Reviewed by Rodger Kelly
"RA-5C Vigilante Units in Combat" will be available online from Squadron.com
This is another excellent
recent release from Osprey Publishing in their Combat Aircraft series dealing
with US Navy subjects. The book has been written by Robert 'Boom' Powell who
flew the Vigilante in combat during the Vietnam War. Colour profiles are by Jim
As per the title, the book
covers the combat history of the North American Aviation built Vigilante or
Viggie as it was affectionately known. As well as the operational history, the
book also advises on the early history of the Viggie including its birth into
the world as an intended nuclear weapon carrying attack aircraft and its
eventual evolution as an unarmed, extremely fast reconnaissance aircraft.
The book comprises six
chapters, a preface, an introduction as well as nine appendices and ten pages of
The chapters include:
- Combat Development.
- Hot Times.
- From Highway Patrol to
- Linebacker Finale.
- Other Places, Other
This is a well written book by
some one who experienced combat in a Viggie first hand. It provides you with
the dry information of the how and why the Viggie was built as well as what it
was like to fly it in combat.
The book is very well
illustrated with 87 sharp, clear, black white photos as well as 12 colour ones.
There are also 40 colour profiles and 3 pages of line drawings to 1/108 scale.
One of the profiles is of the trial camouflage schemes worn by machines of
RVAH-13 flying from the USS Kitty Hawk in late 1966. The whys and the
wherefores of this scheme are covered in the book.
The appendices carry
- US Navy aircraft
designations – (information on the post 1962 system of identifying aircraft
- Vigilante Designations
(what the number/letter systems means in terms of how each Vigilante was
- US Navy Squadrons (what
the 'V' 'C' and 'VAH' mean).
- Homes of the Recce
Community (where they were based and what they were responsible for).
- Surviving Vigilantes (by
Bureau number and location).
- RVAH Squadrons (from RVAH1
through RVAH 14. Includes a description of their markings as well as their
callsigns and nicknames).
- A list of Vigilante losses
(by date, Bureau number, where/why, unit and crew).
- Captions to the colour
- Captions to the colour
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.
With the imminent releases of
the 1/48 scale Trumpeter kit and the comprehensive Victory Production decal
sheet you will want to ad this book to your collection before commencing your
It won't help you with
walk-around type references but it will give you an understanding of what it was
like to fly a Viggie in combat.
Osprey Publishing for the review
|RA-5C Vigilante Units in
(Combat Aircraft 51)
Author: Robert 'Boom' Powell
Illustrator: Jim Laurier
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publish Date: Octobe 22, 2004
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841767492
Review Copyright © 2004 by
Page Created 22 November, 2004
Last updated 22 November, 2004
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