Formation
Low

1

3

2

7

4

9

6

8

5

10

12

11

13
High

1

3

2

7

4

9

6

8

5

10

12

11

13
Lead

1

3

2

7

4

9

6

8

5

10

12

11

13

1

3

2

7

4

9

6

8

5

10

12

11

13
Low-Low (diamond)

 

This is the typical formation of 13 aircraft in a each squadron of a group in a bomber stream. Bomber raids started as small intimate affairs. Usually moderate altitudes with a modest number of bombers, striking simple targets along the coast. As the numbers of available bombers increased the raids became larger and more daring. Some of the largest raids employed 1000 bombers to strike targets in Germany. This bomber stream could be as long as 100 miles and as wide as 1 mile. At 180 mph over target an air raid could last from 35-45 minutes.

Each group in the bomber stream was composed of 3 to 4 squadrons. Each squadron was organized in elements of 3 ships and would have anywhere from 3 to 4 elements plus a spare. In this formation the lead element (planes 1, 2, and 3) flew at the designated altitude at the front of the squadron. The planes in an element were separtated by 50' horizontally, and each element was also separated by 50' horizontally.

This deployment of aircraft made it nearly impossible for a single fighter to get hits on multiple aircraft in a single pass through a squadron. Secondly, it also spread the attacking force out making it difficult for it to concentrate its fire. Thirdly, this opened up the gunners field of fire increasing their effectiveness.

Prior to the IP each squadron would manuever to fall into line astern formation to concentrate the attack on the designated targets.

[ Elevation]

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