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Synopsis

The Americans lagged behind their European contemporaries in military aviation in the late 1930s, and it took the Battle of Britain to awaken an isolated America to the necessity of having aircraft that could defend targets against nighttime attack by bomber aircraft. With the help of the RAF, the importance of creating such a specialized fighter force was given top priority. This book examines the numerous aircraft types that were used by the US in this role, beginning with the early 'stop-gap' conversions like the TBM Avenger, Lockheed Ventura and the A-20 Havoc (P-70).

It goes on to detail the combat history of the newer and radar equipped Hellcats, Corsairs and Black Widows that were designed to seek out enemy aircraft (both German and Japanese) in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. It was these aircraft that registered most of the kills made by the Navy, Marine Corps and USAAF in 1944-45. Finally there are additional accounts from the American pilots who spent time on the frontline on exchange tours with the RAF in the ETO/MTO, learning the intricacies of flying radar-equipped fighters like the Mosquito and Beaufighter at night, prior to the USAAF taking receipt of the much-delayed P-61. With full color profiles and rare photographs, this is an absorbing account of an often underestimated flying force: the American Nightfighters.

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