Reviewed by Rodger Kelly
"US Navy A-7 Corsair II Units" may be ordered online from Squadron.com
US Navy A-7 Corsair II Units of
the Vietnam War is the latest addition to the Combat Aircraft series from Osprey
Publishing. The book is co-authored by Norman Birzer (who actually flew the A-7
in combat in Vietnam and Peter Mersky a well respected and accomplished author
on the subject US Naval aviation. Colour profiles are by Jim Laurier.
Given the stellar credentials of
the authors, this book does not disappoint.
summary, the book covers the employment of the Ling-Tempco-Vought Corsair II in
the South East Asian theatre from its first deployment with CVW-2's VFA-147
aboard the USS Ranger in December 1967 to its last combat sorties with CVW-15's
A-7 squadrons covering the joint US Marine/USAF operation to re-take the
captured cargo ship, the SS Mayaguez in May of 1975…….and everything in
The book comprises five chapters,
a preface, an introduction as well as two appendices and nine pages of colour
The Preface sets the tone for the
entire book. It is a re-play of an operation the A-7 was designed for, an
air-to-ground sortie with three VFA-147 Argonauts aircraft attacking
enemy ground forces in close contact with friendly troops under the direction of
a USAF Forward Air Control (FAC) flying an OV-10 Bronco.
The Introduction advises on the
birth of the A-7 into the world of close-air-support and its evolution of the
The chapters include:
Operational histories are normally
dry and require concentration as well as determination to get through. This is
definitely not the case with this one. It has been written in an
informative and interesting style that mixes the dry "who did what and when
where" with first hand accounts of both the combat aspect as well as the
developmental and maintenance issues that faced A-7 squadrons in this time –
remember that this was a brand new aircraft at the time.
The book is illustrated with
sharp, clear, black and white (101) and colour images (12), as well as colour
profiles – 36 of them - and line drawings. The appendices carry information
Squadron deployments from 1967 to 1975.
Combat losses by Bureau number (includes the
pilot and his fate).
Operational losses (in the same format).
Captions to the colour profiles.
Captions to the colour photographs
A bibliography and index complete
The book itself has 96 pages
printed on glossy paper between thin cardboard covers and is the same size as
the Aircraft of the Aces and Combat Aircraft series produced by Osprey.
If you are looking for walk-around
type references to assist you with you’re A-7 build then look elsewhere. The
book is however valuable to the modeller. One of the little snippets contained
within its pages explains why A-7 photographs rarely show powder stains to the
nose mounted 20mm cannons as they were cleaned off as soon as the aircraft
returned from a sortie because the cordite was corrosive to the airframe – the
last thing you want on a carrier based machine.
As a fan of US Naval aviation,
this is certainly one of the best books I have ever read on the A-7 and its
employment in the Attack community.
Osprey Publishing for the review
|US Navy A-7 Corsair II
Units of the Vietnam War
(Combat Aircraft 48)
Author: Norman Birzer & Peter Mersky
Illustrator: Jim Laurier
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publish Date: September 23, 2004
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 184176731X
Review Copyright © 2004 by
Page Created 15 November, 2004
Last updated 15 November, 2004
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