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Fighter Combat in the Jet Age
(Jane's Air War, 1)

Author: David C. Isby
192 pages (July 1997)
ISBN: 0004708229 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 0.76 x 9.99 x 7.74

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Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Fighter Combat in the Jet Age covers the entire history of jet fighters in action, from the end of World War II to the present. Meticulously detailed, it features 300 photos, line drawings and graphs that reveal how jet fighters and their weapons have developed and improved, utterly changing the face of air combat. It also focuses on the key technological developments of the Cold War, such as the fighters built to intercept nuclear bombers and to dominate European skies in a Third World War.

With combat examples from Southeast Asia, the Falklands and the Middle East, Fighter Combat in the Jet Age compares and contrasts the fighter aircraft of different nations and manufacturers. Also included are spreads with sidebars and boxes describing fighter tactics, major air battles, experimental weapons and famous pilots. It's enough to thrill aircraft enthusiasts of all ages.

From Jane's, the recognized authority on military hardware throughout the world, comes an incomparable resource that presents an exciting and thorough look at the world's jet fighters and the battles they have fought. 300 photos, line drawings & graphs.

After having opened this book I was very glad to see that the author had gone to no expense at collecting information of air battles and the tactics that derived from them. From the end of WWII until the Cold War era the book is rich in illustrations and historic facts. Most of this information is probably unknown to most aircraft enthusiasts. The comments and conclusions to the jet era and combat tactics that followed are more than well elaborated. Perhaps the slight downfall, the only one that is, seems that as from the Cold War to present day the book seems to have lost some of its momentum. There is less information concerning the Israelis numerous conflicts compared to the Korean or Vietnam era. However, in general this book has many outstanding photographs and is very well documented. One might add that this recommendable book deserves a very good place on any bookshelf.

The introduction of the combat jet has had a profound effect on how a battle is won or lost, and Mr. Isby has done a wonderful job of capturing the history of jet air combat from its roots in WW2 to the battlefields of the near future. Each chapter focuses on a particular topic, such as Cold War aircraft development, battle strategy, introduction of the missile and other technologies, and its application in a combat environment. This isn't a book about the aviation adventure - don't expect to get pulled into the cockpit very often. What you get is a very "readable" history of air combat since WW2, including some of the lesser known skirmishes. The book is chock-full of photographs (my favorite is the photo of the Argentinian Mirage buzzing the British destroyer in the Falklands War) and is printed on glossy paper. The more I read about air combat, the more I realize how much I learned from this book. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in military history and aviation.

Mr. Isby has done a very commendable job of putting forth the history of jet air combat, starting from the Me-262 and continuing through to the future, including some of the less-documented skirmishes in the Middle East and Africa. Each section is approximately 2 to 3 pages long, with sidebars and photographs, printed on glossy paper. His assertions are right on the money when he analyzes what tactics worked during certain periods of time and what tactics failed. Right now I've only read as far as the history and theory of aircraft development in the late '70s (which puts me about 2/3 of the way through)and I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of it soon. The only point I disagree with is Mr. Isby's statement that the P-47 represented the apex of propeller fighter design. I can name 3 aircraft off the top of my head that would make better examples than the P-47: the Spitfire (which was there when WW2 started and was still the front line fighter when WW2 ended), the P-51 Mustang (which was still operational during Korea), and the F4U Corsair (which also saw action in Korea, alongside the jet-powered Panthers and Cougars). Other than that, his information is top notch.


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