RAF-In-Combat's Squadrons #19: Boulton-Paul Defiant


Phil Listemann




Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN: 97910964900662, Available at www.raf-in-combat.com 80 Pages

There are times when what looks good on paper and in the minds of the bosses turns out to be not quite as expected. Such is the case of the Boulton-Paul Defiant. The concept is such of a bomber-killer. Armed with a then-heavy armament in a turret, the thought was that the Defiant would sneak up on an enemy bomber stream, fly level with it and have the gunner rake the bombers with machine gun fire.

However, a few things were either not considered or overlooked an inconsequential. One is that the bombers might not fly nice and straight while you knocked them out of the sky. The other is there might actually be enemy fighters escorting said bombers. OOPS.

It was hoped that the Defiant's speed would be enough to escape enemy fighters, and truly, the turretless prototype was properly swift. But add a ton of air-dragging turret and that performance suffered. Though initially successful, thanks to the enemy attacking the plane from behind and meeting a barrage of bullets, that did not last long and the Defiant was a sitting duck during the day. Much more successful was the type as a night fighter, and indeed, most of its operational successes and missions were flown at night.

It equipped several RAF squadrons and parts of others, achieving over 150 credited kills in two years of operation. Not wanting to waste a perfectly good airframe, many were used in training units, air sea rescue and target towing squadrons, flying until the end of the war.

This book is like others in the series in that we are provided a brief history of the type along with its operational use during WWII. This means a well researched history of the type's use with the various squadrons that flew the plane. In line with others in this series there are some super photos and great full color profiles. The stats section is what you've come to expect from this series, making it a superb reference book and one worth having on hand.

March  2017

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