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Thread: "proceeded to the target in "gaggle" "?

  1. #1
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    Default "proceeded to the target in "gaggle" "?

    In the 356 Sqn ORB for 1 May 1945 (Operation DRACULA) the expression "gaggle". I not certain of the meaning of this - in this context.

    "The first aircraft was airborne at 04.12; the remaining eleven taking off at approximately 1 minutes intervals. All aircraft proceeded to the target in "gaggle".

    My dictionary tells me that one would refer to a gaggle of geese. From this my understanding could be two
    1) that the squadron proceeded to the target in a large "V" formation (one just right behind the other left or right) like geese in flight

    or

    2) that the squadron proceeded to the target in a line like geese (or ducks) on the ground

    Any ideas on this?

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Hi Mikkel
    We do tend to use the term "gaggle" loosely at times in English and on occaisions when people,birds etc are not in formation but merely in company with each other. The clue may lie in the "take-off at approximately 1 min intervals" so that the a/c flew in sight of each other but did not need to form up. In May '45 the mutual defence advantage may not have been considered quite so necessary, but the the need to arrive over a target within a short, concentrated, time required them to be close. Flying merely in company would have been less demanding over any distance
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 21st October 2012 at 10:03.

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    I agree that the term "gaggle" applies to a loose gathering rather than any strict formation.

    A "gaggle" of geese is a term used to decribe any clustering of geese - it is a collective noun specifically used to describe geese as opposed to any other animal. English is very rich in collective nouns that have very precise links to specific objects, usually animals. For example a flock of sheep but a herd of cows, or a school of fish, although these particular terms can be used elsewhere - a flock of starlings for example. The more exotic of these collective nouns have fallen from use except as questions on quiz shows.

    A flight of geese flying in the V formation described would be called a skein of geese rather than a gaggle. Skein is a word also used for wool, and implies order in strings, whereas gaggle implies something more chaotic.

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    I agree that the term "gaggle" applies to a loose gathering rather than any strict formation. Has uses elsewhere!!

    The Drill Instructor at Square Bashing screamed the very same thing (plus many expletives!!) at our early attempts at marching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Dick, Graham and Peter
    Thank you for your answers and hereby a lesson in the English language. I now have at least two yours in my vocabulary for use when I see a group of geese in the air.

    @Dick on the need for mutual defense: I many cases the squadron did not form up, but a/c proceeded to the target individually. My air bomber did not see a lot of Japanese a/c during his stay at the Squadron in 1944/45.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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