This book focuses on the role of the air power in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988, one of the most underestimated and under researched events in the history of aerial warfare. The authors have made full use of extensive research, eyewitness accounts, interviews with dozens of people directly involved, as well as recently declassified documents from around the world which are published here for the first time. Their balanced, exhaustive coverage describes and analyzes both the development of the Iranian and the Iraqi air forces, their involvement in combat operations, while simultaneously discussing their organization and capabilities, and detailing their equipment to detail. Over 200 photographs (most never before published), tables, charts and maps are included, making this book a must for any serious military and aviation researcher, as well as enthusiasts and modelers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
¿IIWitA, 80-88¿ drew much attention from aviation historians because of its comprehensive coverage of an ignored aspect of a largely under-reported war. Coverage precedes 1980, documenting Iraq¿s involvement in Arab-Israeli wars, the evolution of a pro-Western Iranian military machine into regional superpower status, and simmering rivalries between the two. Saddam thought Iran¿s Islamic revolution was an opportunity (the Mullahs¿ plan to sell billions of dollars worth of military hardware back to America and purge the military¿s pro-Shah officer corps), but a short-lived (Saddam was convinced the west would not abide a hostile, theocratic Iran - making regime-change inevitable). Fighting began with Hussein¿s botched attempt to follow Israeli doctrine of destroying enemy¿s air forces on their own runways ¿ doomed by poor pilot training and initiative, ineffective weapons and Hussein¿s decree to target runways instead of warplanes. An armored invasion of western Iran forces the Islamists to rehabilitate officers, mobilize defenses, and improbably build a defense industry based on homegrown ingenuity and foreign greed. Though embargoed, and relying on maintenance-intensive western-technology, Iran kept air operations at a high tempo, flying raids deep into Iraq. Though Hussein enjoyed French, Russian and (in varying degrees) American backing, Iran eventually reclaimed key positions, then mounted an invasion of its own - grabbing the Faw peninsula and putting Basra at risk. Iraqi forces eventually improved professionally, reclaimed Faw and defeated further Iranian ¿Final Offensives¿; pluck aside, Iran never overcame its pariah status. The greatest factor (and failure) is arguably that of western nations who saw profit in keeping both sides fighting. The prolonged war solidified both the base of Iran¿s Islamists and their interest in military might; though the ostensible winner, Hussein had so little to show for the costs of Iraq¿s 8 year adventure, that another adventure was inevitable. This book was frustrating, challenging conventional assessments of the air-war as a non-event, but being hard to follow. Unfortunately, two problems are prominent ¿ questions of its accuracy, and the overall editorial quality. Though comprehensive, it¿s poorly laid out ¿ maps are few, and theater maps nonexistent; there is no index, complicating efforts to cross-reference unfamiliar terms, names and events or chart the course of the war; editorial quality is abysmal ¿ typos, poor grammar (run-on sentences being the norm) and word-usage are typical. The war is detailed chronologically, concentrating on individual engagements (and usually just the results) without developing themes that explain the war¿s result. Accuracy is problematic: the book is extensively footnoted, but many don¿t provide sources ¿ only additional info. Some interesting tidbits aren¿t footnoted at all. The authors¿ bio claims they¿ve made personal contacts in many countries, but never detail them or indicate how much of the book owes itself to those sources. How accurate you find this book will depend on how you¿re willingness to trust the authors. But until somebody else tackles this neglected subject, this is probably you¿re only source for information on the first Persian Gulf War.