Pen & Sword's Early Jet Bombers 1944-1954

Author/Artists: Leo Marriott


Pen & Sword


$26.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 160 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-52-675389-2

Pen & Sword have chosen an interesting title for one of their latest books. The early days of jet propulsion  brought a great deal of promise to aircraft designers. It also brought new challenges. Early jets were fast, but they were also fairly fragile and consumed fuel at a fairly high rate when compared to piston engine aircraft. This high fuel consumption plagued designers for years and it was not surprising that so many early jets were so large, due to this requirement. Indeed, the world's first jet bomber had to carry its load externally due to the need to carry a lot of fuel.

Early jets also suffered from a lack of power. In order to get the sort of performance wanted, the aircraft had to have multiple engines. In some cases it took six or eight of them to allow the plane to perform its intended mission. In fact, it was not uncommon for early jet bombers to use rocket assistance to even get off the ground with a bomb and fuel load. One of the ways this issue was dealt with was through air to air refueling. This feature alone made long range jet bombers a viable option.

Though the book only covers the first ten years, it included a lot of aircraft that were in prototype development in 1953 and 1954. It also includes a lot of aircraft that never really made the cut for various reasons.

The author has divided the book into sections. After a nice introduction, these sections are by country starting with Germany, then Great Britain, France, the United States and finally the Soviet Union. In each section we are provided with a bevy of excellent photos of both prototype and production types with the majority of the information provided in the photo captions. Again, there are photos with which some of us are familiar as well as those that are new to us. If you find the subject as fascinating as do I, you will certainly want to pick this one up.

January 2020

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