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Thread: Concept of Fighter Escorts for Bombers

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  1. #1
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    Default Concept of Fighter Escorts for Bombers

    Hi everyone

    Does anyone have any knowledge of the history/development of the tactic of using fighter escorts for bomber raids?

    I ask as I am looking at early 1930s RAF Home Defence exercises where they're attempting to emulate wartime conditions but Fighter and Bomber Command (or Fighting Area and Wessex Bombing Area, as they were at the time) are always operating as separate entities and there's no utilisation of fighter escorts.

    In the 1933 Home Defence exercises, for example, it is intriguing to see how Wessex Bombing Area tried different tactics, including attacks in Wings (2-3 bomber squadrons), in Flights and even as individual raiders, but the two Commands operated as separate attacking and defending forces.

    I appreciate that fighter escorts for bombers were used throughout WWII, but was there any use of the tactic in WWI (not my forté), or when was it otherwise introduced? Or was the tactic used throughout? I'm just trying to get a high level understanding.

    Not sure where to look for an answer, so figured the RAF Commands Brains Trust would know something.

    Many thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Concept of Fighter Escorts for Bombers

    Steve,
    Have a browse through the AHB Narrative
    RAF IN THE BOMBER OFFENSIVE AGAINST GERMANY
    Vol I PRE-WAR EVOLUTION OF BOMBER COMMAND 1917 TO 1939


    As these PDF sets are text searchable, within the limits of OCR a search on, eg
    escort
    found a number of seemingly relevant passages from WW I into the late 1930s- some other search terms may come to your mind on further reading.

    AHB Narratives etc cover page: https://www.raf.mod.uk/our-organisat...hb-narratives/
    and follow your nose to the PDF of Vol I noted above at
    https://www.raf.mod.uk/our-organisat...and-1917-1939/

    best wishes with this one
    Toujours ŕ propos

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    Default Re: Concept of Fighter Escorts for Bombers

    Hi Steve
    Fighter escorts definitely used during WW1 as a natural consequence of bomber losses due to enemy fighter attacks,sometimes the bombers were used as 'bait' and the fighters were split between close escort and high level fighters which could then hopefully 'pounce' on any enemy fighter attacks which developed.

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    Default Re: Concept of Fighter Escorts for Bombers

    Many, many thanks Don; I appreciate that. Just the type of thing I was after.

    Thanks, as well, bvs, that's good to know.

    Regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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