The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo: A Flying Coffin to the U.S. Marines, but a Pearl to the Finns

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The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo: A Flying Coffin to the U.S. Marines, but a Pearl to the Finns


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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