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Whinge

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Tom
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Whinge

Post by Tom » Tue May 22, 2018 9:37 am

Mulling over yesterday's op so here is something to think about.

In theory the idea of an operation is an easy one. Get briefed, take off, form up, head off, attack/combat or carry out the mission brief, return home, land.

In reality it is:

Brief

Leader explains what is required and how it will be done. Then there is a question and answer session to clarify the brief. This is actually a good thing because it is very easy not to think of something. More often than not anything missed can be dealt with en route but even so that leads to overload. For example our egress route after the jabo run.

The issue here is the constant chit chat when we're on our way. Apart from formation commands really the only comms about what is happening should be at the point of attack and perhaps some communication between schwarme to co-ordinate.

Take off

Normally ok

Form up

This is where it starts to go wrong. The leaders have tended to give clear instructions (although sometimes the leaders can confuse matters) and it is then for pilots to figure out where they should be. In reality it could take 5 to 10 minutes for everyone to form up, so perhaps we do rush things a touch.

Naming no names (Roy and Sparky), last night we had 2 who were lost to their own group. 5 planes in a furball is far better than 3 so everyone needs to get with their formation very quickly. It also means that there are less reports of aircraft buzzing around and general confusion about who is who, and where. This massively fills the comms channel with useless fluff.

This appears to me to have been a pervasive problem for a few weeks.

Head off

This can be ok, but can be confused by aircraft floating around where they shouldn't be. Also confusion by some not following the brief and not really getting what their leader is doing. This can pose a problem as time passes especially if connection between schwarme is lost and then you have the fun and games of re-joining into the larger formation.

Attack/combat

This tends to be ok if it is ground attack, though afterwards it degenerates. My bad last night was losing sight of Blackjack in the egress and then climbing like hell when he stayed low. Very much my bad as I was his wingman.

What is most disconcerting is the free-for-all interspersed with "Someone pulled in front of me" or "I'm on it". This happens innocently enough in a furball because we're all looking at a target enemy and it can be easy to lose track of friendlies. However, it is less forgivable when "I'm on it" means "I can see an enemy 800m away and I'm going to chase it." And last night there were 2 occasions when I was about 100m and just about to open fire when someone starting firing from maybe 400m behind. That is too far to ensure that you'll hit, and get the lead wrong and I get clobbered - I pulled away rather than have another friendly fire incident. There also seems to be a marked reluctance to "perch" to make sure that there is high cover at all times.

That said, sometimes it is what it is and we have to make the best of things - it can be everyone for themselves if we're caught low.

Return home

For me this is a problem, because often we do not group together but all fly individually. This means we can easily get bounced thinking that a contact is a friendly. If you're separated ask your leader for a rendezvous location or orders. Again this is my bad last night because I latched onto bombers to escort. Perhaps I could have gathered the local pilots to me but I'm an "observer" for most of this campaign.

To some extent this is the leader's issue but this can be overlooked depending on the position they find themselves in.

Land

I am glad to say that this appears (for the fighters anyway) to be the least fraught part of the op. Mind you, a pet hate of mine is "On finals" when you're 2km away. Gah

And finally, for comms, if it doesn't have to be said, don't say it! If you do need to say something, think about it first. A lot of what is said is either not needed, or not precise enough, or confusing as hell!


/whinge over
In selecting the motto... 'all for one and one for all'... I have done so because it expresses what should be the creed to every Fighter Pilot. Never forget that you are an essential cog in the wheel, and if you break or fail it will let down your brother pilots, and the grimness of war allows for no such weakness.

Air Vice Marshal Saul in the foreword to 13 Group's 'Forget-Me-Nots for Fighters'

"They fly Hurricanes, isn't it?, them's shit planes for remtards on free dinners..."
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Re: Whinge

Post by Tom » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:52 am

I'm going to whinge about comms here.

Historically we in Tangmere used to use the classic RAF manner of communication. Information was passed to the leader and the leader then decided what to do. For example:

"Red 2 to Red 1, contacts 2 o'clock low."

The brilliance of this is that it did not matter who was flying as Red 2 or Red 1, or if those individuals' voices were recognised. What you knew was that the overall leader's wingman had told the leader where to look. It was then for the leader to make a call about what to do.

Likewise with:

"Green 3 to Red 1, 8 109s 3 o'clock high."

And so on.

With a mission like last night everything started to go wrong from the start. So,

1. Jacko, in his first op in the role of lead, had the major hassle of being late, and that can really affect your mindset. He also had a technical problem that caused him to have to rejoin and so on. All whilst having to juggle his own responsibilities and with comms flying all over the place.

Jacko my friend - I thought you did well. This isn't intended to be patronising or anything but it is hard enough leading section let alone 2 split sections with the objective ever moving in the form of bombers to escort.

2. The sections had to split to ensure that at least someone tried to catch the bombers.

3. We have lots of different voices on comms now. So I struggle to tell Andy and Paulie apart for example. Sparky could not tell Jacko and Gosho apart and so on. This will come but at present it is tough to know who is who.

4. The bombers are fast, and when at their cruise speed (and they are fast even below nominal settings) the P39s only have a small overtaking speed so everything gets strung out and this in turn leads to confusion.

5. Several people had dropouts and had to respawn.

So, in transit we had all sorts of chatter going on and quite simply it was not good enough. In part I am guilty of that as I chipped in with some P39 details for Bloomster. When in transit it should be dead quiet unless there is something to report.

As it was, by the time the bombers were on the run Jacko had his section of 3 together, Gosho's section was nicely placed as top cover (it was lovely to look up and see them above us) and we didn't lose a single bomber to enemy fire (I think).

Then of course Jacko got clobbered by a 109 that didn't know when to quit, Gosho lost comms (though he sounded perfectly good to me.... :Wink ) and then we had all sorts of stuff going on.

Correction - Gosho’s VR headset stopped tracking (my bad).

Anyway, in respect of comms you should all bloody well

1. Keep comms short and to the point.

2. Do not speak unless you absolutely need to.

3. Keep any question to the point eg "Tom to Bloomster, where rendezvous?" Then wait for the response.

4. Say your name and who you are speaking to e.g. "Blackjack to Gosho, am lagging behind and cannot close."

5. Do not say "Is that you?" or "Are you at my 8?" or things like that. It doesn't mean anything. Rather, say "This is Sparky - who is the P39 closing at my 8?" or even better "This is Sparky - who is the P39 closing to someone at their 2?" This requires a bit of thought but means it is easier for someone to respond.

6. If you have a technical problem, report it to your section lead and the action you are taking, like Blackjack did last night when he lost the game and restarted from the refuelling base. Simple yet effective.

7. Think. Think. Think again and then say what you need to say. To much knee-jerk reaction and it seems that some have to say something. Anything. When they don't. The only time where you speak without thinking is when you get bounced.

8. Listen. This is probably more important than saying anything. If you listen, you often don't need to say anything at all. This is especially true after 3 and 6 above.

I reckon I should repeat the above every week!
In selecting the motto... 'all for one and one for all'... I have done so because it expresses what should be the creed to every Fighter Pilot. Never forget that you are an essential cog in the wheel, and if you break or fail it will let down your brother pilots, and the grimness of war allows for no such weakness.

Air Vice Marshal Saul in the foreword to 13 Group's 'Forget-Me-Nots for Fighters'

"They fly Hurricanes, isn't it?, them's shit planes for remtards on free dinners..."
Armstrong & Miller Show

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Jacko
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Re: Whinge

Post by Jacko » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:20 pm

I agree fully with point 3 & 4. As a lead its hard to tell who is talking sometimes as well as check location of your escort, messages from bomber element, remembering to communicate engine settings and mixture, understanding the overall sitrep spotting targets calling formation changes, keeping in visual with bombers whilst not over running. Enjoyable though 😎
VVS Rank: Starshina of the 32nd IAD Fighter Aviation Regiment.
RAF Rank: F/Lt Jacko No1 Squadron (JX-J) & No1 Sqd Press Officer
LW Rank: Feldwebel

"Use speed get close, get closer and make every bullet count "

"The only proper defense is offense"
.......Air Vice-Marshall J.E "Johnnie" Johnson, RAF
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Re: Whinge

Post by Hatter » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:18 am

Hear, hear!

I consider the inability to listen to one of the curses of our age, of which I am sure I am guilty.
"Oh God!"

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Re: Whinge

Post by Hatter » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:19 am

An additional point, in the old days we all had a call sign (I was Yellow 3 in 145, for example). We ought to be able to communicate without this, but it might be a helpful thing.
"Oh God!"

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Re: Whinge

Post by Silk » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:32 pm

If you really wanted we could assign each Zveno, Kette or Schwarm their own radio callsign instead of generic ones based on aircraft type as at present.

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