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The Boulton Paul Defiant, Day and Night Fighter, by Phil H. Listemann

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Length, 84 pages

    This is a book in the Squadrons! Series from the site www.raf-in-combat.com and it does the job of telling the units that used this interesting aircraft.

    We start with a three-page background of the plane's development and delivery, plus its record in combat both in day and night action. Then we get the three squadrons who used the plane as their only plane for the Battle of Britain time, as well as the "mini-blitz" in 1941. We get their commanders, their fuselage letters, and their kill records, and casualties, both from operations and accidents. There is also the history of several second-line units, who used the plane for a short time, with planes back from repair, including No. 307 (Polish) Squadron, the only non-British RAF night fighter unit. Listemann finished with the training units, the roll call of honor of those men killed in the aircraft, and some color plates for modelers.

    One very large goof he made was at the beginning. He gave the wrong fuselage number for the prototype, when the plane is shown in a picture on the bottom of the page. Yikes.

    I like that Listemann didn't give a critique of the plane, just the record of its service. I would have liked it if he could have talked to any pilot who served in it, but that isn't part of the purpose of the series this is part of.

    I think this might be worth a look for those interested in this unique aircraft.
     
    bronk7, belasar and CAC like this.
  2. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..good call.....the stuff I like = ''not popular''/''non famous''
    ..seems like they would want to be slightly below the bombers to give the gunner the full range of the turret....?
     
  3. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    The optimum line of night attack was from just below and behind with the guns elevated at 45 degrees firing dead ahead over the air screw


    Does the book give any account of the use of the Defiant over France in 1942 as a radar spoofer to cover US bomber flights?
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    .
    ..yes, I was thinking same about the JU88 Schrage Musik
     
  5. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..were the Defiants used mostly at night, or about the same as both day and night fighter?
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  7. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    He does mention them being used as intruders.
     
  8. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    No this was different. They were kitted out with gear that allowed them to transmit a Radar return that looked like a formation of bombers. They were used to attract Luftwaffe fighter responses to the wrong target before a US bomber attack and use up their fuel. They were initially successful and it was decided to hold back on the use of the equipment and keep it ready for the invasion of Europe and it went onto the very secret list and there is very little to find on it. When finally deployed it was installed in Mosquitoes
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That would be 515th squadron Defiants, operating as part of "Moonshine" and later "Mandrel".

    They also flew Bristol Beaufighters as well.
     
  10. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    Actually no, this was not Mandrel or Moonshine of which I was aware. I do not know what the code name was but only a very few flights were carried out before it was shut down to avoid alerting the Germans to the fact that it existed.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You sure?

    Because,
    Exactly describes "Moonshine". It could spoof a large formation of daylight bombers by amplifying the return signature. While, it was good for spoofing American daylight bomber formations, it could not properly spoof a night bomber stream. In it's first attempt, it spoofed 30 German fighters into chasing "ghosts". On the second attempt, it spoofed some 144 German fighters, while roughly half that number went after the real raid.

    It was shelved for Normandy not because it was hush-hush, but for the simple practical fact that it failed for deep penetration raids...When radar detected a large spoof formation, but ground observers are reporting only a few planes...Well, that's game over for the spoof. Hence, it's withdrawal from use, short raids were dwindling in number, until Normandy, when it would again be of use.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Also when Moonshine went back into action at Normandy, it was not just aboard aircraft, but boats as well. British naval forces spoofed two phantom invasion fleets well to the northeast of Normandy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  13. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Upon further review, he does NOT mention 515 Squadron.
     
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    In 2000 I met Nick Berryman, the PR officer for the Tangmere Aviation museum. He had been an Air Sea Rescue pilot and flown Defiants in this role.
     

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