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Thread: Section Assignments

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    Default Section Assignments

    Were pilots assigned to a section each day, each mission, or were they assigned to a section more permanently? It rather looks like section assignments were made for each mission independently from what I have seen. It does look like a pilot would be assigned to A Flight or B Flight but not necessarily to a section. How did it work, please? Many thanks in advance!

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    Certainly later in WW2, Section assignment was a fairly permanent arrangement, and perhaps from the earliest days as well. Hopefully other Board members will offer their opinions in this. Having said that, there had also to be considered the obvious fact that a fighter pilots is in fact just a human being, and therefore could fall ill, be injured, or even lost permanently, many would become time-expired, while others could be sent away on attachment to other units for various reasons, or posted permanently to other units. Fighter squadrons in wartime, once placed in the front line, were very prone to losing members for various reasons, and replacements would arrive to fill the gaps. Also most fighter squadrons would have a few pilots on strength not allocated to particular sections, who would be nominated as "spares" and they would be allocated to fill gaps in the sections at short notice for operations. All pilots of each section would be members of the same Flight, and each Flight would almost certainly carry a few "floaters" on strength to supply the attrition reserves. Sometimes a member of one section could be transferred to another due to personal differences between members (usually between the section leader and one other). In combat action, when even sections became scattered, it was always the rule for pilots to attempt to locate and pair up with another pilot of your squadron, regardless of their respective flight or section, or even with a member of another squadron if you could not locate anyone from your own, for mutual protection.
    David D

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    Thanks, David!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidably View Post
    Were pilots assigned to a section each day, each mission, or were they assigned to a section more permanently? It rather looks like section assignments were made for each mission independently from what I have seen. It does look like a pilot would be assigned to A Flight or B Flight but not necessarily to a section. How did it work, please? Many thanks in advance!
    Hello davidably

    Where have you seen the reference to a "Section", before an operation or mission and what year?

    Wireless Section
    Because I am wondering here, if you are referring to the wireless Section that the aircraft Wireless Operator would be working, as the British Coast was split into a number of Sections (at the outbreak of WW 2), all beginning with a letter and it depended where you would make Landfall, or cross the coast and also your Group, as to what [Wireless] Section letter, the bomber Groups were allocated. For example Section A ; Section B ; Section C ; Section D etc., etc.

    Each wireless Section was usually made up of 3 or 4 wireless stations, one a master Station, for getting Wireless bearings and/or 'Fix' from a ground station, or giving the ground station your aircraft directional position (angle in degrees) in relation to a ground station.

    Flights
    Regarding Flights, in my Grandfather's Squadron they tended to remain in the same Flight either A or B (my Grandfather was in B Flight), unless individual crew were posted to another Flight. For example an experienced Pilot being transferred to become a Captain of another crew might stay in the same flight, or be transferred.

    Comment
    The job was difficult enough, without swapping aircrew about, even between the flights within a Squadron, although aircrew obviously did occasionally get transferred.

    This is why I thought I'd better ask the context in which you are asking the question and where you had seen the reference and the year?

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 21st August 2017 at 08:35.

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    Hi Mark, My question about sections relates to the sections within a flight, e.g., red section, blue section, green section, yellow section. It looks like this was part of the inflight command structure in early WW2 for the RAF. I have heard the term used in RT traffic, e.g., "Close up Red 2!" I also have seen it used in Stve Brew's excellent history of 41 Squadron, "Blood, Sweat, and Courage." Given the degree to which pilots came and went due to postings, illnesses, casualties, I would imagine a fair amount of flux in the section assignments for pilot officers, but I thought i would ask. Thanks!

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