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Silver Birds over the Estuary: The MiG-21 in Yugoslav and Serbian Air Force service, 1962-2019

Silver Birds over the Estuary: The MiG-21 in Yugoslav and Serbian Air Force service, 1962-2019 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2020 Title Silver Birds over the Estuary: The MiG-21 in Yugoslav and Serbian Air Force service, 1962-2019
Author Bojan Dimitrijevic, Milan Micevski Publisher Helion
Published 2020 ISBN 9781913118693
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95

Review

Bojan Dimitrijevic and Milan Micevski recount the spellbinding saga of “The MiG-21 in Yugoslav and Serbian Air Force service, 1962-2019” in Silver Birds over the Estuary – sixth in Helion’s growing “Europe@War” series, available in North America from Casemate.

Leveraging “extensive research in archives and museums” and consulting “retired and active participants and eyewitnesses”, coverage consumes 80 pages across seven illuminating chapters:

  • Plan Grom
  • MiGs of the 1970s
  • Backbone of the Air Force
  • At War
  • Shortened Yugoslavia
  • Kosovo Crisis
  • Serbian Air Force

Dimitrijevic and Micevski competently – and chronologically – survey the whole story.

Yugoslav designations for a dozen “Fishbed” versions. Acquisitions. Operations. Training. Basing. Maintenance. Missions. Conversions. Ordinance. And avionics.

Narrative includes key dates, places, and personalities. And text even traverses colors and markings, and efforts to upgrade MiG-21s with Western and indigenous equipment.

How about that unique MiG-21 PFM in standard Yugoslav camouflage of mid-grey and dark green over “PRU” blue?

Authors also explore the impact of external events on MiG-21 combat readiness. These notably include 1968’s Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and 1979-80’s illness and death of Marshal Tito.

Combat events naturally feature prominently. And internecine fighting during Yugoslavia’s break-up in the 1990s understandably dominates coverage.

Period photos and detail shots saturate the study. Maps add geographic perspective to text. And color art and images offer hobbyists lots of project inspiration.

Abbreviations, extended captions, tables, maps, chapter endnotes, and selected bibliography further enhance the effort.

Augment your knowledge of the legendary MiG-21. Grab this enlightening effort. I loved it.

Robustly recommended!

With thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!