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Remembered Today:

RFC Flight: roughly how many aircraft?


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Could anyone tell me how many aircraft a flight consisted of in the 1916 RFC?


Simon Fielding

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I think Arthur is a little conservative with respect to RFC squadron strengths in 1916, as establishments had greatly increased since the beginning of the War. By mid 1916 the projected number of aircraft per squadron was about 18, divided into three flights of 6.

The RFC Order of Battle for the Western Front on 1 July 1916 was:

9th Wing (HQ)

No 21 Sqn - 19 aircraft; No 27 Sqn - 17 a/c; No 60 Sqn - 13 a/c; No 70 Sqn - 8 a/c;

I Brigade

1st Wing (Corps)

No 2 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 10 Sqn - 13 a/c; No 18 Sqn - 12 a/c.

10th Wing (Army)

No 25 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 32 Sqn - 12 a/c.

II Brigade

2nd Wing (Corps)

No 1 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 5 Sqn 12 a/c; No 6 Sqn 18 a/c; No 7 Sqn 12 a/c; No 16 Sqn - 12 a/c.

11th Wing (Army)

No 20 Sqn - 13 a/c; No 29 Sqn - 17 a/c.

III Brigade

12th Wing (Corps)

No 8 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 12 Sqn - 14 a/c; No 13 Sqn - 12 a/c.

13th Wing (Army)

No 11 Sqn - 16 a/c; No 23 Sqn - 17 a/c.

IV Brigade

3rd Wing (Corps)

No 3 Sqn - 16 a/c; No 4 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 9 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 15 Sqn - 16 a/c.

14th Wing (Army)

No 22 Sqn - 18 a/c; No 24 Sqn - 24 a/c.

I hope this helps.


5F.1 Dolphin

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From the information I have it states:

" During the expansion of the thirtieswith squadron establishments increased, squadrons were reorganized on a two flight basis with six aircraft each. This underwent some variation during the War [WWII] to suit operational needs.


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G'day again

Squadron establishments certainly decreased from wartime levels when the RAF was much reduced in strength after the end of the Great War.

However, the general projected establishment of an RFC Squadron in the field in the 1916-1918 period was around 18 aircraft, which hopefully allowed for 5 serviceable aircraft for each of the 3 flights, and at least one aircraft per flight as a spare, or being worked on. Aircraft numbers varied from unit to unit, depending on the type of machine being operated.

Just before the German offensive of 21 March 1918, there were 31 Squadrons, with 579 serviceable aircraft, supporting the Third and Fifth Armies, ie an average of around 18.5 aircraft per squadron.


5F.1 Dolphin

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