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Book Review: Legends of Warfare; A-6 Intruder by David F. Brown

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Summary:                     Details:
Title and ISBN:            Legends of Warfare Series
                                        A-6 Intruder
                                        Schiffer Military, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
                                        ISBN: 978-0-7643-6276-7
Contents and Media: Print Format; Hard Cover Print; 128 pages.
Price:                             Print editions; $19.99
Review Type:               First Read
Advantages:                 Well written and high quality color and black & white photography,
Conclusion:                  Recommended for its style, historical reference, and high quality photography.
How to Order:             www.schifferbooks.com; Amazon, Target, and signed copies direct from the author at; moab149@gmail.com

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The Grumman A-6 Intruder played a key role as the Navy and Marine Corps’ Night and All-Weather Attack aircraft serving from 1963 until its retirement on 28 February 1997 when VA-75, the first and last Intruder squadron, was retired at NAS Oceana, VA, completing 38 years of service. The Intruder, a veteran of the Vietnam to the Gulf Wars, was a victim of changing US Navy requirements, advancing technologies and the need to reduce the different aircraft assets within a carrier air wing (CVW). Its history is remarkable in its daring missions behind enemy lines, often as a single ship, to attack key military targets. The Intruder’s chapter in Naval Aviation History is now closed, but the Intruder story is well captured in author David F. Brown’s new book from Schiffer Books, Legends of Warfare series.

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The book covers the origin of the A-6 from the initial Department of Defense (DOD) request for a new carrier based night, all weather attack aircraft as a replacement for the US Navy’s aging piston engine AD Skyraider. Author Brown follows with the resulting YA2F-1 prototype, its development program and is well-illustrated with images of the prototype Intruders. He continues through the life of the A-6 with each subsequent chapter dedicated to the next model change and upgrade that evolved during its nearly four decades long history, ending with the last model, the A-6F, of which only 5 were built. That program was canceled before production could begin in favor of the proposed A-12 program, it too being cancelled.

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Following the many model changes of the A-6, Brown adds a nicely detailed section featuring each Intruder squadron beginning with NATC at NAS Patuxent River and continuing with all the attack squadrons. Each squadron is well illustrated with color images during various time periods.

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Chapter 9, Combat Operations, naturally begins with the Vietnam War, when VA-75 “Sunday Punchers” was the first Intruders to begin combat operations from the deck of the USS Independence (CVA-62) off the coast of South Vietnam during the summer of 1965. Brown covers the deployment of additional Intruder squadrons as they entered the war and integrates period squadron patches among the many images illustrating this chapter. Brown continues with the Gulf Wars, highlighting the numerous operations that followed, and is well-illustrated with images of Intruders that participated in these combat operations some showing the missions marks applied to the Intruder’s fuselage, a proud Navy tradition dating back to World War 2. These being an indication not only of the number of missions flown, but also as a reminder to the dangers the air crew experienced in the prolonged combat One forgets how important the Intruder was and the many combat operations that it participated in during its long and distinguished career.

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I think the reader will enjoy this as a historical reference enhanced by the high quality images and recommend it for both the aviation enthusiast and model builder and think it will be a welcome addition to your library.

Looking Back at Canada’s Shearwater International Air Shows Part 2

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The last Shearwater International Air Show was held in 1997, more than two decades ago. Later shows at the military base, located a short distance northeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, continued under different names and organizations after the base was downsized.

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We ran a feature here in these pages in 2013; new photos have been added here for a fresh look at many aircraft and squadrons that have been retired since the shows much-heralded air shows of the 1980s and 1990s. Gone are the F-14s, Tornados and many of the other types contained in this report. The photos here are non-Canadian Forces aircraft, including the U.S., Europe and even New Zealand. These have been retired, withdrawn, or replaced with other versions. Others, like the RNZAF P-3Ks, are soon to be replaced with newer aircraft (in this case Boeing P-8s).

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You can hover over the thumbnail pictures for identification or click for an enlarged photo. Enjoy!

Looking Back at Canada’s Shearwater International Air Shows Part 1

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The last Shearwater International Air Show was held in 1997, more than two decades ago. Later shows at the military base, located a short distance northeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, continued under different names and organizations after the base was downsized.

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We ran a feature here in these pages in 2013; new photos have been added here for a fresh look at many aircraft and squadrons that have been retired since the much-heralded air shows of the 1980s and 1990s. Gone are the CT-133 Silver Stars, Ch-124 Sea Kings, and most of the other types contained in this report. The photos here are Canadian Forces aircraft that have been retired, withdrawn, or replaced with other airframes.

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You can hover over the thumbnail pictures for identification or click for an enlarged photo. Enjoy!

Vought F-4U, Goodyear FG-1 and Brewster F3A Corsair Scrapbook

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Chance Vought designed and produced one of the most recognizable fighters of the Second World War… the F4U Corsair. The “inverted gull wing” was used to allow carrier operations with the large prop hanging on the nose. The type was so useful and relevant that it was used through the Korean War years, and ultimately took part in the final prop-driven air combat skirmishes of the so-called “Football (or Soccer) War” between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969. The last active-duty Corsairs were retired by Honduras in 1979.

The first flight of a Corsair prototype took place on May 29, 1940. The U.S. Navy and Marines would use the majority of the 12,571 airframes produced, but other countries, including France, Great Britain’s Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force put them to use between World War II and the Korea War.

FG-1 Corsair

Both Goodyear (FG-1) and Brewster (F3A) manufactured the Corsair alongside Chance Vought. The U. S. State of Connecticut was a major producer of the aircraft… Chance Vought factories were in the city of Bridgeport; engine maker Pratt and Whitney (East Hartford) and propeller manufacturer Hamilton Standard (Windsor Locks) were both located in-state too.

“Birdcage Corsair”

Early versions of the fighter utilized a “birdcage” canopy, but most others used “blown” hoods for better pilot visibility. Later Marine Corps versions included the AU-1 version, optimized for ground attack with added armor and a redesign for less ground fire vulnerability.

F2G Super Corsair

The ultimate Corsair – the F2G Super Corsair – was fitted with the huge Pratt and Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major engine; in civilian hands two of these aircraft won the Thompson trophy air races in 1947 and 1949.

Here are a number of photos of many of the restored Corsairs that are still flying today: