20 January 1916 – Offensive spirit

The new policy of formation flying introduced on the 14th had not only impacted on the practicality of how missions were carried out but on the offensive spirit of the RFC. Until now lone missions meant slim chances of bringing down an enemy aircraft, but the new formations increased the chances of destroying the enemy, and driving them off was no longer considered adequate.

The diary of Lieutenant Danby of 8 Squadron reflects this. He was on a fire registration mission today with Lieutenant G Price in their BE2c (4309) when they got into three combats including Fokker in quick succession. After that “noticing several other hostile machines cruising about, we thought it advisable to give up any endeavour to continue registration and proceed to carry out a policy of aggression.”

However, they failed to find any further targets and returned home.

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