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Another Defiant You May Not Have Heard Of

Battle of Britain Turret Fighter Doomed by Rapidly Evolving Tactics

Courtesy: Xplanes

September 15, 2010 — Last week (September 10) we told you the story of a Dornier 17 that was discovered at the bottom of the English Channel 70 years after being shot down by a Boulton Paul Defiant “turret fighter” in August 1940. As it turns out for the Defiants, that engagement would essentially mark their end as a frontline fighter in the Battle of Britain. The 290-mph Defiant was obsolete and vulnerable almost before it was deployed in May 1940. The aircraft was designed to attack unescorted bombers by flying in large formations while the “turret gunners” used a dorsal mounted turret to fire at incoming bombers with four 7.7-mm Browning machine guns.

At first the Defiants were able to devastate German bomber formations, but soon the Luftwaffe figured out they had no forward-facing armament and attacked them from below, where the turrets could not shoot. The Defiants started to suffer heavy losses. After a four-day engagement August 24-28, 1940, in which nine aircraft were lost, they were redeployed and proved better effectiveness as night fighters, electronic counter-measure aircraft (ECM), and aerial gunnery trainers. Read more on Oshkosh365
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