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Old 9th June 2011, 03:24
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Re: 15th AAF fighter escort tactics?

The 15th, like the 8th, assigned different fighter groupd to escort specifix boxes of a formation of bombers within a Division - on a Ramrod. Timing and navigation were important to co-rodinate R/V point and time.

Variations included two squadrons flying high over an assigned box while a thrird squadron would sweep along the bomber stream to extend coverage and depend on radio alerts between bombers and fighter escort on C-Channel.

Variations for escorting two lead boxes included the same approach except the two squadrons high on either side and the lead squadron several miles out in front. The Zemke Fan was a variation starting with four ship flights ranging in different directions, but Zemke's personal experience of May 12 caused the Fan to send two eight ship sections out in front in perhaps a 60 degree cone while the other two were out to either side and high.

The Luftwaffe tactics eveolved the same way in Sud front as West and USAAF fighters adapted similarly in both theatres. For the longest missions the Mustang Groups were almost always the target escorts with Lightnings performing deep Penetration and Withdrawal.

Before the P-47s attained long range capability, it was always the shorter/mid range penetration/withdrawal and R/V with Lightning and Mustang groups to perform target escort or sweeps.

Offhand i don't recall P-38s deeper than Leipzig, or as far as Munich/Poznan.

I do know P-38s made Ploesti raids.
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