Casemate Publishers bring us a book from Polish editorial Kagero, covering the IAI Nesher / Dagger/Finger. The book was written by Salvador Mafé Huertas and his dedication and passion for the topic transpires in each page.
A little bit of history in the airframe names: The Israelis named Nesher to their Mirage V. When transferred to Argentina - with some electronic changes- they were renamed “Daggers”. After the Falklands War, almost all the Daggers were upgraded to have an electronic package like the Kfir and renamed again as “Fingers”. In Argentina, the Daggers and Fingers (an also ‘Maras’) often were referred to as “Mirages” or member of the Mirage family.
The book is broken down in the following sections.
- From Nesher to Dagger, the fabulous story of the Israeli Mirage
- Grupo 6 de Caza
- Grupo 6 de Caza in the postwar
- Finger in Tandil
- Dagger and Finger in Argentina
- SINT Project, the Finger is born
- From Dagger to Finger
- Dagger in Malvinas/Falklands, first blows to the British Fleet
- Baptism of Fire
- The last Grupo 6 de Caza exercise with the Mirage, the end of an era
- Argentina’s farewell to the Mirage
- Israeli Shahak and Nesher Aces
- Ala No.11, the Mirage III era
The breakdown of the sections is logical, although the order in which they are presented might be a tad confusing, as the 3rd section covers the postwar, while the 8th to 10th cover the Falklands war. As a plus, you get a section on the Israeli Aces and even one about the Mirage IIIE in Spanish service.
As a native Spanish speaker, I can tell you that the real -and only- letdown of the book is the translation. Clearly it was done by an automated system (think of “google translate”) with no copy editing of the text. Among the automated translation issues
- Some examples of the mistranslations: pilots are referred as ‘drivers’; targets as ‘whites’ (the most common meaning of the Spanish word ‘blanco’ is ‘white’, but ‘target’ is also ‘blanco’). Some of the worst -or perhaps hilarious - mistranslations can be found on pilot’s callsigns.
- At times there will be words that the automated system did not know how to translate (typically words that might have a diacritic or accent mark) and would be left in Spanish in the printed book.
- There is some Argentinean pilots slang that gets mistranslated too. For instance, Argentinean pilots refer to any “system failure” or “system alarm” as “novedad”, which the automatic translation writes down as “novelty”. While the isolated word is translated correctly the meaning of “novelty” and “system alarm” are different.
- While many words are mistranslated, at times the English grammar is so poor, that it is truly hard to make sense of some paragraphs.
I guess that the phrase “Traduttore, traditore”, truly applies in this case, with the lack of copy editing being Kagero’s fault. I feel truly disappointed at Kagero’s lack of quality control in the translation, as the sections that are were (by luck) properly translated have an incredible amount of information.
The author’s dedication to this book is outstanding as he collected hundreds of photographs, poured over dozens of historical documents and interviewed dozens of former pilots, technicians and engineers.
If you want to focus on the pictures and their captions, you can learn a lot about the history of the Dagger (and later Finger) in Argentinean service from this book. Probably most than from any other book. The trouble is that seeing those pictures and reading the captions will leave you thirsty for more and the translation might not be good enough to quench your thirst.
Based on the pictures and quality of the research: Highly recommended. Based on the translation, this book is not recommended.
I would like to thank Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the review sample.