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Arab MiGs, Volume 5, October 1973 War: Part 1

Arab MiGs, Volume 5, October 1973 War: Part 1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2014 Title Arab MiGs, Volume 5, October 1973 War: Part 1
Author Tom Cooper and David Nicolle Publisher Harpia Publishing, LLC
Published 2014 ISBN 978-0-9854554-4-6
Format 256 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 35.95€


Harpia Publishing's brilliant Arab MiGs series remains among aviation history's most vital – and vibrant – research quests.  And newly released Volume 5 categorically confirms that.

But whereas previous parts spanned years, this one essentially details days: "Part 1" of the October 1973 War.

As before, "Addenda/Errata" initially adjust, amend, explain and expand the first four volumes.  Contents then segue to illuminating notes on ongoing replenishment efforts, final "War of Attrition" actions, Soviet involvement and combat, and Egypt's massive anti-aircraft umbrella to shield attacking forces from Israeli air superiority.

Wartime accounts of the Egyptian and Syrian fronts begin the afternoon of 6 Oct 1973.  And once combat coverage commences, the authors competently course through the conflict's first 48 hours – including commando operations and Iraqi participation.

As before, Harpia's dramatis personae include more than "MiGs".  Sukkhois, Skyhawks, Hips and Phantoms – among others – take bows.  And Iraqi Hunters play parts.   But MiG-17s and MiG-21s clearly seize center stage.

Some nitpicks intrude.  My rusty Arabic aside, I'd transliterate Operation Badhr as "Badr".  What exactly is an "old baby" on page 144?  The unit key is incorrect for the map on page 170.  The acronym "HAS" might baffle novitiates.  And defining "Fall of the Third Commonwealth" and the "Day of Judgment" might better illumine Israel's visceral panic.

But Harpia's reliance on eyewitness testimony remains my core concern.  With no official Arab records available, however, the authors frankly admit the risks of calibrating Arab anecdotes against Israeli and other sources.  And they openly "welcome additional information".

Air orders of battle, tables, sidebars, abbreviations, annotations, selected bibliography, index and five appendices ably augment the account.  Color and B&W photos, diagrams, and maps further support Harpia's study.

Over 50 of co-author Cooper's unfailingly excellent color profiles – many with corresponding dorsal schemes and paint matches – superbly sample the sumptuous swath of Arab warplane camouflage.

What a terrific tome!  Text hints that substantial parts of Vol 6 are complete.  Here's hoping that we don't have to wait another year for Harpia's next illuminating Arab MiGs installment!

Robustly recommended!

With thanks to Harpia Publishing for the review copy.