Helion's Wings of Iraq vol 2
|Author/Artists:||Milo Sipos & Tom Cooper|
|$29.95 MSRP from Casemate|
78 pages, softcover
This is the second volume on the Iraqi Air Force and covers the period from 1970 until the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980. During this time, the Iraqis got fed up with substandard Soviet aircraft and started looking to other places to help equip the service. This resulted in a fair number of Mirage F.1 fighters and fighter-bombers becoming operational. It also had the additional effect of the Soviets offering their latest and greatest instead of their lower equipped 'export' variants.
It was during this time that two things happened. First, there was enlightened leadership in the Air Force that saw an overhaul of not only the way the air force operated, but also the realization that Soviet advanced training was not really what worked for the Iraqi Air Force. As a result, the air force became the most professional and capable air arm in the region with the possible exception of Iran under the Shah.
The other was the rise of Saddam Hussein. Just FYI, Saddam means 'Hammer' and while Hussein did a lot for the people of Iraq, he was also a ruthless leader who did not tolerate opposition. In fact, it was the money that came in from oil that fueled the upgrading of the military and the increase in civil benefits in terms of infrastructure and social improvements. The Iraqi Air Force also benefitted from two conflicts; the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the 1974-75 war against the Kurds. The last section of the book covers the opening of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, a war started by Iraq in the hopes that the Islamic revolution of 1979 had vastly weakened the Iranian military. I'm sure that volume 3 will go into more detail on this conflict.
The authors of this series have very much done their homework in regards to this subject. We get a look at not only the equipment and men who flew the planes, but also the politics behind the choices as well as the way the service was run. When you add in some superb period photos, a fair number of color profiles and the smooth flowing prose, it makes for a nice addition to what is becoming a great series. Very much worth picking up.
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