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Brewster F2A Buffalo Aces of World War 2

Brewster F2A Buffalo Aces of World War 2 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2010 Title Brewster F2A Buffalo Aces of World War 2
Author Kari Stenman and Andrew Thomas Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2010 ISBN 978-1-84603-481-7
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95


The Brewster Buffalo was a rugged single-engine fighter designed for US Navy service as well as for export prior to World War 2. While the type wasn't exactly obsolete by the time World War 2 broke out, it was a victim of politics at home and a lack of training and experience in the field. The F2A, like the F4F, were outnumbered and outclassed by the Japanese in early engagements. It wasn't until after the F2A was all-but-withdrawn from service that the F4F was vindicated and served with distinction through the end of the war when pilots learned to play to the aircraft's strengths and not engage the Zero (and other fighters) as equals.

The RAF and Finnish Air Force aquired the Buffalo and while the RAF realized that the aircraft was no match for the Luftwaffe, it would be a good gap-filler in the Pacific theater. The cover art shows an RAF Buffalo pulling off of a bomber with its gear down. I'm not sure if the Buffalo was one of those aircraft that became a stable gun platform when you threw out the landing gear before setting up your shot. It worked for some aircraft, with others bad things would happen.

The biggest success story with the Buffalo was in service with the Finnish Air Force against the Soviets. The Buffalo held its own against the VVS and made a number of Finnish pilots into aces. This title provides a good insight into the combat experience of the Buffalo against the Japanese and Soviets in their respective conflicts. Coverage of this interesting subject includes:

  • The 'Peanut Special'
  • Brewsters over Karelia
  • Finnish Stalemate
  • Over the Gulf of Finland
  • Malayan Campaign
  • Defenders of Burma
  • Finale over Land and Sea

The book contains a nice range of period black and white photography of the men and equipment to show the environment in which these pilots operated. Line drawings of the 1/48 Buffalo are provided in the appendices and a very nice array of 32 color profiles are included to illustrate the variety of camouflage colors carried by the aircraft.

This book is a must-have for the aviation historian and military analyst to understand how this much-overlooked aircraft impacted aerial combat during World War 2. 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!