With specially commissioned artworks and dynamic combat ribbon diagrams, this volume reveals how the 'last of the gunfighters', as the F-8 was dubbed by its pilots, prevailed against the growing MiG threat of the Vietnamese People's Air Force.
When the Vietnam War began, the F-8 was already firmly established as a fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. It entered combat as an escort for Alpha strike packages, braving the anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles alongside the A-4 Skyhawk bombers and meeting MiGs for the first time on 3 April 1965. Although the Crusader was nicknamed 'last of the gunfighters', its pilots employed 'secondary' AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles in all but one of their MiG kills, with guns also used as back-up in three. Its 20 mm guns were unreliable as they often jammed during strenuous manoeuvres, although they were responsible for damaging a number of MiGs. However, in combat the F-8 had the highest 'exchange ratio' (kills divided by losses) at six-to-one of any US combat aircraft involved in the Vietnam War.
Through the copious use of first-hand accounts, highly detailed battlescene artwork, combat ribbon diagrams and armament views, Osprey's Vietnam air war specialist Peter E. Davies charts the successful career of the F-8 Crusader over Vietnam.
Peter E Davies has published more than 45 books, including over 35 for Osprey. He has specialised in the aircraft of the Vietnam and Cold War periods, analysing tactics, background politics and technologies in a range of combat situations. Original first-hand interviews and unpublished illustrative material have always been hallmarks of his books for Osprey.
The illustrators for this title are Gareth Hector (cover and battlescene), Jim Laurier (armament views) and Tim Brown (ribbon and technical diagrams).