in its place, so VFs became fighter squadrons, VB became bomber squadrons and so on. For the VCS and VOS, the "ing" simply disappeared. The pre-war practice of the "ing" pretty much disappeared from official writings, but the spoken "ing" survived in conversation into the early 1950s - at least for fighters, bombing and torpedo squadrons went the way of VA, with "A" for "Attack." Continued usage, one might suppose, would be considered "salty."

    By October 1947, ‘twas all settled with the publication of NavAer 00-25Q-13 “Model Designation of Naval Aircraft.” This document reads:

    “HEAVIER-THAN-AIR (FIXED WING) V
    Fighter (destroy enemy aircraft in the air) VF
    Attack (destroy enemy surface or ground targets) VA
    Patrol (search for enemy) VP*
    Observation (observe and direct ship and shore gunfire) VO
    Transport VR*
    Utility VU
    Training VT
    Gliders VG

    “HEAVIER-THAN-AIR (ROTARY WING) H
    Search and rescue HH
    Observation HO
    Training HT
    Transport HR
    Utility HU

    “PILOTLESS AIRCRAFT K
    Aerial Target KD

    “GUIDED MISSILES M
    Air-to-Air AAM
    Air-to-Surface ASM
    Air-to-Underwater AUM
    Surface-to-Air SAM
    Surface-to-Surface SSM
    Underwater-to-Air UAM
    Underwater-to-Surface USM
    Test Vehicle TV

    “LIGHTER-THAN-AIR Z
    Patrol and escort ZP
    Search and rescue ZH
    Training ZT
    Utility ZU

    “*Note: For administrative purposes Class VP and VR are further classified into four-engine landplane, two-engine landplane, four-engine seaplane and two-engine seaplane and are further identified by adding the letters (HL), (ML), (HS) and (MS) respectively to the basic class designation.”

    Of course some of these designations eventually went away - the Z's come to mind as well as sub-types for VPs and VRs -and others were added - VS came back into use and others, such as VAQ, VAW were created, but the framework remains pretty much the same.

    As far as the “V” in CV is concerned, the USN is not exactly sure just how that came about, however, they lean toward the French word “volplane,” the verb tense of which, "voler," means “to fly.” Remember, this scheme of type designations came after the Great War and the USN had fairly substantial air operations in France and Britain. A check of my trusty WWI era English-French dictionary finds for the English word “fly” given in French as “V. 1. Voler: vo"lë' {in the air}. flying. I. n. Le vol: lə vol. II. a. Volant (w..): vo"lân'; volante (/.): vo"lânt' - flying” certainly having flying connotations. If you were to visit the USN Naval Historical Command web site, some diligent sniffing about would lead you to http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/APP16.PDF which has a nice little discussion on the matter. My equally trusty 1935 Naval Phraseology volume shows for “the flight” in French “le vol,” in Italian “il volo,” and, in Spanish, “el vuelo.” All nice little “V’s”.

    Of course - sly grin - I have my own theory. French for airplane is “avion” and since the A was already taken by the heavy cruiser’s CA in the 1920 designation scheme, they simply took the next letter “V” for the carrier’s CV.

    Rich
     
  8. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    Great discussion! mikewint, I'm glad you asked this question and i appreciate folks' thoughtful responses. I was always stumped on what the "V" signified..... :)
    Now if someone could just tell me what the "bis" designation means after some aircraft types (I-153 bis)!
    Regards, Derek
     
  9. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    Good explanation from the Russian Aviation Page FAQ:

    Bis stands for "second" althought it is not a Russian word. The word have been adopted from French, but it originates from Latin meaning "twice", "second", "encore", "repetition". "Improved" captures the intent of the meaning, which is that the MiG-21bis is an improved model of the original production run. There is also ter which stands for "third", e.g. Polikarpov's I-153 was alternativly called I-15ter and I-152 was I-15bis. Both were further modifications of I-15.

    The usage of bis was popular in the prewar perioud and was completely dropped by 60's. Today it is more common to give a whole new designation, e.g. Su-27 and Su-30, although in 1930's Su-30 could most certainly be a Su-27bis, just as improved I-16 became I-16bis. It is also common to use M or U suffixes which mean "improved" and stands for "modernizirovanyi", "usovershenstvonannyi" and "uluchenyi", e.g. Yak-9U, MiG-21PM, Su-30MK. Note that U is most cases stands for "uchebnyi" and is broadly used for the designation of the trainers or two-seaters, e.g. MiG-29UB, Su-25UBG. Use fo bis is not limited to aircraft and it is not a purely aviation term. Bis use to be used for street numbering, e.g. 159bis Lenin Drive is analogous to American 159 1/2. Recall what you yell when you applause at the opera (that is if you enjoyed it): "Bravo! Bis!". This literally means that you would like to hear the performance once again.

    Finally, since it is a word and not an abreviation, it is MiG-21bis rather than all-capital MiG-21BIS. Compare it to MiG-21FM (Forsirovannyi, modifitsirovannyi).

    Russian Aviation Page: Russian Aviation FAQ - Answers on Frequently Asked Questions about Russian Aircraft, Aerospace and Air Force
     
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