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American Nightfighter Aces of World War 2

American Nightfighter Aces of World War 2 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2008 Title American Nightfighter Aces of World War 2
Author Andrew Thomas, Warren Thompson Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2008 ISBN 978-1-84603-306-3
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95


This title is a nice timeline covering the catch-up work performed by the US during World War 2 in nighttime aerial combat. While the Battle of Britain was a wake-up call to 'neutral' America, it would still be several years before the US could adopt and improve upon early radar technologies as well as night fighting tactics developed in Europe.

This title describes the problem as the US prepared for war, and how American volunteers flew for the RAF and RCAF in a variety of aircraft and missions, including the night raider and night fighter roles. Even after the US entered the war, the only available aircraft for nightfighting were Beaufighters, Mosquitos, among others, and radar sets were adapted to a variety of other platforms until more suitable airframes became available.

The authors cover the timeline from the early days of US volunteers through the end of the war where dedicated nightfighters were in service in Europe and in the Pacific. From the Beaufighter to the Black Widow and everything in between. Coverage of this interesting subject includes:

  • Groping in the Dark
  • Serving the King
  • Yanks in Beaus
  • Enter the Black Widow
  • 'A Dangerous Business'

The book contains a nice range of black and white photography of the men and equipment in the night fighter community as well as an impressive selection of 12 rare color prints. In addition, there are numerous color profiles of selected aircraft and unit symbols in this title's coverage.

This book is a must-have for the aviation historian and military analyst to understand how the USAAF, USN, and USMC came quickly up-to-speed in what was still a relatively new mission - radar-guided fighter intercepts. Modelers will also enjoy the history, photography and color profiles to replicate the mounts of these aces. This title is recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!