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Aces of the Republic of China Air Force

Aces of the Republic of China Air Force Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review April 2015 Title Aces of the Republic of China Air Force
Author Raymond Cheung Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2015 ISBN 9781472805614
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95

Review

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.

Rabidly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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