Former Tornado Navigator John Nichol tells the incredible story of the RAF Tornado force during the First Gulf War in 1991; the excitement and the danger, the fear and the losses. It is an extraordinary account of courage and fortitude.
‘We were doing about 620 miles-per-hour, 200 feet above the desert, in total darkness. Everything was running on rails as we approached the target. Then all hell broke loose. I remember the missile being fired at us; I broke left and shouted, “Chaff!”
‘All I could see was a flame, like a very large firework, coming towards me. Then there was a huge white flash. I remember an enormous wind and then I was knocked unconscious. My last thoughts were that I was going to die.’
In 1990, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighbouring Kuwait, setting in motion a chain of events that had unimaginable political, military and personal repercussions, which still reverberate around the globe today.
This is the story of the aircrew at the heart of Operation Desert Storm, almost none of whom had any prior experience of armed combat. It is the story of the Tornado’s missions, of those who did not return - and of the families who watched and waited as one of the most complex conflicts in recent history unfolded live on television. It is a story of untold fear and suffering, and astounding courage in the face of hitherto unimaginable adversity.
John Nichol served in the Royal Air Force for fifteen years. On active duty during the first Gulf War in 1991, his Tornado bomber was shot down during a mission over Iraq. Captured, tortured and held as a prisoner of war, John was paraded on television, provoking worldwide condemnation and leaving one of the most enduring images of the conflict. John is the bestselling co-author of Tornado Down and author of many highly acclaimed Second World War epics including Spitfire and Lancaster, both of which were Sunday Times bestsellers. He has made a number of TV documentaries with Second World War veterans, written for national newspapers and magazines, and is a widely quoted commentator on military affairs.
'He has used his extensive knowledge and contacts to create a well-rounded record of the Tornado strike force during the Gulf War. He... brings the experience of flying and fighting the aircraft to life in a dramatic but expert fashion... Nichol combines a professional eye for the technicalities with the human stories to create a readable and informative work, and a fitting tribute to those who did not come home.'
– History of War
‘Nichol superbly interleaves graphic stories of combat with the effects on those left at home. The author describes combat with a superbly written dispassionate voice, relating the technicalities and feelings of modern combat clearly and with a style that takes you seamlessly from the Tornado’s cockpit to the fears of those left at home … This is a fine book to join his “biographies” of the Spitfire and Lancaster … And one of the best pieces of sharp-end military history I have had the privilege and pleasure of reading.’
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