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Northrop P-61 Black Widow: The Complete History and Combat Record Paperback – May, 1991
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Top customer reviews
It had everything I like: two big radial engines, all-around canopy, 4 cannon & 4 machine guns and good loiter time. For night missions, they had the safety of a second engine and all-weather instrumentation. It was not fast enough to overhaul a Zero or FW-190 at top speed; and doctrine required visual I.D. of targets before opening fire. Pulling that close to anything is a difficult trick. (One interception reviewed how their crew did not use tracer ammo, and although they never saw the path of their fire, neither did the target). These crews pioneered the art of all-weather interception.
You will appreciate the color photos, details and nose art, ramp shots, victory tallies and P-61 unit lists.
This meant not a lot of planes were built and by the time they saw action, most of the German and Japanese air forces were destroyed. That should not take away from the successes of this odd looking but very effective night fighter.
The book is very thorough in tracing the development of the plane, excellent black and white photos, many color, line drawings and cut-aways on the different crew positions. There are many stories or quotes from those who flew these planes which is always an added bonus.
What did I not like? Paperback. I know, it keeps the price down - and at $20.00, it is a great buy. I think a few pages of data regarding specificiations of the different models would have been helpful or some additional comparisons of the P-61 vs the German He 219 Nightfighter or the British Mosquito. Having said that, I would absolutely recommend this book to any aviation fans, serious readers who want to know more about this very successful design.