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The 'Clock System' for spotting aircraft...

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Was the 'Clock System' for calling out which angles an attacker was coming in from, in use during WWI? Certainly not for fighter pilots, but perhaps by bomber crews? Or, was it a WWII innovation? (as I suspect)

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There was a clock code of a sort in WW1 RFC/RAF use but it was for planes directing artillery fire. I've never heard of its use for targeting planes - when you think of it, they had no radio, no intercom (apart from some crude speaking tubes) and sat next to each other in many cases.


Interestingly, in the Army, the clock code of a sort is used for (ground) target indication by infantry, in Fire Control Orders; since at least WW2 it's been called 'the Clock-ray method'. But in that, you are not at the centre of the clock, your reference point is (from which you give the direction of the target). You use the 'Axis of arc' (as in your axis of advance, usually) method to give target direction eg 'Gun Group - two hundred - half left - bushy-topped tree - right, three o'clock, 5 metres - enemy in trench - rapid fire!' You do not give direction from yourself with the clock code, it's half right/quarter left etc. Or 'Watch my tracer!' Or just point! But I digress.


The sequence at about 3.40 in this clip is how I'd imagine it was done in WW1 planes, mostly:


Edited by 33LIMA

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