The Reluctant Raiders: The Story of U.S. Navy Bombing Squadron VB/VPB-109 During World War II, by Alan C. Carey, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pa., 1999, $29.95.
Another type of unit that has hitherto received relatively little attention is the long-range patrolbomber squadrons of the U.S. Navy, which were equipped with the PB4Y Privateer, a variant ofthe B-24 modified to Navy requirements for covering the vast reaches of the Pacific. Thatoversight is compensated for in The Reluctant Raiders, in which Alan C. Carey draws on fiveyears of research to provide a detailed history of VB-109 (later redesignated VPB-109), right downto the individual accomplishments of each PB4Y-1 and PB4Y-2 crew.
Equipped with radar, bombs and depth charges, Privateers were also formidably armed to defendthemselves against Japanese fighters. The results are amply shown in Carey’s chronicle, in theform of warships, submarines and merchant shipping sunk or damaged by the “Reluctant Raiders,”as well as a remarkable number of enemy aircraft shot down–examples of which are includedamid the wealth of photographs.
Although marred by some annoying misspellings, The Reluctant Raiders is recommended as anoverdue look at the part played by Navy patrol bomber squadrons–and proof that their activitieswere anything but dull.