A-1 Skyraider In Action

Published: July 14th, 2017     
Product Image
Front Cover
Author: Author: David Doyle, Color Art: Don Greer, Line Illustrations: Vincenzo Auletta
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Squadron Signal Publications
ISBN #: 0897478371
Other Publication Information: Soft Bound (Squared), Landscape - 8.5” x 11”, 80 pages
Price: $19.95
Product / Stock #: 10246

David Doyle's latest book continues to expand on Squadron Signal's long standing In Action series that initiated back in 1971. This is a completely updated and expanded edition over Squadron's earlier Aircraft In Action number 60, a 50-pager on the Skyraider by Jim Sullivan that was published in 1983.

After many years of being published in enthusiast publications focused on military vehicle restorations, David Doyle 'graduated' to full-fledged books in 2003. His first book was a hefty 512 page history of US military vehicles. He has now had more than 100 books published in military vehicles, aviation and naval topics. David and his wife Denise have amassed a collection of ten Vietnam era military vehicles that still displays at shows. In June 2015, was honored with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association's Bart Vanderveen Award, given in recognition of "...the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide." Be sure to check out David's website at www.DavidDoyleBooks.com where you can see and buy at a discounted price off of MSRP all his books that are still available.

This book follows the normal format of the In Action series, detailing the development and service history of the Douglas Skyraider. This is expanded from Squadron's standard 60 page version of their In Action format and it runs 80 pages packed with large, clear photographs. The front cover features a color photograph of one of the few remaining flyable Skyraiders, an A-1H registered as NX39606 currently part of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas. The rear cover features an A-1E at McClellan AFB in 1968. I counted 81 well captioned photographs; 34 in color and 147 in black and white. There were 45 black and white drawings (some with color highlights) depicting the variants by Vincenzo Auletta. Don Greer also contributes three color profiles. You can find a video highlight of the books contents at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbLUnKP693g.

The Skyraider was designed in World War II to US Navy requirements with prototypes ordered on July 6, 1944. The maiden flight of the prototype, the XBT2D-1 was achieved on March 18, 1945 with the first production airframe being delivered to the fleet squadron VA-19A in December 1946 (by then re-designated the AD-1). The aircraft was nicknamed the "SPAD" after the famous French World War One fighter and served heavily in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The SPAD's service in the US was effectively ended in 1973 as all remaining aircraft were turned over to the South Vietnamese Air Force. The Skyraider did soldier on into the 1980s with other countries, notably the U.K. France, and Sweden.

David Doyle starts off with Douglas' efforts to replace the venerable SBD dive bomber, the XSB2D-1. A new US Navy requirement in 1943 led Douglas to a major redesign, resulting in the XBTD-1 which first flew in February 1944. Douglas' Chief Engineer Ed Heinemann realized that the XBTD-1 was not going to cut the mustard and went to the US Navy and proposed a brand new concept that led to the XBT2D-1, the Dauntless II. David Doyle addresses each major variant in its own chapter from the XBT2D-1 to the AD-7 as depicted in the following Table of Contents:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Development
  • XBT2D-1 [Page 6]
  • AD-1
  • AD-2
  • AD-3 [Page 19]
  • AD-4 [Page 29]
  • AD-5 / A-1E [Page 36]
  • Douglas AD-5 (A-1E) Skyraider Specifications (Table)
  • AD-6 (A-1H) [Page 47]
  • AD-7 (A-1J) [Page 51]
  • Skyraider In Fleet Service [Page 77]

One of the sections I found quite interesting was the many different missions the Skyraider performed. Of course there was its daytime attack mission, but early on the Skyradier also embraced nighttime attack, electronic countermeasures (ECM), antisubmarine warfare, target tugs, and early-warning aircraft. The Skyraider found itself utilized as a early-warning platform. In the AD-3W airframe, the pilot sat supreme in front of an enlarged turtle deck and over a large belly radome. The two radar operators were less fortunate, being strapped in side by side in the belly of the beast. I can only image how much fun landings were from the radar operator's perspective.

This is a gorgeous soft-bound book and is well worth the money. David Doyle provides lots of detailed photographs with detailed captions. I've always enjoyed Squadron's In Action format as their line drawings focus on the differences from variant to variant, making it easy to spot the different versions in the period black and white or color photographs.

Highly recommended!

My thanks to David Doyle Books at (www.DavidDoyleBooks.com ) and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • Page 6
    Page 6
  • Page 19
    Page 19
  • Page 29
    Page 29
  • Page 36
    Page 36
  • Page 47
    Page 47
  • Page 51
    Page 51
  • Page 77
    Page 77