Libyan Air Wars Part 2 Book Review
|Date of Review||July 2016||Title||Libyan Air Wars Part 2|
|Author||Tom Cooper, Albert Grandolini, Arnaud Delalande||Publisher||Helion|
|Format||64 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$29.95|
Helion continues coverage of Cold War tensions in Libyan Air Wars Part 2.
Whereas the first volume nominally covered a dozen years – and, in reality, over 70 – this one spans less than one: mid-1985 to early-1986.
Coverage commences with another brief historical overview – followed by errata and addenda to Part 1. Contents quickly turn to the illuminating 'Czechoslovak Connection' – Prague's extensive equipment and training assistance to Gadhafi [Qadhafi].
The Libyan despot procured weapons from several sources – far more hardware, in fact, than the country's military could handle. And some contemporary intelligence analyses actually posited Libya's prodigious arms purchases as pre-positioned assets for future Soviet mischief.
Libya also actively aided and abetted terrorist efforts in over 30 countries – most of those targeting American interests. These – and Gadhafi's territorial claims – prompted confrontations with US Navy assets. And authors duly describe the months-long Kabuki dance between US Navy and LAAF warplanes.
Early 1986 witnessed another flare-up of fighting in Chad. And authors dutifully detail fascinating French and Western efforts to strengthen – and dramatically and tactically transform – N'Djamena's forces against Libya.
Those efforts forged 'a highly mobile, spectacularly effective striking force ... that was to dominate the battlefields of Chad through the second half of the 1980s'. In the air, France deployed Armée de l'air assets to reinforce their former colony – and to deter Libyan adventurism.
Among the actions, French Jaguars struck the forward Libyan base at Wadi Doum [Duum]. And in retaliation, a LAAF Tu-22 bombed N'Djamena IAP – and was possibly hit and downed by French flak.
Operations Attain Document (I, II and III) and Operation Prairie Fire return coverage to US Navy freedom-of-navigation (FON) disputes with Libya. These proved successful. And 'Gaddafi's claim over the disputed waters and airspace was lost affectively destroyed'.
But despite military success of all four Operations, authors note that 'all failed to deliver a blow against even a single objectives related to international terrorism'.
Again, color and B&W photos illustrate Helion's excellent account. Abbreviations, sidebars, tables, maps, selected bibliography and endnotes further season the study. And Tom Cooper's reliably outstanding artwork surveys participating warplane warpaint.
My biggest gripe? I prefer more profiles of Libyan aircraft – not of its adversaries!
I can't wait for Part 3. Can Operation Eldorado Canyon be far away?
With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!