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Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II The 'Warthog' Ground Attack Aircraft, by Peter C Smith (2020) Pen and Sword

ARRSE Rating
3.00 star(s)
This book is the story of the most prominent ground attack aircraft in use for the last forty years. The story of the gestation, development and use of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II 'Warthog' Ground Attack Aircraft is told in detail. It includes a lot of detail from the competitions against other aircraft proposed for the role, serious detail about every component and tales from almost every operation and exercise. If you are into the A10 you will love this book- up to a point.

Peter C Smith is a prolific author of 82 books and has championed the place of specialist military aircraft in naval and military history. One consistent theme is the prejudice by the independent British and US Air Forces against aircraft designed specifically to support land or naval operations. He has written extensively about the systematic neglect of the potential of dive bombers to deliver accurate close air support in WW2, and his website is even called. "dive-bombers.co.uk" Home Smith tells the story of triumph in adversity. The aircraft arose from the US Army's frustration with the ineffectiveness of USAF close air support in Vietnam. In the face of internal opposition and visceral disdain for a mud mover, the USAF ended up with an aircraft perfectly suited to close air support.

There are some inconsistencies. The success of allied fighter bombers as tank busters with air to ground rockets is, rightly, dismissed as myth and media hype, while the claim of the German Stuka ace Rudel to have knocked out 500 tanks with 37mm guns is taken at face value. However, Peter C Smith is no mere opinionated hobbyist. Although his analysis of the US procurement process is far from balanced, he raises valid points about impact of inter service the competition for funding, no matter how hard they pretend to be purple

9781526759269.jpg

The coverage of events to 1999 are very detailed. By comparison the story of operations in Afghanistan Iraq, and Syria are far thinner. The break was so obvious that this reviewer searched for and found an earlier version of the same title published in 2000, unacknowledged within the 2020 publication. The new material does not do justice to extensive service of the A10 which must have flown far more operational hours since 2001 than before that time. Nor does the book cover in any extent the emerging threats to the aircraft or its role from drones and AI.

One section refers to the fruitless attempts to attract interest from foreign buyers at the Paris Air Show. This reviewer attended the 1985 Paris Air show as the spouse of a journalist covering the event for an aviation magazine. Pteranadon, clearly a buckshee junior officer on a freebie, drew the conclusion from Fairchild's attempts to pitch the A10 as a maritime strike aircraft to him that they must have been desperate.

The old version published by Crowood 2000
 
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This is presumably a warmed-over version of the Crowood Press book? Edit - for some reason, the photo hadn't appeared when I typed this, but I now see that it is.

I wonder if it has the picture captioning error (an A-10 with 'Sparrowhawk missiles' - the 'Sparrowhawk' looks awfully like an AIM-9L...)?


As a general observation, if I may, Pen & Sword have reprinted a number of books originally put out by other publishers, and they 'helpfully' change the title a little.

If you have a book on (say) the De Havilland Mosquito by Martin Bowman, it's always worth checking whether the new Pen & Sword book by Mr Bowman is, in fact, the old book with a modified title. I've not been caught out by this, but on two occasions when browsing in the old Ian Allan book shop in Brum I picked up a 'new' Pen & Sword book, thought 'hang on, this looks familiar...' and upon returning home (minus book) discovered that my suspicions were correct. There hadn't been any intimation that the book was a reprint...
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
This is presumably a warmed-over version of the Crowood Press book? Edit - for some reason, the photo hadn't appeared when I typed this, but I now see that it is.

I wonder if it has the picture captioning error (an A-10 with 'Sparrowhawk missiles' - the 'Sparrowhawk' looks awfully like an AIM-9L...)?


As a general observation, if I may, Pen & Sword have reprinted a number of books originally put out by other publishers, and they 'helpfully' change the title a little.

If you have a book on (say) the De Havilland Mosquito by Martin Bowman, it's always worth checking whether the new Pen & Sword book by Mr Bowman is, in fact, the old book with a modified title. I've not been caught out by this, but on two occasions when browsing in the old Ian Allan book shop in Brum I picked up a 'new' Pen & Sword book, thought 'hang on, this looks familiar...' and upon returning home (minus book) discovered that my suspicions were correct. There hadn't been any intimation that the book was a reprint...
I could not find any reference to the Crowood publication in the 2020 version. I thought that a bit naughty. The 2000 book is out of print and copies trade on ABE and ebay for C $45.

It isn't simply a re-issue. The pen and sword publication has several extra chapters referring to post 2000 and fairly modest sections on Afghanistan, Gulf war 2 and Syria in "Operations". I don't think they were worth the extra £9.95 on Kindle, let alone £35 as a hardback - unless you really really are into the A10.
 

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