continues their excellent series, "Combat Aircraft" with volume 116, US Navy F-4 Phantom II Units of the Vietnam War, 1964-1968
, by author Peter E Davies.
Mr. Davies provides an excellent overview of not only the units that used the Phantom II, but how it was used and evolved as a weapon.
The book is broken down into five chapters as follows:
Chapter 1, Thunder Clouds; covering the escalation of the Vietnam conflict and first use of the F-4 Phantom II. This chapter explains how actual flight teams were set up on a carrier, the operational roles, and weapons initially used. It includes other details such as deployment of aircraft carriers to support air operations.
Chapter 2, Into the Cauldron; covering the experience of the pilots as they transitioned from the intended use of the F-4 as a high altitude, high speed missile armed interceptor and tactical nuclear bomber to a low altitude ground attack bomber and close range fighter.
Chapter 3, Adaptations; covering how pilots and aircraft adapted to changes in combat, and forces of North Vietnam compensated, with emphasis on SAM warfare.
Chapter 4, Tools and Tactics; covering the challenges of relying on missiles in air combat, changing technology and frustrations of weapons failures. This chapter includes an analysis of how the fire on the USS Forrestal occurred.
Chapter 5, Refining the Breed; covering improvements made to systems onboard the F-4 Phantom II, developing the F-4B into the F-4J, adding improved radar for both ground attack and air interceptor roles, and fine tuning the Phantom II as a tactical weapon.
Also included are color plates with 30 separate side profiles of specific aircraft, with an appendix that contains a short synopsis of the aircraft history, including the ultimate fate of aircraft and crew.
The book contains first hand accounts from the flight crews of the aircraft as they describe their experiences, description of specific weapons such as the AIM-7 and AIM-9 missiles, and even an explanation of the challenges of operating the F-4 from the older Midway Class carriers, and redistribution of carrier resources to maintain offensive operations. I had not realized the impact of unsophisticated anti aircraft weapons and small arms on the air war, but the author provides statistics that show the vast majority of air losses over Vietnam were to these weapons.
I think this book is a valuable reference for those with an interest in either the F-4 Phantom II or the air war in Vietnam, as well as those who wish to learn about the impact of close air support operations.
Author Peter S. Davies
Illustrator Jim Laurier
Editor Tony Holmes
Cover artwork Gareth Hector
ISBN 978 1 4728 1451 7
PDF e-book ISBN 978 1 4728 1452 4
e-Pub ISBN 978 1 4728 1453 1
Listed price is $23.00 US. My thanks to Aeroscale for this review sample.