Helion's Eagles of Destiny vol. 1

Author/Artists: Usman Shabbir & Yawar Mazhar


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 76 pages, softcover, approx 100 images
ISBN 978-1-914377-03-7

After WWII, many areas of the world sought release from colonialism. One of the largest countries was India, which, while it already had a modicum of autonomy, wanted to be able to determine their own course. Simmering within the nation was conflict between Hindus, who were the majority, and Muslims who were the largest minority. It was felt that both religions needed their own nation so the same act that gave India sovereignty, also created the nation of Pakistan.

The transition did not go as smoothly as one would have hoped. However, that is for another book. This one is on the creation of the Royal Pakistan Air Force. It was expected that the rather large Indian Air Force would be split based on the populations of both nations. However, that did not go quite as planned either. What was really lop-sided were the number of experienced pilots, mechanics, administrators and so on. This was especially true of advanced maintenance facilities of which Pakistan basically had none.

From the start, Pakistan had to deal with the northwest frontier area that was basically lawless and had been a thorn in the side of the British and Indian forces prior. It did give what pilots were available the opportunity to get some experience, however. Other things that had to be built from scratch were a proper organization, and especially a training establishment. For the first few years, this, and much of the higher administrative echelon, was held by RAF personnel until enough Pakistanis were qualified to take over. Having the RAF in charge pretty much meant that any new equipment was British, something not always wanted.

Of course, there is a lot more to the story than this. The authors cover the 'royal' part of the Air Force's history from inception to 1956 or so. The book is punctuated by a number of interviews as well as a rundown on the force's equipment. As usual, there are great photos, maps, charts and color illustrations that Helion books are known. A most interesting read that I'm sure you will also enjoy.  

February 2023

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