Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum

Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum (
-   Books and Magazines (
-   -   Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter (

edwest2 10th March 2020 23:38

Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
Scheduled for 4 June.

Usual disclaimer,

Orwell1984 11th March 2020 14:41

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
Thanks for sharing this title.

Looks very interesting.

Jukka Juutinen 11th March 2020 16:04

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
But I wonder how well the author knows aircraft for his other works have nothing to do with aircraft plus no mention of e.g. engineering background...

SteveB 11th March 2020 17:17

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
This book appears on British Amazon with a slightly different title "Defiant: The Untold Story of the Battle of Britain"

Edward 19th May 2020 15:35

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
Defiant: The Untold Story of the Battle of Britain
(Robinson - 4 June 2020)
by Robert Verkaik
384 pages - hardback
Price: £20

"In this startling new perspective on the Battle of Britain, Robert Verkaik reveals the surprising truth about the battle's forgotten fighter, the Boulton Paul Defiant.

The crucial role played by the Spitfire and the Hurricane has been exhaustively recorded, but, to date, next to nothing has been written about the third British fighter which took part in the battle. By writing from the unique perspective of the pilots who flew the Defiant and their air-gunners, Verkaik helps to set the record straight.

The Air Staff regarded the Defiant as a state-of-the-art bomber destroyer and wanted to equip a third of all Fighter Command squadrons with this new plane. But the head of Fighter Command, Hugh Dowding, had other ideas and went to war with Whitehall over its plan to saddle him with hundreds of 'obsolete' turret fighters. Then at Dunkirk, a Defiant squadron scored a huge success against the Luftwaffe by shooting down more German planes in one day than any other RAF unit before or since. Fighter Command, enthusiastically urged on by the Air Ministry, now committed its third fighter to the coming air battle over southern England. In the desperate dogfights of the battle, Defiants shot down both German bombers and fighters but suffered heavy losses too - one squadron was almost wiped out when it was ambushed by a superior force of Messerschmitt 109s. On 30 August 1940 all Defiant squadrons were withdrawn from the front line.

The families of the Defiant air crews believed that their husbands, brothers and sons had died in vain, but the truth is that their vital contribution to the battle over Dunkirk and their role in the Battle of Britain has been all but erased from the official history. The story of the Defiant has not been allowed to mar the glorious victory won by the Spitfire and the Hurricane.

But Verkaik has uncovered new records, including top-secret memos written by Hugh Dowding and his deputy Keith Park as well as correspondence with the Air Staff, combat and squadron reports, pilot logs and recordings of the last interviews with Defiant crews. He has also succeeded in tracing relatives of Defiant pilots and gunners to tell the story of the Battle of Britain as it has never been told before. He reveals how the myths which have grown up around the Defiant mask some inconvenient truths."

"In Defiant, Robert Verkaik has achieved the impossible - resurrecting the reputation of one of World War Two's worst remembered fighter planes. Unwanted, unloved and rushed into service, the Defiant nevertheless turns out to have achieved far more success in combat than has been previously acknowledged. This is mainly down to the brilliance of the officers who commanded the two operational squadrons and whose record Verkaik rightly praises. This book firmly establishes the aircraft's role in those crucial aerial battles of 1940 and elevates the brave aircrews who fought and died in their forgotten Defiants, to rank alongside their comrades in the better remembered Hurricanes and Spitfires."
David Fairhead, director of Spitfire

Edward 19th May 2020 20:28

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
There is another book on the Defiant under development and the author has set up a facebook page.

" 'The Defiant. By Day, By Night', a book covering the history of the Boulton Paul Defiant to be published by Frontline / Pen & Sword in 2020.

The manuscript will include the development of the type, the politics that went on behind the scenes, and the operational history. There will be a section on all Defiant combat claims, and a roll of honour to those lost on type; the latter will, where possible, have as many photographs of those aircrew."

Stig Jarlevik 20th May 2020 14:13

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter
Unfortunately for the book I have grave doubts much new "revelations" will come out of it.

I really don't understand the sudden urge among British authors to try and re-write history and turn black into white.

The Defiant was not a good combat aircraft when there were enemy fighters around. It was not even designed to be that. Would it have been a success as an interceptor? Possibly, but its main drawback was its lack of speed and forward firing armament.

The two main squadrons using the aircraft in 1940 were both withdrawn from the BoB in late August/early September since their losses were simply too high.

Phil Listemann and Andy Thomas has done a very good job, in my mind, with their Allied Wings No 8 dealing with this early period. We have all the claims (86.66) and losses (38 including accidents) in detail. Can't see how a new book will change that. What we don't have is an objective view of how effective the 86 claims actually were. I believe the new BoB Archive (and Dunkirk) series by Simon Perry takes care of that.

So was the Defiant any good in its next role, as a nightfighter?
From what I remember it was doing OK, but again it certainly was surpassed very quickly by other more effective twin-engined aircraft and pretty much delegated to more "safer" areas of operation.

Would be interesting to hear someone elses views as well on this two-seat fighter.


Nick Beale 20th May 2020 20:08

Re: Defiant: The Battle of Britainís Forgotten Fighter

Originally Posted by Stig Jarlevik (Post 288907)
Would be interesting to hear someone elses views as well on this two-seat fighter.


One further role Ö in 1942 the Northolt Defiant Flight carried the "Moonshine" jammer to spoof the Freya early-warning chain.

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 11:58.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2018,