Vulcan's Hammer, V-Force Projects and Weapons Since 1945

Published: July 14th, 2011     
Front cover
Front cover
Author: Chris Gibson
Reviewed by: Perry Downen - IPMS# 44000
Company: Hikoki Publications
ISBN #: 978-0-85979-153-3
Other Publication Information: Hardback, 192-pp, 8.50 x 12.00 inches
Price: $49.95
Product / Stock #: HK917
Product provided by: Specialty Press

I would like to thank Specialty Press for submitting this book for review and thank IPMS/USA for allowing me to do the review.

During the latter stages of World War II strategic bombing methods had become very effective. In Europe the USAAF was carpet-bombing targets in daylight and the RAF was bombing at night. The planes used on these missions carried out their tasks with brutal efficiency. But, in August 1945 the existing strategic bombing philosophy was made totally obsolete when a single B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

After WWII ended the United Kingdom was left with the prospect of being left behind as a world power. To keep their place the British aviation industry and military leaders began a program that resulted in the V-bombers, Valiant, Vulcan, and Victor, capable of carrying England's atomic weapons. Concurrent with their development were the weapons to be used by these new age bombers. These new weapons included not only free-fall bombs but also missiles and their associated propulsion and guidance systems such as Blue Steel, Blue Water, and Sky Bolt. Dozens of designs and stopgap measures were conceived, studied, and discarded as political and military circumstances changed. In the end it was the submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Polaris and Trident, that overtook the V-Force as a deterrent to war.

Chris Gibson takes the reader on a fact filled trip of design and development as England tries to stay at the forefront of nuclear deterrence in the last half of the 20thcentury. He covers the many innovative projects the British aircraft companies conceived and studied. This book is illustrated with more than 200 photographs, drawings, sketches and artwork that provide a level of information words alone cannot match. Each drawing, sketch or piece of artwork is accompanied by a description or explanation. The text is organized into nine chapters, a glossary, appendices, an index and a conclusion. The chapters are:

  1. The Alternative V-Force
  2. The Sons of Vulcan
  3. Gravity Bombs
  4. The Steam Engine
  5. The Long Range Job
  6. Pofflers - The V-Force and Skybolt
  7. Insurance - Pandora, Stopgap, and yet more Blue Steels
  8. Exotica - Space and Research Projects
  9. Post Polaris

This is a most interesting book from an historical standpoint. Vulcan's Hammer certainly provides a comprehensive story of Britain's innovative projects after WWII. It is a great book for the modeler and aviation historian alike. This book is very well done and it is one that I can easily recommend.

My sincere thanks go to Specialty Press for providing this excellent book to IPMS/USA and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.

  • Back cover
    Back cover
  • Sample page 46
    Sample page 46
  • Sample page 85
    Sample page 85
  • Sample page 174
    Sample page 174

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