At the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Vietnam People´s Air Force (VPAF) were equipped with slow, old Korean War generation fighters – a combination of MiG-17s and MiG-19s – types that should have offered little opposition to the cutting-edge fighter-bombers such as the F-4 Phantom II, F-105 Thunderchief and the F-8 Crusader. Yet when the USAF and US Navy unleashed their aircraft on North Vietnam in 1965 the inexperienced pilots of the VPAF were able to shatter the illusion of US air superiority. Taking advantage of their jet´s unequalled low-speed maneuverability, small size and powerful cannon armament they were able to take the fight to their missile-guided opponents, with a number of Vietnamese pilots racking up ace scores. Packed with information previously unavailable in the west and only recently released from archives in Vietnam, this is the first major analysis of the exploits of Vietnamese pilots in the David and Goliath contest with the US over the skies of Vietnam.
Dr István Toperczer is a flight surgeon with the Hungarian Air Force. In his spare time, he has become one of the few individuals from outside Vietnam to be given open access to the files of the Vietnamese People’s Air Force (VPAF). He has made numerous visits to Hanoi, and other Vietnamese cities, in the past 20 years, and has interviewed many of the leading aces from the war years. He wrote the hugely successful COM 25 and 29. Jim Laurier is a native of New England, growing up in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He 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 in that time he has produced some of the finest artwork seen in these volumes.