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Aircraft of the Aces Beaufighter Aces of WWII Osprey Books

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Great Book by Osprey Publishing. 96 pages
Entering service at the end of the Battle of Britain, the pugnacious Bristol Beaufighter was deployed in numbers by Fighter Command just in time for the start of the Luftwaffes night Blitz on Britain. Flown by specialised nightfighter squadrons several of them elite pre-war Auxiliary Air Force units it was the first nightfighter to be equipped with an airborne radar as standard. Thus equipped, it combined the ability to see the enemy at night, with speed and devastating hitting power of four cannon and six machine guns. It was the Beaufighter that was largely responsible for the blunting of the Luftwaffes night offensive, and in the early months of 1941 a large number of future aces flew the type. Its range and striking power also led to the Beaufighters deployment by Coastal Command in the long range fighter role, taking on the enemys long range maritime bombers. The Beaufighter was also quickly deployed overseas in both the nightfighter, long range fighter and strike roles. It again proved devastatingly effective against enemy bombers and also in supporting the campaign of the 8th Army in the desert, and again many pilots built up large scores flying the type. When the USAAF arrived in North Africa and the Mediterranean, its nightfighter squadrons also flew the Beaufighter with distinction. Back home, the Beaufighter pioneered the use of the nightfighter in the Bomber Support role flying with the bomber streams to hunt out the enemys own nightfighters again with considerable success. Further a field, Beaufighters also took on the Japanese defending Indian ports against night bombers and sweeping on strike sorties all over Burma where it gained a fearsome reputation. Although the opportunities for air combat were few, several pilots became aces in this theatre. So too over New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies, where RAAF squadrons made the most their combat opportunities. In total, some 80 pilots became aces flying the Beaufighter with a further 39 achieving at least part of their total flying them.