Bristol Beaufighter: The Multi-purpose warplane and pride of The Allies

The Bristol Beaufighter, commonly referred to as ‘The Beau’, was a Royal Air Force warplane used with great versatility during the Second World War. It debuted its service as a night bomber then later graduated into a bomber fighter before completing its service as a torpedo bomber.

This multi-purpose ability of the plane makes it a great component for many war games as players can often change roles without having to make new purchases. It has especially been used in online gaming to launch secret night attacks over both land an water.

Board game developers like Wings of Glory have also shown a prominent use of the genius engineered plane. They design the plane to have a full compatibility with other warbirds created from the era of WWII.

Stories of The Beau have been told and retold by people aligned to the Allies during and after the war. They just cannot get enough of the plane hailed for ‘having gone to war just one year after its prototype was flown.’ One tale that is especially popular is that of pilot Brian Hartness.

The experienced ace flew one of two planes that set out to unleash terror on the Japanese on the morning of February the 13th in 1943. The other plane was flown by Snowy Smith. Each man had navigators on board, but the pilot’s individual skill was regarded as the most important ingredient for a successful mission.

Hartness and Snowy quickly got to what they had gone out for, spraying devastation on a supply train and an enemy bomber. Hartness, seemingly having fun in the fight, went to the extent of destroying a Japanese Nakajima-Ki-43-Oscar fighter before hitting the exit in a really low flight.

Probably wowed by his success, the pilot accidentally rammed into a teak stump and suddenly appeared headed for destruction. And it is here that the story of The Beau’s strength takes root.

That Hartness was able to fly the battered airplane back to camp- with only a minor stop for assurance after the crash- has been a source of the unending praise from the allies. It is a story you will hear over arguably every war board game you play.

Gamblers also often use the phrase ‘our pilots always come back’, a reference to the base commander’s reaction after Hartness’ return.