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C-130 Hercules (ePub)

A History

Aviation > Post-WWII Aviation

By Martin W Bowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 25.6 MB (.epub)
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white images
ISBN: 9781473863200
Published: 13th September 2017


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Designed in response to a 1951 requirement, the C-130 Hercules is the most successful military airlifter ever built. Since it first flew in prototype form on 23 August 1954, more than 2,100 have been produced in over eighty different versions. Across its variants, the Hercules serves more than sixty air forces, as well as many civilian cargo operators, in a multiplicity of roles, including air-to-air refueller, gunship, airborne command post, flying hospital and fire-fighter.

This rugged and easily maintained aircraft entered service in 1956 with the USAF Tactical Air Command. Ten years later the 'Charlie 130' was providing the essential logistical support in Vietnam. This period in South-East Asia was the Hercules' finest hour. Paradrops, airlift and evacuation operations were completed around the clock, often at low level, usually under fire and nearly always in bad weather.

A generation later this 'Mr Dependable' was serving with equal distinction in the Gulf War in the role of airlifter, radio-countermeasures and 'psy-ops' platform, gunship and, once again, 'block-buster bomber'. The 'Herky Bird' or 'Fat Albert', as the C-130 is fondly known, has proved a key component in humanitarian relief operations ever since, in all parts of the world.

The incredible success story of the C-130 is far from over. Here Martin W. Bowman tells the full story of this remarkable aircraft at first-hand.

Profusely illustrated with b/w photography throughout, "C-130 Hercules: A History" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library American Military Aviation collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

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Midwest Book Review

Featured in

Recensioni, October 2022 - JP4 Aviation Monthly

What impresses most is the wide range of missions flown by the C-130. Even if you just looked at its time as a transport aircraft we find it serving in Vietnam, supporting anti-arctic exploration, carrying out disaster relief in the Pacific or supporting the coalition during the wars in Iraq. However the C-130 has also been used as a combat aircraft, most famously as a gunship starting in Vietnam, but also as an ECM aircraft, on psychological warfare duties, and even as a rather impromptu bomber! This book also covers the C-130’s service with Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

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History of War

This book will be of great interest to aviation enthusiasts and modelers alike.

Highly recommended.

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Martin Bowman has managed to collect a stunning selection of images to support each chapter, which really brings the book to life. The anecdotes and stories are also well researched and give the book a lot of authority.

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Airport Spotting

Bowman certainly captures the excitement of one of the more successful military aircraft of all time.

Flightpath - reviewed by Takis Diakoumis

British aviation historian Martin Bowman has produced an engaging retrospective on the long-lived and ubiquitous C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter...

... this book is an invaluable reference on one of history's most significant transports.

Aviation History magazine, November 2018 – reviewed by Philip Handleman

A welcome new book on 'Fat Albert' probably the most successful military airlifter ever built.
The interesting text is accompanied by over 250 photographs.

Military Vehicle Trust

A history of an aviation great, from the pen of a popular and well-established author of aviation history. This new book contains a great many outstanding images, mostly in full colour through the body of the book. As always the author has impeccably researched his subject – Much Recommended.

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As featured in

RID, December 2017

★★★★★ This, quite exceptional book by Martin Bowman provides all those with an interest in the complete history of the aircraft as we learn of those early days, ongoing developments and the various roles undertaken. These include; airborne assault, military transport, in-flight refueling, civil aircraft, flying hospital, humanitarian roles, fire-fighting tankers and even gunships (to name some!).

It is a richly illustrated book with plenty of colour and B&W images on the majority of pages. These include a wide cross-section of exactly what the reader will expect to find and do much to support a story that is well-told throughout. Altogether, it is an excellent product and one which will stand the test of time – although we are also informed it is a story which is not yet over!

Read the complete review here.

Ned Middleton, Amazon Reviewer

As featured in competition

Pathfinders International, October 2017

We regularly have squadrons of Hercules flying over North Norfolk, sometimes I even manage to get some shots if they're overhead whilst I'm out with Skipper the dog and have my camera with me - these majestic aircraft are a sight for sore eyes, and Martin's technical and informative look at their creation and use is absolutely fascinating. An iconic aircraft gets Martin's VIP treatment in this wonderful book.

Books Monthly

A very interesting and well written book on an aviation legend.

Amazon review by freelancer Marco de Montis

The previous details notwithstanding, this volume is likely to appeal to all and anyone who has been associated with the C-130 in whatever capacity, with Vietnam-era C-130 aircrew in particular likely to find some of the content nostalgic. Those with a more-general interest in the type may also find the volume worthy of their attention. The colour photographs may be of use to both aircraft and military modellers.

NZ Crown Mines

About Martin W Bowman

With well over 100 published books, MARTIN W. BOWMAN is one of Britain’s best-known aviation historians and authors. Specialising in Second World War history and post-war aviation, Martin’s interest in these subjects was driven by the prolific number of RAF and USAAF air bases that were established in his native East Anglia. His previous books have included works such as Legend of the LancasterConfounding the ReichDuxford and the Big Wings, as well as numerous titles in the exhaustive Air War series, which, between them, provide extensive coverage of operations carried out on D-Day and during the Market Garden offensive at Arnhem.

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