A Conversation for Behind the Battle of Britain

Bolton Paul Defiant

Post 1


The Bolton Paul Defiant was intended by it's designers for use as a night fighter, but it's actual debut was made over the beaches of Dunkirk, where on their first day of action 12 of these aircraft shot down 38 German aircraft withouts sustaining a single casualty. Later in the war it reverted to it's intended role.

Bolton Paul Defiant

Post 2


Yes, and a very succesful Night Fighter it was too. In my view, one of the most underestimated aircraft of the war.


Bolton Paul Defiant

Post 3

Al Johnston

Of course, once the German fighter pilots had worked out that the Defiant had no forward-facing firepower, was relatively slow and didn't accelerate through having to lug a ton of powered turret and one extra man along on the same installed power as a Hurricane, they were blasted out of the sky in droves...

The Defiant's inspiration was the successful Bristol Fighter of WW1 which at least had one gun that fired forwards and didn't have such a performance disadvantage against contemporary single seaters.

The Defiant was "underrated" because it was suicidal to fly one in daylight against an opponent who knew what it was...

smiley - devilsmiley - pirate

Bolton Paul Defiant

Post 4


Where does it say the BP Defiant was intended as a night fighter? I've been studying the Battle of Britain for 25 years, and none of the sources I've seen say the Defiant was intended as anything other than to meet requirements of Specification F.9/35 for a two-seat interceptor fighter with armament concentrated in powered dorsal turret with 360° traverse.

Defiants became a stop-gap nightfighter after Fighter Command was unable to meet the night bombing threat with its general complement of day fighters. Only the Defiant had enough speed to catch a German bomber (can't recall if they also carried AI radar sets at that stage), and had the advantage that the pilot could concentrate on the tricky task of night interception, leaving the turret gunner to make the kill. The contemporary Bristol Blenheim was unable to keep up with the bomber streams, although it was big enough to carry the intercept radar. It wasn't until the Beaufighter came on stream late in 1940 that an effective night defence fighter was found.

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