These rules for air fighting were referred to by Adolph ‘Sailor’ Malan, commander of No.74 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, as his ‘ten simple rules’ for fighter pilots. These rules proved indispensible to future generations of fighter pilots, and could eventually be found on the walls of most airbases.

Spitfire

  1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes.
  2. Fire short bursts of one to two seconds only when your sights are definitely “ON”.
  3. Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body: have both hands on the stick: concentrate on your ring sight.
  4. Always keep a sharp lookout. ‘Keep your finger out’.
  5. Height gives you the initiative. Always turn and face the attack.
  6. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
  7. Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
  8. When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as a top guard.
  9. INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE, and TEAMWORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
  10. Go in quickly – Punch hard – Get out!