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F6F Hellcat At War

F6F Hellcat At War Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2009 Title F6F Hellcat At War
Author Cory Graff Publisher Zenith Press
Published 2009 ISBN 978-0-7603-3306-8
Format 160 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $24.99


In the latest installment from Zenith Books' "At War" series, author Cory Graff provides a nice history of the Grumman F6F Hellcat. While there are quiet a few books that deal with the subject matter, few offer a balanced look at the aircraft from its pre-war development through its post-war service and still provide an interesting perspective to its development and operations through the war.

The F6F had its growing pains, but as a carrier-based fighter, it outperformed and achieved the highest scores of any carrier-based fighter. In fact, the F6F would rival almost all of the world's land-based aircraft during that time as well. While that window of success was only measured in the span of about two years, the war came to a close before axis forces could get their next generation fighters widely deployed to deal with the current generation including the Hellcat. Neither the US Navy nor Grumman were waiting to see what was coming next from the enemy as the Hellcat's replacement was also underway - the F8F Bearcat.

Take a look at the table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Hellcat's Origins
  • The Hellcat's Construction
  • Building the Beast
  • Combat Debut
  • The Year of War
  • Closing In
  • After the Battles

The author takes you from Grumman's earliest biplane fighters to illustrate the evolution of design that led to the Hellcat, the key design features of the F6F series, how the aircraft was made during wartime production conditions, and how the aircraft performed in the heat of battle. The title is also nicely illustrated with period photos in black & white as well as color, with some nice looks at less commonly seen variants like the radar fighters, the Hellcats in Commonwealth colors, and even some post-war drones and specialty aircraft.

This is a well-written book that will provide a unique look into some operational history and some interesting statistics of this historic symbol of American air power during World War Two.

This title is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!