Entering service with the US Navy as a carrier-borne fighter, the Brewster F2A, later named Buffalo by the British and simply the Brewster by the Finns, saw relatively little service with its own nation. Indeed, it was to see action on just one occasion in US colors: the engagement off Midway by USMC F2As saw a number of Japanese carrier aircraft shot down, including two by future ace Col Charles M Kunz.
The F2A was also ordered for the RAF in 1939, and although it soon became apparent that the type was not suitable for use against the mighty Luftwaffe over Western Europe, the Buffalo was seen as a suitable type for use in the Far East. It was sent en-masse to equip new squadrons of the RAF, RAAF and RNZAF formed for the defence of Malaya and Singapore.
Despite the many inadequacies exposed after the Japenese invasion, the Commonwealth units fought gallantly against the odds and with poor logistical backup and ultimately made many claims. Indeed no fewer than nine pilots either became aces on the type or increased their scores to achieve acedom, and a further fifteen aces flew them in action. Moreover, the leading Buffalo ace went on to become the most successful Commonwealth pilot against the Japanese of the entire war.
It was in Finland, however, where the Brewster found undying fame and proved itself a real thorn in the side of the Soviets. Operating in primitive conditions and against superior numbers, Finnish Brewster 239 pilots racked up an incredible score against the Red Air Force. Overall, some 37 Finnish pilots became aces when flying the Brewster 239. The tubby Brewster was very much the fighter of choice for the leading Finnish pilots until the advent of large numbers of Messerschmitt Bf 109s in 1943.
"This book is a must-have for the aviation historian and military analyst to understand how this much-overlooked aircraft impacted aerial combat during World War 2. Modelers will also enjoy the history, photography and color profiles to replicate the mounts of these aces. This title is recommended!" -Michael Benolkin, Cyber Modeler / cybermodeler.com (February 2010)
"This book covers it all, starting with its use by Finland during WW2, then moving on to Malaya, Burma and its final US use at Midway. Included in this are super period photos of the men and planes as well as the expected center section of full color profiles by Chris Davey and a couple of color photographs. There is also the usual table of pilots of various nations that achieved ace or near ace status flying the aircraft. In all, it makes for a great read and a super reference book. It is one that I have no trouble highly recommending to you." -Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness / modelingmadness.com (February 2010)
"I found this book to be very interesting, and very comprehensive. As an example, in the Far East chapters, the authors were able to correlate Allied kills with Japanese pilots shot down. In addition, the pilot recounts of their actions were highly regarded, as we are close to having lost most those people to age related demise, so to work those into the "story" of the Brewster was greatly appreciated." -Kevin Iutzeler, IPMS (March 2010)
"Kari Stenman and Andrew Thomas' BREWSTER F2A BUFFALO ACES OF WORLD WAR 2 joins others in Osprey's 'Aircraft of the Aces' series I offering a comprehensive survey of the pilots and missions of the F2A aircraft ... Military libraries strong in equipment history will find this a welcome addition." -The Midwest Book Review (April 2010)