Glossary of RAF code names

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A glossary of code words, abbreviations etc. used during World War II in connection with operations carried out by the Royal Air Force:

  • Angels – height in thousands of feet
  • Bandit – identified enemy aircraft
  • Bogey – unidentified (possibly unfriendly) aircraft
  • Buster - radio-telephony code phrase for 'maximum throttle' or full power climb
  • Channel Stop – Air operations intended to stop enemy shipping passing through the Strait of Dover.[1]
  • Circus – bomber attacks with fighter escorts in the day time. The attacks were against short range targets with the intention of occupying enemy fighters and keeping their fighter units in the area concerned.[1]
  • Diver - radio-telephony code phrase for sighting of a V1
  • Flowerpatrols in the area of enemy airfields with the intention of preventing aircraft from taking off and attacking those aircraft that succeeded.[1]
  • Gardening – mine-laying operations
  • Instep – missions to restrict attacks on Coastal Command aircraft by maintaining a presence over the Western Approaches.[1]
  • Intruder – offensive patrols intended to destroy enemy aircraft over their own territory, patrols were usually carried out at night.[1]
  • Jim Crow – coastal patrols to intercept enemy aircraft crossing the British coastline, originally intended to warn of invasion in 1940[1]
  • Kipper – patrols to protect fishing boats in the north sea against attack from the air.[1]
  • Mahmoud – sorties flown by de Havilland Mosquitoes equipped with backward radar, when enemy aircraft were detected a 180° turn enabled an attack.[1]
  • Mandolin – attacks on enemy railway transport and other ground targets.
  • NoballV-weapon launch sites and related targets[1]
  • Ramrod – short range bomber attacks to destroy ground targets, similar to Circus attacks.[1]
  • Ranger – freelance flights over enemy territory by units of any size, the intention was to occupy and tire enemy fighters.[1]
  • Rhubarb – operations when sections of fighters or fighter-bombers, taking full advantage of low cloud and poor visibility, would cross the English Channel and then drop below cloud level to search for opportunity targets such as railway locomotives and rolling stock, aircraft on the ground, enemy troops and vehicles on roads.[1][2]
  • Roadstead – dive bombing and low level attacks on enemy ships at sea or in harbour.[1]
  • Rodeo – fighter sweeps over enemy territory[1]
  • Rover – armed reconnaissance flights with attacks on opportunity targets.[1]
  • Scramble - fast take-off and climb to intercept enemy aircraft
  • Tally-ho - radio-telephony code phrase for 'enemy in sight'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Rawlings, John D.R., Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft, London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd.
  2. ^ Johnson, 'Johnnie' J.E., Wing Leader, London: Chatto & Windus (1956).