Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: RAF and Luftwaffe units comparison

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,412
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 13 Times in 12 Posts

    Default RAF and Luftwaffe units comparison

    Hi all,

    I would like to ask for help in following matter - I am trying to describe somehow the German units size in short, so I came to conclusion to compare them with the RAF units but it is not so easy as I thought...

    Generally:
    Geschwader has 3 or 4 Gruppes
    Gruppe has 3 or 4 Staffels
    Staffel has from 12 to 16 A/C

    + some planes in stab Gruppe and stab Geschwader

    So would be possible to use following comparison?

    Jagdgeschwader = Fighter Wing
    Kampfgeschwader = Bomber Wing
    Nachtjagdgeschwader = Nigh Fighter Wing
    Zerstörergeschwader = Heavy Fighter Wing

    I will be thankful for any comments and ideas

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    524
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    It is not possible to directly compare units in this manner. A German Staffel is roughly the size of an RAF flight, with 2 flight making up a squadron but three Staffeln a Gruppe. The RAF use the squadron as the tradition-holder - the Germans use the Geschwader, a much larger unit. The main German operational unit was the Gruppe, but this was perhaps half the size of an RAF wing. An RAF wing is usually three squadrons at a single base, but rarely the same three for any period of time longer than a few months, or less. The USAAF tradition holder (WW2 period) is the Group, normally three squadrons but in later years considerably larger squadrons than the RAF.

    The RAF Group is an geographically-related unit, containing a variable number of squadrons (or even detached flights) unlike the USAAF Wing which was formed from a variable number of (normally) permanently attached Groups.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,412
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 13 Times in 12 Posts

    Default

    Hi Graham,
    thanks for your comment - you are right.
    But do you have any idea how I can describe in English abbreviations of this unit?

    DO you think that for example JG = Jagdgeschwader will be clear for all readers?
    My idea was JG = Jagdgeschwader = description in English, for example Fighter xxxxx.
    My vocabulary is translating Geschwader as squadron or group but this translation is misleading...

    I understand that the explanation is difficult but I was hoping for some short description which will fit in one row:)

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    524
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    If you are writing for an enthusiast audience then I would use the German term and not attempt a simple translation that does not exist. For a more general audience you could perhaps add that it was made up of some 100 fighters split between three Gruppe, each of 3 Staffel.

    If you are writing for a mass audience then Flying Wing will probably be good enough, but bear in mind that English and American audiences may assume something different. Even in the US, what was once a WW2 Group became a Wing postwar, so terminologies do change with time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,412
    Thanks
    17
    Thanked 13 Times in 12 Posts

    Default

    Many thanks for your comments Graham.

    I think I will choose one of following:

    1) full unit name in German only
    2) just translation of unit type without details like Jagdgeschwader = Luftwaffe Fighter Unit

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,007
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Pavel,
    I would agree with (1) only if there is no real need to compare the composition and strength of the opposing forces, but I am guessing you will more likely need to give some sort of comparison. In the latter case I feel that your (2) option is inadequate, and you will have to provide a footnote, that gives a brief summary of what you are talking about. However it might be simpler to state that on the day in question the German formation (if there was a formation!) comprised X number of German aircraft, and the British formation likewise X number of aircraft, perhaps simply stating they were (resepctively) from X Gruppe and X squadron or Wing. All depends on you anticipated audience, who possibly are not in the least interested in organisation and administration of military formations, but can easily mentally handle numbers of aircraft actually in an engagment. My ten cents worth.
    David D

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •