Interesting USAAF night fighters project at MAAM

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Airman 1st Class
Jan 13, 2007
A group of the surviving USAAF night fighters, many members of the defunct Night Fighters Association, are trying to put together an oral and video history project to be held at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum in September 2007.

The plan is to let each vet tell his story while sitting/standing in front of the P-61 that MAAM is restoring.


My book, "Beaufighters in the Night: The 417th Night Fighter Squadron USAAF" goes on sale Monday.

Mods let me know if I need to delete the last lines.
I wish those guys the very best along with your work on the 417th nfs; in fact published through whom, how many pages and how many photos, kills, losses listing, maps, etc ?

E ~
The MAAM project is being run by some of the veterans themselves; I look forward to hearing them speak in September.

My book is being published by Pen and Sword Books, it's 208 pages (at least that's what the galley proofs came in at), it has over 100 photos, mostly from the members of the squadron, a few operating area charts, and numerous appendices with the squadron's aircraft and their disposition, technical descriptions of the Beau and P-61, excerpted combat reports, etc. The book covers many aspects of squadron life, not just the aerial combats so the maintenance, medical, entertainment aspects of wartime life are described as well.

Sources used were the official squadron histories (via microfiche), letters and other correspondence from the members, a couple of self-published memiors also from squadron members, USAF Archives, US Nat'l Archives, numerous books on night fighting - all listed in the bibliography.
From the publisher's site describing the book (a little too dramatic for me,- "healthy score" and "downing many of the gold carrying Condors" (actually one Ju 290) but they own the marketing now.....)

Beaufighters in the Night: 417 Night Fighter Squadron USAAF

The 417th Night Fighter Squadron USAAF was only the fourth such unit to be formed. In the early days of WWII, the US sent observers to England to study how the latest form of air warfare would take shape and it very soon became apparent to them that a night fighting capability was of increasing importance. When they joined the battle against the Reich they found themselves without a suitable American aircraft and were forced to utilize those RAF Beaufighters that were becoming available as the de Havilland Mosquito assumed that role in RAF squadrons. Having 're-learned to fly' this British design the 417th were sent to North Africa where they honed their skills with the RAF. Most of the ex-RAF aircraft they had inherited were battle weary and no supplies of spares were available through the US supply chain. The squadron found an elderly B-25 bomber, nicknamed the "Strawberry Roan," and they ranged throughout the Mediterranean in search of Beaufighter parts. 417 soon built a healthy score of downed German and Italian aircraft and as the war progressed they were moved to Corsica to support the Italian invasion, now also taking on the challenge of maritime attack. After D-Day they were moved to Le Vallon at the mouth of the Rhone Valley, the great pathway into southern Germany, from where they attacked the night-time movements of the German Army. Perhaps their most famous operation was to attack and down many of the low flying German Condor aircraft that ran the route from the Reich to Spain carrying Nazi gold and treasures that had been looted from the occupied nations. This unique history is full of first-hand accounts and new information.
Glad to see that these Books are still being researched and published at group and squadron level, I am currently trying to put the bones together on the RAF 148 Squadron which in 1944 flew out of Brindisi in Italy, on SOE operation supply the partisans in Northern Italy,Yugoslavia and Poland.I'm hoping thru these forums that I might be able to get in contact with members of the American Squadron that also flew out of Brindisi do you have any suggestion on any sites to try?
Keep up the good work, and I'm up for a copy keep me posted as to publishing date.
Casemate will handle North American distribution. Won't be in stores here until the summer - literally will send them on a slow boat from the UK (yes, Pen and Sword is a British firm).

Available via Pen and Sword's site for order now, others like Amazon, etc.
Colonel, just gave a looksie over at P and S. I like what I see there. yes that is the firm Casemate I have an old catalog buried somewhere in the my office called the "Sphere". I will wait just to save my pennies but looks like an excellent title that will be a pleasure to read.

much success !!! and a side note have you done any research on the RAF Mossie nf's such as the 85th squadron, etc during the war ?

Thanks for the kind words, "Col" is something for work, not here.
Other than general knowledge of 85 Sq and most of the other RAF NFSs, I have nothing in particular on them. Just read most of the books I could find - Rawnsley's, Chisholm, Williams-somebody, Braham's, a new one by Graham White "Night Fighter over Germany," some others that are stored away and not readily accessible now.

I'm trying to do some research on the 416th NFS USAAF who traded in their Beaus for Mosquitoes in late 1944, but will have to get some time off to get down to Maxwell to see the actual histories. The microfiche print outs I have are almost illegible.

Writing a DESERT STORM Wild Weasel book now, but since that's off topic, I'll drop it.
Drum roll please......................

Today, I am a published author. My book was released today. Didn't know an old crewdog could do it. If anyone ever reads it, I'd value the feedback.
I did; got invited to attend the unveiling and was the dinner speaker at the NFS vets' dinner that evening. Gave a talk on the history of the Beau.

Edited to add: didn't mean to sound so pompous. The undeniable highlight of me being at the unveiling was the veterans who attended. The history and behind the scenes insight they gave for both air and ground ops was amazing!

The Museum did a good job on the restoration. It's still missing a few bits and pieces and the Hercules engines are essentially frozen solid, but it was great to see the big Beau.
Even the youngest pilots of the time would have to be getting pretty old. WW2 was in 1945 and it is now 2007, therefore 62 years have elapsed since WW2, therefore even the youngest pilots would not exactly be very young, assuming flying at 18 in 1945 you have an age of 70 for that individual. Therefore I would imagine that if though there were large numbers of pilots involved, that there would be whole squadrons that have totally disappeared, swallowed up by time.

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