Forward Air Controllers?

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Epaminondas
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Forward Air Controllers?

Post by Epaminondas » 25 Aug 2005 19:55

On another site we are talking about airpower rules for a wargame...

Some people are arguing that Forward Air Controllers were Western Allies only, and relatively late war.

I've seen alot of descriptions however of stukas and other ground support aircraft being used in a planned, tactical application... and the GW unit history, vol 2 has a mention of a Stuka Controller (granted he was sleeping in the divisional command post).

What is a Stuka Controller, and what kind of FACs did the Germans utilize over the course of the war?

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Post by Larry D. » 26 Aug 2005 13:09

Fliegerverbindungsoffizier (abbreviated "Flivo")

Although it translates as Air Force Liaison Officer, it actually means Forward Air Controller when used in the context that you are talking about. They were small teams of 3 to 12 Luftwaffe personnel who operated with the forward ground troops of the Heer and the Waffen-SS, especially Panzer spearheads during offensive operations, to coordinate direct air support at the front. These Flivo teams existed right from the beginning of the war and played a vital role in the successful application of combined arms warfare on all fronts. If anyone "copied" from anyone, it would have been the Western Allies copying from the Germans.

The Western Allies "loved" the German Flivos for a little-known reason. The Flivos used low and intermediate grade code systems to transmit and receive signals calling for direct air support. The British "Y" Service teams, and later their U.S. counterparts, were able to decode these signals almost instantly and thereby compile excellent battlefield intelligence on an hour-by-hour basis. This ability paid off big time in North Africa, Italy and in northwest Europe (i.e., Normandy) by saving the lives of Allied soldiers and by knowing exactly what the Germans were up to along the front.

Read more about it:

The following two books will give you a terrific insight into the workings of the Flivo teams. The author (Cambridge professor Bennett) worked in Bletchley Park Hut 3 during the war and knows what he is talking about - he was there.

BENNETT, Ralph. ULTRA in the West: The Normandy Campaign 1944-45. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1979. ISBN: 0-684-16704-2. Hb. Dj. 336p. Maps. Footnotes. Bibliography. Index.
BENNETT, Ralph. ULTRA and Mediterranean Strategy. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1989. ISBN: 0-68808175-4. Hb. Dj. 496p. Maps. Appendices. Extensive footnotes. Bibliography. Index.

--Larry

gabriel pagliarani
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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 29 Aug 2005 17:56

Larry D. wrote:....BENNETT, Ralph. ULTRA in the West: The Normandy Campaign 1944-45. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1979. ISBN: 0-684-16704-2. Hb. Dj. 336p. Maps. Footnotes. Bibliography. Index.
BENNETT, Ralph. ULTRA and Mediterranean Strategy. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1989. ISBN: 0-68808175-4. Hb. Dj. 496p. Maps. Appendices. Extensive footnotes. Bibliography. Index.

--Larry
Isn't he the last nephew of Sir Gordon Bennet? A wide amount of history of human flight still resting in his own family...

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 29 Aug 2005 18:07

I don't know.....notice that the last name is spelled differently: my Bennett vs your Bennet. Prof. Ralph Bennett never had anything to do with flying or flight. I think he was a history or philosophy professor at Cambridge. He spent the entire war at Bletchley Park, possibly as a civilian. He books are in boxes in my garage. If you want, I can go drag them out and see what it says about him on the dust jacket. It has been about 20 years since I corresponded with him, so I can't remember the details very well anymore.

--Larry

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tigre
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Re: Forward Air Controllers?

Post by tigre » 12 Jul 2021 02:39

Hello to all :D; As a result of some photos, I decided to delve into this topic .............

Close Air Support.

The Stuka was tested in very small quantities in Spain before being used successfully during the German Blitzkrieg in Poland, the Netherlands and France. However, communication between army units and air units was difficult and the process was slow, too slow. The Fliegerverbindungsoffiziere or Flivos (air liaison officer - at the army unit level) and Nahkampffuhrer (close air support officer - within the air corps) were progressively introduced to improve communication between air and ground units from the beginning and progress was made in that area as lessons were learned from campaign to campaign.

During operations on the eastern front the system reached maximum efficiency (for its time): experienced Stuka pilots (acting as Flivos) advanced with the German armored spearhead in specially adapted armored vehicles. This provided continuous and effective air assistance (almost - my note) in real time in a mobile environment (and fluid - my note). Before Barbarossa, other arrangements were made in the organization and particularly the Fliegerkorps II and the Fliegerkorps VIII were responsible for fulfilling the close air support missions.

Sources: Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support. Editado por Benjamin Franklin Cooling (III).
https://defensionem.com/stuka-in-1941-t ... r-support/
4347 ILLUSTRIERTER BEOBACHTER WWII No. 47-1943 - November 25

Can someone contribute something with more about it? Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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shamirnewell
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Re: Forward Air Controllers?

Post by shamirnewell » 17 Sep 2022 01:12

The Forward Air Control officers were called Fliegerleitoffiziere.

The Flivo was at higher hq and handled all liaison duties not just the CAS piece but recon/transport/liason etc.

The relevant radio equipment ground based would have been the Fug 5(Luft) which was replaced by the Fug 7 set. These were mounted in sdkfz 250/251, panzerbefehl tanks and other vehicles.

In the aircraft the radios would have been Fug 7 which was superseded by the Fug 17Z/ZY.

shamirnewell
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Re: Forward Air Controllers?

Post by shamirnewell » 17 Sep 2022 01:16

A relevant section is here.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Germany/HB/HB-10.html

3. Liaison
Liaison between the Army and Air Force for both army cooperation and tactical reconnaissance is provided by specially trained Air Force officers known as Flivos (Fliegerverbindungsoffiziere). The German Air Force support is requested by the Army units through their superior commands. The armies transmit the request to the competent headquarters authority where a German Air Force liaison officer (Flivo) is stationed. Such headquarters are generally those of Army groups. German Air Force Signal Liaison officers (Fliegerverbindungsoffiziere (Ln)) are stationed with Army corps headquarters and in some particular cases with division headquarters. A German Air Force Liaison Officer is specially assigned to Army Headquarters for the purpose of directing close cooperation between the Army and German Air Force reconnaissance units (Fliegerverbindungsoffiziere (Aufklärung)). For the control of the close support missions, which as a result of these requests are ordered by the German Air Force Command (Fliegerkorps or Luftflotte HQ), special German Air Force officers are stationed at the front line. These control officers (Fliegerleitoffiziere) direct the flying formations to their targets by radio from advanced observation posts on the ground.

[X-14]

shamirnewell
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Re: Forward Air Controllers?

Post by shamirnewell » 17 Sep 2022 01:19

Here are some additional photos.
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shamirnewell
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Re: Forward Air Controllers?

Post by shamirnewell » 17 Sep 2022 01:29

And one more picture.
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tigre
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Re: Forward Air Controllers?

Post by tigre » 27 Sep 2022 03:13

Thanks shamirnewell for that info and photos :wink:. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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