Book Reviews:
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Allied Strafing in World War II, A Cockpit View of Air to Ground Battle.

A Long Overdue Book, August 24, 2011

By Bruce - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Allied Strafing in World War II: A Cockpit View of Air to Ground Battle
(Paperback)
      This is a great book. It enhances the history and public information of a valiant -- but unsung --
major role in air warfare. I highly recommend it. And rate it a solid 5 stars.

      Author Colonel William B. Colgan, USAF (Ret), is a 1996 inductee in the Georgia Aviation Hall
of Fame and nominee in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He is a top American fighter-bomber
pilot and strafer: World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He is also author of highly acclaimed book
World War II Fighter-Bomber Pilot (used as text at U.S. Air Force Academy). He devoted this new
book to Strafing, the first ever on that subject. It is a lucid and definitive work; long overdue.

      Colgan explains the subject is about pilots and aircrews in the deadly low-altitude skies, where
they fought with aircraft guns and cannon in battle with the enemy and his weapon on the ground in
the gun fighting called strafing.

      He does the same on the goal. Many specific actions and missions, heavy on firsthand
accounts and backed by extensive gun cameras film evidence, combine to show strafing's major
role in war and the prime core story of warrior duty, valor and sacrifice.

      It is mainly World War II but with salutes to World War I, Korea, Vietnam and beyond. With the
broad scope, accounts of actions are grouped in categories of Gunfights with Enemy Air Forces,
Gunfights with Enemy Support Forces and Gunfights with Ground/Surface Forces. And some
victories are keynoted: End of the Luftwaffe, Brenner Pass, Rhone Valley, Mindoro Beachhead and
others.

      A chief feature is gun camera film. A collection by the 86th Fighter Group, covering a wide
range of strafing actions, is used in showing the history. It also is a "show and tell" aspect -- like
being there, what it was like. And it helps make the unceasing in-flight decisions of pilots and
leaders to cope with the demands and hazards of this most dangerous flying and fighting standout
in their courageous and telling war fighting.

      A needed book. We are richer for it.
Allied Strafing in World War II, A Cockpit View of Air to Ground Battle.

The real deal, November 28, 2011

By johnny - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Allied Strafing in World War II: A Cockpit View of Air to Ground Battle
(Paperback)
      This book by Bill Colgan about the combative art of strafing, is very well done. I give it 4.97
stars out of 5.
      The pros, +4.97 stars:
      1. The author went there, did that, and got the t-shirt. This is a priceless work of first hand
story telling on the subject of ground strafing. It's not about: should of, could of, would of. It's about
what was. The real deal. I would be recommend the air war college review the book for addition to
its resources.
      2. The author laid out the objectives clearly at the beginning of the book, and delivered the
personal and historical factual accounts from the first chapter to the last. In the book's preface, the
analogy about teaching someone all about fishing, who knows nothing about it, is exactly what this
book did for me about strafing ground targets.
      3. This book educates the reader on where the fine art of strafing from aircraft began in WWI,
and how it was refined in WWII. That learning in WWII, through the ultimate sacrifice of these brave
pilots, set the bar for fixed gun aircraft ground-strafing techniques of today. The author relates the
difficulties at the beginning of WWII. The art was not refined, it had to be mastered quickly to allow
for; maximization of effectiveness, while minimizing casualties to pilots.
      4. The information was presented with great technical detail and historical facts (mountains of
learning, in a short amount of time, from 3 war fronts), which brought the reader along with the
author in the learning process of the combative art of strafing. The book delved deep into the
subject matter which gave the subject of ground strafing full meaning.
      5. The author's style of telling his story in sharing his thought process along the way brings life
to the story. He shares the learning he acquired as it happened in real time, how best to apply it in
the current situation, what they can learn from it, ensuring minimum pilot casualties on the next
strafing event. Priceless!
      6. It is written for our technical savvy society of the 21st century. Many have flown in a plane;
most people have shot a gun; and have a basic understanding of high technology. If you are
interested in military history, this is the book to get about the art of ground-strafing.
      7. Until I read this book, I had understood fighter-bomber work was mainly dog fighting enemy
fighters, dropping a bomb in a pickle barrel, then peeling off and spray some rounds at a few
moving targets and head back to base. The book educated me on how widely and effectively
ground strafing was used to slow the enemy's war machine on all of the fronts.
      8. Now I understand all about fishing.

      The cons, -0.03 stars:
      1. The less than perfect gun cam photos in the book were copies of copies of copies. That
tends to make them a little hard to decipher on their own, but the words greatly assisted in
determining what was going on.