Thank you to Ginter Books for providing a review copy of their new release, Naval Fighters Number 102, a second volume covering the Grumman S2F/S-2 Tracker and the WF-2/E - 1 B Tracer. I also appreciate all of those in the IPMS Reviewer Corps, who do the heavy lifting to get the reviews done, from start to finish.
The Tracker holds a special interest for me beyond my personal enthusiasm for USN aviation, an interest honed after hearing two Navy veterans argue about how effective the aircraft was. Naturally, one was a submarine officer, and the other an S2F aviator. This volume adds to the material covered in Part 1, Naval Fighters Number 101, adding brief narratives, squadron insignia images, and photographs related to the aircraft as it was used by reserves, utility, training, and other interesting operational units.
The inside of the cover has all the background information for the publication: publisher’s note, author biography, and contributor acknowledgments, with many familiar names. Page 1 jumps right into a standard format for describing the Tracker and Tracer units. Each page has an average of 3 high-resolution black-and-white photographs, showing the aircraft on the ground or deck, flying solo or with other aircraft, wings extended or folded, with personnel, and other interesting views. The unit insignia images are crisp and appear to be images of actual patches or artwork. Narratives and captions of varying lengths are included with each section and image. I found many interesting little nuggets of information throughout the text. Furthermore many of the photos will allow specific details for a model build (my primary interest). The different uses of the Tracker and Tracer suggest an astonished airframe versatility. Sixteen color photos appear on the cover and back of the book.
The extensive variety and raw number of photographs alone make for fascinating reading and viewing. However, the wealth of information contained in this volume will provide challenges to researching. There is not a table of contents, nor an index. The unit presentation order appears to be chronological, and there is no supporting references or source list for additional research. There are some data tables. There are no line drawings. However, I think it is important to consider that this volume is part 2 of a projected three-volume series. I expect that all three volumes together will provide an excellent and thorough perspective of the Tracker and Tracer history and lineage.
I absolutely recommend this volume, from both the scale-model and historical perspectives. I found Naval Fighter Number 102 to be very well-worth the time, allowing me a more thorough understand of the Stoof and the Stoof-with-a-Roof. I am looking forward to NFN 103!
Thanks again to Ginter Books, your work helps keep history alive. Thank you again to the stalwart Reviewer Corps for your hard work in making these review opportunities happen.