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Boulton Paul Defiant

Old 23rd Oct 2009, 07:41
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Boulton Paul Defiant

Gentlemen...

May someone who was never anything more than a limited ground hugging pongo please ask a question of you....

In relation to the Boulton Paul Defiant of years past.

It could rotate its turret fully forward, putting its four guns either side of the pilots canopy, with the pilot able to fire the guns. But with the guns unable to fire directly ahead, only at a minimum angle of something like 19 degrees above horizontal and with no gunsight for the pilot, I wonder if it was a practical proposition to use it as a fighter, given that it had no other fixed forward firing armament.

I know someone who takes the view that it could operate as a conventional fighter aircraft of the day, and that the real problem it had was that the pilot was over the wing rather than pretty much behind it, so had a big blind spot beneath. I would have thought rolling the aircraft would have helped, and with the turret gunner providing a second set of eyes able to look in a different direction, located pretty much behind the wing visibility would not be such a problem.

Can anyone offer wise counsel to the ignorant but interested?
abeaumont is offline  
Old 23rd Oct 2009, 19:32
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With the weight of 2 people and a rotating gun assembly, as well as all the extra drag involved, it's performance would have been pedestrian. It fighter terms, it would have been slaughtered. I think it probably fair to say that in a spat with a real fighter, the fighter would trump the gun turret every time. It's speed was ordinary. Really, it was only useable in a night fighter roll where the turret would be useful against large large static, and unsuspecting turrets, but then I don't think it even had the speed to chase targets. For anything else, totally useless. A useless player rapidly outpaced as the war progressed, doomed by high drag. I always thought it resembled a Hurricane with a turret.
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Old 23rd Oct 2009, 19:56
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I gather that looking like a Hurricane was it's advantage in the early days. A lot of German fighter pilots got quite a shock when attacking from 6 o'clock high, only to run into four Brownings. Didn't last long though, they soon caught on.
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