Friday, February 2, 2007

No Margin for Error by Ehud Yonay

I'm new to the subject of the Israeli air force, from what I've heard they have some of the best pilots around and the only aspects of the IAF I was familiar with was the fact that the Soviets via Czechoslovakia supplied Israel with their first planes and many weapons for their ground troops and that France supplied them with the majority of their first jet fighters.

So when I read that the first ME's supplied by Czechoslovakia had in fact Heinkel engines in them and the problems that created for the pilots were still overcome to end up winning the war, I was shocked. Those are just some of the details that the reader will be privy to in learning about the evolution of this small new nation's Air Force. In the same vain I was surprised to find out how little of an impact the practically non-existent Israeli Air Force had during the war of Independence yet they were probably responsible for a lot of lost time that the Arabs encountered which gave the future IDF enough time to supply themselves and launch their own offensives.

This book goes through the history of the IAF and makes no qualms about showing both the good and the bad as well as all the inter-office rivalries that were being played out behind the scenes, none of which I knew about. It came as a surprise that after WWII the Israeli general staff wanted to concentrate more on ground troops than the Air Force, and it was only after the Sinai campaign in the 50's that the Air Force got the funding it truly deserved, and proved itself during the Six Day war when they destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground and within minutes moved on to do the same to the Syrian and Jordanian Air Forces as well.

Overall the book is an excellent investment, learn both what Israel pioneered and what the set backs were and how they were overcome. Stories about individual pilots and their escapades are interesting and will keep you glued to the book page after page, a riveting read to say the least.

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