US Naval Aviator 1941-45 by
Robert Hargis is the latest book from Osprey Publications in their
The title is pertinent; the book
explains what occurred within US naval aviation during the fast-moving period of
1935 to 1945.
The book's introduction sets the
scene and provides you a brief but succinct key point history of naval aviation
from Eugene Ely's first flight off the deck of the USS Birmingham in 1910,
through the birth of the first US carriers from hulls originally laid down to be
built as battleships, to the creation of new Atlantic and Pacific fleets as a
result of the Naval Expansion Act of 1942. What follows is a year by year
account of major actions and developments right up to the end of the Second
World War in 1945.
The introduction sets the scene.
The author then goes back and fills in the human gaps to all of this history,
with chapters on the induction and training of the naval aviator, what shipboard
life was all about, the common beliefs held by naval aviators and sense of
belonging and common purpose held by them all.
Other chapters include:
Aircraft of the Fleet.
The main types of aircraft used during the period, the F4F Wildcat, F6F
Hellcat, F4U Corsair, SBD Dauntless, SB2C Helldiver, TBD Devastator and the
The Weapons of the Naval
Aviator. Machine guns, rockets, bombs, depth charges and torpedoes.
The Carrier War, 1941-45:
Air Tactics. The fighters, the night fighters, the dive bombers, the
torpedo bombers, patrol and observation squadrons.
Combat Air Operations
1944-45. Typical wartime strike mission, 1944.
The book has many black and white
period photos, most of them official ones from the US National archives. Whilst
some of these will be familiar to the hard-bitten fan of US Naval aviation a
great deal of them are new.
Some of the illustrations are
posed publicity shots. The best thing about these is the fact that the
photographer has had time to carefully compose the subject and more importantly,
get the depth of field and focus right. The cover illustration demonstrates
this perfectly. Have a close look at it and the details jump out – the two whip
antenna as well as the two navigation/identity lights on the spine of the F6F,
the white overspray where the squadron painter applied the modex, the slight
sheen of the paint on the horizontal stabilizer as well as details of the
equipment worn by the pilots (funny how they seem to be ready to climb in and
fly away yet both aircraft are wearing covers over their canopies!). Photos
like these are invaluable to modelers and there are more of them within the
covers of the book.
The colour illustrations are a
mixture of close-up details of pilot's uniform and equipment as well as artistic
renditions of photographs.
The book itself has 64 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.
I found this book to be a good
effort from the guys at Osprey that will appeal to the amateur historian as well
as the modeler. It provides you with the overall "big picture" as well as the
human of side of US naval aviation during World War Two.
Osprey Publishing for the review
|US Naval Aviator 1941-45
Author: Robert Hargis
Illustrator: John White
US Price: $16.95
UK Price: £10.99
Publish Date: May 25, 2002
Details: 64 pages; ISBN: 1841763896
Review Copyright © 2004 by
Page Created 13 March, 2004
Last updated 13 March, 2004
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