Helion's Sanctuary Lost Vol 2

Author/Artists: Matthew Hurley & Jose Augusto Matos


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 112 pages, softcover, over 100 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-804512-05-0

This is the second volume in what appears to be a trilogy on Portugal's air war in Guinea from 1961-1974. In this edition, Portugal has overcome the American refusal to allow their F-86s to be used in combat. These were replaced by the Fiat G.91, which were originally built for Greece and Turkey but were refused and so became available. These aircraft were designed from the start to be ground attack planes and while they were not as good as the F-86 in terms of range, were perfectly adequate for use in Guinea, which isn't a large country.

Pilots were less than thrilled with the machine gun armament, hoping for the canon that equipped Luftwaffe G.91s, but the price was right and they were available. While not exactly flooding into the country, those made available did their job well. Also new to the theater was the Alouette III helicopter. This was a major step up from the Alouette II and were also available in sufficient quantity to supplant the older helos. Portugal still relied on the AT-6 for the slow COIN operations and while getting long in the tooth were easy to repair. Some Noratlas transports that were excess to the Luftwaffe's needs were also purchased and able to augment the small fleet of C-47s. Several B-26 Invaders were clandestinely purchased before the US state department got wind of the plan and put a stop to it. These were only tried out in Guinea with most assets going to the war in Angola. Finally, some Reims/Cessna 337s were purchased to replace the AT-6s but the first wasn't delivered until after the Guinea conflict.

During the period of time covered by this book, things were looking up for Portugal. The new equipment and increased numbers of troops were making a difference and the opposition was slowly pushed out of their areas of influence. An increasing problem was rebel ground to air weapons in the shape of various calibers of AA guns provided by the Soviet Union through Conakry to the south. That nation was also provided MiG-17 aircraft, which increased the threat to the Portuguese. So the PAF was tasked with taking out those weapons and aircraft on the other side of the border, which they did in several campaigns, getting most of the AA guns, but none of the aircraft, which were moved out of range.

In this volume the authors have done a superb job of continuing to tell the story of Portuguese Air Force operations and aircraft during this fairly little known conflict. Thanks to the recollections of those who participated as well as good primary research, we are provided a picture of the war as it continued. As always, we have great color profiles, some very well done maps and several very interesting tables to help this all come alive. An excellent effort and one I can quite easily recommend to you.

Janary 2024

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