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Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 57


AH-64 Apache Units of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom



Jonathan Bernstein


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 57
AH-64 Apache Units of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
ISBN: 1841768480
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 96 pages
Price: GB£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: A good examination of the less glamorous aviation aspects of OIF and OEF.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

Osprey's AH-64 Apache Units is available online from Squadron.com


With this latest volume the Osprey Combat Aircraft series returns to publish up to date accounts of the aviation aspects of recent major combat operations in the Middle East and South-West Asia. This time the reader gets a double dose as author (and future US Army Aviator) Jonathon Bernstein chronicles the use of the AH-64A and D in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. From almost the first shots fired in Afghanistan to the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, the Apache has been a key contributor to US combat power on the battlefield.   The author is an avid military historian, volunteering at museums and completing his PhD in Mil History. The clear, concise and logical approach to this account of Apache gunship operations is testament to his professional training whilst the first hand accounts of men and women at war are testament to his passion for Army Aviation.



Bernstein has taken on a challenging topic, covering two of the largest combat operations undertaken by the US in the 21st Century. Starting with a short history of the Hughes/McDonnell Douglas/Boeing AH-64 to put the story in context, Bernstein takes the reader into the heart of the action from almost the first page with a harrowing account of Operation Anaconda, one of the largest field operations against the Taliban that occurred in the Afghan theatre. This forms the meat of the Enduring Freedom coverage, with subsequent narrative dealing with the adaptation of Apache units to counter-insurgency ops and rotation of National Guard units into the area as Afghanistan was stabilised following the defeat of the Taliban Government.

The second half of the book covers the role of the Apache in both the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the subsequent stabilisation operations that continue as the new Iraqi Government is established and the country recovers from over 25 years of war. Bernstein covers both the highs and lows of these operations. The disastrous deep attack by the 11th Aviation Helicopter Regiment on the Medina Division positions North of Karbala is recounted in some detail, although while the logistics and environmental conditions that contributed to this costly failure are addressed, other factors including poor choice of attack axis and lack of understanding of the threat defences are skipped over. This operation led to much speculation that the days of the attack helicopter on the battlefield were over. However subsequent ops by the aviation battalions of the 101st Airborne and the 2-6th Cavalry of the 11th AHR proved that deep ops were indeed able to be successfully executed by attack helicopters when careful planning and preparation is conducted. The final chapters deal the realities of post major combat ops activity in Iraq, which is as busy and complicated as for those units that charged North with V Corps in 2003.



As is usual for the Osprey Combat Aircraft series included in this volume there is a useful appendix covering all the units which have operated the Apache in both theatres, important due to the number that have rotated through over the last four years. Two pages of 1/72 scale drawings of the A and D model Apaches round this section out. As is usual for Osprey Publications, 21 colour profiles fill the centre pages. Modellers too are also well served with the photographs and aircraft details which would support an accurate model of an OIF or OEF Apache, including the new gray AH-64As of the South Carolina National Guard. The majority of included photographs are small, but in common with many of the volumes on recent US subjects, includes a generous amount of colour. 





The rarity of the photographs, many taken by serving members in theatre is itself a reason to purchase this book. With the Hasegawa AH-64A and D available in 1/48, coupled with the Two Bobs decals of those leering shark mouths, there is no excuse not to create a little piece of history. 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

AH-64 Apache Units of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
(Combat Aircraft No. 57)
Visit Osprey Publishing
Author: Jonathan Bernstein
Illustrator: Jim Laurier
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: May 13, 2005
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841768480
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Review Copyright © 2004 by Ken Bowes
Page Created 25 May, 2004
Last updated 25 May, 2004

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