Pen & Sword's The F-4 Phantom

Author/Artists: Martin Bowman


Pen & Sword


$24.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 144 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-52-670576-1

Pen & Sword have chosen a subject that I know I like and that is the Phabulous Phantom II. It was the case of the right plane at the right time and is the most produced western supersonic jet fighter since WWII. It is interesting that it was so capable, that not only was this naval fighter used by the USAF (and in greater numbers than the Navy), but it was widely exported and license built in both the UK and Japan. Even today in 2020, the type is still flying military missions, some 60+ years after the prototype first flew in 1958.

This book on the F-4 follows a familiar pattern of this series. There are four major sections, each section being prefaced by a history that pertains to that particular section. It then goes into the photos, providing additional information in the caption of each image. On that note, the images are all black and white, despite the color shots on the cover. I should also mention that while the subtitle is 'rare photographs from wartime archives', that is just a standard statement as many of the images within are ones I've seen several times before, though a few were new to me.

The first section covers the USN/USMC operation of the type. The majority of the images here are fairly early in the type's career where the planes were in the light gull grey over white scheme. Very few TPS images. Next is the USAF and again, a lot of south east Asia images and camouflage schemes with very few Hill Grey II planes included. Then there is a section on the RAF's Phantom FG.1/FGR.2 types, once more concentrating on the non-grey camouflage aircraft. The last one is on international Phantoms with one image from each of the different countries that flew the type. To be honest, to provide more coverage would have exceeded the general page count of the series so it is understandable why it was done in this manner.

Overall it is a good introduction to the type and the sort of book that those who like to look at F-4 photos will want to have on their shelves. 

March 2020

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

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