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Best nightfighter of WW2

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Poll: Which was best nightfighter in WW2 (29 member(s) have cast votes)

Which was best nightfighter in WW2

  1. de Havilland Mosquito NF30 (16 votes [55.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 55.17%

  2. Heinkel He 219 Uhu (1 votes [3.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.45%

  3. Northrop P-61 A/B Black Widow (7 votes [24.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.14%

  4. Messerschmitt Me 110 (2 votes [6.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.90%

  5. Lockheed P-38M Lightning (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  6. Other (3 votes [10.34%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.34%

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#41 bearoutwest


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Posted 24 July 2015 - 03:19 AM

I have a liking for the F6F-5N and F4U-5N single-engine/single-seat Hellcat and Corsair night fighters used late in 1944-45 (and in the case of the Corsair also over Korea).  High speed, high performance and easy one-man operation radar scopes.
As for the Defiant night-fighter (you know I have a soft spot for the old Defiant), radar equipped MkI were used by No 96 Squadron RAF (from Nov 1941) and the more powerful MkIIs were used radar-equipped in No264, 151 and 256 Squadrons RAF (from Jan 1942).
See attached photo link– borrowed from the ww2-aircraft website as my scanner in unavailable at present – but the same photo also appears (without caption) in a number of books (including Night Fighters by Bill Gunston, and Turret Fighters by Alec Brew).

The Defiant Mk IA with AI Mk IV radar (was operated by the pilot – scope on the left, controls on the right), the Defiant Mk II used the redeveloped AI Mk VI radar scope (also intended for Hurricane and Typhoon night fighters).
The early RAF radar scope development was not pilot user-friendly (unlike the further refined scopes for the F6F-5N and F4U-5N later in the war).  The scope display destroyed the pilot’s night vision, making it very difficult for him to guide the aircraft close to the target and use the radar simultaneously.  As a result, the pilot-use radar equipped night fighters had very little success, with a single radar-equipped Defiant kill being scored by 264 Sqn on 17 April 1942 over a He111 (Defiant pilot P/O Stuart, gunner F/O Maggs).

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