War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 3

...Angolan & Cuban Air Forces 1975-1985. from Helion & Co, via Casemate

Title: War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 3
Author: Dr David Nicolle
Publisher: Helion & Company
ISBN: 978-1-913118-76-1

This is the third volume on the topic of Angola, and there is apparently a fourth one due to follow, but this also marks a milestone of being number 50 in the Africa @ War series. It examines the Angolan and Cuban Air Forces contingents, 1975-1985. A 72-page soft-cover book in the usual series style., tackling the early period of the Angolan War.
It starts with the background of how Angola was given independence by Portugal, and sets out the three different Nationalist organisations within the country. While it was the MPLA that came to power, it wasn't the end of their problems, with all sorts of pressures on the country, some from internal sources, some from external. The MPLA were basically a Communist organisation, and got support from Fidel Castro in Cuba. The various influences, and what I'll describe as initial lukewarm support from Russia. With their various enemies, the new Angolan government wanted/needed an air force, and despite the idea of aircraft having been left there by the Portuguese, many were just wrecks. It demonstrates and interesting challenge for the authors, as sources from Angola itself, Cuba, Russia and South Africa would always have their own agenda and therefore 'twist' on their accounts of their involvement. Hence the records have to be studied and untangled to get a broader understanding of what happened. It goes on, as Russia had to get more involved, and supplied more modern Russian built aircraft along with their integrated anti-aircraft defence system was deployed. In fighting South Africa, it became a testing ground for the rival Cold War air defence systems of East and West. With a mix of aircraft, including such as Mig 17, 21 and 23 along with SA-8, 9 and 13 SAM systems. Add various tables listing units, commanders etc, along with maps and the usual section of fine colour profiles, all accompanied with the stories of events that took place in this period of the war.
It makes for interesting reading, both from the historical viewpoint and for those interested in the use of the weapons of the Cold War period, when they actually were put into use against each other. Usefully, the final 5 pages give the long list of references that were consulted to produce this book.
Thanks to Helion & Co and their distributors, Casemate UK, for our review copy.

Robin