RFC Structure in France

Research Notes

When No. 35 Squadron mobilised to France in January 1917, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in France consisted of a Headquarters Wing with:

  • Aeroplane Supply Depot
  • Aircraft Depot
  • Engine Repair Shops
  • Brigades

Chart showing structure of RFC in France
[Courtesy of Mike Meech (Original Source not known)]

Each Brigade consisted of :

  • An Army Wing, consisting of a variable number of squadrons
  • A Corps Wing, consisting normally of one squadron per Corps in the Army
  • A Balloon Wing, consisting normally of one balloon company per Corps in the Army
  • An Army Aircraft Park (a mobile depot of stores and spare parts).

Each Brigade was allotted to a specific army (eg 1st Brigade to I Army, 2nd Brigade to II Army).

Chart showing structure of “Brigades”

The role of the Army Wing was as follows:

  • Offensive action against the enemy’s aircraft
  • Offensive action against troops and vulnerable points in the Army reconnaissance area, as allotted by General Headquarters
  • Medium distance reconnaissance and photography

The role of the Corps Wing was as follows:

  • Location of hostile batteries
  • Observation of artillery fire
  • Contact Patrol work
  • Close reconnaissance and photography
  • Offensive action against vulnerable points in the Army reconnaissance area

The role of the Balloon Wing was as follows:

  • Location of hostile batteries
  • Observation of artillery fire
  • Close reconnaissance

Squadrons within each wing were organised into three flights, with each flight consisting of 6 to 8 aircraft.