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Strategic Force Bomber Command 1950-1968

Strategic Force Bomber Command 1950-1968 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review March 2014 Title Strategic Force Bomber Command 1950-1968
Author Colin Ovens Publisher Guideline Publications
Published 2011 ISBN 9781908565006
Format 60 pages, softbound MSRP (GBP) £9.99


Strategic Force Bomber Command 1950-1968 tells the terrific tale of Britain's strategic deterrent during the early Cold War years.

Author Colin Ovens' colorful little book divides roughly into three parts.  After an introductory "overview", text logically segues into aircraft assets.  Here, the UK's V-Bomber force naturally takes center stage.  But supporting players like the English Electric Canberra, Avro Lincoln, de Havilland Mosquito and Vickers VC.10 – the last in a surprisingly militant role – also snag some spotlight.  Even the Thor IRBM makes a guest appearance.

Text next turns to compact histories of every RAF strategic bomber unit.  The succinct summary includes personal favorites like the phoenix-like No 27 and dam-busting No 617 squadrons.

Major contents conclude with capsule case studies of RAF strategic bombing assets in action.  Postwar Malaysian, Suez, Kenyan and Indonesian crises dominate conflict coverage.  And Operation Grapple nuclear tests earn separate attention.

In the end, nuclear missiles irreversibly altered British political equations.  And the UK disbanded RAF Bomber Command in April 1968.  Vulcans and Victors soldiered on, however – eventually participating in the 1982 South Atlantic war with Argentina.

This handy handbook remains an excellent introduction to post-WWII Royal Air Force strategic bombing.  Dozens of photos, color profiles and extended captions season Oven's succinct study.  Every major weapons system enjoys exposure.  And a solid "what if" section neatly summarizes the stillborn TSR-2 and Skybolt programs.

Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Guideline Publications for this review sample!