Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Air Force Traffic Control?

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by FramerT, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. FramerT

    FramerT Ace

    Dec 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I have a few questions about Allied plane co-ordination unless someone has any referance material I can look up.I'm aware about the U.S.bombing at day and Britan at night, but am wondering how[if]anyone kept track on if "friendlies" might be in the area. Example;say the USAF were returning from a bomb run w/fighter escort,how would they know if the Brits had a Mosquito raid in progress and not jump them? How would Brit. radar distinquish who was coming across the channel? :D Where was the first airport established on the French side of the channel? Good reads on this subject? :confused:
  2. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

    Jan 16, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Interesting Q....I wouldn't know about the traffic control, but what I gather is that it all depended on good aircraft recognition by the (air- ground-) crews.

    As to the first Allied airfield in Europe. I believe it was near Caen, shortly after the invasion. Sommecourt's site has a story of a trip of a British vet that was with 83rd group, 2TAF. that was stationed at B2 (second airfield in Europe) at Bazenville...

    See story at http://battlefieldsww2.50megs.com/return_to_normandy.htm

    "Overlord - General Pete Quesada an the Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II' by Thomas Alexander Hughes might shed some light on 9th Air Force airfields in Europe, but I haven't read the book yet and a quick glance didn't provide the answer.


    [ 14. April 2004, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]
  3. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

    Sep 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Vernon BC Canada
    Bumping an old thread...

    The Royal Air Force Flying Control Organization. (Nearly forgotten to history...)

    Despatch on War Operations, 23rd February, 1942, to 8th May, 1945 By Sir Arthur Travers Harris (Found in Google Books Preview.)
    Appendix X Page -185 - 191 covers much of the RAF side of things with the RAF Flying Control Organization.

    Some good photos and a bit of information at: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/55011-raf-flying-control-officer/

    Flying Control in the Royal Air Force by Arthur Golding Barrett

    From: Take-off to Touchdown: The Story of Air Traffic Control by Don Charlwood

    "As they approached England on their return journey, the aircraft would split up.
    About fifteen miles from home, each would call its own control tower using the tower's radio call-sign
    - a strange assortment of call-signs, all of them distinctive to avoid confusion with others: Eggwhisk, Hotpipe, Porkchop, Dopey, Fusspot, Bluefrock and so on.

    As soon as these calls were made, RAF flying control would take over.
    Although the flying control officer directed the operation, a girl would use the microphone - a distinctive voice among the many male voices calling for instructions.
    The first aircraft to call would normally be given first to land; the succeeding aircraft would then be "stacked" one above the other at one thousand foot intervals.
    All would circle the aerodrome awaiting turns to land."

    Fighter Command had Sector Controllers.
    cc at: http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/fightercontrolsystem.cfm

    1940 RAF Fighter Command Order of Battle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Fighter_Command_Order_of_Battle_1940

    And never forget the part the Royal Observer Corps played: http://freespace.virgin.net/richard.wordsmith/roc/rochist.htm

    - or their training in Plane Spotting. http://www.ww2f.com/topic/49334-raf-training-films/page-2?hl=spotting#entry547718

    Edit: see also:
  4. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Active Member

    Mar 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    The London borough of Croydon, GB
    I live with my grandmother (maternal)... It's just me and my grandmother in this house, she's 92 this year and is still out and about...
    She signed up to join the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) when she was 16, 17 because, when she was 17, 18, she'd be conscripted anyway, and thus, wanted a say in the matter and took it upon herself to join the WAAF.
    She served at radar stations, met my Grandfather who also worked in radar, he actually went over to Germany a week or 2 after the D Day landings, my grandmother being from a grammar school had a well to do job for the RAF as a WAAF, she also plotted the D-Day landings and the Battle of Britain... She would know all about air traffic control.
    I could ask her when she comes home.
    My grandmother's from London, London girl, before she joined up, she got bombed out twice!.. and... She was actually raised in Essex and went to a posh grammar school out there where she studied under a scholarship she got in her 11+, before returning to London just before war broke out.
    She met my grandfather in her service, he was working on radar... Was a smart guy, I never met him and he passed away in 2000. He was from Birmingham way (Sutton Coldfield) from a family with roots in Stratford-Upon-Avon... Wound up in Brighton in the end; They were both stationed in Devon or Cornwall (somewhere that way), so it's because of the war, I am. - They had my mother in 1946... She be a baby boomer. My father was actually born in February 1939, so, actually before WWII in Britain. - That side of the family were slightly too old to see active service though my grandfather did do something...
    I just forget what... I think it was involved with flares, signals, lighting something up, I honestly have no clue, so the only WWII I know in my family is that living connection I have with my maternal Grandmother. - Who, as I say, could probably answer all those questions OP has.
    I know; Because she was stationed in the South, she was under General Eisenhower's command...
    My grandmother saw blips on the screen and then did sums to work out things like it's location, it's altitude, where it was going, how fast it was going; all by a blip on a screen - She'd work out trajectories, write down the coordinates and hand them to someone who'd go and run what my grandmother wrote down along to the people who were by a big map charting it all.
  5. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Active Member

    Mar 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    The London borough of Croydon, GB
    I just spoke to my grandmother, asked her all about it;
    I've now deduced that she had a screen with a line on it that represented a 180 mile/200 mile radius, and would go on watch duty with 7 other people, and they would each alternate the roles, and sitting in front of the glass screen was a duty that they didn't encourage for more than an hour at a time, and there was a computer that done the coordinates, and, if it ever broke down, my grandmother and everybody was trained to work them out... You have a line, and a circle... at one end of the line it's 180 miles away, at the bottom, it's over your head... Then another dial you operate with your left hand would alter it and give you the bearing and... Then someone else fed that along into a computer and this information was passed from the people on watch duty by phone (everyone's wearing headphones) to the people by the map, with the sticks... and up on a higher level physically looking down at this big map with people charting it with sticks were the officers, who were in direct communication with the pilots and knew who was meant to be up in the air and where; So my grandmother had to do watch duty, from when she was 18 to the end of the war, 1942 - 1945, and so, was too young to plot the Battle of Britain (but she did get bombed out in Balham when that happened, or Bermondsey - she got bombed out twice, in those 2 places), but did plot D-Day - She said, the pilots also had a system on board called the IFF that they'd switch on if they were in distress, and when that happened it would show up on the screen as a big square and you knew if that square vanished/it went down in the sea or somewhere.
    She also said there was other radar stations all across England and the officers got information from them all and drew a line directly in the middle and that was the most accurate way to determine where a H (hostile) was; and that some stories of these big birds of the Welsh coast that was known to show up on radar out there and where she was in Cornwall, they didn't see any doodlebugs (bombs) coming in.
    I like talking to my grandmother, 92 years old this July and talks like she's a teenager again when she talks about it. :)
    The OP asked about, how did they track allied air movements... I asked my grandmother, she said, anything like that flooded her screen, there was no way to determine an aircraft's line on her screen from another, so when that happened, the whole screen literally went white with all the lines, but then she said; the officers who were in direct communication with the pilots over the radio did all that stuff.
    Also, my grandfather worked on... Something that was coming out then, because, what my grandmother used was rather rudimentary even the Navy had better sonar then those guys at the time, what with the map on the screen, and their low-dar (low radar) ability too... Was developing that signal that allows aeroplanes to navigate using a signal (like auto pilot does today) - my grandfather helped develope the thing that guided the aeroplane's path in WWII.
    CAC likes this.

Share This Page