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F-8 Crusader Units of the Vietnam War

by Tom Tullis Peter Mersky

Osprey's study of the role played by F-8 Crusader Units in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Known to its pilots as the 'last of the gunfighters' due to its quartet of Colt-Browning Mk 12 20 mm cannon, the F-8 Crusader was numerically the most populous fighter in the US Navy at the start of America's involvement in the Vietnam conflict in 1964 - some 482 F-8C/D/Es equipped 17 frontline units. It enjoyed great success against North Vietnamese Mig-17s and Mig-21s during the Rolling Thunder campaign of 1965-68, officially downing 18 jets, which represented 53 per cent of all Mig claims lodged by Navy squadrons during this period.

F-8 Crusader vs MiG-17

by Jim Laurier Peter Mersky

This book covers the actions fought between two of the best known fighters of the Vietnam War, in action over the North during the early years of the conflict.Revered by Naval Aviators as the "last of the gunfighters" due to its quartet of Colt-Browning Mk 12 20 mm cannon (its great naval rival, the F-4 Phantom II, was exclusively armed with missiles), the F-8 Crusader enjoyed great success against VPAF MiG-17s during the Rolling Thunder campaign of 1966-68. The fighter was credited with 18 kills, 14 of which were MiG-17s. Things did not go all the Crusader's way, however, as VPAF pilots used the MiG-17's unequalled low-speed manoeuvrability, small size and powerful cannon armament to take the fight to their gun- and missile-equipped foes. The North Vietnamese pilots claimed ten F-8s and one unarmed photo-recce RF-8 shot down, although only four of these successes could be matched with known US Navy losses. Nevertheless, the duels fought between these two aircraft were some of the hardest of the war, as the Crusader pilots did their level best to defend vulnerable carrier-based attack aircraft striking at targets deep in North Vietnam.

RF-8 Crusader Units over Cuba and Vietnam

by Tom Tullis Peter Mersky

Although the Crusader was built first and foremost as a Navy interceptor, as has often been the tradition with US fighters, a photo-reconnaissance variant was also produced by Vought. The photo-bird's first operational test came in the autumn of 1962 when its overflights of Cuba alerted the world to the likely presence of medium-range ballistic missiles on the Caribbean island. The recce Crusader's next action came during the long years of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). This volume is the second of two in the Combat Aircraft series devoted to the Crusader, the first title (again by Peter Mersky) having covered the F-8 fighter variants, and their MiG-killing exploits, during the Vietnam War.

US Navy A-7 Corsair II Units of the Vietnam War

by Peter Mersky

Osprey's examination of A-7 Corsair II Units of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Arriving on station with the USS Ranger (CVA-61) in early December 1967, the first Corsair II squadron became operational immediatedly and sustained its first combat loss three weeks later. This book tells how the A-7 soon proved its worth supporting ground operations in South Vietnam. As it continued to serve in the ground support role, the navy swiftly introduced the A-7E which soon ran into difficulties with supply lines - perhaps on account of what many perceived to have been a rushed introduction to service. Once these teething problems were resolved, the A-7E became the primary air-to-ground aircraft of the fleet.

US Navy and Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of the Vietnam War 1963-1973

by Jim Laurier Peter Mersky

Seeing considerable combat in the nearly 50 years since its service introduction, the Skyhawk was involved in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) from the very beginning. Navy and Marine Corps A-4s quickly established a presence in Southeast Asia, flying from aircraft carriers and land bases in South Vietnam in thousands of sorties against the entrenched communist forces from Hanoi to the communist supply lines along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This book includes details of missions including the siege of Khe Sanh, Lam Son and the contentious invasion of Laos and Cambodia in 1971 and gives a fascinating account of the variety of missions pilots were asked to perform. These operations were not without risk, and large numbers of A-4s were shot down and their pilots killed or, like Edward Alvarez, imprisoned as POWs for up to eight years in appalling conditions.Officially endorsed by the Skyhawk Association and including first-hand accounts from veteran pilots who flew one of the greatest attack aircraft ever, Peter Mersky provides an insightful account of some of the most thrilling aerial combat missions that took place during Vietnam and the pilots who flew them. The first book to focus on the A-4's Vietnam service, this title is supported by previously unpublished colour and black and white photographs with 30 detailed colour profiles.

Whitey

by Peter Mersky

This book is a long-awaited biography of one of the Navy's last surviving World War II aces, and one of the Navy's most respected officers of any period. Following a typical American mid-western boyhood, Whitey Feightner, like so many of his generation, was in the van of the huge group of young men thrust into World War II. Like some of his generation, Whitey had logged flight time in civilian aircraft before signing up to fly for the Navy. Upon receiving his commission and his wings of gold, he was signed to a fighter squadron and soon found himself in combat with the likes of Jimmy Flatley and Butch O'Hare, two leaders who imparted their own brand of flying skill and leadership on the young ensign. Whitey flew through many of the war's most hectic and dangerous campaigns, such as Guadalcanal and the Marianas, gaining nine official kills. There were times he should not have returned, but his own skill and positive outlook helped him make it through all the dangers.After the war, and now a member of the regular Navy, Whitey was assigned to several of the Navy's most secret and action-filled projects down at Patuxent River, Maryland. He flew planes like the F7U Cutlass, AD Skyraider, F9F Banshee and Cougar, helping to develop these legendary fighters as they joined the fleet. Whitey also was assigned to the early teams of the Blue Angels demonstration unit. He is one of only two men who flew the radical F7U Cutlass in Blue Angels colors.Returning to the fleet in command of a squadron, and later of an air group, Feightner continued to develop fighter tactics while patrolling the oceans in defense of America and its allies. In between tours at sea, Feightner served in the Pentagon dealing with all the personalities and political turmoil of the time while trying to bring Naval Aviation into the future. It wasn't easy. Working with such luminaries as Hyman Rickover and Elmo Zumwalt was not for the feint-hearted, and even Whitey did not come away unscathed. Yet, through it all, he kept the smile and affable demeanor that characterized this rare and highly skilled naval aviator. His life story could serve as a model for any young aviator to follow.

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