Why The Worst Plane Of WW2 Was Actually Good

Why The Worst Plane Of WW2 Was Actually Good | World War Wings Videos

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The Boulton Paul Defiant stood out with its rear-mounted turret housing four Browning machine guns.

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Despite its focus on turret firepower over speed and forward guns, it struggled with quicker, much more agile counterparts.

The Defiant

At the heart of the aircraft was the rear-mounted turret armed with four .303-caliber machine guns.

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In the heat of battle, the gunner can swivel the turret forward, angling it upwards by 19 degrees thus ceding fire control to the pilot. 

Moment of Glory

During the Battle of Dunkirk, the 264 Squadron and their Defiants achieved something extraordinary. 

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The squadron shot down 37 German planes over Dunkirk, setting a record for the most enemy planes downed by a single RAF squadron in one day.

Short-Lived Success

The Defiant achieved some initial success with the Luftwaffe, but it was short-lived.

Although estimates indicated that it would be a great adversary to agile German bombers, adding a turret and an extra crewman made the plane 100 mph slower than the Bf-109.

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It was simply not built for the brutal dogfights against the more agile fighters.

The Defiant was outmatched, leading the UK to relegate the plane to less hazardous zones, away from the heart of the battle.

Critical Role in Battle

The Defiant was gradually replaced by more capable aircraft such as the Bristol Beaufighter and the de Havilland Mosquito. Still, the Defiant’s role in the Blitz cannot be overlooked. 

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Aviation author John Taylor notes that 4 Defiant-equipped squadrons within the RAF remarkably resulted in more German planes downed than any other type during that period.

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