Kylie Newton reviews Osprey Publishing paperback edition of 'Operation Black Buck 1982 The Vulcans' extraordinary Falklands War raids written by Andrew D. Bird

From the publisher, 'A newly researched, fully illustrated account of how RAF Vulcan bombers flew a series of the world's longest air raids in 1982 against Port Stanley airfield, in a daring, hastily improvised strike against the Argentinian invaders.' Andrew D. Bird (Author), Adam Tooby (Illustrator), 96 pages, A3. #37 in the Air Campaign series.



- The airfield at Port Stanley

- First conflicts

- The road to war

- Argentina makes a move



- Ascension

- Diplomacy

- The Vulcan's

- Selecting and refitting the aircraft

- Aircrews and training

- Target

- The Victors and Nimrods

- Ordnance


- Air defence

- The move to the Malvinas


- Sea Harriers or Vulcan's?

- Analysis of the airfield

- The beginning of the air war


- Final countdown: Black Buck 1

- Fuel misallocation

- Approach to Stanley

- At Port Stanley

- The Sea Harrier follows up

- The Belgrano sinking and its consequences

Black Buck 2

- The first anti-radar attempts

- Enter the Shrike

- Repairing and relocating the radars

Black Buck 5
Black Buck 6

- An unscheduled stopover

Black Buck 7

- Planning for Black Bucks beyond the Falklands



The trip the pilots and planes would take...

The trip the pilots and planes would take...

The miles covered beggars belief.

The miles covered beggars belief.


This is a weekend read, or an afternoon if you're fixated, that is well written, the narrative flows well, and covers a lot in its 96 pages. Maybe too much. For example, in the opening pages, 'The road to war' page 8, there is an account about the economy of the island and the 600 000 sheep (then), which I was not anticipating given the title is narrowly defined as "The Vulcan's extraordinary Falklands War raids."

There is a lot of great detail that could be expanded on, such as the refueling saga alone and the logistics behind that (see images and dwell on that map for a moment), for example: fuel passed between five aircraft before being used. There is a book in itself, but that digresses from the title. 

I did read, and was not surprised at, that the Russians come in on the side of the Argentine's, I guess any war against my enemy is an opportunity too good to pass up. There is also no surprise that America came to the aid of Britain. Also, that the Argentine's managed to shoot down their own fighter, and that a Vulcan landed at Rio (XM597). 

We are introduced to pilots of the various Vulcan's that participated, not full bios, and the various troubles that befell the bombers themselves that caused some to pull out. 

The analysis of the bombing runs, damage inflicted, and the epic effort the RAF, and all services, went to to achieve that makes for a good read, albeit brief part of the book.

The Vulcan is a large and complex bomber and this book is about its last hurrah and the end of an era for the RAF, which could have received more coverage here. I did find the narrative a little too wide in places and too limited in others. 

The colour plates deserve a mention, too; see below for a sample. 

Easily recommend it as a good read on the RAF bombing campaign in the Falklands War, or fans of Vulcan's. 

Graceful in ascent

Graceful in ascent

determined in attack

determined in attack

And huge.

And huge.

The subject of the title

The subject of the title

'Operation Black Buck 1982 The Vulcans' extraordinary Falklands War raids

Author; Andrew D. Bird

Illustrator: Adam Tooby 

Published: 17 Aug 2023

Format: Paperback

Edition: 1st

Extent: 96


Imprint: Osprey Publishing

Illustrations: Illustrated throughout with around 60 photos and at least 14 pages of colour illustration

Dimensions: 248 x 184 mm

Series: Air Campaign

Short code: ACM 37

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Available as a paperback, Ebook [PDF] and Ebook [Epub & Mobi]

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