Question for WWII Fighter pilots: What ACM were you taught?

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Question for WWII Fighter pilots: What ACM were you taught?

Postby saville » Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:15 am

I read a lot of autobiographies of fighter pilots in both theaters of WWII. I look for what it was they were taught about Air Combat Maneuvering. But usually they are travelogues and "funny incident" stories. For example I have yet to read exactly what it was that Chennault instructed his pilots to do other than "Don't turn; dive, shoot, get away". I suppose that captures the essence of it, but there had to be more.What were fighter pilots taught about fighter vs fighter tactics in training, in the States?What were they taught in theater. Or were you left to learn as you go?Prior to the "Aerial Attack Study" and FWS, it seems like nothng was taught or codified, but I guess I find that hard to believe.Would any veteran care to comment?thanks
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What ACMs did we use?

Postby PunchyPowell » Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:26 pm

I can only answer for myself and those who trained with me as this could have changed later. I trained April/42 until January/43; then to RTU for transition into P-47s. We had no training in combat tactics until we arrived in England and spent a couple months in a combat RTU at Atcham. There we learnedthe combat formation (finger formation) and had a few hours ofgunnery practice shooting at a sleeve target before being assignedto our respective fighter groups.Since the 352nd was just ready for its first mission when I arrived, I only got a couple 'checkout' flightswith my Flight Leader before flyingmy first combat mission. We alsohad a few brief training missions which, though not prescribed, included some practice dog-fighting.Some of our leaders had experienced combat in the PacificTheater and we learned some tactics listening to them. The remainder was 'on the job' trainingand pilot discussions after engagingthe enemy. We had replacement pilots arrive only a day or two before D-Day who never got a training mission before flying their first combat mission. Since I had not trained with the Group I do not know what combat training they received as the Group was beingassembled and trained since I wasshipped overseas before the Group wwas shipped to England and one of their first replacement pilots before their first combat mission.Punchy Powell.
Robert H. "Punchy" Powell328th Fighter Squadron352nd Fighter Group"West 'by gawd' Virginian"
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Re: What ACMs did we use?

Postby saville » Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:35 am

PunchyPowell wrote:I can only answer for myself and those who trained with me as this could have changed later. I trained April/42 until January/43; then to RTU for transition into P-47s. We had no training in combat tactics until we arrived in England and spent a couple months in a combat RTU at Atcham. There we learnedthe combat formation (finger formation) and had a few hours ofgunnery practice shooting at a sleeve target before being assignedto our respective fighter groups.Since the 352nd was just ready for its first mission when I arrived, I only got a couple 'checkout' flightswith my Flight Leader before flyingmy first combat mission. We alsohad a few brief training missions which, though not prescribed, included some practice dog-fighting.Some of our leaders had experienced combat in the PacificTheater and we learned some tactics listening to them. The remainder was 'on the job' trainingand pilot discussions after engagingthe enemy. We had replacement pilots arrive only a day or two before D-Day who never got a training mission before flying their first combat mission. Since I had not trained with the Group I do not know what combat training they received as the Group was beingassembled and trained since I wasshipped overseas before the Group wwas shipped to England and one of their first replacement pilots before their first combat mission.Punchy Powell.
Mr. Powell,Thanks very much for the response. Very informative.Do you recall the month/year of your first mission? It would be interesting to know how long prior to that mission the fighters in England were running missions - how much experience they racked up.In the practice dogfights you mention: were you taught how to foil an attack? And/or how to conduct one? Were the 352's first missin led by other group/squadron commanders?Again - many thanks.
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