A group of Internet aviation fans once debated the subject of the worst fighter of World War II. Their hands-down favorite: the Brewster Buffalo. Two books are titled The World's Worst Aircraft. The Buffalo is the only fighter from any era to have a chapter in both of them.
The Royal Air Force fobbed the Brewster fighter onto the Fleet Air Arm and colonial squadrons; the U.S. Navy gave it to the Marines. Pilots thought it was a sweet plane to fly, but complained that the wheel struts sometimes broke, the engine leaked oil, and the guns sometimes didn't fire. And when they flew it against the nimble fighters of Japan, too often they didn't come back.... Yet all the while, the Finns tore great holes through the Russian air force with essentially the same plane.
In this short book, Daniel Ford tells the story of the bumbling Brewster Aeronautical company of Queens, New York, which struggled to produce a few hundred copies of its roly-poly warplane before it was finally seized by the government and used to build a competing fighter. With black-and-white and color photographs; updated 2014 to include the discovery of two surviving Brewsters, in Russia and at Midway Atoll.
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About the Author
Daniel Ford has spent a lifetime reading and writing about the wars of the past hundred years, from the Irish rebellion of 1916 to the counter-guerrilla operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is best known for his history of the American Volunteer Group--the 'Flying Tigers' of the Second World War--and his Vietnam novel that was filmed as Go Tell the Spartans, starring Burt Lancaster. Most recently, he has turned to the invasion of Poland in 1939 by Germany and Soviet Russia. Most of his books and many shorter pieces are available in digital editions He lives and works in New Hampshire.