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How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare Hardcover – March 3, 2011
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By Walter J. Boyne
From its introduction to warfare in the 1940s to its role in Middle East operations, the helicopter has had a profound effect on military tactics and techniques. It has evolved from a means of transport to a precise component of the Special Operations Force. Apart from the challenges its design faced on the battlefield, this rotary-wing aircraft also faced opposition from the very military that employed it.
Author Walter J. Boyne leads readers through production designs and their connection to specific military strategies that helped the helicopter define its role in combat. He assigns cardinal importance to three of the early helicopter pioneers in the United States--Igor Sikorsky, Frank Piasecki, and Arthur Young--in the establishment of the industry. He also notes that as the industry grew larger, as procurement quantities increased, and as the services became more demanding in their requirements, the efforts of such pioneers was diluted. Considerations of logistics, spare parts, modifications, and per-unit cost began to drive the design parameters, forcing a more corporate guise upon the industry. Still, it is important to recognize that the influence of the three pioneers--Sikorsky, Piasecki and Young--can still be seen today in service helicopters.
Although its contributions to reconnaissance, transport, assault, and attack made it an invaluable tool during warfare, the helicopter suffered from the different services' focus on other arms and technology.Read more ›
Boyne describes the first combat search-and-rescue mission, of a downed liaison pilot and his three wounded passengers, flown by a US Army pilot in a newfangled Sikorsky YR-4B deep in the jungles of Burma. He then traces the subsequent development of military helicopter aviation, complete with the service rivalries and political machinations that alternately helped and hindered progress.
I found his in-depth approach to the helicopter's coming-of-age during the Vietnam War of particular value. Boyne, as usual, pulls no punches when describing the tactical, strategic, and political decisions, and blunders, that surrounded the growing combat importance of the helicopter. The history of how the employment of the helicopter surmounted technical shortcomings with in-the-field innovations and the sheer bravado and courage of the aircrews.
This book, however, does not present a myopic, US-only viewpoint. No, Boyne delves into the world of Soviet/Russian helicopter development and employment. And it does not end with descriptions of the amazing feats of today's helicopter crews in Iraq and Afghanistan. He winds up this fascinating history with a clear-eyed look ahead at the future of helicopters in military engagements yet to come. Boyne's final paragraph is worth quoting:
"The helicopter has significantly changed the face of modern warfare.Read more ›
Most of the books on helicopters, at least the ones I know about, are primarily "equipment" books which report technical specifications, development history, production data, operational use, etc. While those books are useful, Col. Boyne takes the topic to a new level. In substantive content, the book is both historical and editorial. The author explains development of the earliest helicopters, not as one invention like the airplane, but a series of inventions over several decades by many men, some of them certified geniuses like Igor Sikorsky, Anton Flettner, and Frank Piasecki, and how they eventually turned their designs into controllable and practical flying machines. A majority of the book's historical analysis focuses upon the gradual but steady development of the helicopter's military potential. I found it interesting that the author described the "The First Helicopter War" as taking place in Algeria in the late 1950s, not in Vietnam as I thought.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Probably unique in its treatment of the subject. Boyne does it again! He covers the international scene of helicopter design and manufacture.Published 12 days ago by John C. Taylor
For all fixed wing enthusiasts,Mathis book belongs on the coffee table. Almost nothing is left out. Once through the book is not enough. Very enjoyable.Published 16 months ago by Charles H. Jacobs
Very insightful. This book is the definitive history on the use of helicopters in war. A must read for an war planner.Published on April 9, 2014 by David C. Delisio
Walter Boyne's other books are much better, I especially liked his books on the F-4 and B-52. This is still OK to have on your bookshelf.Published on June 25, 2013 by Tacit_Blue
I gave "How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare" three stars because I liked it, but there was a great deal of repetition. Read morePublished on November 26, 2012 by P. Weiser
First and foremost, the shipping speed was amazing. I dont believe I have ever recieved a package so quickly! Read morePublished on December 13, 2011 by samabama
I bought this book to use as a reference on a research paper. After looking through it I knew that it will be exactly what I need.Published on November 8, 2011 by Art Doucette
A comprehensive account of the development of the helicopter and the evolving role it plays in modern warfare. Outstanding read.Published on July 15, 2011 by J. Panza