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Thunderchief: The Complete History of the Republic F-105

Thunderchief: The Complete History of the Republic F-105 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review February 2019 Title Thunderchief: The Complete History of the Republic F-105
Author Dennis R. Jenkins Publisher Specialty Press
Published 2019 ISBN 9781580072595
Format 300 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $60.00

Review

Let's cut to the chase.

If your library sports one book on Republic's legendary F-105, make it this one.

New from Specialty Press, Thunderchief: The Complete History of the Republic F-105 spans 300 picture-packed pages over six chunky chapters:

  • Strange Road Taken – The YF-105
  • In Production – The F-105B
  • Real Thunderchiefs – The F-105D/F
  • Jungle Warfare – Southeast Asia
  • Wild Weasels – The F-105F/G
  • Airframe and Systems – The Details

From design and development to deployment and disposition, Dennis R. Jenkins – with contributors Mike Machat and Mick Roth – tells the total tale.

Ancestry. Aerodynamics. Armament. Avionics. Units. Personalities. Tactical bomber. Wild Weasel. Fighter. Even the Thunderchief moniker itself. And more.

Jenkins explores every F-105 iteration: proposed, project, prototype, and production. And he liberally salts sections with hundreds of illustrations.

Color views. B&W shots. Close-ups. Drawings. Tech-manual excerpts. Even scale model photos. Hobbyists will slaver at the amazing level of authoritative detail – inside and out.

How about that intriguing F-105H "paper" study with XF-91 main landing gear configuration? Or Republic's block-35 pitch with seven, weapons-rich external stores stations?

And – whoa – how about that ultra-rare "US Marines" Thud at Da Nang, South Vietnam? See text for the delectable details of that.

Anecdotes, actions, appendices, captions, endnotes, tables, tactics, sidebars, and sources further supplement the study.

But shouldn't that page 89 caption read, "left top of the forward fuselage"? And aside from notes on "reverse" F-105 camouflage patterns, why no "TO 1-1-4" color & markings detail and data?

So is it really "The Complete History of the Republic F-105"? Nothing in historical research, I've learned, truthfully approaches "complete". No Thunderchief insignia or serial sizes, for instance, appear. But hype and nitpick notwithstanding, this superb survey certainly comes close to "complete".

A personal coda: as a young doctoral student in Washington DC during the late 1970s, I often enjoyed banking pairs of 149th Fighter Squadron F-105Ds popping gear in ballerina-like precision on approach to Andrews AFB. Those VA-ANG Thuds always proved welcome distractions from dusty dry academics!

Jenkins's magnificent monograph stands as a potent panegyric to this icon of Vietnam-era American airpower. Buy Specialty Press' terrific tome.

Rabidly recommended!

With thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy.