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Thread: The Lack of air to air firing practice after WW1

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    Default The Lack of air to air firing practice after WW1

    As part of my range research air to air firing ranges are an important part. However, I can't find any reference to air to air firing at sleeves or flags between 1920 and 1930 (ish). It seem all focus was on air to ground firing with air to air being entirely camarea gun work, mostly with still photos in the earlier period.

    Air to air firing was used in WW1 against flags, balloons and kites so why did it apparently stop? Was is because it was mainly focused on keeping unruly locals at bay in the colonies who didn't possess aeroplanes?

    This ties in nicely with Steve Brew's thread "Concept of Fighter Escorts for Bombers" and may be linked as the lack of air to air firing may explain the lack of fighter escorts.

    Rather like torpedo development, we slept through the inter war years in blissful ignorance of the problems we were to face and forgot all that hard won experience.

    Has anyone else come across this apparent gap in training?

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    Default Re: The Lack of air to air firing practice after WW1

    Hi PNK
    I have just had a look in The Long Drag by Don Evans.
    He confirms that there was some air to air firing with Sleeve type targets during WW1 - although he thinks that they must have been relatively small sleeves because of the 'performance' of the aircraft at that time.
    He also confirms that there was little if any A2A firing before 1929/30 when Avro 504K did some banner towing,he also states that he saw a photo of a Blackburn Baffin towing a sleeve over Martlesham in 1931/32 (testing/trials work ?).

    (Don Evans was a T.T.O during WW2 btw)

    As to the 'Fighter Escort' subject,with the advent of long range bombers - (all the way) long range fighter escort became impossible anyway until the merlin P51 came along with its 485 US Gal fuel capacity.

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    Default Re: The Lack of air to air firing practice after WW1

    Thanks for the info from 'The Long Drag'. I suspect I may have been reading the same primary sources as Don Evans. What makes it more confusing is that the term 'air firing' is frequently used in the inter war period and after and initially refered to air to ground firing but later could be both air to ground and air to air. I did find evidence of air launched free fall gliders being considered as possible targets for fighters but they were intended primarily for AA practice although I doubt they were really used that much prior to WW2.

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