1. #1
    zardozid's Avatar Senior Member
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    I'm just curious if anyone knows what a typical flight altitude might have been when US pilots where cruising around the country side looking for ground targets... 5000 feet? 2500 feet? What was the official recommendation?
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  2. #2
    zardozid's Avatar Senior Member
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    I'm just curious if anyone knows what a typical flight altitude might have been when US pilots where cruising around the country side looking for ground targets... 5000 feet? 2500 feet? What was the official recommendation?
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  3. #3
    DKoor's Avatar Senior Member
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    I think that depends on aircraft type and even more on mission type .
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  4. #4
    I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying.
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  5. #5
    zardozid's Avatar Senior Member
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by DKoor:
    I think that depends on aircraft type and even more on mission type . </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Fair enough...

    Lets say P-51D's on a return trip from an escort mission inside Germany...they are looking for ground targets of opportunity. What would be a recommended safe cruising altitudes to search for targets, and then what would be a "safe" approach altitude?

    You have to be flying high enough so that you can leave yourself options (and minimize small arms fire to radiator), but you need to be low enough to recognize targets and minimize approach time to target.

    I know that their where no concrete rules but their must have been a "safe recommended approach altitude"...The Army (and Navy) has (had) rules for everything!
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  6. #6
    zardozid's Avatar Senior Member
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mandrill7:
    I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


    1600 feet, interesting...
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  7. #7
    You just have to watch old gunsight footage to see that they flew real low, low enough to fly through secondary explosions:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f9cqhuARrM
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  8. #8
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by zardozid:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mandrill7:
    I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


    1600 feet, interesting... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Check out Dart's Page for some great ground attack tutorials. The skip bombing tutorial helped me quite a bit, I rarely miss when skip bombing ships now.
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  9. #9
    joeap's Avatar Senior Member
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mandrill7:
    I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    BTW buddy, I'm flying your Bombardirovshchik-44 campaign and it is a hoot so far!!!
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  10. #10
    Skycat_2's Avatar Senior Member
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    The US 8th Fighter Command published a confidential paper in August, 1944 that attempted to address this question with essays written by combat veterans involved in ground attack in France up through D-Day. The intention was to pass on the combined experience to new fighter pilots. The 60-page document reveals that a favorite technique was to come in very low, at treetop level usually, and pop up over the target for the attack. The advice does vary considerably however.

    Col. Don Blakeslee's (4th FG, P-51) entry, the first in the document, will probably interest you:

    "Airdromes. Surprise, speed and a variation of the attack--these are the things to keep in mind when strafing a Hun airdrome.
    I consider surprise as one of the chief factors in a successful strafe. When my group is assigned to strafe a particular target I ask for all the photographs available. I want to know what the airfield looks like before I get there. I want my intelligence officer to get the best information he can on the defense, the pin-point positions of flak posts, if possible. I want to know what kind and how many aircraft are reported to be on the field and just where on the field I can find them parked. I want to know what the terrain around the airdrome is.
    With this I can plan the approach best calculated to achieve surprise. I use terrain--hills, gullys and trees for cover, and such airdrome installations as hangars, etc., to screen my approach, I never come right in on an airdrome if I can help it. If I have planned to attack an airdrome beforehand I pick an I.P. some 10 miles away--some easily recognizable place. I have my course from there to the drome worked out. Once in the air, I take my boys right past the airdrome as if I had no intention of attacking it at all. At my I.P. I let down and swing back flat on the deck. I usually try and have another check-point on the course from my I.P., not far from the airdrome, and when I pass that I know I am definately coming in on the right field. I don't like to end up on an airdrome before I realize I am even coming to one. But once I hit the drome, I really get down on the deck. I don't mean five feet up; I mean so low the grass is brushing the bottom of the scoop.
    For a squadron attack on a Hun airfield I do not recommend sending sections in waves. This is a good way to get half the outfit shot down. In my own group, I want as many eight in at one time, if possible. These should be well abreast and, knowing our target beforehand, we go right in full bore in a straight line. Once you start an attack of this kind, don't turn or swerve. If you do there is danger of collision or entering another man's pattern of fire.
    I plan on one pass on an airdrome and after my first pass I climb to three or four thousand feet well beyond the field and circle and look back to observe the damage in the form of smoke or fire. I see where the rest of the boys are and call up on the R/T and ask how the flak was. If there wasn't too much on the first pass and I figure we can afforde to have a second time, we line up and repeat the performance. This time I usually leave eight aircraft up for top cover. These should be at four or five thousand feet--well beyond the range of small arms fire. On the first pass I never bother with top cover as we are all on the deck and any Hun that wants to bounce us is welcome to try.
    After the attack on the field stay on the deck for a good mile beyond the drome before pulling up. The break should consist of rudder yawing. Never coc.k a wing up. If you must turn on the drome, do flat skidding turns. Don't give the Hun a better target to shoot at.
    I prefer to get down low and shoot up any aircraft on the ground rather than come in high and shoot down. Usually I fire a short burst from long range and correct for it as I come in.
    My method of attacking an uassigned airfield--a target of opportunity, one I have noticed on the way back--is about the same. The only difference is that in one case I have quite a lot of information; in the other I have to get a mental picture of the field, the location of the aircraft and dispersals, watch for any guns firing--all in a few seconds as I go by. Once I decide to attack, my method is the same."

    Blakeslee continues his discussion by considering targets other than airdromes. For convoys, trains, etc. he writes, "My methods are about the same. I usually let down to about two or three thousand feet and cruise around looking for targets. When I find one I get directly over it and go down in a 20 to 30 degree dive. I feel this enables me to concentrate my fire. The attack would be varied if the convoy was in a gully or behind trees."
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