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Thread: Bomber Squadron Aircraft Strength

  1. #1
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    Default Bomber Squadron Aircraft Strength

    Is it possible to establish the total number of aircraft that a squadron (and/or a flight) were permitted to have on establishment / reserve?

    I am particularly interested in bomber squadrons [specifically 35 Squadron] during the period 1929 to 1939.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default

    The expansion period is a difficult period to define.

    New squadrons were being formed to meet the demands of the various expansion schemes.

    Supply of new aircraft lagged so the RAF became a "shop front" with all available aircraft as IE, very little IR and next to nothing in reserve or as parts in stores.

    So establishment was rarely acheived and even the IE declared could not be depended on from day to day.

    29th Aug 1939
    Non-mobilisable No.35 No.1 Group, War station Cranfield IE 24 Battles (2 squadrons worth of aircraft - 12IE+12IE war stocks)

    March 1939
    No.35, No.2 Group, Cottesmore, Battles

    March 1938
    No.35, No2 Group, Cottesmore, Wellesley

    March 1937
    No.35, No.2 Group, Worthy Down, Gordon

    Scheme A (valid for No.35 Aug 1936 to March 1939
    Light and Medium units IE 12 aircraft (active July 1934 aimed for 31st March 1939)

    Regards
    Ross
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  3. #3
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    Ross

    Thanks for the feedback; I think you are confirming that it was 12 per squadron, irrespective of number of flights (ie not 6 per flight, thereby 12 with A/B flight, 18 with A/B/C flight).

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Yes up to Aug 1939.

    12 aircraft per unit on paper but in actual day to day only a part of those 12 were operational. Daily numbers reduced by those waiting for spares/canabalised and undergoing routine inspection.

    With no IR then nothing to make up the IE numbers regardless of the number of flights.

    As other units were re-equipped then establishment was made back up but with tired machines.

    Remember at this time the units were expected to do their own operational conversions and with the influx of expansion pilots there were many more pilots than aircraft all needing flying hours to stay current.

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

  5. #5
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    Thanks again Ross.

    On the subject of manpower, did the RAF have a document (similar to the RFC Mobilisation Store Table) which set out the permitted manpower per squadron?

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  6. #6
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    Yes it was all laid out in the Establishment.

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?12424-Establishment-Unit

    Although the examples are not for squadrons the basis still applies.

    At the bottom of the post are the links to manning Form 449 and Form 678. A unit would have two scales of establishment, one of peace and one for war and both these scales would change with a change in role.

    The increase in equipment from peace to war establishment was expected to come from stores and air parks within the 3 months that the unit drew on peacetime IR.

    Manpower would be supplied by embodiment of the Form 449/Form 678 war posts with mobilised reservists so most posts would be filled within 48 hrs of mobilisation. It was equipment that would be in short supply.

    The need to build the fighters led to a shortage of bombers and the creation of the policy of preservation for the bomber force in the early war years.

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    I presume it is possible to obtain a squadron equivalent from TNA ... if so, that will be my next port of call .... but first I have to put research on hold and bed down the animals for the night.

    Thanks again Ross; much appreciated

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  8. #8
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    Having had a look in the Archives, they do not appear to have a "Peacetime Establishment" for the years 1930 through to 1939. Am I using the right terminology or does it go by a different name?

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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