Victor Units of the Cold War

Published: March 21st, 2011     
Front cover
Front cover
Author: Andrew Brookes
Reviewed by: 
Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 978-1-84908-339-3
Other Publication Information: Paperback; February 2011; 96 pages
Price: $22.95
Product / Stock #: COM-88

The Victor was the second of the three "V Bombers", Valiant, Victor and Vulcan, flown by the RAF in the nuclear strike role. When Surface to Air Missiles came onto the scene, the Victor became a low-level penetration aircraft. With the advent of the Blue Steel stand off missile, the mission became more feasible, but still sporty. This is when the camouflage changed from white overall to grey/green upper surfaces.

The advent of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles made the Victor pretty much redundant, but with a camera suite which could cover huge areas of real estate, it became a reconnaissance platform. The Canberra PR.9 took over the visual recce role, and the Victors were re-equipped with a radar package. The gee-whiz statistic here is that with the radar, a Victor could do a radar survey of a 400,000 square mile area in 8 hours. In other words, the entire Mediterranean Sea could be checked by one airplane on one sortie. This was important because the Soviets were sending naval units into the Med more often, and it was crucial to keep track of them.

Of course technology again overtook the Victor's recon mission, but they now became airborne refuelers. When the single Vulcan flew from Ascension Island to the Falklands, it took almost the entire Victor fleet to support it.

All of this history comes from this book. And while the facts are presented, it's also noteworthy that it is a readable book, not just a reference presenting a series of factoids. Andrew Brookes has 3500+ hours in RAF bombers, including the Victor. He appears in one of the crew photos (page 70).

But wait, there's more. There are 10 pages of color profiles, 21 different aircraft, by Chris Davey, beginning with the white scheme, followed by the grey/green and finally the hemp finish used during Operation Granby, AKA the Gulf War.

Evaluation

Recommended. It's readable, it's got a lot of good stuff, and eventually I'll get around to building one of my Victors from the stash. As a modeler's reference, it's got good color info and many, many of those detail shots which answer those questions about what went where.

Thanks to Sara Batkie at Osprey Publishing and IPMS USA for the chance to review this book.

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    Back cover
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    Sample profile
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    Sample profile
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