Colonel Mandeep Singh
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
Tubed artillery has always attracted a range of military writers such as Christopher Foss and Haskew. Air Defence has often taken a back seat or been covered by single nation books such as Mike Guardia’s excellent work on Russian self propelled anti aircraft guns (Osprey publishing) . The author has instead chosen a broad canvas from 1950 to 2020 and covered systems used in actual combat. The reviewed book is the first part covering 1950-1972.

As the Second World War ended the first jet aircraft were in action and systems such as the 37-40 mm Bofors and quad .50 Browning were looking a bit inadequate. The Luftwaffe had deployed Foehn and Taifun as first generation SAMs and the guided Wasserfall was in development. The British had deployed Z battery and tried (and cancelled) the 7” UP on naval platforms. Brakemine came to naught. Nike was commenced in Feb 1945 by the United States. Russia had looked at SAMs prior to the war but had imprisoned their lead designer Korolev. Attempts to use Katyusha MBRL in the AA role were less than successful !

The book examines the Korean War, Vietnam, the Indian Pakistan War 1965 and The Six Day War. Then moves on to The War of Attrition and The Bangladesh War 1971. The !965 and 1971 wars having received little study in Western Air Defence writing circles.

There is a brief introduction tying up the end of the Second World War. The nascent years of SAM ,‘ readers will be surprised that the US Nike project commenced months before VE day. The look at the British A?D systems is a bit cursory on the C3 side and the co-ordination of ROC in what was a remarkable integrated system.

Once into the main years the author reviews the wars in chronological order. Systems and tactics are both covered but radar gurus may need to extend their reading further afield. As well as text there is a first class set of tables to review air defence statistics. No air defence readers will gain an insight into the tactics of deploying air defence assets to hunt enemy aircraft , not merely to form a prickly hedge around a defended area.

By the end of the book SA6 and SA7 have appeared but systems such as SA$ & 5 are omitted as not being deployed in these campaigns. Older readers will find plenty of mention of Bofors L60 and even the M41 Duster. DIVADS is summarily dismissed.

The book is pitched at the serious military reader , the tabulated statistics being useful for further writing. There would also be a case for adding the book (and volume 2) to A/D Regimental libraries. The Author writes from a position of keen professional interest.

The book runs to 218 pages including a decent index , full chapter notes and a bibliography. Photos are on glossy paper and the cover price is £16.99 with copies on Amazon from £12.49 , Kindle £7.19

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