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Luftwaffe bomber formation

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I was looking for info on what formatipn the LW used. Did they have a version of the Box formation used by the americans

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The bombers were often organised in "Ketten". A single Kette (lit. "chain") comprises 3 bombers in a shallow vic-configuration. Multiple Ketten were flown together to make the larger formations.

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The German bomber Kette is akin to the skein formation. Apart from being good defensively, it is also fuel-economic.

 

The "idea" is that the nose of the wingman matches the tail of the leader. The wingtip of the wingman is in line with the wingtip of the leader (of course it is behind, so does not touch). Also, the leader is lower, with the wingmen at slightly higher altitude. In reality, the formations are often a bit wider. Pilots (especially novice ones) tend to be more conservative with the safety-distance between bombers. Generally, mid-air collissions were rare - even in flight sims. In all my time flying in bomber formations (probably 1500 hrs, mostly in Ju 88s on CloD), I've only ever seen 2 bomber-to-bomber mid-air collisions.

 

I have a manual on this (dating from the mid-30s) which has the formation descriptions and distances, but it is not on this computer and I'll need to dig it out later.

 

However, what I can suggest, is that if you do an internet image search on "luftwaffe bomber formation photos" (or similar) and take a look at the distances of the aircraft (bearing in mind the size of the aircraft), it will give you some ideas.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_formation

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I had no idea about the fuel efficiency aspect- wouldn't have expected it to be so significant. Very cool.

 

Also, the birds rotating leader reminds me of cyclists rotating the leader of the peloton. Crazy it can increase the bird's range by 71%.

 

In the case of military formations, though, the leader doesn't rotate as far as I've ever heard. So I guess they just enjoy the fuel savings of the non-leaders from a logistical point of view. I wonder if the leader ever took more fuel in cases where a V formation would be flying long distances.

 

Thanks for sharing guys, TIL.

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I have a manual on this (dating from the mid-30s) which has the formation descriptions and distances, but it is not on this computer and I'll need to dig it out later.

 

 

Okay. I've managed to get back to this topic and have found the manual.

 

Actually, it turns out it was from 1942 - so it is even more relevant than I originally thought. (I've no idea why I thought it was from the mid-30s. Probably the biplane-drawings?)

 

Here are the necessary pages:

 

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post-71162-0-85638900-1509035294_thumb.png

post-71162-0-37922300-1509035300_thumb.png

 

Ref:  DtLwk-1942 (Das Handbuch der Lufwaffe), pp35-37, RLM, published 1942.

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Aha, that's one authentic source at least. I went through my library, checked the a lot of Luftwaffen-Dienstvorschriften, but I don't find any explicit order how to fly formation the Luftwaffe-way. At least this fine piece came into my mind again, good source for procedures and airfield operations:

 

http://www.germanluftwaffe.com/archiv/Dokumente/ABC/b/Buecher/Der%20Flugbetrieb%20der%20Luftwaffe.pdf

 

Very nice web site (if you have some documents: these guys really share them and deserve support!)

 

http://www.germanluftwaffe.com/archiv/Dokumente/web/new%20site/frames2/Dokumente.htm

 

http://www.germanluftwaffe.com/downloads-englisch/downloadIndex/index.htm

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I had no idea about the fuel efficiency aspect- wouldn't have expected it to be so significant. Very cool.

 

There is a reason why geese fly like they do.

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