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Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 53


F-15C Eagle Units in Combat



Steve Davies


S u m m a r y\

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 53
F-15C Eagle Units in Combat
by Steve Davies
ISBN: 1841767301
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 96 pages
Price: GBP£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Lots of first hand stories from aircrew, detailed coverage.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

Osprey's F-15C Eagle Units in Combat
is available online from Sq


Recent volumes of Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series have seen a focus on Middle-Eastern conflicts, covering Operation Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm, along with the Iran-Iraq War. A crucible of conflict in recent times, Volume 53 again returns to this theatre to examine the role of the USAF’s premier air superiority aircraft, the F-15C.

The author, Steve Davies, has been previously responsible for Osprey’s examination of F-15 units in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In that volume he covered both the F-15C and its air to ground cousin the F-15E Strike Eagle. In this book Davies returns to 1990 and the invasion of Kuwait to look at was probably the high point in the F-15s career as a fighter fulfilling its designed role. Along the way he looks at the Eagle in service with the Royal Saudi Air Force, an interesting diversion, and then he follows the Eagle to new theatres, examining its role in the Pacific in the 1980s and Balkans in the 1990s.

Steve Davies has developed very close links to the Eagle community in the United States, having authored a number of books and magazine articles on this aircraft. Once again this access has allowed him to draw out numerous and detailed accounts of the Eagle in combat from the aircrew that took it to war. Putting its subsequent success in context, Davies uses the first chapter, “The Eagle Takes Flight” to examine the development of the aircraft and its weapons systems, educating and informing the reader so that when the aircrew themselves describe their combats in the inevitable shorthand of aerial combat they can be understood easily by the reader. Following this is an interesting series of diversions in “KAL Shootdown and RSAF Kills” where Davies highlights the little known role of the Eagle confronting the Soviet Air Force during search and rescue operations for KAL Flight 007, following on with the use of the Eagle by the RSAF in both the Iran-Iraq war and subsequently in Desert Storm. This is where the diversions end as the rest of the volume focus’s squarely on the USAF in various theatres of conflict.

Chapter Three “Ducks in a Barrel” covers Desert Shield and Desert Storm in expansive detail. Davies has sourced first hand accounts of most of the kills scored by USAF Eagles over Iraq. Like previous volumes these accounts make the book both readable and engrossing. The 36 kills with no loss which resulted are indicative of the quality of the aircrew and weapons systems brought together by the USAF in its F-15 units. Supporting the narrative are many colour and black and white photographs, often sourced from the participants themselves, providing a candid look at life deployed in the desert bases of Saudi Arabia. Not surprisingly this chapter makes up the bulk of the book. The author has usefully included aircraft serial numbers and, where possible, photographs of the aircraft which scored the kills making this volume particularly useful to modellers who wish to build a historical replica. To round out this volume are two additional chapters in the first of which the author details the role of the F-15C over the Balkans from 1993. Again the F-15C proved superior to the Yugoslav Air Force, the 493rd Fighter Squadron claiming four MiG-29 Fulcrums during Operation Allied Force I 1999. The final chapter is an interesting analysis of what is probably a low point in the history of the F-15C, when two US Army UH-60s were shot down over Iraqi Kurdistan in 1994 due to a comprehensive breakdown in the chain of command.


As is usual for the Osprey Combat Aircraft series included in this volume are a useful appendix covering all the kills by date, airframe, pilot, weapons and target which pulls Davies narrative together into a one page summary. Three pages of 1/96 scale drawings of the F-15C round this section out. 24 colour profiles fill the centre pages. Accompanying this is a neat page of artwork highlighting the variations of tail art applied by different F-15 wings.





In conclusion, this volume is comprehensive providing the reader with a fascinating insight into what is usually a closed community. Modellers are also well served with the photographs and aircraft details which would support an accurate model of a MiG or Mirage killer. The majority of included photographs are small, but in common with many of the volumes on US subjects, includes a generous amount of colour. The rarity of the photographs is itself a reason to purchase this book.

Yet again Osprey has published an excellent volume on a topic of interest to many.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample

F-15C Eagle Units in Combat
(Combat Aircraft No. 53)
Visit Osprey Publishing
Author: Steve Davies
Illustrator: Mark Styling, Chris Davey
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: January 13, 2005
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841767301
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Review Copyright © 2004 by Ken Bowes
Page Created 25 May, 2004
Last updated 25 May, 2004

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