USAFE Tactical Units in the United Kingdom in the Cold War

Douglas Gordon

This is the story of the USAFE Tactical flying units that were resident in the United Kingdom during the Cold War from 1952 to 1992. An extensive text includes ‘from the cockpit' memoirs and is supported by illustrations. Also included are details of deployed aircraft and units, support aircraft, maps, and tables.
Date Published :
December 2022
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
293 black and white and 166 color images
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781781558607
Pages : 448
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7.02 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


This book contains a history of all United States Air Force Europe Tactical flying units that were resident in the United Kingdom during the period 1950 to 1992. ‘From the cockpit’ testimony from aircrew who were assigned to the individual squadrons and wings is an integral part of the narrative; which is supported by illustrations. The tactical nuclear mission was central to the operations of many of the UK based units and is covered in detail from its beginnings in 1952 with the arrival the 20th TFW and the 47th Bombardment Wing, to the adoption by NATO of the doctrine of ‘Flexible Response’ and the eventual end of the Cold War. Also included also are sections on the Tactical Air Command units which were temporarily deployed to the United Kingdom in support of the USAFE and NATO operations. The comprehensive appendices contain essays on individual aircraft development, international events which had a direct bearing on the missions and deployments of the individual units, the support aircraft used by the wings, and maps, tables and profiles.

About The Author

Doug Gordon was born in Orford, Suffolk in the UK and spent his early childhood within sight and sound of the USAF base at RAF Bentwaters. Regular attendance at USAF Open Houses engendered a passion for aircraft. These early experiences and a move to Farnborough in the early 1960s, with visits to Farnborough Air Shows was the foundation for an abiding interest in the military aviation of the Cold War. He regularly publishes articles about the units and aircraft of the Cold War with a particular emphasis on the USAF. He lives in Brittany, France.


Foreword; Acknowledgements; Glossary of Abbreviations; Introduction; 1 The 81st FIW, FBW, TFW; 2 The 406th FBW, FIW; 3 The 47th Bombardment Wing; 4 The 20th FBW, TFW; 5 The 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron; 6 The 420th Air Refuelling Squadron; 7 The 48th Tactical Fighter Wing; 8 The 10th TRW, TFW; 9 The 527th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron; 10 The 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing; 11 The Skyblazers; 12 Tactical Air Command Temporary Deployments to; the UK in the Cold War; Epilogue; Appendix I: The Tactical Aircraft Assigned to; the Tactical Units Based in the UK; Appendix II: Wing and Squadron Support Aircraft; Appendix III: The Policy of 'Massive Retaliation'; Appendix IV: Red Richard; Appendix V: The Hungarian Uprising 1956; Appendix VI: The Cuban Missile Crisis; Appendix VII: Able Archer; Appendix VIII: 1966 France Leaves NATO; Appendix IX: The 1961 Berlin Crisis and Operation Stairstep; Appendix X: The Suez Crisis 1956; Appendix XI: The Doctrine of Flexible Response; Appendix XII: Tables; Appendix XIII: Maps; Endnotes; Bibliography and Other Sources.

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