Darren Baker takes a look at ‘Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II the Warthog Ground Attack Aircraft’ courtesy of Pen and Sword.

Introduction

The following introduction is provided by Pen and Sword:

The Fairchild-Republic A-10A Close Support aircraft has become a legend over its long front line life. Known as the Warthog due to her unusual appearance, this little aircraft has built up an awesome reputation in the specialised ground-attack role, where her accuracy and deadliness are widely recognised as the best of their kind.

Hard lessons from the Second World War, that were reinforced by the bitter experience of the Vietnam War two decades later, showed that it was both impracticable and highly non-cost efficient to use supersonic fighter jets in the close air support mission. A requirement was therefore drawn up for an aeroplane capable of carrying a heavy and varied load of ordnance, which had good endurance and unprecedented manoeuvrability, and which could survive heavy ground fire – thus the A-10 was born. But, by the time it came into service her role had changed to that of a tank-buster in the defence of Western Europe in the face of the overwhelming numbers of Soviet battle armour.

With her straight wing, twin tails and turbine engines mounted high on her rear fuselage, this single-seat aircraft certainly presented a unique appearance. But all these features served a vital role, as Peter C. Smith explains in this highly detailed study.

Although the Warthog's expected missions on the plains of Germany did not materialise, she did destroy hundreds of Soviet-built tanks during the Gulf wars. The A-10 has also flown almost continuous missions over the Balkans, against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

In this beautifully-illustrated and comprehensive volume, Peter C Smith brings the A-10’s incredible story right up to date.

Review

This offering is a hard backed book of 448 pages. The paper is a good quality gloss paper and it is stitched into the book, something I consider a sign of quality. Peter C Smith is the Author of this book and he looks to me to have done a good job. Peter C Smith has authored a good number of books covering aircraft from World War 2 to the current day and ships from the age of sail to the present day.

The contents of this offering are presented as follows:

Introduction

List of Tables

List of Diagrams

Chapter 1 -  Varying Origins

Chapter 2 -  Army Needs Versus Air Force Doctrine

Chapter 3 -  The Original A-X Programme

Chapter 4 –  The Competition

Chapter 5 -  Politics, Politics and Politics

Chapter 6 -  Fairchild

Chapter 7 -  The A-10 is Born

Chapter 8 -  The A-10 Described

Chapter 9 -  The TF34 Turbofan

Chapter 10 – The GAU-8 Avenger Gatling

Chapter 11 – Packing a Punch: Warthog Ordnance

Chapter 12 – Initial Deployment, Tactics and Deployment

Chapter 13 - Flying the Mission

Chapter 14 – Fluctuating Fortunes and New Concepts

Chapter 15 – Air Reserve and National Guard Operations

Chapter 16 – Justification and Vindication: Desert Shield and Desert Storm

Chapter 17 – A steadying Presence: Post Gulf Operations

Chapter 18 – Back into Battle

Chapter 19 – Possible Futures

Chapter 20 – Extending the Life

Chapter 21 – Vital Need or Wasted Resources

Chapter 22 – The Mirage of the Fire Fighting Hogs

Chapter 23 – Thunderhog: The Storm Penetrating SPA-10

Appendix I   Specifications

Appendix II  Friendly Fire

Appendix III Preserved Hogs: Museums and Gate Guards

 

This book presents the life of theA-10 from its predecessors to the present day and is also a look at what made the P47 Thunderbolt and Shturmovik such successful designs in the ground attack role. The ultimate result was an aircraft like no other due to being a cannon with wings and a high survivability built into the design where ground fire is concerned, and remain able to get home with major parts damaged and blown off of the aircraft.

The A-10 cannot be said to be an attractive aircraft due to its layout placing the engines in nacelles mounted on its back and the cannon sticking out of the front; the twin tail and straight wings tell anyone looking at it that this is not a sleek lined fighter, but it is these very attributes that give this aircraft its success. Heavy wing loading and that gun make it a match for just about any ground attack role you can think of, the armoured tub for the pilot and the aircrafts survivability under heavy ground fire even with parts blown off mean it can return from missions others dare not go and the large wings and configuration mean it is manoeuvrable and able to work in close proximity to friendly forces. These attributes are what make this a beautiful site to friendly forces struggling on the ground.

This book offers everything I could want on theA-10 as regards where it came from, what it has done and where it is going; a truly stunning aircraft for the role it performs. The text is not just what this book offers as there are 400 colour photographs in this offering covering a huge number of aspects of the aircraft in detail that will make this of great benefit to the modeller.

Conclusion

The A-10 Warthog is one of those unique looking aircraft that due to its design attracts many modellers to its unusual lines and huge weapons selection; all of the models I have seen displayed drag the eye to the weapons load and unconventional lines. Looking for a fault in this offering and there are none as regards what it is intended for, but as a modeller I would have liked to find some scale drawings; just a wish not a critique. This book does an excellent job of covering the aircraft and informing the reader of all aspects of the aircraft.

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