Contact: Bill Petrie
The Book Hootch
This difinitive book was written by Lt. Col. Jack S. Ballard during his assignment to the Office of Air Force History. Lt. Col. Ballard traces the gunships's history from initial conception in the early 1960s through deployment and operations to the end of American involvement in 1973. He points out that the gunship theory-flying an airplane in a pylon turn to aim side-mounted guns at a fixed point on the ground-had been known for years. But it took men of vision and persistence to mate the theory with modern technology, and then sell the idea to higher authorities.Very early on the Air force saw the need for a system that could saturate the ground with fire for interdicting enemy reinforcements, for supporting ground troops in contact with the enemy, and for defending isolated hamlets and outposts under attack. Such a weapons system had to be able to hit small, often fleeting targets in difficult terrain, at night, and in bad weather, through thick jungle cover. It had to be flexible and survivable, to linger for a protracted time over targets, and above all it had to possess great firepower. Nothing in the inventory could do all this, nothing that is until the fixed-wing gunship. Although the is an in-depth study of the gunship, the author does not ignore the human element. The gunship became a formidable weapon of war but Ballard's story of the gunships also shows that the individual still makes a difference in modern war, no matter what the dependence on technology. The Development and Deployment of Fixed-Wing Gunships is one of a series of books dealing with the War in Southeast Asia and is published by the Office of Air Force History. Another must have book for those involved or interested in Gunship history
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