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.
"Number 84 in the highly successful [Aircraft of the Aces] series addresses a very specific subject and makes use of the talents of two well known authors, one British, one American. Following the well-established format of authoratative text supplemeted by rare photos and a folio of color profiles, this book describes the efforts of a dedicated group of skilled aviators... Thomas is a serving RAF officer and has established himself as an authority on his service's long and rich history. Thompson, likewise, is a respected historian on Army/Air Force and Navy/Marine subjects as well as an avid collector of rare photographs. Thus, this book cannot fail to impress and add to the log of information on nightfighters." -Naval Aviation News (March 2009)
"Provides an excellent survey of the RAF's role in helping American fighters develop top-notch craft and techniques... includes thirty specially commissioned original color artworks and five vintage photos. All are outstanding military guides recommended for specialty military collections." -California Bookwatch, November 2008
"I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the history and development of Nightfighters of WWII. For those individuals, it will become a valuable resource and inspiration for their modeling. Even if the reader does not have that particular interest, this book will still be an educational and fun book to read. I enjoyed it enough that I've just added two US Nightfighter model kits to my "Christmas Wish List". -Keith Pruitt, IPMS (November 2009)
"As this book tells the story of American night-flyers from the England to Burma, from North Africa to New Guinea, it carries between the lines the evolution of the specialized aircraft, the history of the secret technologies, and, indeed, the progress of the war. Andrew Thomas & Warren Thompson present great detail about the nightfighters' achievements that would not likely be found in another single source. As I would with every other Osprey book I have encountered, I would recommend this book for the bookshelves of anyone interested in WWII generally and WWII aerial activities in particular." -David Stubblebine, World War II Database (October 2008)