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2001 Closed threads from 2001 (read only)

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Old 27 October 2001, 09:52 AM   #1
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Hi there,

While reviewing some old threads I started to wonder was it better to be a new pilot in the GAF, the FAF, or the RFC/RAF?
I realise that different timeperiods/events come into to play but on a whole ie 1914-1918, what was better/safer. This is a broad question I realise but I just wanted to see what you guys thought. Pilots could be both scout, recon, bomber etc...

Old 27 October 2001, 02:49 PM   #2
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Always best to be English, Old Chap.

Remembering: Driver T2/10816 G Tester, born Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire: A.S.C. & Aerial Gunner 20 Squadron RFC - my maternal grandfather: Killed in aerial combat 28.09.1917: Pont du Hem Military Cemetery, France.

Able Seaman J McCullagh, born Co. Wicklow, Ireland: my Great Uncle: Killed in action, SS Mavisbrook, 17th May 1918.

Captain R A Sellwood, born London: 44th Bn C.E.F. - My paternal Grandfather - Survived

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Old 27 October 2001, 08:53 PM   #3
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Well said old bean. :
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Old 28 October 2001, 07:54 AM   #4
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Ginger & Testerchild.
How can it be best to be English if you have to endure the colonials (Read Aus, SA & NZ) beating you at your own games?

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Old 28 October 2001, 09:05 AM   #5
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Hmm ...

... in my opinion the best chances for new pilots to survive would have been on the German side (best before winter 1917).

The German airforce mainly fought over the "own" side. In the case of problems (technical problems, damages during a fight or wounds) a new pilot had the chance to land his aircraft quickly without the danger of being a POW or having to wait a long time for (medical) help. Even German artillery flyers mostly had the advantage of the south-western winds which helped them on their way back to the own side. Long range reconaissance pilots had pretty good and reliable aircraft (Rumpler series). In my mind Zeppelin crews were the only exception.

The British "agressive" strategy gave most of the young and inexperienced allied pilots not enough time to become something like a veteran (bloody April). A "defensive" strategy in this case is better for getting some experience in aerial combat.

Aircraft like the Sopwith Camel were wonderful machines in the hands of experienced pilots but they were rather tricky for new pilots. Not all pilots had the chance to sit in a S.E.5a or a Bristol "Fighter".

Until mid 1917 the Germans had the advantage of superior fighters (for example the Albatros D.III) and tactics.

The use of parachutes on the German side. Even after a lost combat a German pilot had the chance to get out of his heavily damaged or burning aircraft (without causing a crater like an allied pilot). But some German parachutes failed to open ...

Im sure that there are other opinions ...

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Old 28 October 2001, 09:15 AM   #6
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My knowledge of things German is limited but I was struck when reading Hunting with Richthofen by Bodenschatz (basically the JG1 war diary) how rarely a pilot was lost. It tended to be two or three a month. Compare that to the experience of most RFC fighter squadrons - you could get 100% replacement of the personnel within two months.

As Volker has said, that was largely due to the differing strategies used by the air services.

Fly a microlight -
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Old 28 October 2001, 04:29 PM   #7
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>you could get 100% replacement of the
>personnel within two months.

I recall for a thread a while ago working out the turnover in 4 Sqn AFC and 3 Sqn AFC. IIRC 3 sqn had a complete flying crew turnover due to losses in 48 weeks and 4 Sqn in 33 weeks, 4 being the scout squadron. Both those squadrons arrived on the Western Front in late 1917 so didnt go through any of the periods when German technology gave the Luftstrietkrafte superiority.

Old 28 October 2001, 09:23 PM   #8
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How many mainstream sports, including their derivatives e.g. Gridiron or baseball, can you think of that did NOT originate in the British Isles ?

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Old 29 October 2001, 02:40 AM   #9
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How many mainstream sports, including their derivatives e.g. Gridiron or baseball, can you think of that did NOT originate in the British Isles ?
That's a trick question. You assume that sports such as football and rounders originated in the Isles. How do you know they weren't brought there from elsewhere, or at the least were inspired by ball games seen elsewhere. Ball sports undoubtedly predate civilization in the British Isles.
Old 29 October 2001, 12:52 PM   #10
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Without addressing odds of combat survival at a given point in the war, my impression is that until the Smith-Barry system of instruction was standardized in the RFC, French and German pilot training was definitely superiot to the Brits. Of course, without comparable stats on each air arm it's nearly impossible to draw meaningful conclusions, but the "wastage" among RFC pilot trainees was appalling.
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