Jump to content

Question about Callsigns


Recommended Posts

I am not very well versed on these detals and I would like to understand them better for the sake of making more realistic missions.

 

What is the relationship between these two:

  • Callsigns in the sim's mission editor
  • Blue, Red, White flight that you read in historical accounts.

 

I suspect that the in game callsigns are Squadron specific but I am not entirely sure.

 

If anyone could explain it or point me towards a good resource I'd really appreciate it.

 

callsign.thumb.png.ff3f751c4af7340d1e6c63b88d48bc92.png

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The callsigns you see in the game list are mission specific and historically would apply to all the planes from a squadron flying together. It could be 1, 2, 3 or 4 flights together. The Red, White, Green, Blue, etc flights were 2, 3 or 4 ship formations. If you were the second plane in the 2nd flight listed above, you might be Acorn Green 2, if the mission call sign was "Acorn"

 

It does not work this way in game, you only have 1/2 of your correct call sign.  

 

 

Edited by Jaegermeister
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Jaegermeister said:

The callsigns you see in the game list are mission specific and historically would apply to all the planes from a squadron flying together. It could be 1, 2, 3 or 4 flights together. The Red, White, Green, Blue, etc flights were 2, 3 or 4 ship formations. If you were the second plane in the 2nd flight listed above, you might be Acorn Green 2, if the mission call sign was "Acorn"

Interesting. Did the Germans/Soviets use a similar system? Or just a two-part callsign as we see in-game?

Link to post
Share on other sites

To expand on what jaeger said, using the 365th Fighter Group as an example.   

 

There were 3 squadrons in the Group.

388th, 387th, 386th, each squadron had a call sign.

 

388th - Elwood

387th - Plastic

386th - Bluebird

 

The 4-ship flights of the 388th were broken up as Elwood Blue, Elwood Red, Elwood Green, Elwood White.

 

I had a small bit of input thus you see “Elwood, Plastic, Bluebird” in the editor. :)

 

 

8th Air Force it was mostly the same - they sometimes used “Yellow” and maybe the 9th AF did as well.

Edited by Gambit21
  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, AEthelraedUnraed said:

Interesting. Did the Germans/Soviets use a similar system? Or just a two-part callsign as we see in-game?

 

Early in WWII, the Germans used colors and numbers to identify specific aircraft. The numbers were painted on the aircraft in the color of the Flight. Yellow One would have a big yellow number 1 painted on the fuselage. They used different color ID flashes to indicate Staffeln, but I do not believe it was a part of the radio call signs. German radio calls were notoriously confusing from what I know.

 

I have no idea about Soviet radio protocol.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jaegermeister said:

 

Early in WWII, the Germans used colors and numbers to identify specific aircraft. The numbers were painted on the aircraft in the color of the Flight.

 

They used different color ID flashes to indicate Staffeln, but I do not believe it was a part of the radio call signs. German radio calls were notoriously confusing from what I know.


It’s worth noting that it was usually only single-seat fighter units that used numbers. The majority of other Luftwaffe aircraft used a system that had more in common with the RAF’s system.
 

For example, there was a Bf-110 with the identification code M8+EP. The M8 indicated that it was from ZG 76. The E was the individual aircraft identifier. The P showed that it was from 6./ZG 76.

 

The colour of the ID letter or number was used to indicate the staffel - white for the first staffel in a gruppe (equivalent to an RAF wing), red or black for the second*, and yellow for the third. There was no visual distinction between different flights within the same staffel apart from their individual letters or numbers. Stab (headquarters) flights would have their own colours, however, with single-seat fighters typically using black, while other units used green for the gruppe’s stab flight and blue for the geschwader’s (equivalent to an RAF group). However, day fighters did not use numbers; instead, they used lines, arrows, chevrons, and bars, such as those used on the Bf-109 of Helmut Wick.

 

Both of these systems were in place for the entirety of WWII, albeit with some changes - for example, bomber units would shrink or entirely remove the geschwader and staffel identifiers in their codes, and fighter units spraypainting the ID number or the last three digits of the serial number on late-war fighters. I also believe that some non-stab staffels started using blue ID numbers later on in the war - if I remember correctly, these were newly-created jabo staffels such as 10./JG 2.


Both systems can be seen on Me-262s, with those assigned to fighter units using Arabic numerals, while aircraft with night fighter and bomber units wearing codes such as 9K+HN.
 

*It was always red before the war, but this resulted in friendly-fire incidents during the invasion of Poland due to the Polish roundel using red.

Edited by [Pb]Cybermat47
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks you both! I knew the codes indicated geschwader and staffel, but not exactly how.

 

8 hours ago, Jaegermeister said:

Early in WWII, the Germans used colors and numbers to identify specific aircraft. The numbers were painted on the aircraft in the color of the Flight. Yellow One would have a big yellow number 1 painted on the fuselage. They used different color ID flashes to indicate Staffeln, but I do not believe it was a part of the radio call signs. German radio calls were notoriously confusing from what I know.

 

5 hours ago, [Pb]Cybermat47 said:

The colour of the ID letter or number was used to indicate the staffel - white for the first staffel in a gruppe (equivalent to an RAF wing), red or black for the second*, and yellow for the third. There was no visual distinction between different flights within the same staffel apart from their individual letters or numbers.

This seemingly contradicts each other; would the colour in the callsign be related to the staffel instead of the flight, or was there no relation with the painted colour?

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, AEthelraedUnraed said:

This seemingly contradicts each other; would the colour in the callsign be related to the staffel instead of the flight, or was there no relation with the painted colour?


The colour only indicates staffel or stab flight. To my knowledge, there was no visual indication of which flight within a staffel an aircraft belonged to.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, [Pb]Cybermat47 said:


The colour only indicates staffel or stab flight. To my knowledge, there was no visual indication of which flight within a staffel an aircraft belonged to.

 

Did the Germans even organize by schwarm or was it ad-hoc within a staffeln on a mission by mission basis.  I always got the impression that the pilots in a schwarm could change quite freely.

Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I've read an individual Staffeln generally consisted of around 9-12 pilots and planes which could be mixed and matched into different Schwarms and Rottes as required, there were no static four/two-ship flight assignments.

As for callsigns in flight thats a bit more complicated, I haven't found any good sources which detail what various flights went by.
It has been prominently noted however that Hartmann had a sort of personal callsign in the form of Karaya One, so there may have been further personalization here as was common in the Luftwaffe.

The only sort of group Luftwaffe callsign I've read about came from an account given by Victor Petermann after he was forced to bailout behind enemy lines over Kuban in 1943.  Petermann spent three days in Soviet territory before successfully returning to friendly lines, and upon getting there he found the nearest ground controller and had him send a message back to the Geschwader HQ for JG 52 which relayed the message to a flight then in the air.

The code/callsign they used to hail the flight was Bikers on the Reich's Highway, which seems to have applied to all of the JG 52 aircraft active in the area- though notably Barkhorn was the one who responded so it may well have just been II Gruppe.

I'm not sure if that was a static callsign used by large groups of JG 52 but so far as callsigns go its pretty cool in my opinion.

Edited by Ram399
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...