Review: Service History of the RoCAF F-100, by Clarence J.P Fu

Service History of the RoCAF F-100, by Clarence J.P Fu, privately published, 1996, 86 pages, price n/a.

While the United States has been a leading supplier of military weapons since WW2, the use of American aircraft by overseas air forces is frequently under-addressed by domestic publishers. The North American F-100, the lead aircraft in the Century Series of American jet fighters, served with many air forces in the non-Communist world from the 1950s through to the 1980s. This Taiwanese publication is thus an important document. It details the use of the F-100As, F-100Fs and RF-100As by the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) from 1958 until the type's retirement in the late 1970s.

The book is comprehensively illustrated. It contains an abundance of photos of the F-100 in Chinese service, roughly a third of them in color. Quality is somewhat inconsistent, in keeping with the varied sources of the images. These range from non-professional, personal snapshots of proud pilots in front of their mounts to a boneyard shot of a stripped airframe with a readable serial on its remaining skin. Remarkably, there is at least one image of almost every aircraft used on Taiwan, together with a list of the serial number and fate of each. There is also a section of black-and-white profile drawings documenting the markings employed on a number of the aircraft in the accompanying photographs.

Unfortunately for the Western reader, the text is entirely Chinese. A few English translations of photo captions and some scattered English phrases provide useful information, but subtle details are lost to the non-Chinese reader.

This is a commendable book on a decidedly little known subject. While not as slick as some recent American and Japanese publications, and while much of the photograpy betrays its amateur origins, it is nevertheless a valuable contribution. The limited English text may be a liability for many readers, but the thoroughness of its coverage is unlikely to be matched by another book any time soon.


Editor's note: this book was and may still be available from Aviation Usk. It can also be obtained from the author. Interested parties can e-mail the editor, and he will pass their enquiries on to Mr. Fu.

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Text © 1998 by Charles Hart. Used by permission.