The Purpose of the Boulton Paul Defiant
A fourth modern fighter that would enter service in December 1939, once war had broken out, was the Defiant, manufactured by Boulton Paul. The aircraft has had a bad name over the years, mostly due to its failures when faced with modern German fighters in 1940, but the idea behind it seemed initially sound. This aircraft could top 300mph and had a range of 465 miles. Its unique feature was to have a turret carrying four machine guns manned by a gunner mounted immediately behind the pilot. These guns were heavy weapons that were astonishingly accurate over long distances in the air. The idea was that the Defiant could break up enemy formations from a distance, allowing the nimbler Hurricanes and Spitfires to then get in among the scattered bombers.
from "Heroes of RAF Fighter Command in Kent" by Rupert Matthews
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