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Defensive Break
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

The break is the most fundamental defensive tactic. It is executed when a bandit approaches the formation from the rear. Flying at combat spread of approximately 500 yards, the section determines which aircraft is under attack. When ready, the engaged aircraft will call a break in the form:

"[Pilot], breaking [Direction]!" IE:
"Red Two, breaking left!"

and will then make a gentle break AWAY from his wingman to draw the bandit off in pursuit. As he breaks the free fighter will turn the same direction to follow. The result should put the formation in trail, with the bandit sandwiched between them. The bandit will then be forced to either press the attack and risk being shot down, or disengage to avoid the wingman's own attack.

This defense is highly dependent on a number of factors:

1) Identification - The section must identify accurately which member is under attack. Maintaining a proper combat spread will force the bandit to commit early enough to reveal his target.

2) Timing - The engaged fighter must begin his break at the proper time to both evade the enemy's attack and provide his wingman with a shot.

3) The Break - The engaged fighter cannot break too hard. If he breaks too hard the free fighter will be unable to bring his nose to bear on the bandit, and he may give the bandit a better shot.

With proper timing and the correct turn on the break, this defense should end with the bandit in the free fighter's sights at firing range.