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Arab MiGs Volume 4, Attrition War, 1967-1973

Arab MiGs Volume 4, Attrition War, 1967-1973 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2013 Title Arab MiGs Volume 4, Attrition War, 1967-1973
Author Tom Cooper and David Nicolle Publisher Harpia Publishing, LLC
Published 2013 ISBN 978-0-9854554-1-5
Format 256 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 35.95€


Arab MiGs Volume 4, Attrition War, 1967-1973 – latest installment in Harpia's outstanding series – details aerial actions between the June 1967 and the October 1973 conflicts.

As before, coverage begins with illuminating "Addenda/Errata" to the first three volumes.  After that, three chapters on Egypt's United Arab Republic Air Force (UARAF) in the wake of the 1967 disaster follow.

The June 1967 war, the first section notes, underscored Arab deficiencies in intelligence, training and tactics.  In addition to replenishing and producing equipment, Egypt's consequent rebuilding efforts emphasized these.  The establishment of an Air Defense Command (ADC) and surface-to-air missile "wall" also proved critical.  And the combination of all these initiatives pointed the way to future combat success.

By 1969, Egypt, buoyed by early successes, launched the so-called "War of Attrition", dubbed the "War of Bloodletting" by President Nasser – and subject of the next chapter.  The Egyptian leader reasoned that significant Israeli losses from a sustained, low-intensity campaign would fatally exhaust the small, casualty-averse Jewish state.  Here, too, actions and events would portend future developments.

A fascinating little segue on "Other Egyptian Wars" follows.  Coverage recaps UARAF involvement in Yemeni, Nigerian and Sudanese civil strife.  And the authors capably refute myths of Egyptian military impotence and ineptitude – notably in Nigeria.

Contents then geographically shift to Jordan and Syria before concluding with an informative chapter on the contributions of other Arab nations.

As before, the cast of Harpia's brilliant book includes more than just "MiGs".  Jordanian Hunters play a particularly puissant part.  And Sukkhois, Starfighters, Skyhawks, Delfins and Phantoms – among others – take bows.

Don't discount the apparatus, either.  Chapter endnotes superbly supplement text – and conveniently cross-reference earlier volumes in Harpia's superb series.

The annotations enrich, too.  I read some Arabic.  And its transliteration to English often baffles me.  Sure enough, one note correctly remarks the wide range of spellings for the name of dead Libyan dictator Gaddafi – properly, in my opinion, "Qadhafi"!

Particularly noteworthy, Tom Cooper's superb color profiles and hundreds of photos offer modelers plenty of project inspiration.  And contributor Martin Smisek's revelations – from "Operation 104" through post-1967 reconstruction efforts – illumine the considerable, continuous cooperation between Czechoslovakia and Syria.

Over 200 B&W and color photos, tables, sidebars, maps and absorbing anecdotes further flavor the narrative.  Coverage concludes with three tabular appendices, a selected bibliography and multiple indices.

Minor irritants sometimes intrude.  I believe the Sukhoi Su-9 – not the Su-7BMK – was originally designed as a high-altitude interceptor.  I also wish artwork captions cited more common US Federal Standard FS595 colors – not the less accessible British BS381C catalog.  And again, the account proves weakest when the authors succumb to political comments.

But – wow – what a riveting read!  This set keeps getting better and better.  I've said it before: Harpia's superb series deserves place in every enthusiast's library.  Get all four terrific tomes.  I'm licking my eyebrows for Volume 5!

Rabidly recommended!

With thanks to Harpia Publishing for the review copy.