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F9F Panther Units of the Korean War (Combat Aircraft) [Kindle Edition]

Warren Thompson , Mark Styling
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1948 the USAF, Marine Corps and US Navy were concentrating on converting over to an all-jet force. When the Korean War started in June 1950, the USAF had built up a sizable jet force in the Far East, while the US Navy was in the early stages of getting F9F Panthers operational as replacements for its piston-engined F8F Bearcats. At about this time, the Marine Corps had also begun using the Panthers in limited numbers. Operating from aircraft carriers off the Korean coast, F9Fs helped stop the North Korean invasion within two weeks of the communists crossing the 38th Parallel. The Panthers, escorting carrier-based AD Skyraiders and F4U Corsairs, penetrated as far north as Pyongyang, where they bombed and strafed targets that the North Koreans thought were out of range. The Panthers also took the battle all the way to the Yalu River, long before the MiG-15s became a threat. The F9F's basic tasking was aerial supremacy and combat air patrols, but they also excelled in bombing and strafing attacks. The Marine Corps, with its two Panther squadrons, was also involved in close air support and interdiction near the frontlines. There were a total of 32 Panther squadron deployments during the war, along with several special detachments that operated the F9F-2/5P unarmed photo-reconnaissance versions.

Editorial Reviews


"If you are an enthusiast of the Korean War or the Panther, then this is a must have book for you. It is well researched and also reads well."
- Scott van Aken, (July 2014)

About the Author

Warren Thompson has had numerous books and magazine articles published over the past 30 years. His interest in the Korean War has spanned almost this entire length of time. Thompson has written books for Osprey since 1990, with his latest contributions being the Combat Aircraft volume on the F4U Corsair in Korea. Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives in New Hampshire. He attended Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, from 1974-78, and since graduating with Honours, he has been working professionally in the field of Fine Art and Illustration. He has been commissioned to paint for the US Air Force and has aviation paintings on permanent display at the Pentagon.

Product Details

  • File Size: 24595 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (June 17, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JI4A6EE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,559 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! June 18, 2014
Warren Thompson's latest offering from Osprey is everything I have come to expect from this outstanding historian of Korea, our "Forgotten War." The F9F's contribution to the conflict has always been overshadowed by the exploits of the Air Force's F-86's in MiG Alley. The fact that close air support, while so vital to the troops on the ground, is nowhere near as glamourous as fighter dogfights is probably a factor. Also, there have been relatively few personal narratives by Naval Aviators who flew in Korea. Perhaps it was felt that Michener's "Bridges at Toko-Ri" and the later movie of the same name said all that needed to be said. Thompson proves, as he has in his other Korean combat works, that the conflict is a fertile field for narratives regarding the courage and skill of the aviators flying in the transitional era of combat going from props to jets.

This outstanding book finally gives the F9F, and its aviators, the recognition that has been lacking. All of the units that operated the Panther are listed, details of their losses (including a gunsight photo from a MiG with a Marine F9 about the be shot down!), the cruises of the carriers they flew from, and the part they played in the strategic plans of the war. Stories from the aviators are there too, some of them first person. There's even a picture of Neil Armstrong's F9 when he was flying in VF-51. And the stories! They're great! And for those who want it, there are MiG combats as well-- including that "secret" one when a Panther shot down multiple MiGs in one engagement.

One little correction. On page 52 is a photo of an F9F that has a rain cloud and BLPFSTK painted on the nose. According to the caption, the "meaning of the acronym has been lost to the years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent job, as I would expect from Warren Thompson . He does not give a detailed history of the technical development of the aircraft. Nor should he. That has been treated elsewhere (see e.g.: Grumman F9F Panther/Cougar by Brad Edward, Specialty Press, 2010). Mr. Thompson sets out to discuss the units that flew the Panther and he properly concentrates on his chosen topic.

I have only two "quibbles":

One, the author makes the common error of misidentifying Marine regiments as divisions, see page 74 (with respect to the 7th Marines) and page 79 (with respect to the 5th Marines). These regiments were actually part of the 1st Marine Division. This problem may be caused by the fact that Marine regiments, unlike their Army counterparts, do not use the term "regiment" in their official designation; nor is their function (such as infantry or artillery) included in their designation. The other two regiments in the 1st Marine Division were the 1st Marines (an infantry formation) and the 11th Marines (an artillery formation).

Two, the aircraft at plate # 7 on page 38 is identified as an F9F-2P, a photo recon version of the Panther. The markings are consistent with that version. However, the nose of the illustrated aircraft clearly shows the muzzles of 20mm cannon. It is my understanding that the four 20mm cannon of the fighter version were replaced by cameras in the nose of the photo version. All sources I have seen make that statement, including this book (see page 17). It would appear that the artist put the markings of an F9F-2P onto a standard F9F-2. Am I correct?

Neither of these comments would cause me to give less than five stars for this book. I too would welcome a book on the F2H Banshee, especially by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Navy and Marine Aviation in the Korean War. July 8, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like this book! I also realize the limitations of the format. Photo reproduction is good, although some are small, many are in color. Cover art is by Jim Laurier, (again). (Jim is a favorite aviation artist of mine.)

I give it only four stars because I think Mr. Thompson missed an opportunity to go a step beyond other volumes written about the F9F Panther, (a very historically significant aircraft), by not writing about some of the missions of the famous, or soon to be famous, pilots that flew them. Although, he does mention John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and Ted Williams, almost in passing, it would have been nice to read about their normal operations, not just Ted's crash landing. If my memory still serves, Williams was flying as Glenn's wing-man on that mission when his aircraft was hit by AA.

That said, I thank Mr. Thompson for writing this book on the F9F for the Osprey Combat Aircraft Series, (No. 103). The majority of writing on Korean war aircraft goes to the F-86 & MiG-15.The roll that Navy and Marine pilots and aircraft played in that conflict tends to be overshadowed. Don't let my one negative comment stop you from purchasing this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Felines fighting in Korea October 16, 2014
This 103rd title in the OSPREY "Combat Aircraft" series analyzes the hectic operations in Korea of the
Grumman F9F Panther units in the period 1950-1953.
Notwithstanding that USAF's F-84 & F-86 units hit the headlines, the Panther units in service with the US NAVY and the USMC were crucial in repelling communist invasion at the South of 38th parallel.
Author Warren Thompson is an authority in Korean War history and this is well perceived by the reader.
He makes a thorough and vivid description of all the missions performed by the Navy and Marines crews at the outbreak of the hostilities.
Many facts hint the reader, especially the high operational tempo: only in one month VF-23 e VF-821 squadrons of USS ESSEX made more than 800 missions with no losses!
Also to be noted is the wide range of missions, from escorts to F4U Corsair or A1D Skyraider to deep strike, photoreconnaissance and interdiction.
This book is well enriched also by a wonderful iconographic section, both for the photos (many printed by the regretted Kodachrome negatives) and the 33 profiles drawn by the re-known Jim Laurier.
As usual per the Combat Aircraft series, final appendixes report the list of the squadrons, losses and aircraft carriers deployed in the Korean theatre.
In short a good book, both well researched and written: a true most for all US Navy and Korean War enthusiasts.
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