US Navy F-4 Phantom II Units of the Vietnam War 1964-68 (Combat Aircraft)

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The F-4 Phantom II is perhaps the most famous postwar fighter. Primarily used as a land-based fighter-bomber and reconnaissance platform, its legend is owed to its naval origins and the immense contribution its original carrier-based versions made to the U.S. war effort in Vietnam.

This title examines the unique aspects of the Phantom that made it so crucial to U.S. Navy pilots during the Vietnam War: its massive engine power, long range, speed, the most powerful airborne search and fire-control radar installed in a fighter at the time, and, of course, its versatility as a ground attack and air-to-air platform. Packed with firsthand accounts, unique profile artwork, and rare photographs, this is the history of one of the most important aircraft to be stationed on carriers off Southeast Asia during the war.

AD Skyraider Units of the Korean War (Combat Aircraft)

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The Douglas AD Skyraider is considered the most effective naval aircraft of the Korean War, overshadowed in fame by the new jet fighters that captured the public imagination. Too late for combat in World War II, the AD had replaced Dauntless, Helldiver, and Avenger dive- and torpedo-bombers from that conflict on carrier decks during the late 1940s and was on hand to react to the surprise North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950.

This book tells the story of the carrier-based U.S. Navy squadrons and the three land-based U.S. Marine Corps AD units that flew combat missions against the North Koreans and Chinese. Drawing from personal interviews with AD pilots, the authors paint a harrowing picture of the deadly combat of this often forgotten air war. Included in this volume are the AD night attack and electronic countermeasures crews who harassed the enemy lines of communications after dark. Supporting the text are a number of previously unpublished private photographs that bring the stories of these pilots to life. Finally, the book contains extensive appendices that detail every unit deployment by carrier, air group, Skyraider model, and tail code, as well as detailed lists noting every Skyraider lost in the war.

F-86 Sabre vs MiG-15: Korea 1950–53 (Duel)

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As the routed North Korean People's Army (NKPA) withdrew into the mountainous reaches of their country and the People's Republic of China (PRC) funneled in its massive infantry formations in preparation for a momentous counter-offensive in the last months of 1950, both lacked adequate air power to challenge US and UN air supremacy over both the battlefields and the logistics channels from China into North Korea. Reluctantly, Josef Stalin agreed to provide the requisite air cover, introducing the superior swept-wing MiG-15 to counter the American's straight-wing F-80 jets and to repel the United States Air Force (USAF) B-29 bomber formations that were interdicting the PRC's flow of troops and supplies into North Korea. This in turn prompted the USAF, against its conventional wisdom of retaining its first-line air-defence fighters to face Soviet air forces across the 'Iron Curtain' in Europe, to deploy its very best – the F-86A Sabre – to counter this threat. Thus began a two-and-a-half-year struggle in the skies over a corner of North Korea known as "MiG Alley."

In this period, the unrelenting campaign for aerial superiority witnessed the introduction of successive models of these two revolutionary jets – the MiG-15bis, the F-86E, and eventually the F-86F – into combat. It also saw the transition of operational leadership on the communist side from the Soviet "volunteers" to the newly formed Chinese PLAAF air divisions, and witnessed the re-introduction of the NKPAF, with its "just trained" MiG-15 units, into the air-combat arena. This meticulously researched study not only provides technical descriptions of the two types and their improved variants, complete with a "fighter pilot's assessment" of these aircraft, but also chronicles the entire scope of their aerial duel in "MiG Alley" by employing the recollections of the surviving combatants – including Russian, Chinese, and North Korean pilots – who participated.

US Navy Carrier Aircraft vs IJN Yamato Class Battleships: Pacific Theater 1944–45 (Duel)

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As the Pacific War approached a crescendo, the clashes between swarming US Navy carrier aircraft, and the gigantic Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Yamato-class battleships became symbolic of the fortunes of the two nations. They also served as a metaphor for the profound changes in naval technology and doctrine that the war had brought about. The two opposing forces were the most powerful of their kind – the Japanese Yamato and Musashi were the biggest most heavily armored and armed battleships ever built, while US carrier aviation had evolved into a well-oiled, war-winning machine. With detailed analysis of the technical features of the opposing war machines and a gripping account of the fighting itself, this vividly illustrated work presents views from the cockpits of US Navy Divebombers, and down the sights of IJN anti-aircraft guns, during two of the most dramatic naval engagements ever fought. After proving at Pearl Harbor that even the mightiest battleships were vulnerable to air attack, the Japanese would be forced to re-learn the lesson as the American Helldiver and Avenger bomber crews battered and eventually sunk the last remaining jewels of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Never again would a surface fleet be the dominant power at sea.

Nakajima B5N ‘Kate’ and B6N ‘Jill’ Units (Combat Aircraft)

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Entering service during the Sino-Japanese War, the Nakajima B5N (code-named “Kate”) excelled and went on to achieve surprising and dramatic successes in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It also contributed to the sinking of the U.S. aircraft carriers USS Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea, USS Yorktown at the Battle of Midway, and USS Hornet at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. Its replacement, the Nakajima B6N “Jill,” while a marked improvement over its illustrious predecessor, was never able to achieve its full potential in combat due to advances in Allied aircraft, finding itself relegated to the dreaded Kamikaze strikes in the latter part of the war.

Using previously unpublished photographs as well as color illustrations, this book will cover the history of the “Kate” and “Jill” torpedo/attack bombers, including their design and development, as well as the combat highs and lows of the Imperial Japanese Navy's premier torpedo bombers.