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Thread: The Boulton Paul Defiant

  1. #1
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    Default The Boulton Paul Defiant

    Not a great success but neverless an interesting aircraft.



    http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/types/uk...nt/Defiant.htm

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    Yes, zero forward fireing armament, but 4 rearward fireing guns in a turret.

    Achieved a fair bit of success early on, when Luftwaffe pilots often mistook it for a Hurricane (must have been a shock for them!!!), but soon losses became too great.

    Very strange design by todays standards but it was intended to be used against un-escorted bombers. The idea being the pilot could concentrate on avoiding the bombers defensive MG fire, whilst his gunner raked them with his own MG fire. Against fighters however...

    There were one or two other aircraft of similar design, the Defiants main draw back was the lack of forward fireing armanment. The turret was movable 360 degrees, but it's placement meant that cut offs had to be fitted to prevent it from shooting through the planes tail or prop. The furthest forward it could fire was about 20 degrees off either side.

    Was eventually taken out of "day" service, and used for as a night fighter, before being replaced by the likes of the Beufighrs and Mosquitos. It also had various experimental and training roles, I think it was the first plane to test an ejector seat.

    Ironic when you realise that the gunner literally was in a "suicide seat". To get out the turret had to be turned to allow bale out, possibly by hand if the hydralics had failed, then he had to don his 'chute. He couldn't wear it in flight.

    This was th elot of many planes "tail end chalies".
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  3. #3
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    It would be a nice night fighter if just be armed with something more strong that 4 peashooters.




    The mosquito was better but in 1940-41 you really dont need a very fast aircraft to catch the He-111 or Do-17Z.

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    Nothing wrong with the weapons Panzerknacker, most aircraft fo the time had a similar weapon, if not the same, fitted. The Spitfire and Hurricanes first models both only had 4 x .303 machine guns.

    It was just purely the fitting in a turret.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydstare View Post
    Nothing wrong with the weapons Panzerknacker, most aircraft fo the time had a similar weapon, if not the same, fitted. The Spitfire and Hurricanes first models both only had 4 x .303 machine guns..
    The original drawing board designs of the Hurricane and Spitfire did only have 4 MG's, but by the time of the first flights of these aircraft the armament had been changed to 8 MG's.

    The original design of the BF 109 only had an armament of 2 MG's, it was when they found out that the RAF was insisting on 8 MG's for its next generation of fighters, that the Luftwaffe was forced to arm the BF 109 with a 20mm cannon as well

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    I thought some operational aircraft only had 4 also.

    Eitherway the .303, in any number, was pretty much standard on fighters.

    Some had up to 10 (Me-110) and didn't the Russians have a plane with 12 or14 in the nose?
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    Didn't I see, somewhere (?) that the Luftwaffe developed something similar to the Defiant, later in the war? As I recall, there was some advantage in having upwards firing guns for nightfighting. I think it was that it enabled the nightfighter to fly below the enemy bomber and rake along its length, without having to be concerned about being seen, or retrun fire.

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  9. #9
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    Nothing wrong with the weapons Panzerknacker, most aircraft fo the time had a similar weapon, if not the same, fitted. The Spitfire and Hurricanes first models both only had 4 x .303 machine guns
    Nothing wrong? Everything wrong,the .303 was the weakest rifle caliber Mgs, just 756 m/s, compared that with the Browning M3 853 m/s, and the Mg-17/15 815 m/s.




    The Messer Me-110 carry 2 cannons and 4 MGs. The De-520 carried 4 Mgs and 1x20mm, the Ms-404 carried a hispano cannon alike, so not all the fighters of that time were the same as the Defiant.

  10. #10
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    32B, the Luftwaffe converted some 109s/190s to fire vertically. The also had some sort of sensor for triggering the guns. I think it was called "Jazz Music" or similar.

    The AC would fly under the bomber and up to 4 20mm (I think) cannon would open up. Wrecking the underside and hopefully setting of some sympathetic explosions in the bomb bay. Not used in great numbers I beleive, as they were very specialised fighters and couldn't engage other fighters.

    Like the Defiant.

    Panzerknacker, I don't deny the guns are a bit weak in comparison to other weapons used during the war. But at the start of the war ie 1939, they were pretty much standard.

    As REDCOAT says, the Luftwaffe weren't planning on putting may weapons in at all. I didn't say all aircraft were alike, I was pointing out that the .303 was a common weapon regardless of anyother weapons fitted.

    The Defiant was a pre-war designed fighter... any comparisons I am making are based around that era. Obviously, once the war started aircraft were armed with more effective weapons as they were developed or available.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

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  11. #11
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    Panzerknacker, I don't deny the guns are a bit weak in comparison to other weapons used during the war. But at the start of the war ie 1939, they were pretty much standard.

    As REDCOAT says, the Luftwaffe weren't planning on putting may weapons in at all. I didn't say all aircraft were alike, I was pointing out that the .303 was a common weapon regardless of anyother weapons fitted.

    The Defiant was a pre-war designed fighter... any comparisons I am making are based around that era. Obviously, once the war started aircraft were armed with more effective weapons as they were developed or available.

    Right, I guess that with that armament location the tactics for night shooting must be some kind similar with the german use of the "Schräge musik" that is to get below and behind of a bomber before open fire.

    More on the Defiant armament.











    A) Overclaim for sure.


    Scans from: "Armament of British aircraft, 1909-1939" H.F. King/putnam publishing.

  12. #12
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    No, mate. Not an overstatement.

    The Defiant was VERY succesful in the start of the Battle of Britatin. Luftwaffe pilots mistook Defiants for Hurricanes, closed in for the kill, and got a rather rude surprise. They would close in from the rear, where the Defiant had it's "sting in the tail".

    Once they had realised this though, the Defiants got a shoeing, with frontal assaults being made instead.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

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    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  13. #13
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    17 Messers with no losses...give me a break.

    Defiant but Doomed by Stan Stokes




    Jagdeschwader 26, or JG 26, was one of the Lufwaffes elite fighter forces. Nicknamed the Abbeville Boys, or the Abbeville Kids,JG 26 gained tremendous notoriety early in the War while operating out of Abbeville in Northern France. Although JG 26 never operated with more than 124 fighter aircraft, the unit dominated its airspace over Northern France and Belgium for more than a two year period. Adolf Galland was one of Germanys top fighter aces of the War, with more than 100 confirmed victories. For most of his flying career Galland was associated with JG 26.

    By year-end 1940 he had attained 57 victories, and was awarded the Oak Leaves, the highest award of the time. Galland took over command of JG 26 in August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. In Stan Stokes painting, entitled Defiant, But Doomed, Galland is depicted during a mission with the Abbeville Kids on August 28, 1940. Flying low cover for a formation of Heinkel bombers Galland was shocked to see a squadron of 12 Royal Air Force Defiants flying directly below the bombers.


    The Defiant was a unique British aircraft which was utilized as a daylight fighter incorporating four machine guns enclosed in a top mounted hydraulic turret operated by a gunnery officer. Despite serving admirably during the Dunkirk evacuation, the Luftwaffe had devised tactics which made the Defiant only marginally successful. By utilizing its turret guns RAF 264 Squadron was preparing to decimate the Heinkels with an attack on their vulnerable underbellies. Climbing straight up into the formation Galland broke up the attack. Minutes later he was engaged with the Defiant piloted by 264 Squadron Commander Garvin. Although struck four times by the Defiants machine guns, Galland was ultimately victorious.

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    Can't confirm one way or other about losses, nor can I really say that JG 26 were good or bad.

    What I do know however is that Defiants scored alot of successes in the start of the war, as they were engaged as Hurricanes. Once the distinction was made then the Defiants were dead meat.

    From http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/types/uk...nt/Defiant.htm

    Previously, a single-seat fighter unit, 264 Sqn spent some time working out the new tactics required by the type. Good co-ordination was required between the pilot and gunner in order to get into the best position to open fire on a target. A second day fighter unit, 141 Sqn, began converting to the Defiant in April 1940. The Defiant undertook it first operational sortie on 12 May 1940, when 264 Sqn flew a patrol over the beaches of Dunkirk. A Junkers Ju 88 was claimed by the squadron. However, the unit suffered its first losses the following day, when five out of six aircraft were shot down by Bf 109s in large dogfight. The Defiant was never designed to dogfight with single-seat fighters and losses soon mounted. By the end of May 1940, it had become very clear that the Defiant was no match for the Bf 109 and the two squadrons were moved to airfields away from the south coast of England. At the same time, interception of unescorted German bombers often proved successful, with several kills being made.
    In the summer of 1940, flight testing commenced of an improved version of the Defiant fitted with a Merlin XX engine featuring a two-speed supercharger (prototype N1550). The resultant changes included a longer engine cowling, deeper radiator and increased fuel capacity. Performance increases were small. Nevertheless, the new version was ordered into production as the Defiant Mk II.
    The limitations on the Defiant's manoeuvrability forced its eventual withdrawal from daylight operations in late August 1940. 264 and 141 squadrons became dedicated night-fighter units. The Defiant night fighters were painted all-black and fitted with flame damper exhausts. Success came quickly, with the first night kill being claimed on 15 September 1940. From November 1940, an increasing number of new night fighter squadrons were formed on the Defiant. Units operating the Defiant shot down more enemy aircraft than any other night-fighter during the German 'Blitz' on London in the winter of 1940-41. Initial operations were conducted without the benefit of radar. From the Autumn of 1941, AI Mk 4 radar units began to be fitted to the Defiant. An arrow type aerial was fitted on each wing, and a small H-shaped aerial added on the starboard fuselage side, just in front of the cockpit. The transmitter unit was located behind the turret, with the receiver and display screen in the pilot's cockpit. The addition of radar brought a change in designation for the Mk I to N.F. Mk IA, but the designation of the Mk II version did not change. By February 1942, the Defiant was obviously too slow to catch the latest German night intruders and the night fighter units completely re-equipped in the period April-September 1942.
    From http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A10427140

    Defying the Odds

    The first Defiant squadron, 264, began to re-arm with the new aircraft at RAF Martlesham Heath on 8 December, 1939. It was with this squadron that the Defiant first saw combat. On 12 May, 1940 during the evacuation of Dunkirk by the British forces, the Defiant held its own in the skies above the fleeing ships. By the end of May, 65 enemy aircraft had fallen to the guns of the Defiant, but this was most probably achieved because enemy pilots mistook the Defiant for its slightly smaller cousin, the Hurricane, and when making rear attacks were thus presented with the fury of the turret defences.

    But the initial successes were not to last and the Defiants soon became cannon-fodder as Luftwaffe pilots changed tactics, using head-on and belly attacks. On 19 July, 1940, six out of nine Defiants of 141 Squadron were shot down and the remaining three only survived due to the intervention of the Hurricanes of 111 Squadron. Losses increased dramatically and by August 1940, the aircraft were withdrawn from daylight operations by Fighter Command.

    Under the Cover of Darkness

    It was instead decided to use the Defiant in a night-fighter role. The comparatively new and highly secret Airborne Interception (AI) radar was installed in many of the Mk I aircraft. The jet-black-painted Defiant looked like a shark's shadow and proved to be just as fierce in the night sky. A valuable addition to Britain's night defences during the Blitz years of 1940 - 1941, Defiant night-fighter squadrons racked up more kills per interception than any of their contemporaries. However, as more radar-equipped aircraft like the Beaufighter and Mosquito entered service, the Defiant found itself out-gunned and out-performed.
    From http://www.century-of-flight.net/Avi...W2/defiant.htm

    Often maligned as a failure, the Boulton Paul Defiant found a successful niche as a night-fighter during the German 'Blitz' on London, scoring a significant number of combat kills before being relegated to training and support roles.
    From http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...b42f917bc42d18

    So the the best night fighter the RAF posessed during this period was the Boulton Paul Defiant. Despite all the negative treatment that this aircraft has been given by air historians the facts remain unalterable.

    The Defiant achieved more kills per interception than all other RAF night fighter types including the Bristol Beaufighter and the Dehavilland Mosquito. It came as a surprise to me that the Defiant was designed as a night fighter from the begining. It posessed more than enough performance to deal with the Do17, He111 and even the Ju88. It was the first example of "Jazz Musik" or sloping music, the Defiant pilot would manouvre his aircraft under the belly of his pray where the gunner would deliver the "coup de grace" with his battery of 4x.303s in the power operated turret, at tactic that was used so successfuly by the Luftwaffe in the Battle for the Reich.
    And from

    Previously, a single-seat fighter unit, 264 Sqn spent some time working out the new tactics required by the type. Good co-ordination was required between the pilot and gunner in order to get into the best position to open fire on a target. A second day fighter unit, 141 Sqn, began converting to the Defiant in April 1940. The Defiant undertook it first operational sortie on 12 May 1940, when 264 Sqn flew a patrol over the beaches of Dunkirk. A Junkers Ju 88 was claimed by the squadron. However, the unit suffered its first losses the following day, when five out of six aircraft were shot down by Bf 109s in large dogfight. The Defiant was never designed to dogfight with single-seat fighters and losses soon mounted. By the end of May 1940, it had become very clear that the Defiant was no match for the Bf 109 and the two squadrons were moved to airfields away from the south coast of England. At the same time, interception of unescorted German bombers often proved successful, with several kills being made.

    In the summer of 1940, flight testing commenced of an improved version of the Defiant fitted with a Merlin XX engine featuring a two-speed supercharger (prototype N1550). The resultant changes included a longer engine cowling, deeper radiator and increased fuel capacity. Performance increases were small. Nevertheless, the new version was ordered into production as the Defiant Mk II.

    The limitations on the Defiant's manoeuvrability forced its eventual withdrawal from daylight operations in late August 1940. 264 and 141 squadrons became dedicated night-fighter units. The Defiant night fighters were painted all-black and fitted with flame damper exhausts. Success came quickly, with the first night kill being claimed on 15 September 1940. From November 1940, an increasing number of new night fighter squadrons were formed on the Defiant. Units operating the Defiant shot down more enemy aircraft than any other night-fighter during the German 'Blitz' on London in the winter of 1940-41. Initial operations were conducted without the benefit of radar. From the Autumn of 1941, AI Mk 4 radar units began to be fitted to the Defiant. An arrow type aerial was fitted on each wing, and a small H-shaped aerial added on the starboard fuselage side, just in front of the cockpit. The transmitter unit was located behind the turret, with the receiver and display screen in the pilot's cockpit. The addition of radar brought a change in designation for the Mk I to N.F. Mk IA, but the designation of the Mk II version did not change. By February 1942, the Defiant was obviously too slow to catch the latest German night intruders and the night fighter units completely re-equipped in the period April-September 1942.
    At the end of the day, all weapons have a usefull side and, very often, an acheilles heel. In the day, against fighters, the Defiant was useless. Against Slow moving bombers (unescorted) or at night they were far more deadly, esp when fitted with radar.

    That the Germans later used tactics used for the Defiant, says much about the plane. Admittedly their Jazz music planes lacked the turret, but at the time of constrution, the planes needed to be built using existing designs.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

    Seen a little on TV.

    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  15. #15
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    I dont deny the achievement of the defiant in the night fighting role.

    But the question remarked in the Putnam book remain unaswered, How, when ? 17 BF-109 shot downs and no losses by the Defiants, very doubtful.

    [QUOTEIn the day, against fighters, the Defiant was useless][/QUOTE]

    You say so.

    Admittedly their Jazz music planes lacked the turret, but at the time of constrution, the planes needed to be built using existing designs

    The reason for a fixed mountwas simple, the german used cannons much more bulky than a simple MG. The gun wre aimed using all the aircraft that probe to be good in others way, the defensive gunners were less able to spot an then to shot a fighter with that angle of aproach.


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