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Thread: Box Formation

  1. #1
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    Default Box Formation

    Hi,

    In a couple of log books I have for 218 Squadron circa 1939, the pilots record that the squadron, or flight would fly in a boxed formation. However, the flight consisted of six aircraft ( as confirmed in the log books )

    Can anyone explain how the 'box' formation worked with six aircraft?

    TIA

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    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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    I would suspect (from having done a significant amount of time with JATFOR formations) that the big problem, regardless of numbers constituting the "box", was that of 'trigger-happy' gunners on the outside causing inadvertent 'blue-on-blue' damage/casualties to them on the inside. During any attack there would be a large amount of explosive lead flying about - not all of it as well directed as it might have been!!
    The problem with JATFOR was ensuring that you didn't drop your 'stick' either into the wake of the preceding a/c, or muck the air up for the next aircraft. Not the same problem as a 'defensive box' but analogous! An ancient old Nav ("O" brevet!!!) once told me that there were not more casualties in either problem because the Deity had put such a large amount of space into three dimensions!!!
    HTH
    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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    Hi Steve

    I have been given the following to pass on: -

    Standard unit for daylight bomber ops: the usual vic of three.

    Box formation, for six aircraft, 1939/1940:
    Two vics, the rear vic 1.5 to 2 lengths behind and 50ft below, with aircraft in each vic to step up or down according to direction and level of a beam attack.

    More elaborate details (inc usage for 9 and 12 a/c) are given by
    Air Publication 1870B Notes on Fighting and Defensive Tactics for Bomber Aircraft (Blenheim) (AM Jun 1940),
    and partly transcribed (p114, 115) in
    Bristol Blenheim 1935 to 1944 (all marks) Owners Workshop Manual
    by Jarrod Cotter (Haynes Publishing 2015)

    Malcolm

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    Malcom,

    Sincere thanks.

    Kind regards

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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