Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat

Shlomo Aloni
Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat
Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2009
Category: Israel Air Force - History

Rating: 4-Stars

Shlomo Aloni has published a broad selection of books dealing with the Israeli Air Force, across many years as a writer.  This short, paperback volume nonetheless stands out as unique.  Unlike most of the volumes in Aloni's collection of works, which focus on the headline grabbing role of the dogfight and air-to-air combat, this book is dedicated to units whose express job was to provide the air-to-ground support that the Israeli army counted on.

Aloni provides the historical setting, as well as first hand accounts from the pilots who flew some of the most dangerous missions throughout the War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War.  Stories such as Moshe Melnik's successful return to base flying a badly damaged A-4 on 19 August 1969 (control column dead, maneuvering using engine throttle and trim control alone), or the account of Giora Romm's first air combat sortie as the new commanding officer of Squadron 115 (which was also his very first familiarization flight in an A-4, flown on the first day of the Yom Kippur War), are all part of the fare.  These are further supplemented by the appendix, which includes a listing of every Israeli A-4 lost in battle, as well as the name and fate of the pilot (whether rescued, KIA, or POW).  Through the pages of this short collection, and vivid accounts, Aloni pays homage to the bravery of the pilots who carried out these essential missions.

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