How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare
Delamer, K. J., Naval War College Review
Boyne, Walter J. How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare. Gretna, La.: Pelican, 2011. 352pp. $29.95
"In either case, the helicopter has significantly changed the face of modern warfare. It has done so despite restrictions placed on its performance by its inherent design features. And perhaps more than anything else, it has done so because of the brave, talented aircrews who flew the helicopter in the most intensely dangerous conditions of warfare that have ever been seen."
So concludes the final chapter of a new and timely book by noted aviation writer and retired U.S. Air Force colonel Walter Boyne. This volume revolves around two theses. The first is stated in the title: helicopters, since their introduction, have produced dramatic changes in the conduct of warfare. The second thesis suggests that helicopters themselves have failed to keep pace with the very changes caused by their introduction. The conclusions drawn from this corollary idea are likely to prove controversial.
Boyne's prose combines accuracy with regard to technological issues with a clarity that renders these complex ideas accessible, even to readers unfamiliar with the intricacies of rotorcraft aeronautics. The scientific and engineering challenges are interwoven with the stories of such industry pioneers as Igor Sikorsky, Frank Piasecki, and Arthur Young. The narrative offers a tip of the hat to the Marine Corps, acknowledging that institution's decision to champion this emerging technology, as well as the parts played by the Navy and Coast Guard, but the strength of this book resides in its examination of the helicopter's influence on combat over land.
The VietnamWar serves as the lens through which the rapid development of helicopter-borne operations is studied. …