HiPips wrote: ↑06 Sep 2021 01:45Thanks Sheldrake and Richard. Whatever the cause, the loss numbers are quite high. Appreciably more so than that mentioned in the books in my first post.
Carl. The technique you describe is surprisingly similar to that originally employed by French and German aerial observation airmen in 1914. Much use was made of flags and smoke bombs back then.
The RFC was well behind in their tactics back then, as little co-operation had been practiced between them and the Artillery. It wasn't until the Battle of the Aisne 1914 that the RFC adopted French techniques.
The above comment on the RFC and Artillery is not strictly true as they had been involved in trials and experiments each year from 1912. Indeed, the editorial of 'Flight' of 27 July 1912, referencing the experiments that year contained the following quote:
"Major-Gen, Rawlinson, commanding 3rd Infantry Division, says that the most pressing need at the moment is a satisfactory code of signals between the aerial observer and the artillery commander."
The trials over these years included, message dropping, signalling with flags, lamp, wireless, smoke balls and Very lights from aeroplanes, also telephone and flags from man lifting kites. (The British had used flags and telephone from balloons during the Boer War, although the telephone cable had a tendency to breakdown, if close to the guns the observer would shout.) White cloth strips 5 feet by 8 inches were used to signal to aeroplanes and man lifting kites from the guns.
For those interested I have had an article published in 'Cross & Cockade International Journal, Winter 2019' reference the pre-WW1 communication experiments 'Communication and Aircraft: The British Military Experience, Pre-First World War Experiments and Practice'.
The first British 'standard' document for these methods 'Co-operation of Aeroplanes with Artillery' was issued in December 1914 after use of the methods on the battlefield, the signalling methods used include, lamp, wireless, Very lights and smoke balls plus some aeroplane manoeuvres, all things tried out pre-war. Ground signalling used strips of white cloth 6 feet by 1 foot. Each method had pros and cons and no method was with out its problems.