Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Review: Israeli F-4 Phantom II Aces

Shlomo Aloni
Israeli F-4 Phantom II Aces
Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2004
Category: Israel Air Force - History

Rating: 4-Stars

If the Mirage was admired by Israeli pilots for its elegance and beauty, the Phantom was respected for its brute power and impressive bombload.  Throughout the War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War, the F-4 Phantom was the workhorse of the Israeli Air Force.  It was the heavy bomber that carried the warloads to the enemy, and although it may not have been loved by its pilots in the same way that the Mirage had been, it was nonetheless admired for the formidable arsenal that it brought to bear.

The match-up between the Phantom and the MiGs that were flown by the Arab air forces in those days was a classic encounter in dissimilar air combat.  The Israeli pilots knew from experience that the F-4 lacked the tight turn capability of the various MiG models, but made up for it with its exceptional acceleration.  These are the stories of pilots such as Yiftach Spector - who commanded the "orange tail" squadron before and during the Yom Kippur war, and of Asher Snir, who - up until the Yom Kippur War - was Israel's highest scoring ace.

This slim volume contains the kind of interviews and on-the-spot details that we have come to expect from author Shlomo Aloni, as well as plenty of color aircraft profiles.  The text is supplemented by a wide assortment of historic photos, as well as Appendices that list every kill made by an Israeli F-4, which pilot and navigator were responsible for each kill, dates, and weapons used.  In sum, a worthy addition to the history of the F-4 and of Israel's Air Force.

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