Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I
264 Squadron, S/Ldr P. Hunter, Sgt King, Hornchurch, August 1940.
Of the three low-winged monoplane fighters of the Battle of Britain
the Boulton Paul Defiant is the one least remembered. First flown on
August 11th 1937 the Defiant was a natural progression from the classic
biplane fighters that proceeded it such as the Hawker Demon and Hart.
Powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin 3 engine the Defiant Mk I was fitted
with a Boulton Paul 'A' Mk 2D turret with 600 rounds per gun.
264 Squadron, first formed at Sutton Bridge on October 30th 1939, became
the first to receive the Defiant. It did not however make an auspicious
start, Defiants were being plagued with engine and undercarriage failures
grounding all Defiants until late February 1940. Once declared operational
264 squadron were detached to Wittering from where the Defiants flew
convoy patrols over the North Sea. In May they moved to Duxford from
where they would claim their first success claiming a Ju88 and a He111
but soon after the Defiant Squadron sustained heavy losses due to poor
tactics losing five out of six aircraft to Messerschmitt Bf 109s. This
led to a change in role for the Defiants, they were to be used as anti-bomber
escorts of English Channel convoys.
Dunkirk bought one of the finest hours for the Defiant. On May 29th
they claimed 37 German aircraft (19 Ju 87s, 15 Bf 110s, 2 Bf 109s and
a Ju 88). This was largely due to the confusion of the enemy attacking
the Defiants as if they were Hurricanes. Unfortunately it would not
take long for the Luftwaffe to exploit the lack of forward firing machine
guns of the Defiant and vulnerable underside where the gunner could
not return fire. Throughout 1940 264 Squadron continued to move from
station to station two of which were Kirton-on-Lindsey and Hornchurch
during the Battle of Britain. At Hornchurch in August 1940 they were
to claim 3 Ju 88s, 3 Do 17s and a Bf 109E. On the 28th of August they
were withdrawn from front line day fighter service to Duxford.
Ultimately Defiants were to gain success as nightfighters before being
relegated to target tug duties.
Scale 1:72 Wingspan 6.55" (116.5 mm)
Base size 7.71" (196 mm) square (No. 5)
Weight not including base 11 ozs (309 grams) Limited edition of 100 only