Harpia Publishing's Arab MiGs Volume 5

Author/Artists: Tom Cooper & David Nicholle


Harpia  Publishing


$64.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 256 pages, softcover,
ISBN 978-0-9854554-4-6

This is the third volume I have read on what is basically the 'other' side of the Arab-Israeli wars. I have not read the first two, but was very impressed by the one on the 1967 war and the Attrition War. This particular book is on the first part of the 1973 war. This is the war that was started by Egypt along with Syria, Iraq and Jordan to regain territory lost to Israel in the 1967 debacle. Debacle it really was as if anything could have gone wrong during that conflict, it did. Much of the losses were experienced because Israel got the jump on the Arab forces and attacked when it was not expected.

Well, the 1973 war was just the opposite. It took five years for the Arab forces to be able to build back up the needed strength to where they could pull off a successful attack. To say that the politics involved in this was convoluted would be a bit of an understatement, but the authors do an excellent job of keeping things straightened out enough to follow.

The goal of this conflict was not the total invasion of Israel, but to show the Israelis that the will to fight was still there and to take over enough ground to force a settlement that would be more in the favor of the Arab countries involved. In other words, a limited conflict with limited goals.

This time, the shoe was on the other foot as they say and the Israelis were taken completely by surprise. The Arab forces were much more in control of the situation and were able to inflict a great deal of damage on not only Israeli ground forces, but the Israeli Air Force as well. In fact the loss rate was much greater than anticipated.

The book covers but the first several days of the conflict with the rest coming in a later volume. As in the previous works, there is an opening errata section that provides more information and sometimes some more photos to help clarify what was published previously. The authors freely admit that getting information out of all the combatants is difficult and there are gaps. Fortunately, by gleaning information from a number of sources, including individuals that participated, it is possible to get a fairly good picture of the situation as it unfolded.

One of the things that has come forth from all these volumes is how much the IDF exaggerated the facts. Many times pilots are provided aerial victories in the dozens when only one or two Arab planes were lost. Conversely, they often state losses as having come from ground fire/missiles when it reality many were air to air losses. This is all part of their policy to make the Arab military forces appear to be inept, when the reality is often quite different. The benefit of books like this is that they offer a balance to what has become widely accepted. I've gotten the feeling that the authors are not biased one way or the other and should be commended on the information they have been able to uncover.

The book not only provides a complete look at the build-up to war, but also the various missions flown over the two fronts; the Sinai and the Golan Heights. There are considerable 'I was there' stories as well as some most welcome photographs. A number of informative tables and indices are also provided for the enthusiast and the history buff. This is not just a rehash of what has gone before, but a considerable amount of primary research. Modelers will appreciate the camouflage information provided as well as the many pages of color profiles.

The book is not a quick read and I do apologize to Casemate for it taking so long to review, but I read the books I review, for to do less is not fair to the authors. It is a book that I highly recommend to those interested in the topic and with open minds. Once you read one volume in this series, you will want to read them all.

July 2015

Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.