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The fate of this small island, seated at the North-Western corner of Europe, will soon rest upon the shoulders of the young men of the Royal Air Force, their aircraft and Britain's secret weapon, the Chain Home radar system. Can they stand against the might of the Luftwaffe? Only time will tell.
No. 504 Squadron (County of Nottingham) was a part-time unit of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF). In the late-1920s there was an idea that a several standing reservist squadrons should be raised, elite squadrons manned with a mix of regular and civilian personnel. In 1939 No.504 was mobilised with the outbreak of war. As a frontline Hurricane squadron they were dispatched to France and operated from an airfield near Lille during the early-part of 1940. During the Battle of France the squadron found themselves to be in the line of the German advance and, with their airfield about to be overrun, managed to get 12 Hurricanes into the air, although one of these, flown by Sq Ldr "Johnnie" Hill, was shot down. Returning to England the squadron began to prepare for what was to come.
As a squadron we organise ourselves just as 504 & most RAF Fighter Squadrons would have been in the summer of 1940, along the following lines;
Each Squadron contained up to 16 aircraft, of which 12 would be operational, and up to 20 pilots. The squadron was divided into two FLIGHTS; A FLIGHT & B FLIGHT. These are further divided into SECTIONS; RED & GOLD/YELLOW for A FLIGHT, BLUE & GREEN for B FLIGHT. Within these Sections a pilot was referred to by his SECTION colour and his number in that Section; Red Leader, Blue 2, Green 3 et cetera. In 504 we retain that structure with each pilot assigned to a SECTION and thereby a FLIGHT. New pilots to a Section will always be number '3'.
The squadron is led by Squadron Leader Jim Digby, whose Hurricane is identified by the Squadron Leader pennant painted on the fuselage and his aircrafts assigned letter; 'J'. If the Squadron Leader is absent then the squadron is commanded by the Deputy Squadron Commander. FLIGHTS or SECTIONS acting independently from the rest of the squadron will be under the command of their appropriate FLIGHT or SECTION commander - this will most likely occur when SECTIONS are sent on patrol.
Pilot Background: When creating your avatar there are several things we want prospective members to bear in mind;
- An Authentic name for a British pilot
- Realistic elements for their background
For the first we will not accept comedic or alpha-numeric tags. The point of this is to spice up flying in IL2: Cliffs of Dover with some roleplay. As such we'd expect your pilot's name to reflect this. For the second, if you want to flesh out your character please do so. Consider questions such as where are they from? What social class? Where did they work? What is their marital status? This is not compulsory but it would be nice to have a small biography for each pilot.
All new pilots will start at the rank of Sergeant and may recieve promotion depending upon their capability & record. For most pilots this will be to the rank of Flight Sergeant but those deemed to show significant promise as a pilot & potential leader may be offered a Commission to the rank of Pilot Officer. If those who remain at NCO rank show sufficient promise in the future they may be offered a Field Commission and elevated to the officers mess as a Pilot Officer.
There are a total of seven ranks within the flying members of a Squadron;
- Non-Commissioned Officers
- Sergeant (Sgt): The lowest rank of pilot, a non-commissioned officer.
- Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt or FS): Non-commissioned officer.
- Warrant Officer (WO): A senior Non-commissioned officer.
- Commissioned Officers
- Pilot Officer (Plt Off or P/O): Junior Commissioned officer.
- Flying Officer (Fg Off or F/O): Commissioned officer.
- Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt or F/L): Commissioned officer.
- Squadron Leader (Sq Ldr or S/L): Senior Commisioned Officer.
A player's rank does not dictate their appointment in the Squadron, apart from the Squadron Leader who will always be the Squadron Commander. Pilot Officers, Flying Officers & Flight Lieutenants may be appointed to command a Section or Flight. The Squadron Commander will appoint his Flight & Section Commanders from the pool of those with the rank of a Commissioned Officer. Being a Section/Flight Commander isn't just some glossy title, there is work & responsibility involved. Aside from leading their Section/Flight in battle a good Commander must be able to navigate to & from the target and know their location at all times. They must be able to assess situations & be able to quickly respond appropriately. They should have good awareness of what is going on around them at all times - the appointment is not a means of lording it over others but of being responsible for our other players in the game and ensuring that your Section works as a team.
Training & Going Solo
To ensure our pilots know their business Section & Flight Commanders, as well as the Squadron Commander, will train pilots posted to their Section or Flight. Initial training will be undertaken in the De Havilland Tiger Moth and will cover basic elements; Pre-flight checks/engine start-up, taking off, circuits, landing.
Once a Section Commander/Training Officer is happy a pilot can perform basic elements then they will 'Go Solo' in the Hurricane and move on to formation flying and gunnery, primarily flying Hurricanes from Watchfield to supply No.504 at Hendon. They may join their Section on Patrols at the Section Commanders discretion but the emphasis will still be on training. When the Section Commander believes the pilot's performance is satisfactory they will be declared as Ready for Duty.
If you have to face the enemy without having completed your training, don't worry - if this happens to you remember what you have been taught and stick to your leader like glue! Listen to them, trust them and they will get you home in one piece.
We encourage players to learn their way around the Hawker Hurricane and to get as comfortable flying it as they can. It may not have the speed or manouverability of a Spitfire but it's a tough aircraft and with care it can get you home despite taking heavy damage; learn to fly your Hurricane & it will look after you. If you find yourself with some time free do familiarise yourself further with the aircraft - practice & training will make you a better pilot.
Whilst Sunday evenings will be the most likely time that No.504 will fly out as a squadron, the Sections are encouraged to go out on patrol and to intercept enemy formations at other times during the week. If one or two pilots are on leave or resting (re: offline) then their place in a patrolling Section may be taken by other members. The patrolling Section is decided by whichever Section commander is available. There is a lot of exlbility in who will fly with whom.
When enough pilot's are available to take off as a complete Flight of two Sections or as a Squadron, then 504 will primarily focus on engaging bomber formations or, if pushed to do so, will engage Luftwaffe fighters.
We encourage pilots to write After Action Reports and to submit these to either Sq Ldr Jim Digby or Flt Lt Richard Flockton. These can be as long or short as you wish but the best AARs will be featured in this thread in the third post so we can keep a record of No.504's sorties.
To enroll simply contact Squadron Leader Jim Digby of 504 Squadron or Flight Lieutenant Richard Flockton at Sector Control. We will go through the enrollment process with you. What you need to have are;
- IL2: Cliffs of Dover - with the latest TeamFusion patch
- TeamSpeak 3
- A want to fly as part of an RAF Squadron
- Whilst not essential we do recommend face tracking whether with official TrackIR kit or with a webcam such as a PS3 Eye & software like FaceTrackNoir - it makes your life as a pilot a lot easier! We will help you with getting it up and running if needs be.