Navy night fighters in WWII

A tribute to Richard "Chick" Harmer and US Navy Night Fighter Squadron VF(N)-101


Modern warfare took on a new dimension with the innovation of radar; one of its most effective applications was in aerial combat.

Radar was in its infancy at the beginning of World War II, but already an essential part of Britain’s air defense system. When England’s small, but gallant, force of Hurricanes and Spitfires made daylight bomber attacks too costly, the Luftwaffe turned to night raids. To counter this, the Royal Air Force (RAF) employed hastily modified Bouton-Paul Defiant aircraft to fly at night. This handful of planes-cooperating with radar-equipped ground control intercept (GCI) stations, antiaircraft fire, and searchlights- was the key element of the infamous “Killer Belt” night defense system. With darkness no longer a safety screen for German bombers, night attacks against Britain were curtailed. The men of the RAF who fought and won the desperate Battle of Britain in the latter half of 1940—hailed by…

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