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RAF Harrier Ground Attack, Falklands [Hardcover]

Jerry Pook
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 April 2007
During the Falklands war Jerry Pook, a pilot in No. 1(F) Squadron RAF, flew air interdiction, armed recce, close-air-support and airfield attack as well as pure photo-recce missions. Most weapons were delivered from extreme low-level attacks because of the lack of navigation aids and in the absence of Smart weapons. The only way he could achieve results was to get low down and close-in to the targets and, if necessary, carry out re-attacks to destroy high-value targets. Apart from brief carrier trials carried out many years previously there had been no RAF Harriers deployed at sea. The RAF pilots were treated with ill-disguised contempt by their naval masters, their professional opinions ignored in spite of the fact that the RN knew next to nothing about ground-attack and recce operations. Very soon after starting operations from the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes the squadron realised that they were considered as more or less expendable ordnance. The Harriers lacked the most basic self-protection aids and were up against 10,000 well-armed troops who put up an impressive weight of fire whenever attacked.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation; First Edition edition (19 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184415551X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844155514
  • Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 781,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stirring Stuff! 5 Oct 2007
This is an excellently written account of the under-publicised part played by RAF Harriers in the Falklands Campaign and is destined to be one of the definitive accounts of the Air War over the Falklands. It is a gripping read which describes vividly what it was like to fly a demanding aircraft in a demanding environment with none of the back-up which normally accompanied the Harrier Force in the field. It goes a long way to explain the great difficulties that had to be overcome in order to deliver air support to the land forces, and also why such things as re-attacks (strictly taboo by conventional wisdom) became a necessity. Only four stars, though, because the seething anger which the author felt (understandably perhaps) about the lack of organised tasking, and support, detracts from his objectivity. I think that the author's point would have been made much more strongly if he had simply told the story and let readers draw their own conclusions, and perhaps saved his venom for a strongly worded conclusion. But for all that it is still a fantastic read
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been much better 13 Aug 2007
By Aggers
This story is interesting and enlightening .The author and his colleagues deserve recognition for their admirable achievements. However the authors continual moaning about every branch of the services (mostly the RN) ruins this account. It gets very boring reading about the authors high opinion of himself and the contempt he holds for everyone else (Inc the RAF). It is true that mistakes were made during the conflict but that is war. It is ironic that the author (RAF) goes on to complain how the RN went about achieving retaking the Falklands when the RAF had said it was impossible from the start. It seems that he cannot come to grips that he was a very small cog in a large machine and that those running the war effort had more to do than worry about upsetting one pilot because he couldn't have his own way. If the author loses the chip he has the 2nd edition could be so much better.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Primarily a bitter rant about the Royal Navy 10 Jan 2009
Jerry's book is in parts informative, entertaining and eye opening. However it is badly marred by the absolutely huge chip on his shoulder with regards to the Royal Navy. The book starts with him complaining that he - as a ground attack pilot, flying a ground attack aircraft - is expected to - gasp - fly ground attack missions. It goes on in similar form for much of the book. While doubtless courageous and effective as a pilot, his own bitterness makes this book of dubious value.

The author complains on more than one occasion that he does not get a chance to fly any air combat missions (despite flying a ground attack version of the Harrier hardly ideally suited to the task - e.g. no HUD symbology for Sidewinder firing, a lower cockpit with much poorer view than the air defence version, the Sea Harrier, and he also freely admits their radios and IFF equipment are nearly useless - as a layman I'd expect a working radio to be of some use when being directed towards incoming air raids).

I finally lost my patience with the book after reading the following sequence (p110):

"Not for the first time did I feel a twinge of envy at the Sea Harriers' cushy job... Plenty of hanging about admiring the scenery from a safe height, punctuated by the very occasional burst of excitement when you were directed on to a 'bogey'... No map reading at zero feet, and no return fire." etc. etc.

6 Sea Harriers were lost carrying out their 'cushy' missions and 4 pilots were killed. Lt Taylor, Lt Curtiss, Lt Cmdr Eyton-Jones and Lt Cmdr Batt would probably have something to say about their missions being 'cushy'. If they were not all dead, that is.

In contrast 4 Harrier GR.3s were lost, and none of their pilots were killed.

Such shameful and unprofessional remarks hardly help the author's cause and make it hard to recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 21 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You can still feel the heat of the authors indignation at naval "brass" while admiring the cool professionalism of his performance.
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By James15
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read hostile skies which gave a very naval orientated spin on harrier ops I was very keen to read this book to understand the conflict from the Air Forces perspective.

Harrier Operations during the falklands war was a combination of sea harrier ops taking care mainly of the air to air roles, which incidentally seemed to be the most widely covered. I knew very little about the involvement of the Harrier GR3's during the conflict, perhaps due to the Royal Navy as is alluded to in the book. This book gave a hugely interesting insight into the missions the GR's were tasked with. From hitting SAM targets on mainland falklands to close air support of the advancing troops, all missions I had very little awareness of!

The book also talks about the difficulties of the working relationship between the Royal Navy and the RAF. Some of the stories told are unbelievable considering the fact we were at war!

A very good read.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A well written and detailed account of the RAF's No 1 Fighter Squadron's Falklands war. Their role is often overlooked with the Royal Navy's Sea Harriers air to air exploits taking the lions hsre of the glory.

The RAF's ground attack GR3 version of the Harrier played a pivotal role in supporting the troops on the ground and crucial reconnaisance missions to map the deployment of Argentine forces. Their missions were exceedingly dangerous carried out near suicidal low altitudes in the face of very effective defences.

The author gives you a very real sense of what it was like to fly these missions, the complexity, the danger and exitement. The book is spoiled by biting inter service rivalry. It is apparent that author hated the Royal Navy far more than the Argentines. He does not seem to appreciate the improvisational nature of the whole operation and the near impossible task the Navy were trying to do. There were indeed mistakes and misunderstandings but that is the nature of war.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure grit and guts
Harrier pilots are a particular breed! 1 Squadron is an ace squadron and always has been. A delight for an officer to give a true acount of how it was. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Super Mick
4.0 out of 5 stars Inter service rivaly is alive and well
I read this book after reading Sharkey Wards book about the RN Sea Harrier lead me to believe that inter service rivalry was more important then the threat. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money
I decided to buy this book after a favourable review in Aircraft magazine. I checked on the Amazon reviews but I tend to dismiss a poor review if it is an odd one. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by GBGY
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best book on the Falklands conflict air war!
Extremely knowledgeable, very provokative, deeply analytical - this author really, really knows his stuff. Read more
Published on 9 July 2011 by Graham P
4.0 out of 5 stars Ground Attack Falklands - Jerry Pook
All in all a good book. Jerry Pook has a good writing style. There is however a core theme of the book is the typical inter-service bitterness between the light and dark blue... Read more
Published on 5 July 2011 by H. T. I. Anson
4.0 out of 5 stars The other Harriers that served in the Falklands
There have already been a couple of notable accounts of the the Sea Harriers' contribution to the Falklands Conflict ('Sea Harrier over the Falklands' by Nigel 'Sharkey' Ward and... Read more
Published on 8 May 2009 by Mr. H. F. Murden
5.0 out of 5 stars Pook in the Falklands
First class book covering action, inter service rivalry and inter service cooperation.
Jerry Pook has covered the conflict from a lesser known angle, telling of how the Navy... Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2009 by I. Parker
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