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Osprey Publishing Aviation Elite Units:

49th Fighter Group

Aces of the Pacific


William N. Hess



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Osprey Publishing Aviation Elite Units: 49th Fighter Group - Aces of the Pacific
ISBN: 1841767859
Media: Soft cover; 128 pages plus covers
Price: USD$21.95 available online from Osprey Publishing's website
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Excellent coverage of subject matter; facts and human elements conveyed; 40 colour profiles plus 120 wartime photos.
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by
Rodger Kelly

49th Fighter Group - Aces of the Pacific is available online from Squadron.com



49th Fighter Group, Aces of the Pacific is one of the latest additions to the Aviation Elite Units series from Osprey Publications.

Written by the well known and respected William N. Hess, it provides a very complete coverage of the famous 49th Fighter Group all the way from its formation at Selfridge Field, Michigan on the 20th of November 1940 up to its final victory over Formosa in March 1945 and everything in between.

As an Australian, the 49th Fighter Group is of special interest as it took part in the early air battles of the Pacific War in the skies over Darwin in 1942. These missions are all faithfully recorded by the author as are all the others the Group took part in all the way from Australia, through Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

The book comprises six chapters with a ten page appendix of colour profiles by Chris Davey. Whilst there are some familiar machines amongst the profiles there are also some new ones. Hopefully, decal manufacturers may find some motivation to produce some of them in decal format especially the P-47s! The chapters are:

  • Forging the 49th

  • Jungle Warriors

  • Dobodura Days

  • Lightnings and Thunderbolts

  • Island Hopping

  • Philippines Finale

This book will appeal to those with an interest in WWII aviation. Understandably, the main focus is on the history of the 49th however, it is written in a style that conveys both the "dry facts" and the human element of life in the Pacific Theatre in an easy to understand and interesting format.

One of the real strengths of this book is the photographs. Whilst some of them appear to have been taken by official photographers, a lot of them look to be from the scrapbooks and albums of the participants them selves. The quality of a few of the latter are not the greatest but they do depict a lot of machines that have not been seen before.

The book consists of 128 pages printed on glossy paper between cardboard covers and contains 120 black and white photographs and 40 colour profiles



William Hess is the official historian for the American Fighter Aces Association, and is one of the most highly respected aviation writers of his generation. A B-17 crewman during World War 2, Hess has written over 40 books during his long and distinguished career.

49th Fighter Group - Aces of the Pacific
Aviation Elite Units 14

Author: William N Hess
Illustrator: Chris Davey
US Price:
UK Price: 13.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 August 20, 2004
Details: 80 pages; ISBN: 1841767859
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Review Copyright 2004 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 21 October, 2004
Last updated 22 October, 2004

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