Officers advanced training school - the air ministry and RAF commands



Officers advanced training school - the air ministry and RAF commands


Covers the work of the air ministry, constitution of the air council, responsibilities of members of the council, the ministerial members, the air members, the permanent under-secretary of state (PUS), general observation on the on the department of the PUS, additional members. In part two covers the function and organisation of bomber command, fighter command, coastal command, tactical air forces. flying training command, transport command, maintenance command and overseas command.



Temporal Coverage



Six page typewritten document

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[date stamp of No. 1 Officers Advanced Training School Jun 1945]
References: K.R. & A.C.I. Chap. 11, Appendix 1.
[underlined] PART 1 – THE AIR MINISTRY [/underlined]
[underlined] The Work of the Air Ministry [/underlined]
1. The main responsibility of the Air Ministry is the central control and administration of the R.A.F.; its work differs fundamentally from that of Commands in these respects:-
(a) It exercises general supervision over Commands and is concerned with the formulation of operational and strategic policy by the War Cabinet; but it is not engaged in the day-to-day control of air operations.
(b) It is the centre at which R.A.F. administration and control blends with Parliament, the Government and the whole Civil administration of the country; this explains the conjunction of Service and Civil elements in its organisation.
(c) It has certain duties for which the Secretary of State is responsible as Minister, but for which the Air Council is not responsible.
(d) It is a large organisation with world-wide activities and a great range of interests.
[underlined] Constitution of the Air Council [/underlined]
2. The Air Council is the body through which control and administration are exercised. At present the Air Council comprises:-
The Secretary of State for Air,
Two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State for Air,
Four Air Members,
The Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Air,
Three Additional Members.
[underlined] Responsibilities of Members of Council [/underlined]
3. These may be considered in relation to:-
(a) The Ministerial Members,
(b) The Air Members,
(c) The Permanent Under-Secretary of State,
(d) The Additional Members.
[underlined] The Ministerial Members [/underlined]
4. The Secretary of State is President of the Council and is responsible to Parliament for all its business. He is also a member of the Defence Committee of the War Cabinet. His constitutional position makes it necessary that all matters of importance should be referred to him.
5. He is assisted by the two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State – U.S. of S. (Commons) and U.S. of S. (Lords), each of whom
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exercises ministerial supervision over particular matters in the Air Ministry and who deputise for the Minister respectively in the Commons and the Lords.
[underlined] The Air Members [/underlined]
6. [underlined] The Chief of the Air Staff (C.A.S.) is [/underlined]:-
(a) Senior Air Member and principal advisor of the Secretary of State.
(b) The professional advisor of the Government on matters of air policy, and
(c) Responsible collectively, with the other Chiefs of Staff, for advising the Government on defence policy as a whole.
7. [underlined] The Air Member for Personnel (A.M.P.) [/underlined] deals with personnel policy and administration, covering conditions of service, discipline, honours and awards, appointments, exits, promotions, postings, casualties and welfare, as well as the religious, medical and educational services. He is closely concerned with the vital problem of man-power.
8. [underlined] The Air Member for Supply and Organisation (A.M.S.O.) [/underlined] is responsible for the organisation of the R.A.F.; the provision of equipment, stores and foodstuffs; the servicing and maintenance of technical equipment; transportation; and works, building and land. He is concerned with the execution of the Air Staff plans, and is the principal link with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He prepares forecasts of the strength of the R.A.F. at future dates, which form the basis of much Air Ministry administration, and he deals with problems regarding materials in short supply.
9. [underlined] The Air Member for Training (A.M.T.) [/underlined] is responsible for all flying and technical training, including the supervision of training arrangements under the Empire Training Scheme. He forecasts future training requirements, which must be properly related to the forecasts of R.A.F. expansion.
[underlined] The Permanent Under-Secretary of State (P.U.S.) [/underlined]
10. The functions of the P.U.S. fall under four headings:-
(a) [underlined] Advisory [/underlined]; as the permanent member of a changing council, he is the natural advisor of the Secretary of State on many matters of high policy.
(b) [underlined] Financial [/underlined]; as Accounting Officer, he is responsible to the Secretary of State for financial advice and to Parliament for the control of all expenditure.
(c) [underlined] Secretarial [/underlined]; as Secretary of the Air Council, he is responsible for the efficient working of the Air Ministry as a Department of State; for the co-ordination of its business, and for the conduct of correspondence.
(d) [underlined] Administrative [/underlined]; he has important administrative responsibilities in relation to Civil Aviation, the Meteorological Office, the Accidents Branch and Public Relations.
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[underlined] PRECIS – AIR MINISTRY AND R.A.F. COMMANDS (contd) [/underlined]
[underlined] General Observations on the Department of the P.U.S. [/underlined]
11. The Departments of the Air Members are all self-contained; the Department of the P.U.S. is partly self-contained and partly dove-tailed into the Air Members’ Departments.
12. The Secretarial Divisions, which are attached to the Departments of Air Members and various Directorates, contribute their knowledge of Government administration to assist the Air Members. They owe allegiance both to their Air Member and to the P.U.S.
13. Three points to be noted in regard to the Finance Divisions and their relationship with Service branches:-
(a) Financial review in wartime is not concerned with money but with a balanced war effort which avoids waste of labour and materials.
(b) The Finance Divisions assist the P.U.S. to discharge the obligations imposed by Parliament and to defend R.A.F. expenditure against criticism.
(c) The Finance Divisions can often give much help to the Service Branches.
[underlined] The Additional Members [/underlined]
14. (a) An air marshal – representing the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
(b) An air marshal – who is Vice Chief of the Air Staff and assists in the C.A.S. Department.
(c) A civilian financial expert – adviser on matters of general financial policy.
[underlined] PART II – R.A.F. COMMANDS. HOME AND OVERSEAS [/underlined]
[underlined] Bomber Command [/underlined]
15. [underlined] Function [/underlined]. The aim of the Bomber offensive is the progressive obstruction and destruction of enemy military, industrial and economic systems, and the undermining of the morale of the enemy to a point where his capacity for armed resistance is fatally weakened.
16. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. The main characteristics of a Bomber Command are the static nature of the ground organisation owing to the requirements of heavy aircraft, such as concrete runways, massive ground handling equipment, maintenance arrangements, etc., and the necessity for a secure and rapid means of intercommunication between Command, groups and squadrons.
[underlined] Fighter Command [/underlined]
17. [underlined] Functions [/underlined]
(a) To destroy enemy aircraft.
(b) To escort friendly bombers and ensure their safety from enemy fighters whilst carrying out bomber operations.
(c) To create air superiority and eventual air supremacy over enemy occupied territories.
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(d) To provide close support to armies and navies operating within range of our fighters.
(e) To attack and destroy by straffing and dive bombing suitable enemy concentrations and installations.
(f) By night, to provide defence against night enemy air attack and offensive action to reduce the effectiveness of enemy night bomber and fighter operations.
18. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. An effective Fighter Command depends upon an efficient raid reporting and control system, close co-operation with the Anti-Aircraft and Balloon Commands, the operation of decoys and countermeasures, and an immense private inter-communication system linking up all air operations in the area.
[underlined] Coastal Command [/underlined]
19. [underlined] Function [/underlined]. The aim of a Coastal Command, under the operational control of the Navy, is to deny the enemy the use of his sea passages whilst keeping our own continuously open to the Royal Navy and the Merchant Service.
20. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. Coastal Command operates in close contact with the Navy from combined operations rooms in naval areas. It must be prepared to operate for long or short periods from advanced bases under difficult conditions. Its main characteristic, therefore, is ability to improvise, and individual aircraft captains must be prepared to operate as detached units.
[underlined] Tactical Air Force [/underlined]
21. [underlined] Functions:- [/underlined]
(a) Provision of freedom of movement to our own Army.
(b) Denial of freedom of movement to enemy ground forces.
(c) provision of reconnaissance for the Army; and
(d) When items (a) and (b) have been accomplished, the provision of the maximum air striking-force on the objective or objectives designated by the Army.
22. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]
(a) Mobile Tactical Groups for working with each army.
(b) Light Bomber groups for day and night work to give day-to-day bombing attacks, and to carry out night harassing attacks in any army area or beyond such areas.
(c) A strategical reconnaissance wing to operate day and night beyond the army areas and to provide survey photography.
(d) A base group to control all base units’ supplies and to defend base areas against air attack.
(e) An air transport force to act as carriers of troops or supplies and to evacuate casualties.
23. Its chief characteristic must be mobility and immediate control of forward units.
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[underlined] Flying Training Command [/underlined]
24. [underlined] Function [/underlined]. The aim of Flying Training Command is to supply trained aircrew of every category to the requirements of the operational commands.
25. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. Standard R.A.F. groups, manned by selected pupils and officers returning from operations. The morale, bearing and technical standard of officers in the Training Command should be of the highest in the Royal Air Force.
[underlined] Technical Training Command [/underlined]
26. [underlined] Function [/underlined]. The aim of the T.T.C. is the reception and training to the required standard of operational efficiency of all entrants to the Service except aircrew.
27. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. Four standard R.A.F. groups, dealing with all forms of technical training.
[underlined] Transport Command [/underlined]
28. [underlined] Functions [/underlined]:-
(a) To develop and maintain strategic air communications for carriage of personnel, mail and freight.
(b) To operate transport aircraft right into theatres of war, carrying priority traffic, troops’ mail, urgent stores, key ground personnel of squadrons, as well as airborne and parachute troops, and to evacuate casualties.
(c) To train crews for Air Delivery and for manning Transport Squadrons.
(d) To ferry aircraft from production centres overseas to pools for distribution to squadrons who already have sufficient crews to man them. Air re-inforcement [sic] means the movement of aircraft effected by the aircrew, who will be fighting with that aircraft at the theatre of war to which they are flying it. Ferrying means the movement of aircraft effected by aircrew from a Ferry Pool who will return to that Pool after delivering the aircraft.
(e) To organise the preparation of aircraft (O.A.P.Us) to dispatch and receive loads (A.D.R.U.) and to establish Overseas Air Dispatch Units (O.A.D.Us).
29. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. This depends upon a world-wide organisation which is capable of distributing air transport work in any area to a particular aircraft (irrespective of what group it may belong to) which may be best fitted and best placed to do the work. Calls for a very fluid and adaptable organisation, with first-class communications.
[underlined] Maintenance Command [/underlined]
30. [underlined] Functions [/underlined]:-
(a) To receive, hold and distribute all material needs of the Royal Air Force except pay, rations and building supplies, and to keep records from which future requirements can be calculated.
(b) To salvage crashed aircraft, and, in parallel with
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Civilian Repair Organisation, to repair aircraft.
31. [underlined] Organisation [/underlined]. Four groups and seven wings retaining bulk stores in rear areas and moving them to forward areas as rapidly as the situation permits, maintaining constant supply of essential stores as near the front line as is possible.
[underlined] Overseas Commands [/underlined]
32. In general, whilst home commands are usually functional – i.e. dealing with one type of operation, irrespective of the area, - overseas commands are, in general, geographical, which is to say that they deal with all types of operations in a specific area.
33. At present, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, West Africa Command, PAI Force & A.C.S.E.A. are the chief overseas commands. Each one of these is geographical and contains (as the situation demands) fighter, bomber, transport, coastal, training and maintenance groups.
34. S.H.A.E.F. Air Main was an advisory H.Qs, responsible to the Supreme Allied Commander for the co-ordination of air operations in support of the allied expeditionary forces.
35. S.H.A.E.F. Air Rear existed in England to co-ordinate the requirements of S.H.A.E.F. Air Main which could not be dealt with directly by telephone from the Continent.
[underlined] Amendments to this Precis [/underlined]:


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