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How well trained were the RAF during WW2

How well trained were United States pilots during WW2?

Generally well trained. The Navy aviators had excellent training.

The US and British tended to recycle their pilots and use experienced aviators as flight instructors. Since fuel was never an issue, the Americans gave their aviators good combat training and education before sending them to combat.

Germans, OTOH, had a Darwinistic approach. Their basic training was, according to the Finnish experience, rudimentary at best and bad at worst, and 10% to 20% losses were commonplace. The fresh pilots were then sent to combat units, where they would learn by experience under the tutelage of more experienced Alte Hasen. Most were shot down before their tenth combat flight, and the veterans never learned their names. Those who survived, were to become Experten, aces, as they flew in target rich environment.

How good were the British during WW2?

How well trained were US soldiers in WW2, compared to other nations?

How well trained were the RAF during WW2?

They were very well trained. Probably the worlds best pilots overall, a little better or at least as good as the Germans. The German fighter planes were comparable but better than the RAF Hurricanes (2/3 of RAF planes), but only equal to or a little worse than the RAF Spitfire (1/3). German planes outnumbered UK planes 2 to 1.
So, how did RAF win.....several things in their favor.....
1.) Home court advantage, time in the air. Since the UK planes were fighting right above their own country and airfields they could stay up 1 hour or more. The German fighters were fighting at the ends of their combat radius and could only stay over England 10-15 min.
2.) Home court advantage, retrieval of downed pilots/ planes. Shot down UK pilots/ planes would fall over England and if survived would be used again (pilots, parts, planes when possible). When a German went down over England or the Channel, pilot, plane and parts were gone for good.
3.) The British had.. radar...crucial in the victory. British fighters always knew where German planes were going to strike so could be waiting to hit them wherever they showed up.
4.) Stupid German planning (Hitler again and also Goering). The proper targets for the German bombers were the RAF airfields and radar stations, taking them out, would have meant no places for RAF planes and no forewarning. Goering tried this awhile, even came close to a possible win, but then idiotically obeyed Hitler and switched instead to bombing London and UK cities, pointlessly killing civilians who could not have mattered in the battle anyway, while all the while, the RAF grew in undamaged airfields, more radar, more planes.

How many hours of flight training were required of Allied pilots during World War II?

It depended on the air force and the period of the war.

Both Britain and the US mounted major training programs when war broke out but the supply of pilots early in the war often did not keep up with demand and both shortened and compressed their training.

Here's an overview of the USAF training program as of May 1944.


In the 1930's, US flight training lasted twelve months. In 1939, total training was cut to 8 months and then seven months with 10 weeks allotted to each of the primary, basic and advanced stages.

After Pearl Harbor, the training program was compressed again with 9 weeks each for primary, basic and advanced training.

By mid 1944, the stages were lengthened to 10 weeks apiece and after VJ to 15 weeks.

Even though the Air Force shortened the duration of the training phases, it tried to keep the flight hours up: 70 - 75 hours of flying in the primary phase went to 65 hours in 1939, with around 200 hours of flight time logged by the end of advanced training.

Transitional and operational training was the most important preparation for combat. Pilots were trained on the planes they would actually fly in combat and were introduced to gunnery, bombing and tactics for the first time.

The Royal Air Force is harder to characterize since it provided several paths to becoming a pilot. In addition to the standard RAF training program, there was also the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) and a reserve officer training plan. BCATP set up a common training program for Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The British training programs allotted between 17 weeks (1940) to 20 weeks (1942) to 34 weeks for the primary/basic/advanced phases of flight training. After completion, graduates were sent to Operational Training Units (OTU) to get their transitional and operational training (anywhere from 8 to 14 weeks).

When RAF Fighter Command was under extreme pressure in the later stages of the Battle of Britain, the RAF considered OTU squadrons as being eligible for use in combat and replacement pilots were receiving severely truncated transition and operational training, as little as a couple of weeks training in Spitfires and Hurricanes.

During World War 2, were United States military pilots required to be officers, or could enlisted men become pilots?

For the US we certainly had flying Sergeants in the Army Air Corp and also in the Navy and Marine Corps. Only the Army continues to have Warrant Officer pilots flying today though I think the USAF may be opening the doors to enlisted UAV pilots. The following is from Wikipedia:

United Kingdom and Commonwealth[edit]

In Commonwealth air forces, a sergeant pilot (pilot IV, III or II from 1946 to 1950) could be promoted to flight sergeant pilot (pilot I from 1946 to 1950) and warrant officer pilot (renamed master pilot in 1946). Many went on to be commissioned. There were still master pilots flying helicopters with the Royal Air Force at least into the early 1970s.

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Corporals, sergeants, staff sergeants, and warrant officers may still qualify and operate as pilots in the British Army Air Corps.

United States[edit]

The United States Army Air Forces originally favoured officer pilots and the few enlisted pilots were usually civilian-qualified. The adoption of transport and strategic bombing missions meant that a larger number of pilots were needed to perform monotonous and gruelling jobs. Officer pilots were usually assigned to fly fighters and fighter-bombers and commanded units. Enlisted pilots usually were assigned to fly light reconnaissance and artillery-spotter aircraft, cargo aircraft, and medium- and heavy-weight bombers.

The Flight Officer Act of 1942 created the warrant officer rank of flight officer. All enlisted pilots were promoted to that rank and the rank of flight sergeant was discontinued. The flight officer rank was cancelled in 1945 due to there being adequate numbers of commissioned pilots.

The United States Navy and United States Marine Corps had several programmes to train civilian pilots and enlisted personnel to become naval aviators. There were also programmes to train enlisted men to serve as enlisted pilots to fly torpedo and dive bombers, transport and reconnaissance planes, and airships.

During the Second World War, were American and German fighter pilots trained to dogfight differently with different tactics or was their training very similar?

How well did the Dutch defend the Netherlands in WW2?

How strong were the Royal Navy and Air Force in WW2?

Royal navy at the time of WWII was probably the third best navy in the world, behind US and Japanese navy. Despite lacking submarines, surface combatants of royal navy such as aircraft carriers and battleships were quite decent, and thus Germany decided to employ U boat rather than surface combatants against royal navy as she knew she had no chance in defeating royal navy in a sea battle (Bismack was a rare exception). Generally the aircraft carriers of royal navy carried less planes, however they were more well built than the counterpart of Japan and USA with armor flight deck. Royal navy was certainly the strongest navy in European theater and capable of dealing with any threat from axis power in Europe, however her navy would not be strong enough to fight in the Pacific.

RAF had well trained pilots and the aircraft spitfire, which was a well designed fighters. RAF was not inferior to the German airforce, as RAF caused significant loss to German airforce during battle of Dunkirk and in subsequent battle of Britain. However certainly radar stations and being on the defense helped RAF. RAF was certainly good at defending British Isles, however the number was too few to launch offensive against Germany mainland. RAF did launch air raid against Germany, but it did not become very effective until US airforce joined. Thus RAF although being a formidable airforce, its effectiveness was limited mainly due to the limited number of planes and pilots available.

How well-trained were Japanese naval aviators in World War 2?