MiG-17 / 19 Aces of the Vietnam War

Published on
November 12, 2016
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
István Toperczer
Other Publication Information
Illustrator: Jim Laurier; Soft Cover, 7.2” x 9.8”, 96 pages
Product / Stock #
ACE 130
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Front cover

The newest in Osprey’s Aircraft of the Aces series is authored by István Toperczer, A Hungarian Air Force flight surgeon. Toperczer, has focused on the Vietnam War, specifically the North Vietnamese side, and has interviewed many of the North Vietnamese leading air aces over the last twenty years in his numerous visits to North Vietnam. He authored Squadron Signal’s “Air War Over North Vietnam: The People’s Air Force” in 1998, followed by Osprey’s Combat Aircraft 25 “MiG-17 and MiG-19 Units of the Vietnam War” and Osprey’s Combat Aircraft 29 “MiG-21 Units of the Vietnam War” in 2001. Schiffer’s hard bound “MiG Aces of the Vietnam War” was published in 2015. Illustrator Jim Laurier, a native of New England, provides the color profiles. Jim has been drawing since he could hold a pencil and throughout his life he has worked in many mediums creating artwork on a variety of subjects. He has worked on the Osprey Aviation list since 2000, and has been featured in hundreds of aviation books.

This 96 page book contains 30 color profiles illustrated by Jim Laurier along with a paragraph description of each color plate located in the Appendix. I counted 77 black and white pictures and 6 color photographs0, all with descriptions and sourcing. The Appendices also include a table of the high-scoring pilots who flew the MiG-17

The cover painting by Gareth Hector graphically illustrates an air-to-air battle of December 17, 1967. Luu Huy Chao in his MiG-17 (2039) is depicted shooting down a McDonnell F-4D flown by Maj K.R. Fleenor and 1Lt T. L. Boyer of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing’s 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The Phantom II crew ejected safely and were captured near Phu Tho on the Red River.

The sections include:

  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgements
  • Swallows Leave The Nest
    • Training At Home [Page 13]
    • Training in the USSR
    • The VPAF’s First Steps
    • Combat
    • Second MiG Regiment
  • The Air War Intensifies
    • Review of Tactics [Page 31]
    • Sidestepping the Sidewinders
  • Colour Plates [Page 44]
  • New Tactics
    • Camouflage Tactics [Page 55]
    • Electronic Warfare
  • MiG-17 Swansong [Page 70]
    • The Big Pause
    • The Last Dogfights
    • North Korean MiG-17s
  • The ‘White Bandits’
    • Combat [Page 89]
    • Final Battle
    • The Reckoning
  • Appendices
  • Colour Plates Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Toperczer starts out covering the training North Vietnamese pilots received in China, Russia, Czechoslovakia, as well as North Vietnam. He then dives into the meat of the book, the pilot reports from both the US and North Vietnam. This is where this book excels. Most of the combat reports deal with the MiG-17, with the Chinese version of the MiG-19S (Shenyang J-6) not coming into play until 1971. Toperczer also covers how the North Vietnamese were continually changing their tactics through observation or interrogation of captured American pilots.

If you own one the previous releases in the Aircraft of the Aces series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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