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|Two Rotten made up a Schwarm with the leading Rotte flying to one side and slightly afhead of the other. This is called the FINGER FOUR formation. The Rotte and Schwarm are both TACTICAL formations. The complexity of online formation flying make it difficult to maintain a disciplined formation above 4 plane formations. For most part we fly 4 man formations on patrol. Once the fight begins, and depending on the number of bandits, the formations splits in to Rottes to continue the fight as explained in the proceding information about Rotte tactics.
|THE FINGER FOUR FORMATION: If you take your right hand and tuck your thumb underneath your palm and lay your hand on your desk you will see your four fingers stepped with your middle finger in the lead, this position in the formation is the lead element. The lead element of a Schwarm is called the Schwarmfuhrer, The Schwarmfuhrer is also the Rottenfuhrer of his two plane Rotte. Your index finger is the position of the Schwarmfuhrer's Katchmarek or wingman. Your ring finger would be the lead element, Rottenfuhrer of the second Rotte and your pinky finger would be his Katchmarek.
|Manuvering a 4 plane formation online if difficult but it can be done with practice. The Schwarmfuhrer should run at less that full manifold pressure, 80-90 %. to allow the rest of the formation to adjust to him. The Schwarmfuhrer should fly at a constant speed and heading as much as possible. He should communicat any course or speed change in advance.
|The turn begins with the Schwarmfuhrer anounceing the new course and to begin the turn. The tun begins with the plane on the outside of the turn, (Red in this case) turning behind the formation onto the new course. As soon as Red passes the tail of green he then turns. Then blue and purple till all are on the new course. The aircraft on the outside ALWAYS will be the first to turn.
|HISTORY: Werner Molders, as part of the CONDOR LEGION, is credited with refining and introducing the Schwarm formation to the Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War on the late 1930's. The installation of radios in most German Fighters, the increased difficulty of defending against high speed attacks from the rear, and the necessity of engaging more manuverable opponents led to the use of the loose pair, which the Germans called the Rotte. This doctrine provided the Luftwaffe with a considerable advantage over their foes early in WW2, but eventually it was accepted and employed to some extent by most of the Allied air forces, and it survives today as probably the most common air to air doctrine in use.
* Time for one fighter in a poor defensive position is minimized.
* The formation stays close the whole turn.
* Easy to reverse the direction using another 90 degree turn after 2 seconds straight flight.
* Larger turn radius.
NOTE: Drfensive manuvering while in the Finger Four formation is the same as flying in a pair with sandwiching and cross turning being the most effective. That will be covered more in the "Combat Manuvering" section.