1956 - 2021, Celebrating  over 65 Years of Service

The B-45 Tornado: An Operational History of the First American Jet Bomber
by John C. Fredriksen
Publisher: MacFarland & Company

Box 611, Jefferson, NC 028640

Web Site:
Binding:  Paperback Height:




Pages:  264 No. Photos:
 66 B&W with 2 Drawings

Overlooked and almost forgotten, the North American B-45 Tornado was the USAF’s first jet bomber. Not as stylish as Boeing’s B-47, it still served an important role in the transition from propeller-driven to jet-powered aircraft. The author takes us through the early design challenges and testing of the B-45, amply illustrated with firstperson accounts from the engineers, pilots and maintenance personnel that helped bring this aircraft into service. But this is only the introduction of the story.

The bulk of this work focuses on the operational aspects of the B-45 and its variants. The well-researched squadron histories are presented, again, from both the flight crew’s and ground personnel’s perspective with numerous first-person accounts. One of the biggest operational challenges for those in the B-45 program was associated with the teething problems of bringing a new technology up to operational standards. Equipment failures occurred at a higher frequency than had been anticipated resulting in an inadequate number of critical spare parts. The ingenuity and resourcefulness of the crews at “scrounging” spares to keep aircraft available is well covered, along with their frustrations because of the lack of spares.

This is a well researched and written book that provides excellent insight into USAF operations during the transition to jet aircraft. Definitely an interesting read, even at the somewhat steep price of $45.00.

Hayden Hamilton


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