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The F-4 Phantom (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Aviation Colour Books Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War Photographic Books

By Martin W Bowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Series: Images of War
Pages: 117
Illustrations: 120
ISBN: 9781526705761
Published: 27th January 2020


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The Phantom was developed for the US Navy as a long-range all-weather fighter and first flew in May 1958. It became operational in 1961. The US Air Force then realised that the Navy had an aircraft that was far better than any tactical aircraft in their inventory and ordered 543 F-4C variants. There then followed a spate of orders from around the world. In Britain, it was ordered for the Navy and Air Force, but was modified to take the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan. One of the Royal Navy's Phantoms stole the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing, a record that stood until taken by the remarkable Blackbird.

During the long course of its service history, the Phantom has been employed in a variety of different combat scenarios and theatres of war. It was one of America's most utilised aircraft during the long Vietnam War and has been flown in anger in the Middle East by a number of different air forces. The F-4 is still operational with several units, but is now coming to the end of its long and successful period as a front-line combat warplane. This is the perfect introduction for the general reader, enthusiast or modeller wishing to find a succinct yet detailed introduction to the design and history of this aircraft. Why was it conceived? What was it like to fly in combat? Who were the people who designed it and who became famous for flying it? What were its virtues and vices? These questions are answered and a wealth of technical data, additional information and suggestions for further reading are provided.

.. features a multitude of black-and-white photos with descriptions of this remarkable aircraft both in and out of combat.

Air Power History, Winter 2020

First-class documentation.

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Miniaturas JM

The combination of a very popular aviation historian, a very popular military history series and a most famous aircraft has to be a best seller. The concise authoritative text and an outstanding selection of rare images does full justice of an aviation Titan of the Cold War that continues in service around the world . – Very Highly Recommended.

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The book further gives good information about the many pictures and I would like to have this book on my bookshelf.

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Aviation Book Reviews

If you are like me and you are a Phantom freak, this is a must-buy book both Pen & Sword and Author Martin W Bower have produced a great book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in military aviation and history. I enjoyed this book and I hope that Pen & Sword may look to do a flight craft of this particular plane more aimed at the modellers. That said this is still a great read and some stunning pictures of what is a very popular plane and appreciated by its pilots and crew.
Fascinating subject and a plane personal to my family with two family members having flown them in two separate countries I was lucky to grow up listening to the various flying stories

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If you like Phantoms, or modern aircraft in general, then you will enjoy this little book about a warplane with a massive reputation.

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GoodReads, Robert Neil Smith

This aggressive-line aircraft that still exists in various air forces has an operational life that has now passed 60 years, and will most likely still continue to operate for a while. In this beautiful book, from the successful "Images of War" series, we get to know it better thanks to some splendid photos. The technical language perhaps needed a glossary that is absent but otherwise the book is fascinating for the story that Bowman makes of each photographed aircraft. For modern aviation enthusiasts this book is a must.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

In conclusion, this book is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the F-4 Phantom. This text is easy to read and yet remains informative throughout. As with other titles within the Images of War series, it is a work which can be used as either a standalone work, or as a springboard for further studies.

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Donna's Book Blog

Another new title in the popular Images of War series and one which I think is bound to be very popular.
This 117-page softcover book is packed with an excellent collection of historic images. Written by well known author Martin W Bowman. Each of the 4 main chapters is introduced by a couple of pages of background text and then as we expect from the Images of war format, there is much more of interest included in the individual captions to each image. The 4 main chapters capture the Phantom in use by the US Navy, then the USAF, the RAF, and at the end, a final section which shows examples in use with the many export customers who also used this genuinely multi-role aircraft. With both the US Navy and USAF sections, we see them on board carriers, secure in blast shelters on airfields in Vietnam, or in the air intercepting Soviet bombers. From the pale grey colours of the USN to the multi-colour camouflage pattern of SE Asia to the later grey schemes of the Wild Weasels there is a lot to see and read. In chapter 3 we see the Phantom in use by both the Royal Navy and the RAF. With the extending nose-wheel olio on a carrier to the RAF camouflage variants in front of their HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelter) in West Germany. The British examples were powered by Rolls Royce engines rather then the US built engines. In the final chapter we see a selection of foreign operators, including West Germany, Japan, Greece, and the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) amongst others. There are still some examples in use around the world, though most have been retired now.
The book provides a useful introduction to the F-4, what it was like to fly in combat, what were the good and bad points of the design as well as the basic history of the design. With the ever popular F-4 Phantom as the subject, this one deserves to be popular among many aviation enthusiasts who still have a love of the 'Phabulous Phantom', with a very good photo reference that will also please many aircraft modellers.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As featured 'ON THE SHELF'

Wargames Illustrated, March 2018

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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