Boeing’s F4B dominated U.S. Navy fighter and some bomber squadrons from 1931 to 1935, with the last squadrons of F4Bs transitioning in 1938. As F4Bs were phased out of front-line service, they were turned over to the training command, and later, as unmanned aerial targets used for training shipboard anti-aircraft gunnery crews as part of Project FOX. The last F4Bs were withdrawn from service in 1942.
The first half of this 160-page monograph covers the developmental history of the F4B. Each version from F4B-1 to F4B-4 is covered, as well as the Boeing Model 218, which served as the prototype for the F4B-3 and F4B-4. 408 photographs and 24 drawings provide an in-depth study of each version. Much of the data for this section comes from period test reports and specification documents. In addition, a history of each airframe is provided, including squadron assignments, mishaps, strike dates, final disposition and total hours of flight time, if known.
This is followed by an operational history of each Navy and Marine Corps squadron that operated the F4B as well as other Navy/Marine Corps commands that operated the type. Also included is a history of the Boeing Models 256 and 267, export variants that were sold to Brazil and the F4B-4A, which consisted of P-12s given to the Navy. Just two F4Bs found their way to civilian operators, and their civilian use is also included in this book.
The final chapter dedicated to the aircraft discusses eight new-build Boeings that have been under construction in Gardnerville, Nevada since 1993. The first of these aircraft is expected to fly in late 2023 or early 2024.
As with nearly all Ginter books, the final chapter is devoted to model kits.