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The Vought F4U Corsair (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Aviation Colour Books Photographic Books WWII > Photographic Books

By Martin W Bowman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Series: Images of War
Pages: 121
Illustrations: 120
ISBN: 9781526705884
Published: 27th November 2019


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First flown in 1940, the prototype Vought F4U Corsair instantly became the fastest fighter in the world and the fastest US aircraft of any description. Powered by a huge 18-cylinder Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp engine driving an enormous 13 feet 4 inch propeller, the first Corsairs were capable of 417mph. This figure would rise to nearly 450mph in later versions.

Production began in 1941, not only by Vought but also by Goodyear and Brewster, and the F4U entered service with the US Navy in September 1942. The aircraft subsequently came to be extensively used from land and sea by the US Marines, Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force. Famous squadrons like VMF-214 'The Black Sheep' and VF-17 'Jolly Rogers', along with many others, maintained total ascendancy over the Japanese for the rest of the war - a remarkable achievement for a single type.

After the Second World War the Corsair remained in production and was used with distinction by the French in Indo-China and again by the US Navy in Korea. Since then Corsairs have achieved significant success in air races and more and more are being restored to fly for museums and warbird enthusiasts the world over.

This comprehensive new book combines technical information and detailed development history with a fascinating combat history told, in many cases, by the Second World War and Korean War pilots themselves. Well researched, readable and illustrated with scores of rare and previously unpublished photographs, Vought F4U Corsair is the perfect book for any fan of the 'bent wing bird'.

If you are interested in an primer of this story and the men who flew the Corsair, read this paperback.

Air & Space Power History

Interesting documentary work.

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Miniaturas JM

The Images of War series has become one of the most popular series of military history with its fantastic selection of rare images, supported by concise text by leading authors. This series addition is particularly enjoyable, authored by one of the leading military history aviation authorities. – Most Highly Recommended.

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Regarded as one of the best and most notable of fighting aircraft this aircraft the F4U Corsair, first flown in 1940 was predominantly designed and flown to take on the Japanese in WW2 and later used in the war with Korea. Due to the Success of the British Spitfire plane, this is what the US really needed for close aerial combat with excellent manoeuvrability. The books in this Images of War series produced by Pen and Sword where they concentrate on weapon vehicle or weapon are always excellent and well informed. They go into great detail but not so much where it begins to bore or confuse the reader. The book is excellently well informed, written and as usual the array of photos are brilliant in that they make this a must for any keen reader or fan.

UK Historian

This book is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the Vought Corsair. 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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Donnas Book Blog

True to the Images of War series, The Vought F4U Corsair makes for a compact yet quite satisfying overview of its subject.

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Schopenhauer's Workshop

If you are a fan of the 'bent wing bird', this is one for your shelves.


I like this title a lot. It’s well written and researched, not to mention the excellent photographs showing operational aircraft of the period – not many but what there are will be extremely useful to scale modellers looking to build the type in any scale. There are some great ideas for vignettes, bases and diorama settings

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Scale Modelling Now

The 1940s saw the rapid development and production of fighter aircraft all over the world, and there is little doubt that the USA were ahead of the field in most cases, the Vought Corsair being a prime example. Martin Bowman's history of the aircraft is comprehensive and detailed.

Books Monthly

The plane, called "Bent Winged Bird" for its characteristic shape of the wings is in my opinion one of the masterpieces, which were moreover improved during the production, of the American air design and its longevity attest to its merits. Rediscovering its history through the story of its exploits and the beautiful photos I believe will make many aviation enthusiasts happy.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

This title as part of the Images at War series offers some great shots of Corsair in service with US Navy and Fleet Air Arm during World War 2 and the Americans in Korea and the French in Vietnam, you also get some images of racing Corsair's that makes for a nicely rounded book. For those in the UK there is an exceptional example of this aircraft in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton. So this book should appeal to the modeller with an inkling for a Corsair at some point in time.

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The Corsair was a powerful aircraft, capable of standing up to the demands of carrier operations in the Pacific and combat operations in WW2 and beyond. The life of some of them has gone on beyond that, and they remain popular air racers to this day, some of which are included among the images. Lots to interest the aviation historian/enthusiast along with some excellent detail that modellers will love. Another good addition to the Images of War series.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

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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