The Internet Museum of World War II Aviation | home
Great Britain | Blackburn Roc | Firebrand | Defiant | Beaufighter | Mosquito | Fairey Firefly | Fairey Fulmar | Gladiator | Gloster Meteor | Hawker Hurricane | Hawker Tempest | Hawker Typhoon | Spitfire
This was another of the turret fighters, except this aircraft had exceptional performance although it had a short life in active service. It was an excellent flying machine - that is, until the turret was installed, which dropped its performance greatly. Almost every single engined contemporary fighter could out maneuver and out gun the Defiant. Despite the efforts to streamline the Defiant, the turret was very high drag, and it was realized that the intended fighter vs. fighter action could not be employed.
The first production group of Defaints entered operational service in early 1940, and by the end of their first month in action they claimed 65 kills. This figure is still hotly debated. Apparently the new fighters unconventional tactic had succeeded. But it was soon found that this success was short lived - Messerschmitts had come up behind the Defaints, mistaking them for Hurricanes. The withering concentration of fire from the numerous guns in the tails of the Defiants made short work of the Me 109s, but the Germans soon learned to take these nasty fighters on from the nose. Boulton Pauls began to fall out of the sky in flames following the Germans' discovery that the Defaints had no guns in the nose.
That spelled the end of the successful career of the Defiant, and they were cancelled from production and taken from active service. Some of them found use as test beds for pilot ejector seats.
Boulton Paul Defiant