When Iraq invaded Kuwait in august 1990, a coalition of nations launched Operation Desert Shield in order to defend Saudi Arabia. The Harrier II was amongst the first tactical air assets to be deployed to the region to support ground forces in their efforts to halt the advance of Iraqi forces at the border with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

AV-8B Harrier II units of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Lon Nordeen)

AV-8B Harrier II units of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Lon Nordeen)

During Operation Desert Storm, the five units flying the AV-8B in-theatre became some of the top tactical squadrons of choice by air mission planners for allied battlefield preparation and close air support. This was due to the AV-8B’s capabilities, proximity to the battle zone and the proven abilities of Marine pilots and forward air controllers, who were closely integrated with ground forces and knew their business well. The untold story of the AV-8B in this conflict is vividly brought to life by the author through first-hand accounts and period photography sourced from those that were there, as well as official archives.

This is the first of three volumes on Harrier IIs in combat , with follow-on titles covering the operations in Iraq in 2003-08 and Afghanistan in 2001-11. The book is divided in 5 chapters + appendices:

Chapter 1: AV-8B and the MAGTF
This chapter tells the story of the choice of the Harrier for the Marines. It describes the advantages of the aircraft that decided the USMC to opt for.
Chapter 2: VMA-311 and MAG-13 (Forward)
It begins with a brief history of the invasion of the Kuwait by Iraqi troops, that resulted in the operations “Desert Shield” and some years later “Desert Storm”, and the rapid deployment of the Harriers on that theatre of operations. Then the missions of the VMA-311 are described.
Chapter 3: VMA-542
Describes the missions of the VMA-542 “Tigers”.
Chapter 4: VMA-331 and VMA-513
Chapter 5: VMA-231
Appendices:
1. Serial numbers of Harrier IIs involved in operations “Desert Shield” and “Desert Storm”
2. AV-8B combat losses
3. Description of the colour plates
4. Index

The book is richly illustrated with lot of B/W but also lot of colour photos. The central pages contains no less than 24 colour profiles (three profiles per page). As always with Osprey books, you have an excellent book with lot of history, details, informations on the not-so-known use of the Harriers of the Marines in the Middle-East. I recommend strongly that book! Direct order it here!

Daniel Clamot

Sample book is provided by Suzannah Brooksbank, Marketing Administrator, Osprey Group