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#4371961 - 07/31/17 09:03 PM Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC?  
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stljeffbb Offline
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Hello everyone...

So, I have a nice budding RFC career (George Lyons May 1915) in the early part of the war.

In anticipation, I have been scanning the RFC squadrons for when fighters first appear for the lower ranks (figuring I will probably either not advance far enough to the "Highest Ranks" or will end up having a few careers before I get there, lol). I recall from my reading that 24 RFC (with Lanoe Hawker) came over to France in early February 1916. There are some others also start to appear at around the same time (that I do not entirely recall off hand at the moment), however, I was intrigued when looking also at the recce/bombing squadrons, and I came across 18 RFC. In WOFF:UE, they start right on January 1, 1916 in France, and entirely with DH.2 type aircraft, a little more than a month before 24 RFC arrived, and in a "fighter" role right at the start.

I did a quick bit of online searches, and found that they actually arrived in France on 19 November, 1915 "principally equipped with the Vickers FB5 'Gunbus', supplemented by a few Airco DH.2s and Bristol Scouts, and operating in the Army cooperation role" (taken from Wikipedia).

I would like to know more about how these planes, especially the DH.2s and Scouts, were utilized before April, when they switched entirely to F.E.2b type craft (and indeed WOFF:UE is faithful here as they most often are everywhere else!). I might actually be suggesting a slight change (perhaps in the next version of WOFF:UE that comes out) to add Bristol Scouts to their roster, but I would personally like to know more before hastily jumping to such a suggestion.

I started a test pilot (on January 1, 1916) just to see what things looked like over at 18 RFC, and I will admit that all of the missions assigned to me, including "alternative targets and "optional targets", were behind the lines (perhaps in the spirit of "army cooperation"?)

Any info would be great, thanks in advance!

Regards,

Jeff


WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
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Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
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#4372313 - 08/02/17 04:50 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
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Dezh Offline
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The external references on the wiki page for No. 18 Sqn. include an interview with their original commanding officer G. I. Carmichael published in Flight Global Magazine on 27th January 1956.

Flight Global Page

In said interview Carmichael refers to No. 18 as being a 'Fighting Reconnaissance' unit, prior to being equipped with the F.E.2b (the article has the date incorrect for the latter).

In a lengthy discussion on The Aerodrome forums, albeit about No. 18's use of the F.E.2b, 'Fighting Reconnaissance' is cited as including:

"a gambit of missions, offensive patrols, line patrols, recon, photo recon, escorts and indeed some bombing, but not artillery observation, as this was the work of the Corps squadrons on their BE2's and later RE8's & AWFK8's." The Aerodrome

So it's probably fair to assume their Bristol Scouts, D.H.2s and Martinsydes flew a selection from the above... with their experience in Art. Obs. or not being possibly a point of contention.


Oh that I was back in the dear old PBI.
With no more Triplanes on me tail, nor tracer tracing by.
And no more flames and clickerty-clack and no more blooming sky,
And only a couple of feet to fall whenever I want to die.

No. 56 Squadron Song
#4372326 - 08/02/17 06:31 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
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stljeffbb Offline
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stljeffbb  Offline
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Thanks much Dezh! That Flight Global article (and the aerodrome forum) is interesting...I wonder the exact date of the conversion to all F.E.2b? I believe WOFF:UE has it as April 1.

Also, I do have part of an answer to my own question found from one of the sources of the Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._18_Squadron_RAF), the Air Pictorial from September 1964, of which I was able to secure a copy for about $7.88 USD (it is coming on a slow boat from England). I'm hopeful it will shed some more light on the subject, and I will report a summary here when I get it (sometime between August 8 and August 15).

Regards,

Jeff

EDIT: This also reminds me that they were still learning how to utilize "fighter" aircraft, and it makes sense to me that the use of the DH.2 was still evolving with the RFC into 1916. We often assume a more aggressive stance when flying single seaters in WWI/WWII simulators, but it wasn't always the case!

Last edited by stljeffbb; 08/02/17 06:59 PM. Reason: Stuff

WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
Homebuilt Computer!
Intel i5-3570k mildly overclocked to 3.8ghz
AsRock Z75 mobo
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16 GB RAM
42 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV with 120hz refresh
Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
Very old Logitech Wingman joystick with two buttons and a throttle slider
Very old CH Thurstmaster analog footpedals
Manhattan analog/USB converter
W10
#4372379 - 08/02/17 11:24 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
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Shredward Online content
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Yeah, I keep hoping that one day a Gunbus will take to the skies over Flanders
Cheers,
shredward


We will remember them.
#4372518 - 08/03/17 04:51 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
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Dezh Offline
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Happy to help.

Wing Commander C. G. Jefford in the revised second edition of his excellent, but unimaginatively titled 'RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912' has the following for No. 18 Squadron in France, up to being equipped with the F.E.2b:

--- Sep 15 Vickers FB 5 (Apr 16)
18 Nov 15 to St. Omer
25 Nov 15 to Treizennes
--- Jan 16 DH 2 (Apr 16)
12 Feb 16 to Auchel
--- Mar 16 Martinsyde G.100 (Jun 16)
1 Apr 16 to Bruay
--- Apr 16 FE2b (Jun 17)
et al...

So no precise date, which is why Shredward defaulted it to the 1st, I imagine.

No. 18 converted to the D.H.4 in Jun '17.

What the above does strongly imply (I hesitate to say prove) is that No. 18 had at their disposal FB 5s and D.H.2s (until some point in April '16), plus G.100s and F.E.2bs until Jun '16 and were fully converted to F.E.2bs thereafter until June the following year.

The squadron's Bristol Scouts Jefford cites earlier in the record as given up in 1915 but doesn't give the month, so they may or may not have had them in France.

However, Trevor Henshaw's 'The Sky Their Battlefield II' shows an FB 5 lost by No. 18 on 20th February '16; a D.H.2 damaged on 2nd March '16 then the next combat report listed is for an F.E.2b on 26th April '16. A quick scan down the following months to July '16 lists no FB 5s nor D.H.2s nor any type other than F.E.2bs in squadron combats or losses.

From that I think one may:

a) hazard a guess that both older types had been retired by 26th April '16;
b) say with certainty that the squadron acquired their F.E.2bs before 26th April '16

BTW Jefford's book (unrevised edition) can be obtained pretty cheaply on eBay (excluding postage) and if your budget will stretch to it, I recommend it highly if you've any interest in squadron movements and equipment.

Regards,

Dej





Last edited by Dezh; 08/03/17 04:53 PM. Reason: Typos

Oh that I was back in the dear old PBI.
With no more Triplanes on me tail, nor tracer tracing by.
And no more flames and clickerty-clack and no more blooming sky,
And only a couple of feet to fall whenever I want to die.

No. 56 Squadron Song
#4372525 - 08/03/17 05:38 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
Joined: Mar 2017
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stljeffbb Offline
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stljeffbb  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 227
Wisconsin USA
@ Dezh and Shredward....Shredward was the one who complied the squadrons? Fantastic job, sir!

Quote
The squadron's Bristol Scouts Jefford cites earlier in the record as given up in 1915 but doesn't give the month, so they may or may not have had them in France.
...that tells me a lot; WOFF:UE 18 RFC doesn't appear until January 1, 1916, and this just might mean that there were no Bristol Scouts available or in the squadron at that date. Ha ha, Shredward probably already knows all of this, hence the reason he made it this way.

Indeed Dezh, as you say the RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912 was available for about $9.50 USD, and I secured a copy....as of this writing, the rest are rather expensive (and are at other booksites as well). The Jefford book will be a good companion text as I will be flying RFC for probably the next two real-life years in WOFF:UE (already what, three months at it)! In addition, I am accumulating a little library of WWI aviation books! biggrin

Regards,

Jeff


WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
Homebuilt Computer!
Intel i5-3570k mildly overclocked to 3.8ghz
AsRock Z75 mobo
Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB (EVGA one fan version)
16 GB RAM
42 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV with 120hz refresh
Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
Very old Logitech Wingman joystick with two buttons and a throttle slider
Very old CH Thurstmaster analog footpedals
Manhattan analog/USB converter
W10
#4372626 - 08/03/17 10:08 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: Shredward]  
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stljeffbb Offline
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stljeffbb  Offline
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Wisconsin USA
Originally Posted by Shredward
Yeah, I keep hoping that one day a Gunbus will take to the skies over Flanders
Cheers,
shredward


I would love to see the F.B.5 too...either modded or part of an upgrade in the after-WoTR-future wink

....how difficult would it be to mod it?

DH.2

[Linked Image]

F.B.5

[Linked Image]

(images from www.aviastar.org)

With my limited modding knowledge, even though they look close (and no wonder the Germans called everything VIckers, lol), my guess is that it is a bit more difficult than it looks. My hunch is the flight models probably would not be too bad (FB5 much slower than DH2), but the hit points and paint models would perhaps be the hard part.

Regards,

Jeff


WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
Homebuilt Computer!
Intel i5-3570k mildly overclocked to 3.8ghz
AsRock Z75 mobo
Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB (EVGA one fan version)
16 GB RAM
42 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV with 120hz refresh
Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
Very old Logitech Wingman joystick with two buttons and a throttle slider
Very old CH Thurstmaster analog footpedals
Manhattan analog/USB converter
W10
#4372802 - 08/04/17 08:42 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 479
Shredward Online content
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Shredward  Online Content
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Lake Louise, AB Canada
Near as I can tell, they did not take any Bristol Scouts to France.
First Fees - 5232 and 5234 - arrived on 06/04, followed by 6355 on the 14th, 5233 and 41 on the 21st, 5243 on the 22nd, and 5239, 40 and 44 on the 23rd.
They gave up their Gunbuses and DH2s as the Fees came in; the Elephants were gone by June
Cheers,
shredward


We will remember them.
#4372821 - 08/04/17 10:36 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: Shredward]  
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stljeffbb Offline
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stljeffbb  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 227
Wisconsin USA
Originally Posted by Shredward
Near as I can tell, they did not take any Bristol Scouts to France.
First Fees - 5232 and 5234 - arrived on 06/04, followed by 6355 on the 14th, 5233 and 41 on the 21st, 5243 on the 22nd, and 5239, 40 and 44 on the 23rd.
They gave up their Gunbuses and DH2s as the Fees came in; the Elephants were gone by June
Cheers,
shredward


...ah interesting! So, if I read you correctly (and I assume by "06/04" you are saying 6 April 1916), the first Fees did not actually arrive until 6 April, and then a gradual rotation until at least 23 April. This is a bit different than how WOFF:UE shows it (I was just checking out squadrons again today)...as with other in-game squadrons, it might be cool to have this change from DH.2 to F.E.2b (in game terms) more gradual. Also, I have noticed the G100 in red (in the game) for other squadrons, yet another plane it would be cool to see in WOFF:UE and pehaps there are plans for it at some point? I see that it is on the mod list over at this thread (http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4367367/4). Thanks much for the info Shredward!

Lastly, I did a quick scan today of Sharks Among Minnows and Early German Aces of WWI looking for records of shot down F.B.5 craft. Minnows is good enough to include a chart of two-seater German victories through the mid-1915 into the mid-1916 period. Not a whole lot F.B.5s were shot down (although Immelmann's 5th was a F.B.5 and this action adorns the cover of the Minnows book), however, in my opinion WOFF:UE could really open up a scenario that is much more broad and varied by including some of these earlier planes in 1915. With an entirely different focus (things like bombing as opposed to shooting down enemy aircraft), it really opens up some new avenues of simulation and role playing that WOFF:UE already does best compared to all of the competition, but could do even more to enhance the experience.

Regards,

Jeff


WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
Homebuilt Computer!
Intel i5-3570k mildly overclocked to 3.8ghz
AsRock Z75 mobo
Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB (EVGA one fan version)
16 GB RAM
42 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV with 120hz refresh
Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
Very old Logitech Wingman joystick with two buttons and a throttle slider
Very old CH Thurstmaster analog footpedals
Manhattan analog/USB converter
W10
#4372833 - 08/05/17 12:34 AM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 479
Shredward Online content
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Shredward  Online Content
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Posts: 479
Lake Louise, AB Canada
Hi Jeff,
Yes, we in the civilised world denote the sixth of April as 06/04 exitstageleft
A few months ago, or rather last year, we were offered delivery of a Martinsyde for WoFF, but unfortunately, negotiations fell through. I remain optimistic we will add to the lineup in future.
When we next update WoFF, among many other things, 18 RFC will have a more gradual introduction of the Fee

Cheers,
shredward

Last edited by Shredward; 08/05/17 03:22 AM.

We will remember them.
#4372919 - 08/05/17 07:05 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
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Posts: 103
Dezh Offline
Vice President Barmy OFFers Club
Dezh  Offline
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Member

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 103
Suffolk, United Kingdom
LOL

So Jeff's like "I wonder the exact date of the conversion to all F.E.2b..."
And I'm like "Blah, blah, blah, hazard a guess... blah, blah... conjecture, conjecture"
And Shredward's like "FACT, FACT, FACT, FACT"

Nailed it!

Negotiations fell through, eh? Was that because of the 'Elephant in the Room', perhaps? exitstageleft


Oh that I was back in the dear old PBI.
With no more Triplanes on me tail, nor tracer tracing by.
And no more flames and clickerty-clack and no more blooming sky,
And only a couple of feet to fall whenever I want to die.

No. 56 Squadron Song
#4372922 - 08/05/17 08:01 PM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: Shredward]  
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 227
stljeffbb Offline
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stljeffbb  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 227
Wisconsin USA
Originally Posted by Shredward
Hi Jeff,
Yes, we in the civilised world denote the sixth of April as 06/04 exitstageleft
A few months ago, or rather last year, we were offered delivery of a Martinsyde for WoFF, but unfortunately, negotiations fell through. I remain optimistic we will add to the lineup in future.
When we next update WoFF, among many other things, 18 RFC will have a more gradual introduction of the Fee

Cheers,
shredward


lol, I'm feeling rather uncouth at the moment after a dressing down blush winkngrin

...too bad about the G100/G102.....I'm not all that familiar with that craft. Reminds me just a bit of the Bristol look, and I only recall reading about them. Still, and interesting plane as a single seat bomber that could add even more fun to the mix if it gets added, officially or by mod.

...I might still be flying a British career by the time the next WOFF:UE patch comes out, but based on my current speed, I will probably be into the end of 1916 by the time it happens (I'm assuming next year at some point)...still good. I plan on transferring back and forth between squadrons with the best opportunities, and this also factors in the more "aggressive" bombers.

Originally Posted by Dezh
LOL

So Jeff's like "I wonder the exact date of the conversion to all F.E.2b..."
And I'm like "Blah, blah, blah, hazard a guess... blah, blah... conjecture, conjecture"
And Shredward's like "FACT, FACT, FACT, FACT"

Nailed it!

Negotiations fell through, eh? Was that because of the 'Elephant in the Room', perhaps? exitstageleft


blahblahblah

Ha ha, yeah, I'm thinking Shredward lives at the Archives, lol notworthy

....and here is an elephant for good measure [Linked Image]

rofl rofl rofl

Regards,

Jeff


WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
Homebuilt Computer!
Intel i5-3570k mildly overclocked to 3.8ghz
AsRock Z75 mobo
Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB (EVGA one fan version)
16 GB RAM
42 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV with 120hz refresh
Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
Very old Logitech Wingman joystick with two buttons and a throttle slider
Very old CH Thurstmaster analog footpedals
Manhattan analog/USB converter
W10
#4373796 - 08/11/17 12:39 AM Re: Detailed history of 18 Squadron RFC? [Re: stljeffbb]  
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 227
stljeffbb Offline
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stljeffbb  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 227
Wisconsin USA
Aha...the plot thickens (a bit):

Today I received the Air Pictorial: Journal of the Air League, Vol. 26 No. 9 September 1964 with the info concerning 18 Squadron RFC/RAF. It says:
Quote
Formed at Northolt on 11th May 1915 from No. 4 Reserve Squadron, No. 18 was equipped initially with some Farman Longhorns and a Martinsyde acquired from that unit. Three months later (Note: so August) No. 18 moved to Mousehold Heath, Norwich, and there began to receive its own aircraft, Vickers F.B.5 "Gunbusses" and a scout component of two D.H.2s and a Bristol Scout. These went to France on 19th November but the winter, and the already ageing equipment, prevented serious operations until the spring, by which time (April 1916) No. 18 was based at Bruay and had re-equipped with F.E.2b's. (J.D.R. Rawlings)


Hmm, so maybe one Bristol Scout, and only two D.H.2s made the trip, along with the motley assortment of other machines. To me, that makes it a bit tough to decide what should be in that squadron from 1 Jan 1916 to 1 April (or maybe a bit later) 1916. From a gaming perspective, since we do not have the Vickers F.B.5, probably pretty much how it is should remain in place, in my fairly humble opinion wink ...this bit of info also tends to tell me that "they" still thought of the fighters as "scouts" and not necessarily to be used in a "fighter" mode, but to protect the slower aircraft and also to do "army cooperation" work as well...

Regards,

Jeff


Last edited by stljeffbb; 08/11/17 03:11 AM. Reason: Wrong year....should be 1916 instead of 1915

WOFF:UE Computer Specs and set-up:
Homebuilt Computer!
Intel i5-3570k mildly overclocked to 3.8ghz
AsRock Z75 mobo
Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB (EVGA one fan version)
16 GB RAM
42 inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV with 120hz refresh
Very old (over 20 years now) Aiwa Receiver/Amplifier
Very old giant stereo speakers with newer sub-woofer
Very old Logitech Wingman joystick with two buttons and a throttle slider
Very old CH Thurstmaster analog footpedals
Manhattan analog/USB converter
W10

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