Helion's Libyan Air Wars Part 2: 1985-1986

Author/Artists: Tom Cooper, Albert Grandioli & Arnaud Delalande


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 72 pages, softcover, over 150 images
ISBN 978-1-910294-53-6

When it comes to Libya, most American readers will concentrate on two events in the 1980s as well as the recent overthrow of the nation's strong man and the devolution of its government into virtual chaos (which seems to happen in this part of the world when a dictator is overthrown with the help of western forces).

However, Libya has been in conflict with its neighbors for a considerable time, particularly when Muammar Gadaffi took over power in a coup in 1969. In regards to the US, the majority of the confrontations occured in the mid-late 1980s with his 'Line of Death' in the Mediterranean. Say what you want about the US, but one of its main tenants has been to ensure freedom of the seas and when a nation closes off sections of open sea (as it currently happening with the Chinese), the US will often be there to test the resolve of those imposing these barriers.

Of course, it doesn't hurt when the president at the time (Reagan) was a bit of a warmonger anyway. Several times during the time period of this volume, the US Navy pressed the case. This often brought an air response from the Libyans, though not enough to cause air to air fighting (much to the disappointment of the pilots on US carriers). The latter event did cause the Libyans to lose missile gun boats and to have SAM sites targeted. The end result was not a lessening of tensions between the US and Libya. More of that in the next volume.

Another place that Libya was quite busy was in Chad. Now I have no idea why they would bother with that poor nation, but there you have it. Libya had occupied a considerable section of this nation near Libya's southern border and had built air bases there. It was yet another advance south from those areas that incited conflict between Libya and the French (with logistic support from the US). There was no air fighting in this event either, though there were precision air strikes by the French against Libyan bases and troops.

This is a very brief look at what the book explores in much greater detail. We get to read about all the planning and the operations themselves with information provided from all sides of the various events. In line with the other book, the primary research in this one is first rate and does not rely on propaganda or hearsay as one often finds in popular media.

 In line with the other volume, it is a superlative book, well researched and chock full of great photos. It is a book that will appeal to both modelers and historians alike. If you are interested in some of smaller conflicts involving air power, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.

November 2016

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Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link.

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