Establishment - Unit
To a large extent the size and growth of RAF units was carefully controlled in terms of manpower and equipment.
Each formation from Command to Flight had been assessed in term of it's role both in peacetime and war to decide what type of equipment and manpower it would need for its assigned role in each case. Peacetime Establishment level was different to War Establishment level.
The result of this assessment was denoted as the "Establishment" and it was very difficult to obtain any issue that either was not on establishment or took the unit over its alloted numbers.
Included in the establishment was a reserve of both equipment and manpower.
In peacetime this covered expected wear and tear/damage to equipment within 1 year and in manpower terms sickness and extended leave cover only.
In wartime the reserve was needed to cover the operational losses for 3 months by which time it was expected that replacements from factories and manning depots would start to come through.
Pre war expansion plans were supposed to have divided the defence budget to provide not only the unit peacetime establishment but also it's wartime equipment establishment as well as the manning reserve that would be mobilised from civvy street on war onset.
In practice the RAF was "all shopfront" with very little reserve equipment (pre war planning had this being addressed in spending 1940/1941) and reserve manning not yet of adequate numbers and training. Pre war set up of shadow aircraft factories had gone a long way to making reserve aircraft available but the types being concentrated on were fighter rather than bomber or trainer.
The War Establishment of a Bomber Group Headquarters is detailed below:
The assigned Squadrons would also have appropriate establishment scales in terms of manning and equipment.
In terms of manning, Units were monitored as to how they had filled establishment named positions for Officers, airman pilots(aircrew) and airmen by audited monthly returns and Trade index cards.
For examples and more detail on use of Form 449 - Monthly Return of Officers and Airman Pilots
For examples and more detail on use of Form 678 - Trade Index Cards
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