AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION JOURNAL DECEMBER 1942: POWER PLANTS/ BRISTOL BEAUFIGHTER/ SCALE SILHOUETTES
Aircraft Recognition, subtitled The Inter-Services Journal was a British Second World War magazine dedicated to the subject of aircraft recognition. Published monthly by the Ministry of Aircraft Production between September 1942 and September 1945, the target audience of the magazine was members of all three British Armed Services (Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) as well as members of the Royal Observer Corps.
At the start of the Second World War, the subject of aircraft recognition had a very low priority among the British armed forces with the exception of the Army Anti-Aircraft Command. It was also a topic that was outside the brief of the Observer Corps whose duties were limited to the reporting of aircraft as "Friendly Fighters", "Bombers", "Hostile" or "Unidentified. However many members of the Observer Corps did take an active interest in the subject of aircraft recognition. The only aids issued to assist with aircraft recognition were the Air Ministry Publications AP.1480, official silhouettes of aircraft, and AP.1764, Aircraft Recognition. The low priority afforded to the topic was well instanced as early as 6 September 1939 when the Battle of Barking Creek, a friendly fire incident, occurred resulting in the death of a British fighter pilot and the loss of two Hawker Hurricanes.
The Battle of Barking Creek, other friendly fire incidents and the paucity of material on the subject of aircraft recognition led to the formation of an Aircraft Recognition Wing within the Army Anti-Aircraft Command. On a very limited budget the first course started at RAF Biggin Hill in February 1940 training 36 officers and men in the subject of aircraft recognition. The topic also started to come to the attention of the Inter-Service Recognition Committee that had been formed in 1939 to deal mainly with air-to-ground and air-to-sea signalling to indicate friendly status and by the end of 1940 all three services realised that more work was needed to improve aircraft recognition.