⚜ | In Defense of the ‘Worst Aircraft of World War 2’ – Boulton Paul Defiant

Do you know this aircraft? It’s the british boulton paul defiant It’s often featured as one of the worst planes of world war two. No seriously it even has a prime placement in the book literally Entitled the world’s worst aircraft Now i’m not going to be a contrarian and simply tell you that the defiant is a terrific aircraft the scourge of the sky And the best thing after sauerkraut But this video leaps to the defense of the defiance. By placing it in its proper context. Explain how It got its reputation And shed some light on its actual overlooked Achievements and in the end it is up to you to decide on how to judge this aircraft To fully understand the defiant, we need to understand why it was developed in the first place Although a newcomer to the RAF, coming off the production lines on the eve of world war 2, the basic Idea that preceded the development can Be traced back into world war one. The RAF wanted a modern, turreted, single-engine fighter with competitive performance. A dedicated bomber destroyer Able to, also operate at night. The need, for such a plane Was impart due to the RAF’s own conviction that the bomber will always get through, meaning that a dedicated bomber hunter Was required as a deterrent to enemy bombers For more information on the history of RAF bomber doctrine check out the advertised, video Meant to have comparable performance to the hawker hurricane and supermarine Spitfire the defiant nonetheless had the worst performance out of the bunch. Not a surprise given the stark Conceptual difference between these aircraft. Let’s quickly turn to the turret. The defiants most prominent feature. The four gun, electro-hydraulic turret Was sophisticated and of french origin Bolton paul had obtained a production license at a bargain price in 1934. Redesignated it as the type A Mk IID. And before .303 browning machine guns 600 rounds per gun. Beyond this there was no armament Before the RAF unleashed the defiant on zee Germans mock combat against fighters showed that unless the defiant Was expertly flown it was nothing but another mark on someone’s kill list unsurprisingly Perhaps, for a plane design for anti bomber duties. One important feature of the post-trial report stated that Every degree by, which the field of fire can be extended towards the flight direction is of great value Hinting at the parifs less-than ideal reality that the pilot had, no guns he could operate himself There was in fact a modification made so that the turret could be locked in a forward firing position with the pilot, as the operator However with, no synchronization this Would shred the planes propeller as much as it would shred the enemy, not good. There was some consolation however when flown Against the blenheim trial combat showed that it was indeed well able to take on a bomber after all that’s what a defiant have been designed for In light of this, RAF pilots proposed tested and approved their, own tactics. The first tactic Was to overtake the enemy bomber on a parallel course riddling him the bullets all the way? The second, was to converge during a beam attack the third Was to dive from above and cross the bow of the enemy in each attack the defiants would coordinate Their strike and level their guns at the same enemy. These attacks could be done for both sides at the same time or from only one side for defensive purposes a Defensive circle was considered to be the best option, allowing defiants to give mutual support in case of an enemy fighter attack So before we continue let’s wrap, this up very quickly. The RAF wanted a turreted, bomber destroyer, which it got Performance was mediocre but, adequate.The crews also Had a clear idea on how to attack enemy bombers and how to defend themselves against enemy fighters. So what went wrong? Well what sounds good on paper is not always good in practice. It quickly Crystallized that the reality of air warfare in World War II was different than expected Here, we have to analyze the early combat in some detail used operationally from Mid May 1940 and during the evacuation of Dunkirk the defiant pilots seemingly, went for highs and lows with Each, day. In May 1940 defiant crews claimed to have shot down 65 German planes. On one specific day the 29th of May 37 Germans were claimed Yet these claims where as the name suggests Claims, made by crews embroiled in swirling dogfights leveling their guns at the same targets, we now know that on the same Day only fourteen German Planes were lost in total this was not known to the RAF nor the defiant crews that made these claims in good faith indeed his apparent success of the defiant at Dunkirk initially seemed to suggest the validity of the turreted, bomber destroyer Defiant certainly damaged many German aircraft forcing them to ditch, bombs, smoke or dive, away Yet these planes often recovered and returned home there’s, also No, evidence that proves that German pilots mistook the defiant for hurricanes. A statement often made after a British officer Who, had not been involved in the fighting Had suggested this possibility. In fact the Luftwaffe, was aware of the defiant since the previous year. As Alec Brew notes the defiant, had appeared at the Royal Aeronautical society’s garden party on the 14th of May 1939 and Photographs of the aircraft together with technical descriptions appeared in German aeronautical magazines. The Luftwaffe already knew, about the Defiant and what to expect Furthermore when German 109’s ran into the defiant on May 13th 1940 Shooting down five out of six Two were examined after crashing in France. Never mind their actual success, the defiants pilots fought, well with what they Had and were rather fond of the aircraft their fight continued with the battle of Britain. In four engagements the crews Claimed 19 German, bombers vs. 11 defiants lost. Based on these losses it began to dawn on the RAF the defiant was out of its depth The losses might sound low Overall but they were not considered sustainable. This could have indeed been the end of the defiant and for many it is Popular, memory stops here Ridiculing the plane as a flawed outdated concept, that had no place in world war two Indeed the original concept of an unopposed single-engine turreted, bomber destroyer had failed completely The RAF was in somewhat of a predicament it had ordered a substantial amount of defiants Even invested in upgrades all in all over one thousand would be produced Production, had picked up and new squadrons could be formed but, what could be done with all these planes, when operationally they didn’t deliver Pragmatism, was the order of the day if the defiant couldn’t succeed at day, why Not try it at night, after all at This, point the RAF had few planes to oppose German, night bombing. Planes such as the Beaufighter Had yet to arrive in substantial numbers. The crews, had to learn a, whole new Way of combat. Initial success was minimal, accidents frequent, and frustration mounted with a Near, complete stop of German night intrusions there, wasn’t much to shoot at anyway. During this time a, new, tactic was developed Spotting an enemy from Above the pilot dove below the enemy set himself up slightly behind the intruder closed the distance and ordered the gunner to let fly This allowed the defiant a good clean shot at the engine and wings usually with total surprise 7 night fighter squadrons of defiants now stood ready as German activity picked up, while they had Some credible success especially during times of high German activity the defiant Was no match to the Beaufighter, soon defiant squadrons began retraining to this aircraft Even the installation of airborne interception radar on defiants did not reverse their fortune By, mid 1942 the last squadrant Had traded in their defiants. Let us look at the final victory tally of the defiant based on a publication By, Alec Brew. Their claimed victories amount to 152 Losses to 37. Losses only include aircraft shot down by Germans and it does not include operational losses based on other factors The claimed victories are harder to guarantee as true victories Especially considering the factors, we alluded, to earlier. As such take, these figures with a grain, of salt as he author himself mentions Trying to keep score in aerial combat is a minefield of contentions the following figures are therefore open to all kinds of Interpretation i do not claim that they are anything but a guide to the performance of the defiant squadrons in aerial combat my, personal estimate of their achievement And so ends the story of the defiant Child of an arguably flawed concept that nonetheless soldiered on through adversary but hold on the defiant actually had One last salute. It was now used as a testing ground for new turret designs ejection seats As a target tug And occasionally as trainers especially for aerial defensive gunnery It also, saw service in early electronic warfare by combating German radar in 1942 and 43 And as an air sea rescue aircraft These are all practical and significant ends to one of history’s more bizarre aircraft designs Now if you enjoyed this video please consider supporting me on Patreon and please share this video if you Would like to know something about your night fighting click here and if you, want to check out My video on clearing up spitfire misconceptions click here. As always have a great day, good hunting and see younis guy

100 Replies to “⚜ | In Defense of the ‘Worst Aircraft of World War 2’ – Boulton Paul Defiant”

  1. Hallo all my aces. If you enjoyed this video, consider sharing it with friends, social media and ze internet, ja!

  2. Had no frontal guns. One extra 303 and the ammo for it couldn’t have been heavy enough to worsen performance a significant amount. On a plane who’s job is to attack stuff should at least have 1 frontal gun always

  3. The defiant was a beautiful aircraft it was a mix between a spitfire hawker hurricane and a mosquito the mosquito had the back facing turret right or am I thinking about the blemon bomber or the Bristol bomber

  4. Therapist: The bolton paul defiant isn't real
    me: cries

  5. A fully surviving defiant is currently on display at the Royal Air Force museum Cosford. I have a video showing the aircraft. Well worth a visit.

  6. The British always end up making something stupid. Just like their terrible tanks and unreliable cars

  7. It doesn't benefit from the fact that, being a "bomber fighter" against a nation that didn't invest in strategic bombing was just an elongated and expensive moot point

  8. Built by boulton & Paul of Wolverhampton Staffordshire. Now West Midlands, I think the factory still stands.?

  9. As a night fighter with the British Radar, best in the World at the time. This thing may have made some sense.

  10. I think if the Defiant got the more powerful Merlin 45 (1,400 bhp) and Merlin 60 (1,600 bhp) engines, the plane would have been a bit more successful. It was just too underpowered in its operational versions to take on Luftwaffe fighters.

  11. One of the reasons we struggled during the Battle of Britain was because of a shortage of experienced pilots, tragic to think of the many lost because they were ordered to fly these aircraft at the start of the war.

  12. 4 wing mounted machine guns, a bit of armour plate on the underside of the engine and under the pilots and gunners seats and wing racks and you've got an early war Stormovik. It would have been a better tank buster/ground attack than the Stuka. Defiant worst plane of the war? It was way better than the Fairy Battle. The Defiant was a plane of unrealised potential, IMHO.

  13. If they slapped two autocannons on the nose, it would have been an okay interceptor. The idea of not having a forward facing gun is kind of silly. It may have worked if the cockpit was in the nose.

  14. No mention was made of the power to weight ratio of machine. It was powered by a Merlin engine, but its weight, since it carried the very heavy gun turret along with its attendant drive motors, was something of the order of twice that of the Spitfire. This guaranteed a sluggish performance.

  15. I wonder how well the Defiant would have fared, had it been modified to get its machine-guns in its wings, and had the turret been done away with (occasionally keeping the second crewman, who would have then become radar operator/rear gunner with just one MG).

  16. It was a great flying machine, but it was a specialized tool, made for a sort of combat they expected, which did not materialize. It was as useful in the situations that developed in combat over France as a flat screwdriver is when deployed to drive Phillips-head screws. It's possible to use it to perform that function, but it takes much more skill and effort to approach the results that one easily obtains just by selecting the correct tool for the job.

  17. So the medal for worst aircraft of WW II remains a tie between the Bell Airacobra and the Brewster Buffalo with honorable mention to the TBF Avenger.

  18. If they had given it a mere two 20 mm hispanos as forward facing wing-mounted armament and replaced the two rear 7.7 guns with one 12.7 mm mighty machine gun, it would have been a nice plane to fly into war. They were simply lazy and didn't develop this nice design to its full potential. It was their damn fault, not the plane's. Giving it only two 7.7s was a very stupid decision (who does that?), such a stupid decision, one that I didn't expect from the UK. After all, they had the Beaufighter, right? That thing was well armed and it's slower speed never hindered it from doing well, because there was both forward facing and defensive armament.

  19. Excellent video I had postponed watching for a while! It would have been great to have some numbers on the aircraft's specifications and performance rather than having to go look them up, but I'm being finnicky and learned a lot anyway.

  20. As a day fighter it was misguided; as a stop-gap night fighter it was very useful while its final role as a target tug on gunnery ranges was doubly valuable.

  21. The gunners on the Defiant had more top aces than any other gun turret. Are we excluding French, Polish Russian fighters? How about the PZLPIIC? A Polish fighter.

  22. Thanks for such an informative watch. I wonder: perhaps the success of the Bristol F.2B fighter in WWI (Over 5000 made) lead to the conviction that the Defiant was right. The difference being:
    – Forward firing gun
    -Speed as fast as the single seat fighters of the time
    Maybe if they had put this into the Defiant's design brief it would have been more successful?

  23. Ok well the thing to understand about the Defiant was that the turret gun was not an offensive tool against fighters but a defensive one….well flown a group of Defiants could stand off 109's but therein lay the problem….the discipline and training required for this was in too short supply and inexperienced pilots actually tried to dogfight instead of staying tight in a lufberry…in short it was a plane with a thin margin of error too thin for the green pilots of 1940….in its primary role the Defiant was well conceived…the purpose of the turret was to remove the need for deflection shooting and when cocked at a certain angle the shells would not fall and miss as with wing mounted guns..of course the 4 303's were a bit light for this work though better accuracy would compensate for fewer shells….so all in all not a bad plane but a bit too specialized to be put in the hands of new recruits

  24. I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher and I have a difficult time understanding your pronunciation of numbers. I love your videos and appreciate the notion that English is not your first language. When you say "thirty" it sounds as if you are saying "forty," It was at first very confusing. Place the front of the top of your tongue against your upper front teeth to make the "the" sound. I mean this in a constructive way. Thanks for your efforts.

  25. I wonder why no one thought of of putting this in ground support role a-la AC-130. Yes, it will be crap at it too but hey.

  26. Just saying, Throw some MG's on the front of the plane that the pilot could use and bam, this plane would be quite a decent strike fighter. Anyone Agree or disagree? Let me know! and tell me what you think could make this plane better.

  27. A fascinating plane, which I remember building in AIRFIX back in the 50's! We are told that there was no forward facing armament. What then, is the 'cannon-like projection, facing forward from the left wing? It looks like the cannons featured in other British fighters! Sincerely, Paul Rogers.

  28. Wow. Never heard of this plane b4. But when l first saw it l immediately thought "thats a bomber attack aircraft"… Not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing. Haven't even gotten half through the video yet.

  29. it seems like they figured out very quickly that the lack of forward facing guns was a problem. why didn't they just add them during one of the already anticipated upgrades? and who was the genius that thought no forward facing guns would be a good thing, to begin with?

  30. If you are talking worst aircraft. Include th Fairy. Battle. Blackburn Botha Brewster Buffalo and of course the Defiant. The Skua and Firefly weren’t much better. British designers always thought a two man single engined fighter was the way to go

  31. Your title about it being the worst fighter is wrong. It was designed as a Nightfighter. And to compare it with a daytime fighter is wrong. As it didn't need the speed or manoeuvring ability as the likes of the Spitfire or Hurricane.
    However, it still looks good. So stop putting it down.😠

  32. I made this when I was a kid, quite an impressive model airfix plastic kit. Even the info didn't rate it's performance.

  33. They probably would have more success with something other than the .303 Brownings. They simply weren't adequate against bombers.

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