Aces of the Republic of China Air Force Book Review
|Date of Review||April 2015||Title||Aces of the Republic of China Air Force|
|Author||Raymond Cheung||Publisher||Osprey Publishing|
|Format||96 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$22.95|
Osprey tells the spellbinding story of Chinese military aviators in Aces of the Republic of China Air Force – 126th installment in the publisher's excellent "Aircraft of the Aces" series.
Coverage capably chronicles their exploits from World War I through Japanese invasion and World War II to jet combat with Mao's communists:
- Creation of the Republic
- Shanghai and Nanking Campaigns
- Sino-Soviet Pact
- Chinese-American Aces
- Combined Pursuit Group
- Chinese-American Combined Wing
Cheung's is a tale of men – 17 Chinese airmen, often facing astonishing adversity and odds. In the early struggle against Japan, for instance, many forsook privilege and education to defend their country's skies. Still others – expatriates – returned to join the fight. And the author leverages latest research and archival revelations to illumine all.
It's also a tale of machines. Principal players like Curtiss Hawks, Polikarpov I-16s, P-40s and F-86s naturally dominate text. But Osprey's supporting cast also features obscure types like Boeing 281s, Dewoitine D-510s, Gloster Gladiators, Republic P-43s and Vultee P-66s.
Lots of enthralling anecdotes tincture text. How about that dogfight between Curtiss A-12 Shrikes and Aichi D1A1 dive bombers? And how about John Wong's exploits in that captured JAAF Ki-27? Enthralling!
Fascinating photos and cool color art motivated my modeling muse. And helpful captions, appendices and index augment Osprey's absorbing account.
Gripes? Some sources appear within text. But I wish Cheung also included a selected bibliography. A couple maps might have helped, too!
But just try prying this terrific little tome from my cold, dead fingers. I absolutely loved it. And if you seek breaks from endless accounts of British, American and German aces, you will, too.
My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!