U.S. helicopter tactics rely on two basic types of platforms – assault helicopters such as the AH-1 Cobra or AH-64 Apache suppress enemy defenses which allows troops to be inserted by transport helicopters such as the UH-1 Huey or UH-60 Blackhawk. In the Mil MI-24 Hind design the Soviets combined both functions, resulting in a heavily armed (and armored) assault helicopter which could also transport eight infantrymen.
This volume is divided into two parts. The first half of the book describes the design and development of the Hind. The various models are described including several types of special-purpose modifications. For each of these the author lists specific equipment installed to perform the missions required. The second half of the book is devoted to the various operators of the MI-24. The author provides an overview of operations of each nations Hinds. These are specific enough to understand the employment of the helicopters but do not go into great detail or contain crew interviews.
Like all books in the Osprey Vanguard series this is not a lengthy all-encompassing history of the subject but there is enough there to familiarize the reader with the high points. I felt the technical description was the right length – it covered all the variants and would have bogged down with additional detail. The section on the service histories was brief. There are certainly many interesting stories omitted here due to page length. Overall, another nice volume from Osprey.
Another build of the classic Matchbox kit, I couldn’t decide which markings I liked best so I decided to build two! These markings are also from Starfighter Decals sheet 72-122 and represent the P-12E of the commander of the 8th Pursuit Group based at Langley Field, Virginia.
Focke Wulf Fw 190A-8 II./JG 300, Bayreuth-Bindlach Germany, Spring 1945. Eduard kit.
Fw 190A-8 II./JG 300, Bayreuth-Bindlach Germany, Spring 1945. Unknown pilot, but interesting markings. The snake marking indicates this aircraft was assigned to JGr. 10, a unit tasked with developing weapons and tactics to combat American heavy bombers. Later this aircraft was reassigned to JG 300 as evidenced by the Reichsverteidigung (Reich Defense) fuselage band.
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour
By James D. Hornfischer
Hardcover in dustjacket, 427 pages, illustrated, indexed
Published by Bantam Books, February 2004
Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
The Battle of Samar is the United States Navy version of the Charge of the Light Brigade. On the morning of 26OCT44 a small group of six U.S. escort carriers and their screening destroyers (call sign Taffy 3) was surprised to see an overwhelmingly superior force of Imperial Japanese Navy battleships and cruisers steaming over the horizon. The destroyers nearest to the Japanese armada turned to the attack in order to allow time for the carriers to escape. The destroyers Johnston and Hoel, along with the smaller destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts were sunk, but they were able to save all the escort carriers except for the Gambier Bay.
Hornfischer tells the story from the perspective of the sailors who fought it, often in their own words. Even though they each may have served on the same ship during the same action, the experiences of a gunner are very different than a boiler tender, and neither are the same as the Captain on the bridge. This is very much a sailor’s story. He also details the ordeal of the survivors who had to wait days for rescue – an often overlooked part of the story.
This is a very engaging book. The Battle of Samar was just one action in the sprawling Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history. It is a valiant fight against overwhelming odds and a study of how men react under pressure when – in the words of the Captain of the Samuel B. Roberts addressing his crew as they turned to attack the Japanese fleet, “… survival cannot be expected.” An outstanding book, highly recommended.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson