C-130 Hercules

A History

Martin W Bowman

Date Published :
October 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
200 color & black and white images
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781473863187
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
In stock


Designed in response to a 1951 requirement, the C-130 Hercules is the most successful military airlifter ever built. Since it first flew in prototype form on 23 August 1954, more than 2,100 have been produced in over eighty different versions. Across its variants, the Hercules serves more than sixty air forces, as well as many civilian cargo operators, in a multiplicity of roles, including air-to-air refueller, gunship, airborne command post, flying hospital and firefighter.

This rugged and easily maintained aircraft entered service in 1956 with the USAF Tactical Air Command. Ten years later the 'Charlie 130' was providing the essential logistical support in Vietnam. This period in Southeast Asia was the Hercules' finest hour. Paradrops, airlift and evacuation operations were completed around the clock, often at low level, usually under fire and nearly always in bad weather.

A generation later this 'Mr Dependable' was serving with equal distinction in the Gulf War in the role of airlifter, radio-countermeasures and 'psy-ops' platform, gunship and, once again, 'block-buster bomber'. The 'Herky Bird' or 'Fat Albert', as the C-130 is fondly known, has proved a key component in humanitarian relief operations ever since, in all parts of the world.

The incredible success story of the C-130 is far from over. Here Martin W. Bowman tells the full story of this remarkable aircraft at firsthand.

About The Author

Martin Bowman is one of Britain’s best-known aviation historians and authors. His previous books have included works such as _Legend of the Lancaste_r, _Confounding the Reich, Duxford and the Big Wings, Clash of Eagles, Lost Wings of World War I_ and numerous titles in the exhaustive _Air War_ series providing extensive coverage of operations carried out on D-Day and during the Market-Garden offensive at Arnhem. He lives in Norwich.


“British aviation historian Martin Bowman has produced an engaging retrospective on the long-lived and ubiquitous C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter… Sweeping in its scope, this book is an invaluable reference on one of history’s most significant transports.”

- Aviation History, November 2018

More from this publisher