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After the attacks on 11 September 2001, Apache units made significant contributions to the Coalition campaign against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. Functioning as the 'killer' part of US Army Hunter-killer teams, Apaches sought out and brought overwhelming firepower to bear on Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, as well as providing direct support to Coalition troops on the ground. Apaches spearheaded the advance of the 3rd Infantry and the 101st airborne divisions into Iraq, engaging in some of the heaviest fighting along the western axis of advance. Weather and enemy fire took a heavy toll on Apaches operating in Western Iraq, but the resilience and flexibility of the Apache was central to the success of this campaign.
The P-47 Thunderbolt, originally designed as a high-altitude interceptor, became the principle US fighter-bomber of World War 2. First adapted to the ground attack role by units of the Twelfth Air Force in early 1944, the strength and durability of the P-47 airframe, along with its massive size, earned it the nickname 'Juggernaut', which was quickly shortened to 'Jug' throughout the MTO and ETO. Twelfth Air Force fighter groups had done a superb job flying both tactical strike missions and bomber escort in the P-40F since late 1942. The sturdy and capable Curtiss fighter served well as a fighter-bomber, but still remained susceptible to ground fire due to its liquid-cooled inline engine. Alongside the Twelfth's P-40 units, an additional two fighter groups flew the A-36 dive-bomber version of the P-51 Mustang and several others employed the twin-engined P-38 and mid-engined P-39. By October 1943, with the creation of the Fifteenth Air Force, nearly half of the Twelfth's fighter groups would be re-tasked with strategic escort missions, leaving six groups to perform close air support and interdiction missions throughout the entire Mediterranean theatre. The remaining P-40 and A-36 groups began refitting with the P-47 in the early spring of 1944 and were the first to use the 'Jug' in the ground support role, creating many of the tactics, techniques and procedures that would become standardised throughout the USAAF's tactical air forces. The group's inflicted incredible damage on the enemy's transport routes in particular, using rockets, bombs, napalm and machine gun rounds to down bridges, blow up tunnels and strafe trains. Myriad firsthand accounts and period photography reveal the spectacular success enjoyed by the Thunderbolt in the MTO in the final year of the war.
Osprey's study of AH-1 helicopters and their participation in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Bell's AH-1 Cobra was the first dedicated helicopter gunship to reach frontline service anywhere in the world. Developed as a private venture by the manufacturer, and based on the mechanics of the ubiquitous UH-1 Huey, the Cobra proved a huge success once introduced into combat with the US Army in 1966. Built as a key weapon in the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System concept of 1965, the AH-1 was one of the few aircraft to reach the combat zone after actual combat experience went into its design. The AH-1 helped reduce the losses being suffered by vulnerable troop transport helicopters by providing effective fire suppression during airmobile operations. This book explores its history, technology and crew.
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