September 06, 2014

Review of “Crimson Sky” by John R. Bruning

CrimsonSkyCoverAs stated at the beginning of this small volume (a tad over 200 pages), the air conflict in the skies of Korea isn't very well covered, especially when compared with WWII or Vietnam conflict. 'Crimson Sky' tries to remedy this situation in interesting fashion - author focuses on pilot's experiences in a number of detailed descriptions of missions typical to that conflict. These stories are put in proper context with help of a rather generic overview of the war as it developed between 1950 and 1953.

This approach renders a very interesting book that catches reader's attention from the first page. After all, if you picked up this book, you will probably be fascinated by first hand accounts of dogfights in Mig Alley or the very first, improvised on the fly, SAR missions. At the same time I must say that I've picked this book up because I thought it would be a good starting point for a closer study of Korean conflict in the air and as it turns out, it didn't really meet that criteria.

It is however unfair to blame a book for not being what you want it to be and I did learn a lot from it. So even if it's not the best choice for a 'primer', in every other respect it is an excellent book and probably a 'must have' for anyone interested in that particular topic.

Now to the really interesting question – is this book of any interest to a wargamer? The answer is an resounding yes. In fact, I’d go so far as saying that “Crimson Sky” was written with wargamer in mind. Every single chapter dealing with particular mission provides material for one or more scenarios of wide variety – bridge busting, dam busting with torpedoes (!!!), ground interdiction missions, escort/attack on B-29s or Tu-2s and finally dogfights between Sabres and MiG’s. I already have ‘Jet Age’ ruleset from Skirmish Campaigns sitting on my bookshelf and this book could very well be considered its companion book.

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