Tactics used by the 56th FG

- - - - - - 56th Fighter Group - - - - - -

Fuel 100. Basic ammo. Convergence 300 yards. Go!

Combat spread. The core of 56th FG fighting is the wingman relationship. Our standard formation is combat spread, or line abreast. Never ever fly in line astern formation. If you find yourself in trail, make a simultaneous 90 degree turn to regain combat spread, then return to the desired heading with the use of an in-place turn, also known as the tactical turn (see below).

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The element in line abreast is next to invulnerable. Given a lateral spacing of 500-1000 yards, the blind spot is virtually nonexistent even in the P47-C. The team can handle multiple bandits in any direction, at any energy state. However, while cruising, if you lose separation you're blinding yourself and your wingman. Work with throttle, separation and comms to maintain the spread.

Tac turn. The tactical turn allows the element to change heading swiftly while retaining the combat spread and maintaining visual coverage to astern. The trick is to trade places in the turn by allowing the "outside" fighter to turn first. As the "inside" fighter, still on the old heading, observe his wingman sliding into his seven or five o'clock, he too initiates the turn. It's easy once you get the hang of it. Maintain speed throughout the turn - don't lose energy by pulling too hard. You may need to work a bit with throttle, lateral separation and small changes in altitude to reform. With practice, you should be able to turn together as swiftly and efficiently as you do on your own.

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Offensive objectives.
Remember that you're not flying in line abreast because it's pretty. You're there to KILL! And enjoy better security while doing it. The line abreast is not defensive, it's offensive at all times.

Bracket attack. Bandit spotted either co-alt or slightly lower in the team's forward quarter (i.e in any position forward of the wingline). The team positions for attack by opening up separation to put the bandit in the middle. Both fighters commit to the attack using sustained inward turns. The bandit must choose to defend against either, he cannot defend against both. Endgame. If endgame does not occur, keep working with separation, and use drag&bag as necessary.

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Trail attack. Against an unsuspecting low bandit, or when either fighter attacks much sooner than the other, the wingman will trail into the attack. Picture a low bandit, level or climbing, or a dead six chase. Lead goes in to bounce, preferably from low six or out of the sun. Wingman hangs back, then follow up the lead's attack. If the lead misses, the wingman will get a clean, planform shot at the breaking enemy, or nail the startled bandit as he concentrates on the lead.

Defensive objectives.

Neutralize the threat and transition to the attack. If unable to attack safely, disengage.

Cross Split. This maneuver allow a swift transition to the attack. The team spots a con at their six o'clock, his energy state may be negative, neutral or superior. It doesn't matter - you will turn the table on him regardless. Break toward your wingman, making a sustained turn to maintain E and sufficient separation. The bandit must choose either,
he cannot attack both. The engaged fighter may need to perform guns defense while the free fighter convert to the bandit's six. Endgame. If endgame does not occur and the situation allows for engaged maneuvering, make sure to continue working the bandit from different directions in order to make him break or overtax his SA. If he breaks off combat, let him go unless you feel entirely safe to pursue and/or are in a position to kill him swiftly.

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Half Split. Same situation again. This time only one fighter (the wingman) peel off some 45 degrees or enough to keep the bandit in sight, while standing by to turn back immediately if the bandit goes after the lead. Perform guns defense if necessary. In case of the bandit going after the wingman, the lead turns in and dispose of him. Depending on relative E-states, the engagement may lead to a classic sandwich or a bracket fight as above.

Drag&Bag. Entice the bandit to follow either fighter while the other sneak up in his cold six to dispose of him before he gets into guns range. Faking an attack with the wingman in trail usually scores easy kills.

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Thatch Weave. Primarily used when the team is too far from each other to perform any of the above, or wish to exit the general area and still clobber the bandit. Depending on energy state and the need to put distance behind you, scissor the bandit to death by reciprocating S-turns. Note that this is NOT an individual flat scissors, but a TEAM scissors which opens and closes - with the bandit in the middle. The picture shown here is not totally correct in that regard. In a true Thatch Weave, you will want to make more pronounced turns. In high speed fights where you wish to extend, the turns are small unless the bandit is in firing range (which will force guns defense and lead to a 2v1 situation). Open up separation, then close it again to let yourself or your wingman to gain angles. The bandit will be totally at a disadvantage if you keep the radius small yet sufficient to gain angles, whereas you will risk head-on shots if you make big turns.
Whenever the bandit stops tracking one of you (due to having to perform guns defense), he's meat on the table.

How to drag.
When you're desperate, don't head straight at a friend since this may force him into an unwanted an unneccessary head-on situation. Use separation and the fact that the bandit will present his cold six and set himself up for imminent eradication should he persist in chasing you. As soon as he breaks off, you're in a good position to reverse your break and exact sweet revenge - provided you're fit to do so.

Squadron tactics.

With more than one element, we're at liberty to take on vast numbers with a certain degree of security. Whenever the lead element engages, the second element must decide whether to give immediate assistance or to keep station in the most likely threat direction.

Section in combat spread. The two elements making up the section are overlapped with the wingpair maintaining its standard separation. This formation has a rather small signature and navigates well, especially when there are lots of other ships in the vicinity. Don't confuse this with a traditional finger four, which usually has the wingman formatting much closer to the lead ship. The finger four is more suited for welded wing fighting, whereas this formation emphasizes loose deuce tactics.

Echelon. Also known as sucked trail. Distance between elements approximately 4000 yards. Makes for a slightly less conspicious profile, especially on enemy radar screens, and retains the advantage with little added risk. Don't feel bad if you fall into elements in trail as long as you maintain combat spread within the pair. The trailing element usually comes as a very nasty surprise to bandits maneuvering against the leading pair.
In the very moment the leading element engages, the trailing element
is "uncoupled" and is expected to make its own snap decisions
according to the situation. As a rule, maintaining separation, i.e room
to maneuver, is always good.

Sections in combat spread. Recommended distance between sections
approximately 4000 yards. This gives an enormous tactical advantage
in any situation. You do not wish to meet us in this configuration.