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Arab MiG-19 & MiG-21 Units in Combat (Combat Aircraft) Paperback – 25 Mar 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (25 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841766550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841766553
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 0.6 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

David Nicolle worked in the BBC Arabic service for a number of years, before gaining an MA from SOAS and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He later taught at Yarmuk University, Jordan. He has written many books and articles on Islamic warfare. Tom Cooper is an aviation researcher based in Austria. He has excellent contacts in the Arab world, and is presently working on a series of titles for Osprey on military aircraft in Iranian service during the Iran-Iraq War. Mark Styling has illustrated several books in the Aircraft of the Aces and Combat Aircraft series. He has recently switched mediums from airbrush to Mac art, and has produced some of the best profiles Osprey has used to date.

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Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book dealing with the less often covered side of the Arab-Israeli conflicts. Necessity may be the mother of invention but War must count as a surrogate mother: here we see the various Arab airforces (primarily the Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi ones that operated Farmers and Fishbeds) wrestling with the mirror images of the problems of their Israeli foes. New systems, sneaky opponents, impossible odds, unhelpful allies, "over-exuberant" loss statistics, and of course the continuing struggle of technologies. The voices of Arab aces are heard for once and there are a wealth of photos and colour plans. Osprey books can be short on text and illustrations - but not this one.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very much one of Osprey's better titles, we see those great modern air battles from the Arab point of view, instead of the usual Israeli one. There are plenty of side views for the model builder, too. The book covers the middle generation MiG's; the MiG 15 and 17 units are to come later. It's not an attempt to re-write history: the Israelis did keep air superiority, but even so for the Arab pilots it was an honourable defeat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x880d6f18) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88a05a4c) out of 5 stars Outstanding, the best of it's kind 4 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely superb book, and is easily the best book on Arab air combat ever written. Only Nicolle's own "Phoenix Over the Nile" can compete. The amount and quality of research -- particularly interviews with Egyptian and Syrian pilots -- is outstanding, and nearly all the photos appear for the first time in an English-language publication. The color plates are also excellent, though there are a few minor problems with translation of Arabic numbers, and one Egyptian plane from 1969 wears post-1972 national insignia. A map or two, and a bibliography would also have been useful additions. Overall though, this book is a gem, and even at twice the price would be a bargain. Let's hope there's enough public interest in the subject to warrant further volumes on Egyptian/Syrian MiG-15/17 units, etc.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x885f4924) out of 5 stars Flies into Virgin Territory 23 April 2004
By R. A Forczyk - Published on
Format: Paperback
Since there is very little material available in English on the role of Arab air forces in the series of wars fought in the Mideast between 1967-1991, Osprey's "Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat" flies into virtually virgin territory. The strength of this volume is a wealth of specific detail on Arab pilots, units and combat actions that has been absent in most other works on the subject; anyone seriously interested in understanding the Mideast wars fought in this period needs this volume (and presumably the other volumes to follow in this series) to gain insight to the air component of those conflicts. David Nicolle and Tom Cooper have used their Mideast contacts to shed light on a heretofore-obscure subject.
The first chapter, "The Arabs go Supersonic," covers the introduction of the Mig-19 and MiG-21 fighters into Arab (Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi) service in 1961-1966. While background on the early Arab MiGs is fairly short, it seems that the USSR dumped several hundred MiG fighters on the Arab air forces without providing all the necessary equipment or training to transform these aircraft into fully-functional combat assets (also beginning the Arab tendency to blame the Soviets for their own military short-comings). While the MiG-21 seemed like a major step forward for the Arab air forces, the authors note that "prior to the Six Day War, Egyptian MiG-21FLs did not have guns....the MiG-21FLs actually came to be seen as a disaster.." for the Egyptian Arab Force. Consequently, the early MiG-21s were armed with only two unreliable "Atoll" missiles, which put them at a disadvantage against the better-armed Israeli fighters. This introductory section also covers the 1967 Six Day War (the section is clearly from the Arab point of view, with no references to Nasser's numerous provocative acts that caused the war), in which the Egyptian and Syrian MiGs were mostly destroyed on the ground by some of the best-coordinated attacks in aviation history. The authors point out that the lack of Egyptian combat air patrols on the morning of 5 June 1967 remains a mystery, given the high level of tensions. In any event, only about 10-15% of the Egyptian MiGs survived the first strike, and readers will be interested to see that some Arab fighters did indeed get airborne. After a week of fighting, the Arabs had lost most of their MiGs while claiming about ten Israeli aircraft in air-air combat (about 6 by Egypt and 2 each by Syria and Iraq).
The second chapter, "Fighting Back," covers the War of Attrition in 1968-1970. This was a rough period for both the Arabs and Israelis, with frequent small-scale raids and clashes inflicting considerable loss on both sides. While the Soviets replaced the MiGs lost in the Six Day War, the models delivered were essentially the same as those exported before the war. This section is interesting because it details that the Arabs were able to start developing both the skills and the tactics to challenge Israeli air superiority at least some of the time. Egyptian MiG pilots like Samir Aziz Mikhail, Ahmad Nur el-Din and Ahmed Atef were able to score 2-3 victories each, thereby providing the Egyptian Air Force with a small nucleus of skilled veterans. A unique tactic developed by Egyptians was to ferry MiG-21s by night underneath Mi-6 heavy-lift helicopters to remote airstrips near the Suez Canal, then to ambush returning Israeli strike aircraft who were unaware of the deployment. Syria was also able to develop a small cadre of skilled veterans, including Captain Bassam Hamshu, who became the highest scoring Arab fighter pilot with seven 'kills' before he himself was shot down in 1982. In this period the Arab air forces were able to triple the number of trained jet pilots, but their technical edge slipped even further as the Israelis began to introduce better US-made aircraft like the F-4 "Phantom."
The third chapter covers the 1973 War. This is perhaps the best chapter in the volume, with a great many combat anecdotes on dogfights and bombing missions. The final two chapters cover the 1977 Egyptian-Libyan border war, the Israeli-Syrian fighting over Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq War and Desert Storm - all of which are quite interesting. Obviously, the MiG-21 fighter designed in the late 1950s performed more and more poorly in each succeeding war as it started going up against F-14s, F-15s and F-16s. The Soviets denied the Arabs improved MiGs and missiles until the 1980s, and never again provided the quantities to make a difference. The authors also provide an appendix on Arab air units (thank you!) and 16 pages of color plates. Unfortunately, there is no bibliography, no technical data on the MiGs, no summaries of Arab aerial victories claimed in any of the conflicts and no information provided on sources (just where did they get some of this info?). It is also apparent that the authors had to incorporate a certain amount of "Arab propaganda" into this volume (e.g. tired accusations that American "volunteer pilots" were actually flying Israeli aircraft - can't the Arabs ever accept that they have been bested by Israelis?) in order to gain access to these secretive organizations. It is not always clear if the authors have carefully scrutinized all aerial claims (notoriously exaggerated by pilots from all nations) or just accepted them at face value. Obviously, what is needed is an appendix that lists Arab claims day-by-day and an appendix that lists Israeli admitted losses day-by-day. Finally, there is essentially no attempt to "tie it all together" and produce a comprehensive picture of Arab air operations; rather, this volume mostly consists of interesting but unconnected fighter pilot yarns.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88453108) out of 5 stars The Cold War meets the Middle East Conflict. 25 April 2004
By Geoffery Denham - Published on
Format: Paperback
There can be little to add to the excellent review above, except to re-iterate that this is an great book. It is refreshing to see this conflict described from the Arab view point. The book describes the role of Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi units in the conflicts with Isreal from 1967 to the 1980's. There is also a section covering the wars in the gulf. Much of the material in this book is new to most western readers and includes first hand accounts from Arab MiG pilots. It seems that the MiGs did rather better in combat than was the impression given by the Israeli information at the time. It is interesting to see how the cold war superpowers are involved on each side. An excellent book for anyone interested in MiG's or the Mid East conflict.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8853e978) out of 5 stars Enlightening account of Arab air forces in combat. 16 April 2009
By Carl J. Gould - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is amazing. I've always kept up with the Isreali side of the mideast wars, which are pretty accurate and fascinating. This gives the other sides perspective, which always completes the historical picture. Very well researched and devoid of propaganda, it shows the reasons behind the events of those wars and airmen who fought valiantly and were somewhat more effective than the image that's been accepted over the yrs. Incredible photos and amazing accounts of combat that are well researched. Highly recommended.
by Carl Gould.
HASH(0x88a05f08) out of 5 stars Arab Air forces 11 Jan. 2014
By John A. Fornshell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a very brief history of the aerial battles between the Israelis and Arabs in the late sixties and early seventies. It is presented from the Arab view point and must be read with a filter to the slant of the writer.
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