I really should change my personal text
- Nov 3, 2017
- Reaction score
The General Staff and the Helicopter is the third book by Blue Envoy on British Helicopter development. The first book, The Air Staff and the Helicopter by Chris Gibson, traced the progress of the RAF's army support helicopters, while the second book, The Admiralty and the Helicopter, examined the Royal Navy's helicopter development. The General Staff and the Helicopter is an interesting account of the British Army's path to procurement of armed helicopters, leading ultimately to acquisition of the WAH-64 Apache.
This charts the origins of the Army Air Corps
2- First Rotors
Contenders to Specification HR.144, Fairy Ultra-Light, Skeeter
3- Towards the Scout
Sioux AH1, Skeeter to Scout
4- Weapons for a Tank Killer
ATGWs from SS.11/Malkara to TRIGAT and Hellfire
5- Wild Cats on the Battlefield
Charts the development of the Lynx family - WG.13, Lynx, WG.30
6- Panzerabwehrhubschrauber: A flawed concept
Westland/VFW-Fokker P.277, GST.3791 contenders including WG.44, A129 Mk2
7- Avoid Detection
LO optimised attack helicopter projects - WG.45, WG.47, Tonal
8- Towards the Advanced Attack Helicopter
US AAH developments and acquisition of the WA-64D Apache
Additionally there are two appendices, a timeline, glossary, selected bibliography and an index.
If you've read any of Chris's books for Crecy you'll have a good idea what to expect. Chris likes to tell the story of development and procurement as a whole, so the book includes cancelled projects and built rotorcraft, and also the weapons which would have armed them.
The cover artwork paintings by Luciano Alviani front and back are awesome in a "Period Airfix Box Art" way. The paper stock is good quality and printing feels professional, with a good and readable layout. We agree to differ on justification or ragged right text, Chris preferring the latter. I spotted one typo, but overall it puts most recent books to shame with editing and attention to detail.
There is a good mix of photos, original company artwork, and drawings by Chris, which includes some explanatory drawings which are a bit reminiscent of the old "Salamander" books. Some of the drawings are a little small, but that's really a consequence of the number of drawings and the page count, plus the inclusion of drawings and photos of the "built" helicopters as well.
Personally I'd have liked a brief section on avionics like HMDs, LLTVs, FLIRs etc to go with the section on weapons. Then again, I like avionics
This book is highly recommended if you are at all interested in helicopters and specifically British helicopter development.
I second the above!
It has been very refreshing that you folks have taken the time, effort and endeavour to research this overlooked history to the extent you have. It's as well to stress the books are entirely objective in their findings. I have learnt a great deal from the 3 books- particularly the endeavours with PRO and the historical societies have unearthed a wealth of otherwise hidden detail. Thank you