Wings of Iraq, Volume 1

,,,the Iraqi Air Force, 1931-1970, from Helion & Co, via Casemate

Title: Wings of Iraq Vol1
Author: Milos Sipos & Tom Cooper
Publisher: Helion & Company
ISBN: 978-1-913118-74-7

Number 27 in the Middle East@War series from Helion & Company, and it covers the story of the Iraqi Air Force between 1931 and 1970. An 88-page soft-cover book with over 130 archive images, along with a number of helpful maps, 21 excellent colour profiles, some colour artwork of various unit badges and data tables.
I suspect I am not the only one whose knowledge of the Iraqi Air Force stems mainly from the later period of the 2 more recent Gulf Wars. This one takes us further back in time, from when it was first formed and then the various conflicts which it took part in over the years up to 1970, some of which may not be so widely known outside the region. Not just external conflicts, but also their involvement in internal Iraqi politics over the years, which also influences the marvellous array of aircraft types which they have operated, and which are illustrated and described in this book. Clearly the presence of oil in Iraq had a great influence over their relationships with foreign powers, particularly with the UK in the period before and during WW2. There have clearly been various pluses and minuses of these relationships over the years under consideration, and this has led to a really wide mix of aircraft being seen in IrAF service. From British Hunters and Furys, to Soviet Mig 15, 17 and 21s, Tu-16 and Il-28 bombers, along with less warlike machines such as the US built Cessna Bird Dog and British built Dove and Bristol Freighter. A major element in the period was the loss of the 6-day war with Israel in 1967 and the fell-out from that defeat is well explained.
The book closes with a number of pages giving details of all the reference documentation listed, and there has clearly been a lot of work put into this one. From the history point of view then the politics and rivalries within Iraq and its' neighbours makes interesting reading, while aviation fans and modellers will enjoy the references for such a wide mix of aircraft types, and possibly inspire a few to try a new interest in the selection they have to choose from, all in the service of this one country.
Thanks to Helion & Co and their distributor, Casemate UK, for our review copy.