Night raids will prove more deadly for both friend and enemy overseas as another winter sets in, according to official British dispatches which reluctantly forecast mounting casualties because of recent improvements in night defenses.
In England and in Germany over the past year instrumental aids to anti-aircraft fire have been perfected, methods of directing night fighters to their targets been vastly improved, and the number of guns greatly increased.
After-dark bombing losses are consequently expected to assume "critical importance."
The British are now said to believe, however contrary to earlier impressions that the giant Boeing Flying Fortresses, new to the RAF, have a better chance of escaping enemy guns despite their great size. Built for height and speed rather than bomb load, the Fortress is reportedly the only 4-engine bomber in service by day.
Another American-made 4-engine plane, the Consolidated Liberator, has now completed more than 100 trans-Atlantic crossings, transporting Allied officials back and forth, returning ferry pilots to Canada, and protecting surface convoys.
First reports of the British Air Commission on the bomber ferry service cite the case of a successful Liberator encounter with three German Focke-Wulfe Condors and bombing of a Nazi submarine all in one afternoon en route.
Little Curtiss Tomahawks, meanwhile, are "tank-busting" in Libya, according to a report from London quoting a British pilot's description of the destruction from the air of eight German tanks with armor-piercing shells.
This report is excerpted from the "Aviation Defense" column in the January, 1942, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 41, no 1, p 161.