The Complete History of U.S. Cruise Missiles

Published: November 11th, 2018     
Product Image
Front Cover
Author: Bill Yenne
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Specialty Press
ISBN #: 9781580072564
Other Publication Information: Soft Cover, Square Bound, 9” x 9”, 204 pages
Price: $34.95
Product / Stock #: SP256S

Bill Yenne has written more than three-dozen books on historical topics, as well as several novels. He has contributed to encyclopedias of both world wars, and has been featured in documentaries on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, and ARD German Television. The Wall Street Journal notes that Yenne writes "with a cinematic vividness," and Gen. Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, called Yenne's recent biography of Alexander the Great, the "best yet." Yenne's books have been included in Amazon's "100 Best Books of the Year."

Specialty Press was founded in the 1980s as an aviation book publisher. In addition to publishing, over the years it has been the US distributor for many US and UK publishers such as AIRTime, Airlife Publishing, Crecy Publications, Flight Recorder Publications, Midland Publishing, Hikoki Publications, Steve Ginter Publications, and others. The focus of Specialty Press's publishing and distribution efforts are on topics dealing with aviation history, high-performance aircraft of all types, air combat, aircraft modeling, and a layman's technical look at a range of aircraft types. Specialty Press is located just north of Minneapolis/St. Paul in Forest Lake, Minnesota.

Specialty Press' latest book is a square back soft cover including 204 gloss paper pages. The front cover features a color photograph of a Chance Vought Regulus II launching from Edwards Air Force Base. The rear cover features color photographs a Bell GAM-63 Rascal by a Boeing YDB-47E Stratojet in 1951; a Martin TM-67B Mace launching from Patrick Air Force Base in 1961; and a Douglas XGAM-87A Skybolt resting on its service dolly next to a B-52 Stratofortress. I counted 72 black and white pictures, 164 color photographs, 24 color illustrations, and one table.

Bill Yenne's latest tome coincides with the Centennial of US Cruise Missiles. Colonel Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was sent overseas to France to prepare for the operational deployment of vast clouds of unmanned Kettering Bugs to be used against the German Army in 1918, but the concept locked away with the end of WWI. Bill continues with the origins of cruise missiles beginning with some of the early adventures into this realm with the 1917 Curtiss-Sperry Flying Bomb, the Kettering Bug, and the German V-1 "Buzz Bomb". The end of World War II led to many imitations of the point-and-shoot V-1 cruise missile, but eventually brighter minds brought better guidance systems into play. This led to the inter-service rivalries between the Air Force and the Navy with their Matador versus Regulus developments in the 1950s. Bill Yenne covers the early development of strategic intercontinental cruise missiles in chapter 4, focusing on the development of the Navaho and the Snark. Next up are the air-launched cruise missiles in the form of the Rascal and the Hound Dog (Don't you just love the naming conventions?). The Hound Dog was such a success, that it would be nearly two decades before the development of the next generation of cruise missiles, the ALCM, became a priority. Chapter 7 introduces the Tomahawk, a cruise missile that has been operational for the last four decades. Bill wraps up the book with a discussion of the introduction of stealth technology in Chapter 12, along with coverage of the hypersonic cruise missiles. The contents include:

  • About the Author
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: From Bug to Buzz Bomb
    • The Kettering Bug
    • Radio Control [Page 18]
    • Target Drones
    • Revival of the Assault Drone
    • America's First Operational Assault Drones
    • Arnold and Kettering, Together Again
    • Project Perilous
    • The Buzz Bomb
    • American Sons of the Buzz Bomb
    • Looking Back on Three Decades
  • Chapter 2: The First Air Force Cruise Missiles
    • Army Versus Air Force [Page 37]
    • Cultural Issues
    • Air Force Versus Navy
    • The Matador
    • Designation Systems
    • Notes On Nukes
    • The Mace
  • Chapter 3: U.S. Navy Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles [Page 56]
    • Budget Background
    • Regulus
    • Regulus II
  • Chapter 4: Intercontinental Cruise Missiles
    • The Navaho
    • Two Imaginary Creatures
    • The Snark [Page 87]
    • Project Pluto
  • Chapter 5: Nothing But a Hound Dog
    • The Rascal
    • The Hound Dog
    • An Unexpectedly Long Phaseout
    • Decoy Missiles
  • Chapter 6: The Air-Launched Cruise Missile
    • SCAD and SCAM
    • TERCOM
    • The Development Process
    • An Unexpected Flyoff
    • Cold Warrior Deployment
    • The Attack of the CALCM
  • Chapter 7: Birth of the Tomahawk
    • Defining the U.S. Navy Cruise Missile
    • Two Flyoffs
    • First Generation Tomahawk Variants
    • A Second Source
    • The Tomahawk in Detail [Page 136]
    • DSMAC
  • Chapter 8: The Cruise Missile That Won the Cold War
    • Defining the Ground-Launched Cruise Missile
    • Developing the Ground-Launched Cruise Missile
    • Deploying the Ground-Launched Cruise Missile
    • Soviet Reaction
    • The GLCM Legacy
  • Chapter 9: The Tomahawk Goes to Sea
    • The Tomahawk Goes to War
    • Tomahawk Block III
    • Wars in the Balkans
  • Chapter 10: The Troubled Life of the Advanced Cruise Missile
  • Chapter 11: Tomahawk in a New Century
    • Twenty-First Century Warrior
    • The Block IV TacTom
    • Continuing Combat Operations
    • The End of TLAM-N
    • The Rebirth of TASM as MST
  • Chapter 12: Twenty-First Century Developments
    • JASSM
    • Stealthy Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles [Page 192]
    • Going Hypersonic
    • The Long-Range Standoff Weapon
  • Appendix: Cruise Missile Specifications
  • Index

I really appreciated the structure that Bill Yenne utilized, starting with the early development of the cruise missile to the current Tomahawk platform. I especially enjoyed the section on the Snark's development and was quite impressed with the detailed development of the Tomahawk. Bill Yenne provides a very readable text that is well supplemented with previously un-published photographs and illustrations. There are plenty of technical details to accompany the sharp, clear photographs and illustrations. If you want the history of US cruise missiles in one book, this is the reference you need.

My thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • Page 18
    Page 18
  • Page 37
    Page 37
  • Page 56
    Page 56
  • Page 87
    Page 87
  • Page 136
    Page 136
  • Page 192
    Page 192

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