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RAF Air Patrol Tactics

Heroes Remember

RAF Air Patrol Tactics

We joined 213 Squadron which was flying Hurricanes and they had had such terrific losses, they had sent a large number of their pilots back for rest and that's why they were bringing us up to replace them. We did quite a bit of practice flying at that time and they changed their tactics of flying. Before they used to go in this circle, we used to call it the ‘death circle' and the Germans would, if you ran out of fuel or were going to run out of fuel and had to turn back they were able to pick you off as easy targets. We did lose a large number of pilots at that time. But at El Alamein this is what we would patrol, from the Mediterranean to the Qattara Depression and we stacked the planes up like four-eight-twelve, four-eight-twelve with the idea that when the 109's turn into us, the German 109's turn into us, we could have all our, we could turn into the Germans and have all this fire power pointed at the German air planes. So from then on our losses were far less.

Mr. Wilson describes how the Royal Air Force, after sustaining heavy losses to the Luftwaffe, changed its patrol tactics by stacking groups of four aircraft in three tiers, thus decreasing its losses substantially.

Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson was born on December 5, 1917 in Limerick, Saskatchewan. The Royal Canadian Air Force was no longer accepting recruits when he enlisted so he joined the Royal Regina Rifles. Six months later, Mr. Wilson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at Brandon, Manitoba. His first wartime deployment saw him serving in North Africa near El Alamein, where he initially flew Hurricanes in a Royal Air Force squadron. He later piloted Spitfire 9’s in Sicily, Italy and the Middle East. After the war, Mr. Wilson completed a university degree and became a museum curator.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gordon Wilson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
El Alamein
Air Force
Flying Officer

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