USN McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
By Peter E. Davies, illustrated by Adam Tooby and Henry Morshead
Series: Osprey Air Vanguard Book 22
Paperback, 64 pages, heavily illustrated
Published by Osprey Publishing March 2016
Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.9 inches
This is the first book in the Osprey Air Vanguard Series which I have read. Like most Osprey books, it covers a lot of ground in a small number of pages, so it is best thought of as a primer or an introduction rather than a comprehensive history. The story of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom could easily (and does!) fill several volumes so it is wise that Osprey have focused on USN F-4s in this work while issuing a separate book on Phantoms operated by the USAF. Having said that, this volume also covers Phantoms in US Marine, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy service, so the USN in the title is a bit of a misnomer.
The first chapters are devoted to the developmental history and technical description of the Phantom. This is well known among aviation enthusiasts but is useful for being concise – an example where the brevity of the format is a strength. There is a description of all the major sub-types operated by the naval services, and then a history of the type in service.
Like most Osprey books, this one is profusely illustrated, mostly in color. There are several pages of artwork including portraits of two aircraft and profiles of nine. The profiles are reproduced to a much smaller format than either those in the Aircraft of the Aces or Combat Aircraft series and there is much less information presented in the captions. One of the nicer presentations is one which I almost overlooked – the back cover is actually a gatefold which contains an annotated cut-away illustration of the Phantom.
Overall a nice package, the contents and quality of which would not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with this publisher.