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MiG Killers
A Chronology of U.S. Air Victories in Vietnam 1965-1973

Speciality Press

 S u m m a r y

Title and Author:

MiG Killers: A Chronology of U.S. Air Victories in Vietnam 1965-1973. Published by Specialty Press


Hard Cover, 160 pages




US$29.95 from Specialty Press

Review Type:

First Read


This book documents every US aircraft (USAF, USN, Marine Corps) that was credited with a kill during the Vietnam War, a total of 202 kills being documented.


None noted


Great reference to get some rare photos of the US MiG killers both contemporary to events and latter day.


Reviewed by Ken Bowes

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A couple of months ago I reviewed Roger Boniface’s volume MiG’s Over North Vietnam which covered the history of the air war over North Vietnam from a Vietnamese perspective. This book by Donald J. McCarthy Jr is a natural complement to this book, as is chronicles each of the reported combats between the VPAF and the three US air arms from the US perspective. Whilst I have not tried to cross reference each of McCarthy’s entries with combats documented by Boniface it may be a worthwhile exercise given Boniface’s assertions regarding the claims of US aces such as Ritchie and Cunningham. In this book McCarthy has taken a different approach, documenting each aircraft by date of victory and including photos of the airframe both at the time and later in its service life including time in reserve units and in museums.

Before that however McCarthy provides a short primer on air to air combat in Vietnam, tactics, armament and a discussion on the system of crediting kills which highlights the problems that may have led to both over and under claiming as well as the difficultly even today of getting the view from the other side. The remaining chapters of the book cover the years 1965,66, January to April 1967, May to December 1967 (highlighting the intensity of combat in that period as Rolling Thunder reached its height), 1968/1970 which was a period of limited success as operations over North Vietnam were suspended, January to June 1972, July to December 1972 (the Linebacker period) and finally 1973 as the US commitment was wound back following the Paris Peace Talks. Appendices provide a summary of the opposition, that is the MiGs of the VPAF and a tabulated summary of each US air to air kill credited including date, aircraft serial, aircraft destroyed, weapon employed, unit and crew.

Given the size and sometimes limited nature of the photographs included in the book it is perhaps limited as modelling reference, but what it does do is provide pointers that will help with further research to establish the appearance of a particular subject.

Overall though, this is a great summary of the subject that will complement other sources to build a complete picture of the air war over North Vietnam from the American perspective.

Thanks to Speciality Press for the review sample

Review Copyright 2009 by Ken Bowes
This Page Created on 11 September, 2009
Last updated 14 September, 2009

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