From Publishers Weekly The A-10 is a slow, stick-and-rudder airplane built around a Gatling gun capable of firing 4000 rounds a minute. It is an ugly beast (thus its nickname: Warthog), but 'hog drivers' think highly of it because of its ability to remain aloft after absorbing gross punishment from enemy aircraft. Smallwood, who interviewed 143 of the pilots who flew the A-10 in the Gulf War, here presents an exhilarating, fact-packed narrative that conveys the emotional as well as the technical/tactical aspects of the Warthog effort during Desert Storm. In the war's first phase, A-10 squadrons carried out a precise preemptive campaign against targets that could affect the outcome of the allied ground campaign. Throughout that four-day operation, A-10s provided close air support for advancing coalition forces and decimated two Republican Guard divisions. The Warthogs flew an average of 193 missions per day for 42 days and are credited with destroying at least half of the Iraqi armor. Six Warthogs were lost. Two pilots were killed. A valuable addition to air-war literature. Military Book Club main selection. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more From Kirkus Reviews A valentine for one of the ugliest, albeit most lethally effective, warplanes ever built--as well as for the men who flew them during the Desert Storm campaign. Drawing on interviews with over one hundred A-10 pilots who served in the Persian Gulf during the 1990-91 hostilities, Smallwood (himself an aviator and Korean War vet) offers riveting perspectives on aerial combat. Setting the stage with an informative briefing on how, in the 70's, the Air Force developed the A-10 (a.k.a. ``Warthog'') as a means of supporting ground troops with massive firepower, he moves into anecdotal vignettes detailing the ways in which so-called ``hog drivers'' and their commanders whiled away the weary hours of the calm before the storm in Saudi Arabia's inhospitable clime. At the heart of his narrative, however, are vivid accounts of how A-10s accomplished their tank-busting missions and then some once the battle was joined. Tasked, among other objectives, to take out missile launchers and artillery emplacements far behind the front lines (assignments normally reserved for jet fighters), the slow-moving, heavily armed Warthogs were credited with over half the bomb damage inflicted on Iraqi forces and installations. Employing improvisational tactics, A-10s also flew reconnaissance and assisted in rescues of coalition pilots; they even scored air-to- air kills, downing a couple of enemy choppers. Indeed, the plane's ungainly Gatling-gun platform performed so well that pilots demanded their craft be redesignated ``RFOA-10'' (for ``reconnaissance/fighter/observation/attack''). An absorbing tale of how a decidedly ugly duckling became a military hero of some consequence. (Nineteen photos, map--not seen) (Main Selection of the Military Book Club) -- Copyright ?1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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