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Mass Market Paperback Palace Cobra: A Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam Air War Book

ISBN: 031294876X

ISBN13: 9780312948764

Palace Cobra: A Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam Air War

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Palace Cobra picks up where Ed Rasimus's critically acclaimed When Thunder Rolled left off. Now he's flying the F-4 Phantom and the attitude is still there.In the waning days of the Vietnam War,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

One of the best first-person accounts of the Vietnam Air War.

A really well written account of what it was like to fly and fight the air war over Vietnam in the waning days of the campaign against North Vietnam. (Operations Linebacker and Linebacker II) It is particularly interesting when compared to the authors first book "When Thunder Rolled", which told the story of the tough mission of flying F-105s into the teeth of the toughest air defenses in history. Palace Cobra shows how our tactics and technology got better, but our stategy did not improve until late 1972. Both books should be a "must read" for those who are interested in the experiences of a fighter pilot over Vietnam.

Phantoms Over Hanoi

If you choose to only read one book about the air war in Vietnam, this is the one to pick. Author Rasimus has penned a superb treatise on the complexities of air combat, while at the same time carefully and coherently exposing the many flaws in strategy and tactics which led to our ultimate failure to overcome the North Vietnamese. What makes Ed Rasimus so unique among the hundreds of aviators who have written about their experiences is that he flew over 100 missions in from Korat, Thailand, in F-105s in 1966 during the worst days of Rolling Thunder, when his wing lost over 100 planes in the first 6 months, and then returned to Korat for a tour in F-4 Phantoms in 1972. The Phantom tour encompassed Linebacker I and II and, because of his prior tour and experience over North Vietnam, he soon found himself going back "down town" during some of the most intense raids of the war. The reader will be entranced by the harsh realities of high speed air combat in large smoking Phantoms as they battle SAMs, AAA, Migs and confusing and dynamic circumstances, sometimes enhanced by bad planning and inadequate coordination among aircrews and leaders. The author makes the Phantom come alive, with accurate descriptions of the plane and how it fit into the bigger air combat picture. He gives the unique perspective of how the air war had changed in his 6 years between tours, and, disturbingly, how it often hadn't changed-his angst with how the strategic situation had stagnated and his slow but certain realization that the war was not going to be won give the reader pause to consider; what kind of men would serve so bravely when the negative outcome was certain?? Ed Rasimus gives the answers and in the process tells a compelling story of professionalism and sacrifice. This book is an absolute "must read" by all those interested in air combat and the Vietnam air war.


Five "Sierra Hotel" Stars! My first Vietnam air war book and it's AWESOME! "Palace Cobra"'s just chock full of information and surprises in the strategic and tactical conduct of the later stages of the Vietnam air war. This book completes the final piece of the Vietnam air war with F-4 Phantom fighter jets coming to the fore, 'bookending' the author's other book, "When Thunder Rolled" which focused on early phase of the war with F105's. It tells what was happening in that 'other hellish component of the war', in the air, up north! "Mass" is an important component of the Principles of War and the opening chapter describes how the air war achieved Mass, with wave after wave of fuel tankers and their designated jets refueling simultaneously, then massing, and launching in attack groups towards North Vietnam and certain danger. Cobras unleashed from the palace, as it were. But the truth is "Palace Cobra" was really an Air Force personnel management program which basically 'recycled' the battle weary to the bottom of the list, with the 'newbies' who were just joining the fight, ensuring fresh, enthusiastic pilots were always available. This is often edge-of-your-seat reading. The map of Vietnam is very detailed with regard to cities in South Vietnam, but North Vietnam has only ONE location: Hanoi. 'Linebacker' operations are fascinating and very dangerous: before the bombers could hit the targets, there were surface-to-air missile (SAM) hunter-killer teams; then laser illuminator planes in constant danger while painting the bombing targets; then chaffers, dropping radar-confusing foil pieces: forced to fly straight in order to open lanes for bombers; and finally Mig-fighters, fending off...Migs' in a dangerous choreography of death-dealing and death-avoidance. As Rasimus describes it, the air war up north was not really able to utilize the Principle of War of "Surprise" and that alone guaranteed their repeated air attacks would resemble something like flying through the 10th level of Hell. But it's also very detailed and technical: giving the inner workings of the preparation and training for the air war in and out of CONUS. Backseaters. POW camps, with bombing runs and Mig/F4 dog fights unknowlingly taking place directly above them. Shot up jets landing with one functional engine, literally flying sideways to safety. Even a little R & R in Thailand ending with a rendevous with a mysterious lady. His dichotomy of 'warriors versus careerists', upon reconsideration, is spot on. One thing is for sure, near the end of the war, the pilots knew the US wasn't in it to win, but that didn't dissuade them from giving 110% at all times. The Linebacker I and II players that didn't make it back are in a tribute listing at the end and the glossary is really helpful for us neophytes. A thoroughly detailed "must-read" that belongs on the shelf of any comprehensive military war book collection!! Thanks, Ed. Five HUGE Stars!!

This is what it was like!

In Palace Cobra, Ed Rasimus takes you back to the days of sweaty cockpits and cold beers, raw fear and the jagged edge of courage. You want to know what Vietnam was like for fighter pilots? Read this book and it's earlier companion, When Thunder Rolled. Thunder was about the F-105 part of the war, the early years. Palace Cobra picks up when the F-4s Phantoms took over the bulk of the combat sorties and concludes in the all out push of the days of Christmas when the U.S. Air Force brought North Vietnam to its knees. Ed was there. Ed lived it. The power of his prose lets you feel the kick of the afterburner, smell the JP-4, wrestle with sweat in your eyes in a 5 G turn and catch the thump of 500 pounders dropping off your wings. Ed captures the frenzy of combat, the heart racing terror and thrill of Migs and SAMS, battle damage and comraderie. F-4s introduced something new for fighter pilots, a two man crew. Ed captures that also, the adjustments, the pros and the stumbling blocks. Few other writers have ever approached this level of intensity and touched the raw personality of the air war. You don't want to miss this book.
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