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#4426886 - 06/20/18 06:15 PM Patrol question for our historical scholars  
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Was patrolling to a point on the front and returning something that was very common or did most such patrols to the front usually traverse a section of the front instead of just to a point and back?

I am sure may have varied from side to side and time to time, but was just curious if patrolling to a single point to the front and back again was really that common.

Attached Files Point Patrol.jpgFront Line Patrol.jpg

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#4426895 - 06/20/18 07:31 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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loftyc Offline
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For everything I've read, a patrol would cover a sector of the front, sometimes back and forth, sometimes in a looping path. To and from a single point would be a raid on a specific installation, or maybe a "secret mission." (insert spy music here)

#4426899 - 06/20/18 07:48 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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From what I've seen, the idea was to cover a specific sector of the front. So if there was a point - say a front line position or a town or other waypoint, it was the orientate the flight for the patrol. Back in the Red Baron days, you could click on "All Flights" and you could see quite easily that your squadron's morning sortie was actually fanning out over a specific area of the Front. When I'm on lead, I tend to take the flight to the point and then loiter in an area around it to look for trouble.

#4426936 - 06/21/18 01:01 AM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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I don't have any particular academic credentials to offer unlike some here but having read fairly widely on the subject I would offer that the specific nature of a patrol was dependant upon situational factors. Thus, to understand the geography a patrol would cover, you first have to look at the purpose of a patrol and the aircraft conducting it. The most important thing to account for, in my opinion, is that squadrons of aircraft don't exist in a vacuum, they support other assets and aims so their orders are cut with both specific (tactical) and overarching (strategic) objectives in mind.

The movement of ground troops, operations of the balloon corps and other aerial units could be a potential factor in the cutting of a day's operational orders. Priority may be given to protecting advancing troops, covering areas that have been under reconnaissance by the enemy or areas that need to be reconnoitered by friendly aircraft. They were also deployed to protect logistical operations, observation balloons and other very localised points of interest. If any of these specific objectives formed part of the day's operations then you would expect the General Staff to make use of local units in a more specific area tactical way a priority over more general aims.

However, in the broader scheme of things, squadrons were also positioned reactively to counter the deployment of enemy forces in an overarching, strategic role. From what I gather a squadron would usually be assigned a general area of operations based upon their position along the front such that, when they were not given any particular area of a particular tactical interest to patrol, then they would roam within a wider area of the front at the discretion of the flight/squadron commander according to such factors as the weather, (especially the position of the sun and prevailing winds) and the observed routines of enemy aircraft. A squadron would be expected, in times where no specific point of interest had been designated, to maintain a designated quota of patrols in their sector with the aim of projecting a continual presence over their sector. Almost every source I have read suggests that there was some kind of "quota" that was to be fulfilled and that these patrols maintained coverage of a designated sector. The precise radius or area covered by such a patrol would be more dependant upon the number of aircraft available to cover a given area, the importance of the region being patrolled and the squadron's specific technical capacity to do so (aircraft capability/range etc). So, in an area of the front where the local squadrons had been reduced in strength due to attrition for example, this would create a requirement for longer, wider ranging patrols for the remaining operational units.

In summary I believe it would be a mistake to simply pull some numbers out and say that "A patrol covered X miles". There were routine procedures carried out but the battlefield is dynamic and what is routine can evolve and change at a rapid rate.

Last edited by Ace_Pilto; 06/21/18 01:05 AM.

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#4426959 - 06/21/18 06:37 AM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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Read "Open Cockpit". He explained how his squad did things. They would move to a point on the line and either go north or south (North offensive patrol / SOP ) and such.
I'm currently reading a german book "double decker C666" , a 2 seater squad. Seems the Officer would get orders and he then decided how to go about it himself.


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#4427018 - 06/21/18 04:22 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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In the RFC, patrol orders came from Wing by dispatch motorcyclist, typically around the evening dinner hour. Flights could be assigned to standby, awaiting a call from Wing about Huns over a particular sector; or escort; or distant offensive patrols (10-12 miles over); or defensive patrols (4 miles over, and sometimes called close offensive patrols); or line patrols (over the lines). North and south limits of the patrol areas were given in orders. I believe it was left up to the squadron commander to decide which flight took which assigned task, although Wing orders might specify the desired strength to be tasked to a patrol.

Lee is a decent source for this stuff, but much of what I've written above is derived from "Into the Blue," a memoir by Wing Commander Norman Macmillan, formerly of 45 Sqn RFC / RAF.

#4427232 - 06/22/18 06:53 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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The way WOFF offensive missions seem to be constructed is to loop from the initial target point on the lines to a point back in to friendly territory and back to the lines again a couple of times, before heading home again.

#4427234 - 06/22/18 07:02 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: HarryH]  
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Originally Posted by HarryH
The way WOFF offensive missions seem to be constructed is to loop from the initial target point on the lines to a point back in to friendly territory and back to the lines again a couple of times, before heading home again.


HarryH, that is a valid observation but with the use of ME, it is possible to change the routing to be more in line with standard RFC practices if you desire.


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#4427248 - 06/22/18 08:58 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Robert_Wiggins]  
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HarryH Offline
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Originally Posted by Robert_Wiggins
Originally Posted by HarryH
The way WOFF offensive missions seem to be constructed is to loop from the initial target point on the lines to a point back in to friendly territory and back to the lines again a couple of times, before heading home again.


HarryH, that is a valid observation but with the use of ME, it is possible to change the routing to be more in line with standard RFC practices if you desire.


That's a great idea

#4427278 - 06/22/18 11:20 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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Can you change the climb out behavior too? I typically spend more time circling the field than patrolling when I could be climbing out enroute and patrolling longer.


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#4427284 - 06/22/18 11:49 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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Yes Ace, you can adjust the routing and the altitudes of your mission waypoints. I always change them into the direction for where my mission is leading me to,and I lower the first waypoint to significantly.
By that you avoid the long unnecessary circling around your airfield.

#4427296 - 06/23/18 01:26 AM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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Yeah, how though?


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#4427322 - 06/23/18 08:35 AM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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Hermani Offline
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Ah sorry, forgot to mention that you have to use JJJ65’s Mission editor in order to adjust waypoints. It is listed in the mods section of this forum or you can find it on Sandbagger’s mod site. This mod has a lot of nice extra features you can use in WOFF. By example, adding extra planes in your flight or selecting wich pilots you fly with to name just a few. Great mod, I never fly without it.
Greetings

#4427326 - 06/23/18 09:12 AM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: Hellshade]  
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Ahh, I've never played with the waypoints much. I'll have to experiment with them. Thanks.


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#4427540 - 06/24/18 04:44 PM Re: Patrol question for our historical scholars [Re: HarryH]  
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Originally Posted by HarryH
The way WOFF offensive missions seem to be constructed is to loop from the initial target point on the lines to a point back in to friendly territory and back to the lines again a couple of times, before heading home again.


Yes. Patrol route waypoints could use a programming once-over.
This has been mentioned many times over the years.


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