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Operation Black Buck 1982

...Air Campaign 37 from Osprey Publishing

Title: Operation Black Buck 1982
Author: Andrew D. Bird
Publisher: Osprey Books
ISBN: 978-1-4728-5666-1

Number 37 in the Air Campaign series from Osprey, and written by an old work colleague of mine, Andrew Bird. A 96-page soft-cover book tackling the subject of the long range Vulcan raids on the Falkland Islands in 1982.
After an introduction which sets out the history of the Falkland Islands, going back to the first confirmed sighting of them by English navigator John Davis, way back in 1592, and the diplomatic arguments which started from there and takes us up to the Argentine invasion of 1982. This is followed by a Chronology which lists the key events between 31 August 1981 and 14 June 1882. That is in turn followed by 2 chapters considering the capabilities of both Attacker (Britain) and Defender (Argentina). Next are the Campaign Objectives before getting to the finer detail of each of the 7 Black Buck missions, the things that worked as well as the things that didn't. The war came at a time that the Vulcan was about to go out of service, so there was a good deal of effort put into selecting which aircraft were suitable for use, which were not, and why. What we have is a well detailed account of the final long range bombing missions of the last heavy bomber to serve in the RAF. Add the politics, not only in the UK and Argentina but with the USA, Europe and other South American countries. As well as the text there are plenty of archive photos and of course the fine artwork by Adam Tooby which all add to the telling of the story.
This makes for interesting reading, shows how much effort went into mounting these long range missions, and how service personnel managed to make them work. The closing Aftermath and Analysis gives a good close to the story. Elements such as the Argentine air defence arrangements and the provision of suitable anti-radar missiles to fit to the Vulcans add even more that we weren't told about at the time. For anyone with an interest in the history of the Falklands War then I'd happily recommend this as one to read, good value for money.
Thanks to Osprey for our review copy.


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