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Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks
365th Fighter-Bomber Group in Words, Pictures and Illustrations

by Don Barnes, John Crump and Roy Sutherland


S u m m a r y

Title and Author:

Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks
365th Fighter-Bomber Group in Words, Pictures and Illustrations
by Don Barnes, John Crump and Roy Sutherland



Media & Contents:

316 pages; 8.5" by 11" in landscape format; soft cover; more than 550 photos; 98 colour profiles.

Also available in hard cover and autographed editions


USD$43.95 Soft Cover
USD$59.95 Hard Cover
USD$89.95 Hard Cover and Autographed
all available online from Barracuda Studios

Review Type:

First Read


Fascinating story told in accessibe language; attractively laid out; comprehensive and detailed; amazing scope of photographs; informative captions; excellent colour profiles.



A one-stop reference for the 365th Fighter Group from their formation to the end of the war in Europe. Enough detail for the historian, and plenty of photos and artwork to inspire modellers.


Reviewed by Brett Green

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com




"Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks - 365th Fighter-Bomber Group in Words, Pictures and Illustrations" tells the story of this crucial P-47D unit and their operations over Europe from before D-Day until the end of the war.

There can be no doubting the importance of the U.S. Ninth Air Force in the liberation of Europe and specifically the crippling of German transport and military infastructure in Northern Europe, but its essential role has been traditionally under-represented in print and other media.

This new book helps redress that shortcoming for this fighter-bomber unit of the Ninth Air Force.

"Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks - 365th Fighter-Bomber Group in Words, Pictures and Illustrations" is presented over 316 pages between soft covers in 8.5" by 11" landscape format. The soft cover version is being reviewed here, but it is also available in hard bound and autographed editions.

Following a brief summary of its formation, the body text is an almost daily chronicle of the operations of the 365th FG in accessible and engaging language.

The images are a real treasure trove. More than 550 mainly wartime photos are included between the covers. Most of these have never been pubished before, and there are some real beauties. Those that have been reproduced to full page size are particularly impressive. Some of the photos are a bit small, but this compromise is understandable considering the breathtaking scope and sheer volume of images that the authors have managed to source.



62 pages near the back of the book are dedicated to colour profiles by Don Barnes. These are large, attractive and detailed. 98 profiles are included, some with scrap views of nose art or starboard side profiles where the details differed. Each profile is accompanied by a description of the aircraft, with some including a more detailed account of operations. The profile section would be worthy of a standalone book by itself.



A lot of thought has gone into design and layout. From the front cover and contents spread, with their Red, Yellow and Blue 365th FG colour theme, the pages ooze style. The fonts, the choice of location for the photos, the colour text bars and boxes all make for a visual feast and very attractive couching of the text and images.

Most spreads feature at least one quote at the top of the page to grab your attention. Hundreds of sidebars and information boxes provide supplementary information to the body text too. Many of these are the personal stories of pilots and crew. I like the way that large photos of museum pieces - uniform items and parts from the P-47 - have been scattered through the pages too. Maps and other relevant illustrations are also used to help tell the story.



Specifically, that story is logically laid out over the following Chapters:

  • Foreword

  • Introduction

  • The Ninth Air Force

  • The Group and Missions

  • The Making of the Hell Hawks and Fighter-Bomber Tactics

  • Invasion of Europe and Move Into France

  • Mobility to Mud With the US 1st Army

  • Belgium, Aredennes and the Battle of the Bulge

  • Shutting Down the German Supply Lines and Counter Attacks

  • Encirclement and Final Days

  • A Long Ride Home

  • The Pilots and Shipps

  • The Records and Reflections

  • Bibliography





Book reviews here on HyperScale will often categorise a title as either best suited to the armchair historian or as a good reference for modellers.

"Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks" has managed the tricky balancing act of catering to both groups without compromise.

The chronological history and the wealth of information in the personal stories are well balanced with the large number of well-captioned wartime reference photos and the artwork, ensuring ample detail for the history fan and inspiration for the modeller.



Looking at all those lovely colour profiles, I can't help thinking it won't be long before someone will be releasing a whole stack of decals for previously uncovered subjects too!

If you have the slightest interest in the Thunderbolt as a modelling subject, or the operational history of the P-47D Thunderbolt, this book is for you.

Thanks to Barracuda Studios for the sample.

Review Copyright 2012 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 20 April, 2012
Last updated 20 April, 2012

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