The first English-language book to examine the crucial part air power played in the Soviet-Afghan War.
The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan was fought as much in the air as on the ground. From the high-level bombing raids that blasted rebel-held mountain valleys, to the Mi-24 helicopter gunships and Su-25 jets that accompanied every substantial army operation, Soviet control of the air was a crucial battlefield asset. Vital to every aspect of its operations, Mi-8 helicopters ferried supplies to remote mountain-top observation points and took the bodies of fallen soldiers on their last journey home in An12 'Black Tulips'.
But this was not a wholly one-sided conflict. Even before the Afghan rebels began to acquire man-portable surface-to-air missiles such as the controversial US 'Stinger,' they aggressively and imaginatively adapted. They learnt new techniques of camouflage and deception, set up ambushes against low-level attacks, and even launched daring raids on airbases to destroy aircraft on the ground.
Featuring information previously unknown in the West, such as the Soviets' combat-testing of Yak-38 'Forger' naval jump jets, Soviet-expert Mark Galeotti examines the rebel, Kabul government and the Soviet operation in Afghanistan, drawing deeply on Western and Russian sources, and including after-action analyses from the Soviet military. Using maps, battlescenes and detailed 'Bird's Eye Views', he paints a comprehensive picture of the air war and describes how, arguably, it was Soviet air power that made the difference between defeat for Moscow and the subsequent stalemate that they decided to disengage from.
About the Author
Mark Galeotti is a scholar of Russian security affairs with a career spanning academia, government service and business, a prolific author and frequent media commentator. He heads the Mayak Intelligence consultancy and is an Honorary Professor at University College London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies as well as holding fellowships with RUSI, the Council on Geostrategy and the Institute of International Relations Prague. He has been Head of History at Keele University, Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, a Senior Research Fellow at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a Visiting Professor at Rutgers-Newark, Charles University (Prague) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He is the author of over 25 books including A Short History of Russia (Penguin, 2021) and The Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War (Yale University Press, 2022).
Edouard Groult grew up inspired by watching historical documentaries with his father and developed a fascination for historical and fantasy art. Following art studies in both Paris and Belgium he worked as a concept artist in the videogame industry and in recent years has also undertaken historical commissions while working as a freelancer for historical magazines. He lives and works in Oxford, UK.