Book Review
B-1 Lancer Units In Combat

by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

Written by Thomas Worthington
Illustrated by Mark Styling
Combat Aircraft Series #60
7.25 X 9.75 inches
96 Pages
80 Color Illustrations
20 Black and White Illustrations
Publish Date - 10 March 2006

With the addition of this new volume to the Combat Aircraft Series, Osprey Publishing has brought us not only an exciting, informative collection of history, development, and the metamorphosis into what we know today as the B-1B Lancer. This volume also proves to be the only writing in print to this date that details in complete the B-1’s full history in combat. The title of this exciting new writing is “B-1B Lancer Units in Combat", and it's an ideal inclusion in the Osprey Combat Aircraft series of publications.

If you’re not familiar with this line of reference manuals from Osprey, first let’s highlight some of the key points of this series. Each volume focuses on a single point of interest, this time being the B-1B, of course, and combines history of the aircraft and it’s crew(s), with a strong emphasis on the aircraft’s development and usage in combat. Unique to each volume is the artworks and photographs provided, with specially commissioned scale line drawings of the subject(s) within. Well written, researched and informative text that’s easy to grasp keeps the book's momentum flowing well.

Osprey Publishing prides itself on the subject’s originality, as well as the accuracy of the expert research, with the added inclusion of first-hand combat accounts straight from the men who were involved with these aircraft, the veterans themselves.

Chapter I - Development History
Chapter II - Desert Fox and Noble Anvil
Chapter III - Enduring Freedom
Chapter IV - Iraqi Freedom
Chapter V - The Future
Colour Plates Commentary

Quite simply, in the five chapters included in this writing, the reader is guided through the lifeline of the B-1B Lancer, from the early days of first development when the craft was touted to be a “white elephant” by the Air Force, to it’s cancellation during the Carter years, and up into it’s re-birth by President Ronald Reagan in the 80’s. Since that time, the B-1B has proved itself to be a valuable and reliable aircraft.

Each of the chapters focuses on a specific time period in the history of the B-1B, and covers the subject at hand quite well, in an informative and easy to understand text with tons of high quality color photography to support the story. There is a 10-page color plate spread that shows 30 separate bombers, listing the name of each craft, squadron, base location and name, and year(s) of service. Accurate, detailed markings are shown for each of the bombers listed, right down to the squadron nose art (these plates will be very useful for the modeler!). Directly following the color plates of the bombers, is a really cool section of close up color plates of each of the aircrafts nose art examples, in clear and superb illustration, with a few examples of tail art tossed in to boot.

Note: In the rear Appendices section of the book there is a detailed description of each of the color plates, in the “Colour Plate Commentary” section of the manual. Also in the Appendices you will find a wealth of other informational topics, in a chart style format, such as B-1B Fleet Lists, which provide aircraft production numbers, lot numbers, and serial numbers, plus the names of each of the crafts. Additional listings of B-1B losses, and museum and gate guard specimen locations are detailed in case you want to get a closer look at one of these beauties. Lastly, there is a breakdown of the B-1B’s combat participation, with each separate operative given, date, squadron, and usage listed.

As a final closing in the volume, there are three full pages of scale line drawings, specially commissioned just for this publication, of various angle shots of the Lancer, both in flight and stationary on the ground. A great way to end a most excellent volume, I might add!

Honestly speaking, I was quite surprised (and also pleased) by this book, because at 96 pages in length, I really didn’t expect to have as much coverage of the subject - with complete combat history, and technical information at my fingertips - but after a final reading of the manual I had to change my early suspicions to a much more positive note. This book is a good, easy and informative read, packed with high quality color photography, and some fantastic detailed color plates. If you are a fan of this sleek winged bomber, than this book is for you! As a reference manual of the subject I rate this to be excellent, and as a modeling reference I will rate it as very good, considering the number and detail of the photography, color plates, and information of the bomber provided. Definitely recommended from this modeler's point of view!

Many thanks to Sheeba Madan, Osprey Publishing, New York, for providing this early review sample.
From the early stages of development of the B-1B Lancer Bomber, to the current usage in the Afghanistan and Middle Eastern Conflicts, this new addition to the Osprey Combat Series brings the reader history, as well as up-to-date information about this supersonic swing-winged bomber.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 1841769924
  Suggested Retail: $20.95 U.S.
  Related Link: Official Osprey Website
  PUBLISHED: Feb 16, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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