Naval Fighters N.O. 12 McDonnell F3H Demon

Review by David Harvey



This publication covers the McDonnell F3H Demon from it's inception in 1948 to the phasing out of it from Squadron service in 1946. The aircraft first flew in Jan 1952and retired from it's last Squadron in Sept 1964. During it's life the Demon had a number of problems ranging from the initial engine (the J40) being totally unsuitable to being underpowered for most of it's life even though it was re-engined a number of times. To show how bad the initial engine was, all of that version of the aircraft were either scrapped or used for training aids without getting to 30 hours, 27 aircraft were in fact scrapped without ever flying. Upon being redesigned and put back into service the aircraft, though underpowered, put in a decade of service with the US Navy.

The book was first produced in 1985 and this shows in some of the content, though this doesn't detract from the book. I read the majority of the book prior to this review and found it quite informative about this relatively unknown aircraft.


The 150 pages of this book covers the Demon in the usual manner in layout, starting with a history of it's design and introduction through to it's Squadron service and eventual demise. The written layout of the book is very disorganized and is hard to follow in some ways, as an example, it took me a few tries to work out that only the J40 engined Demon was scrapped and not all Demons in 1955. The author has endeavored for the reader to get a feel of the aircraft by having a number of stories of the aircraft in service by both pilots and maintainers. I feel that whilst this is good, I enjoyed a number of the stories, it may have been taken too far with the quantity of them. I found that the most informative pilot story was the first in the book by LCDR Harry Milner USN Ret. LCDR Milner covers all of the systems on the aircraft from entering the aircraft to armament and refueling. The author also has a brief write up of all of the Squadrons that the Demon was issued to and a bit of the history of the Squadron itself.

This book has a great deal of black and white photos of the Demon in service as well as 5 - 6 pages of colour photos. These photos are more of a general type photo with few close up detail images eg only one photo of the engine out of the aircraft. There is still a fair amount of detail to be found in the photos in this book of load outs and general aircraft detail.

The majority of the detail supplied by this book is done by line drawings. These line drawings are quite extensive and cover all of the interior systems, the undercarriage and internal layout. There are also a number of tables including the carrying capability and aircraft serial number/ block number listing.

A few areas where I feel that the book has been let down is the lack of index and the disjointed layout of the contents. An example of the layout problems is the Demon in model form page.This article looks as though it has been just dropped into the middle of the book in the midst of another article.


This book would come in handy if you intend to make a model of a Demon. It is bought down by the lack of detail images but makes up for this by it's coverage of the use of the aircraft in service and the wealth of action photos.

This book was supplied for review by, and is available from, Clayton Fiander at Hawkeye Models. Also available from Crusader Trading.

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