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Boulton Paul Defiant

Boulton Paul Defiant Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2009 Title Boulton Paul Defiant
Author Phil Listemann Publisher Philedition
Published 2009 ISBN 978-295-32-5443-3
Format 48 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 14.50€

Review

Phil Listemann is an author and publisher from southwestern France that specializes in interesting historical RAF monographs. With this title, he has released the eighth title in the 'Allied Wings' series and this covers Part 1 of the Boulton Paul Defiant in RAF service. In this installment, the author looks at the early operations of the Defiant between mid-1939 and August 1940 during its peak operations in daylight. By August, the RAF was starting to re-role the aircraft for night fighter operations, and this is covered in Part 2.

The Defiant was one of several aircraft that were the first monoplanes designed to replace the biplane fighters. One design feature that carried over into the Defiant that did not make it into many other aircraft was the concept of the rear gunner. Since the Defiant featured retractable landing gear for higher airspeeds and a fully enclosed cockpit, designers also applied a turret for the rear gunner to provide slipstream protection as well as an improved field of fire compared to earler gun rings. The extra weight and drag of the rear gunner, ammo, turret, etc., kept the Defiant from becoming an effective dogfighter, but it would finally find its place in combat operations.

What is interesting is that the author has followed a similar format to his series of RAF squadron histories. This title is broken down as follows:

  • Three pages outlining the development of the type
  • One page listing the deliveries and attrition of the type
  • One page providing the key performance specifications of the type
  • 16 pages of operational history of the type in 264 Sqn
  • 3 pages of operational history of the type in 141 Sqn
  • 1 page of operational history of the type in second line units
  • One page outlining the sortie counts by date
  • One page showing the basing of the aircraft through Aug 1940
  • Six pages of combat kills
  • Three pages of operational losses
  • One pages of aircraft lost in accidents
  • Two pages of operational dates for each aircraft by serial number
  • One pages of crews killed in service while operating the type.
Boulton Paul Defiant

The title is well illustrated with color profiles of representative aircraft from user squadrons, photos of the pilots of the Defiant, as well as period photographs of squadron aircraft.

This monograph is to the point and clearly tied together by extensive research that has been collated by database views.

This title is highly recommended and I certainly hope to see many more in this format in the future!

My sincere thanks to Phil H. Listemann for the review sample.

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