Aviator Ranks and Insignia
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Thread: Aviator Ranks and Insignia

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    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    Aviator Ranks and Insignia

    I'm in the middle of upgrading country.cfg entries for a WWI Western Front install. WW2 rank insignia and rank titles are fairly easy to come by but I am having trouble finding information on US Navy, USMC and some USAS ranks and insignia for the period. Does anyone know where I can find images relevant to this period and these services? Also useful would be pictures of USN and USMC aviators wings/ badges for this period.
    Thanks.

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    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    Thanks P14u2nv. I've had a look through the search and it gives lots of images but no definitive dating of insignia/ badges. I have pilots wings for the USAS and rank insignia from the 1930s, but it seems the rank insignia were changed after 1919.
    My guess is that most air services changed their structure and insignia after World War One. It would be good to find a text on the structures and ranks the USN and USMC used in Europe in WWI.

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    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _486_Col_Wolf View Post
    You can also try the WW I packages here http://thefreeflightsite.com/WW1_CFS2.htm
    Thanks Col_Wolf. The UIRES files from Aerocrate don't include screens ranks and awards for the USAS, USMC or USN. There is also nothing for the RNAS, the Imperial German Naval Air Service or the Aviation Militaire. for now I can put the USN and USMC on the backburner but I want to at least include the other 4. Some of the screens can be used generically but I need good pics of rank insignia, either on the sleeve or the shoulder.
    I have pics of RNAS rank insignia and good sets for the RFC and Imperial German Air Force. I also have a set for the RAF and I'm guessing that the rank sleeve striping didn't change during the 20s and 30s. Of course I welcome corrections on that score.
    There appears to be little on all this, either on the Net or in books but I'll keep looking.

  6. #6
    Hi Ravenna

    French (horizon blue uniform), USAS, USMC (USAS and USMC) were the same as the regular army and the US Navy airmen kept the same ranks as the regular Navy.

    The USA rank insignia are here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compar...of_World_War_I

    The French rank insignia are here:

    http://i.imgur.com/Md7ctkp.jpg


    The ranks themselves are here:

    https://www.overthefront.com/resourc...s/french-ranks

    https://www.overthefront.com/resourc...american-ranks

    These are the wings and a French uniform



    French wings



    French uniform



    USAS wings



    USN wings
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails french wings.jpg   French Pilot  2.jpg   USAS wings 1.jpg   USN wings.jpg  
    Cheers,

    Captain Kurt
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    "Fly, you fools!" Gandalf the Gray

  7. #7
    PS The Marines used the same wings as the Navy
    Cheers,

    Captain Kurt
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    "Fly, you fools!" Gandalf the Gray

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    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    Thanks Kurt,
    That's a great help. . I had assumed that the Marine flyers had ranks and insignia distinct from the Navy flyers. Systems of rank seem to have been in flux for most combatants during the early war period but by the entry of the US, organisation and rank structure had developed considerably.

  9. #9
    RNAS detail here

    http://uniform-reference.net/insigni...officer_1.html

    One confusing issue, is that for a time, RFC pilots were
    attached to the Navy, retaining RFC khaki
    uniforms, but with RN rank titles.

    Ttfn

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by Motormouse View Post
    RNAS detail here

    http://uniform-reference.net/insigni...officer_1.html

    One confusing issue, is that for a time, RFC pilots were
    attached to the Navy, retaining RFC khaki
    uniforms, but with RN rank titles.

    Ttfn

    Pete
    Thanks Pete,
    That's a favourite site for me.
    David Hobbs (" The Royal Navy's Air Service in the Great War") puts the transfer politics into a broader framework of general interservice rivalry. The small number of RFC pilots seconded to the RNAS was greatly outnumbered by the number of RNAS pilots attached to RFC operational units. Also, by 1917 RNAS pilots were given the option of Khaki jacket/ blouse with their blue trousers. Rank markings remained unchanged until the formation of the RAF in 1918 (April or June).

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    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    A side issue to the point of this thread, but I have a small problem with the pics I am adding to my nationality screens. I'm using PSP. After "composing" the screen I sharpen it and reduce the image to 256 colours, which flattens the layers and allows me to save a bmp which shows up in the correct colours in the CFS2. Unfortunately this method degrades the image added to the nationality screen, making graduated colour look patchy and a bit "painterly". I'll post a pic to show what I am getting.
    What am I doing wrong?

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    Still need some tweaking but the pic in the screen is the problem....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails scr_nationality_usnas.bmp   scr_nationality_aviation_militaire.bmp  

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenna View Post
    A side issue to the point of this thread, but I have a small problem with the pics I am adding to my nationality screens. I'm using PSP. After "composing" the screen I sharpen it and reduce the image to 256 colours, which flattens the layers and allows me to save a bmp which shows up in the correct colours in the CFS2. Unfortunately this method degrades the image added to the nationality screen, making graduated colour look patchy and a bit "painterly". I'll post a pic to show what I am getting.
    What am I doing wrong?
    You're doing nothing wrong Mike. It's just an unfortunate result of only using 256 colors to work with.

    However, (drum roll here) with the exception of the splash screen, the medals, and the ranks which seem to have to be a 256 color bitmap, all the other screens can be 16 million color jpegs. In the country.cfg file you need to change the dlg, scr, and out picture names to have a .jpg suffix to use your jpegs instead of the original .bmp that CFS2 uses originally. That will help you a lot.

    Nice pics BTW, looks like you will have a nice production when you are done.
    Cheers,

    Captain Kurt
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    "Fly, you fools!" Gandalf the Gray

  14. #14
    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kurt View Post
    You're doing nothing wrong Mike. It's just an unfortunate result of only using 256 colors to work with.

    However, (drum roll here) with the exception of the splash screen, the medals, and the ranks which seem to have to be a 256 color bitmap, all the other screens can be 16 million color jpegs. In the country.cfg file you need to change the dlg, scr, and out picture names to have a .jpg suffix to use your jpegs instead of the original .bmp that CFS2 uses originally. That will help you a lot.

    Nice pics BTW, looks like you will have a nice production when you are done.
    Thanks Kurt,
    I did wonder why the screens used were BMPs rather than JPGs. Happy to go back to the drawing board when it promises a better result.
    How do I get a better result for splash and start screens? When I try saving them in anything other than 256 altered colours.

  15. #15
    You're stuck with 256 colors for those. Weird color shifts happen with higher color depth. I use an older version of PSP so yours may have more options. When I have to decrease color depth to 256 I generally use an optimized median cut / error diffusion / reduced color bleeding options mix. That usually, but not always, gives me the best look. Sometimes I just have to experiment with the options mix to find the best results possible. Still with only 256 colors you are going to have a lower quality image, can't be helped.
    Cheers,

    Captain Kurt
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    "Fly, you fools!" Gandalf the Gray

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    Viseflugmeister

    Just about covered all the ranks in the various services. My problem is that I cannot find any rank markings for the German Naval Air Service rank of Viseflugmeister. I am beginning to wonder whether there was such a rank but there are a number of naval aces based in Flanders with that title. I've looked across the web and in the standard texts. I get something for each of the other ranks but nothing for Viseflugmeister. Was this a rank or just a title ?(difficult to believe it was just a title when a prominent ace is given no other title).

  17. #17
    I believe the word would be Vizeflugmeister. I think it's a title that means vice (or deputy) flight master. I guessing that would be a second in command of a flight unit rather than a rank.

    Someone who speaks German would be better able to translate for you.
    Cheers,

    Captain Kurt
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    SOH Staff Devildog73's Avatar
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    I believe the vizeflugmeister was a designation of a "champion" ace pilot in the German Navy. They wore the same rank as a oberflugmeister with the addition of the vizeflugmeister pin or badge.
    The ranks went from elisted to officer: Flugmaat, Oberflugmaat, Flugmeister, Vizeflugmeister, Oberflugmeister, Leutnant zur See, Oberleutnant zur See.
    They are equivalent to non-rated ranks for Flugmaat and Oberflugmaat, a Naval Aviation Junior NCO, Naval Aviation Senior NCO, Sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant.
    So, Vizeflugmeister would be a Naval Aviation Junior NCO, who were accomplished pilots, but not yet Naval Aviation Senior NCOs.

    It was only for WW I Germany and the designation disappeared by the time WW II started.
    Devildog73

    Semper Fi
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devildog73 View Post
    I believe the vizeflugmeister was a designation of a "champion" ace pilot in the German Navy. They wore the same rank as a oberflugmeister with the addition of the vizeflugmeister pin or badge.
    The ranks went from elisted to officer: Flugmaat, Oberflugmaat, Flugmeister, Vizeflugmeister, Oberflugmeister, Leutnant zur See, Oberleutnant zur See.
    They are equivalent to non-rated ranks for Flugmaat and Oberflugmaat, a Naval Aviation Junior NCO, Naval Aviation Senior NCO, Sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant.
    So, Vizeflugmeister would be a Naval Aviation Junior NCO, who were accomplished pilots, but not yet Naval Aviation Senior NCOs.

    It was only for WW I Germany and the designation disappeared by the time WW II started.
    I've gone up to Kapitan zur See, making allowances for Christiansen's command based in Zeebrugge. If I can't find a badge or sleeve for Vizeflugmeister I will have to try starting at Oberflugmeister.
    Thanks Devildog and Kurt. My brain keeps replacing the "z" with an s".

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Devildog73 View Post
    I believe the vizeflugmeister was a designation of a "champion" ace pilot in the German Navy. They wore the same rank as a oberflugmeister with the addition of the vizeflugmeister pin or badge.
    The ranks went from elisted to officer: Flugmaat, Oberflugmaat, Flugmeister, Vizeflugmeister, Oberflugmeister, Leutnant zur See, Oberleutnant zur See.
    They are equivalent to non-rated ranks for Flugmaat and Oberflugmaat, a Naval Aviation Junior NCO, Naval Aviation Senior NCO, Sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant.
    So, Vizeflugmeister would be a Naval Aviation Junior NCO, who were accomplished pilots, but not yet Naval Aviation Senior NCOs.

    It was only for WW I Germany and the designation disappeared by the time WW II started.

    Shows how much I know LOL
    Cheers,

    Captain Kurt
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    "Fly, you fools!" Gandalf the Gray

  21. #21
    SOH-CM-2019 Ravenna's Avatar
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    OK, this is what I have come up with on the NCO pilots of the German Naval Air Service: It seems that Flugmaat was an entry rank, conferred by the German Naval Air Service. I have a photograph of an original Flugmaat sleeve patch which will do nicely. Above Flugmaat it looks as though the ranks from Oberflugmaat to Oberflugmeister had breast pins worn in conjunction with their Flugmaat patch, still worn on the upper sleeve. I'm still looking for those. So far the only reference I've come across is in Johan Ryheul's "KEKs and FOKKERSTAFFELS".
    One difference between the floatplane/ seaplane pilots of the Naval air service and their landfeld (land based) brothers was the pilot's badge. At first sight I had assumed that their badges were the same. A closer look shows the difference beneath the eagle: for seaplane pilots there was a seascape but landfeld pilots had a stylised landscape.

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