Sunday, 1 April 2018

Cooperate to Strike - No 4 Squadron, RAAF

No 4 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, was the first unit to try a new tactic of what we now call 'Forward Air Control'.

Flying their Wirraway or Boomerang fighters that were no match for the Japanese Zeroes, they turned their hand to ground attack, supporting the troops with air support.

One technique the pilots used was to identify enemy positions on the ground and then, with fighters from the United States Army Air Force of the Royal New Zealand Air Force in trail, they would dive down on the enemy firing their machine-guns with tracer rounds. The tracers would fall amongst the enemy troops and the fighter pilots, with more powerful machine guns or cannon or with bombs, would drop or fire their ordnance with devastating effect.

Later, No 4 Squadron would continue their Army Cooperation role with the creation of ground based forward air controllers - known as Joint Terminal Attack Controllers or JTACs - who would accompany the troops and identify enemy positions for attack by air support fighters, fighter bombers or helicopters.

This painting was created by myself for entry in the RAAF Heritage Awards, 2018.


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