F-105 Thunderchief in Action

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Doyle
Other Publication Information
Soft Bound (Squared), 8.5” x 11”, 80 pages
Provided by: David Doyle Books - Website: Visit Site
Front cover

David Doyle’s latest book continues to expand on Squadron Signal’s long standing In Action series that initiated back in 1971. This is actually the third book to cover the F-105 in the In Action series. Lou Drendel authored the first in 1974 (1017) followed by Ken Neubeck in 2002 (1185), both of which are out of print. This edition by David Doyle adds considerably to the material provided in the first two. Veteran illustrator Don Greer provides the artwork for the full page length color profiles within this tome.

This follows the normal format of the In Action series, detailing the development and service history of the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. This is slightly expanded from Squadron’s standard 60 page version of their In Action format and it runs 80 pages packed with large, clear photographs. The front cover color photo depicts an F-105D on a mission to Vietnam based out of Korat in October 1968. The back cover shows an early F-105D in polished aluminum. I counted 188 well captioned photographs, 119 in color, 69 in black and white. There were 23 black and white drawings along with eight color profiles.

Originally conceived to supersonically deliver a single nuclear bomb at low levels, the Thunderchief was never intended to be a highly maneuverable fighter. Although the F-105 never delivered a nuclear payload in combat, it did see its share of combat early in the Vietnam War where it carried the majority of strike bombing missions. As North Vietnam SAM sites became active, the F-105 took on a new role with a two-seat Wild Weasel aircraft to combat this new threat. The Thunderchief ended up flying over 20,000 sorties before the Vietnam War concluded.

David Doyle starts with a one page introduction to the Thunderchief development up to the F-105B and then launches into the photographs, allowing the pictures (along with excellent captions) to tell the story. Each additional variant (JF-105B, F-105D, F-105F, F-105G) continues the development story followed by pictures, drawings and profiles to flesh out the details. I especially enjoyed the photographs and captions on the YF-105A and the JF-105B, two variants that I had not paid much attention to. The YF-105A had notably different engine intakes along with a solid exhaust rather than the familiar four-petal dive brakes around the exhaust later in the series.. The JF-105B, with only three examples made before the remaining were cancelled are also intriguing with the flat nose panels originally meant to house cameras as the YRF-105. The rest of the chapters are well fleshed out with lots of detail photos to go with the ubiquitous ‘in action’ photos.

The Table of Contents includes the following:

  • Introduction
  • F-105 Development
  • YF-105A [Page 6]
  • F-105B [Page 15]
  • JF-105B [Page 23]
  • F-105D [Page 41]
  • F-105F [Page 57]
  • F-105G [Page 72]

This is a gorgeous soft-bound book and is well worth the money. David Doyle provides lots of detailed photographs with the majority in color. I’ve always enjoyed Squadron’s In Action format as their line drawings focus on the differences from variant to variant, making it easy to spot the different versions in the period black and white or color photographs.

Highly recommended!

My thanks to David Doyle Books and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.