Air-Ground in Vietnam

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 02:14
by LWF
What were CAS tactics used during Vietnam? What kind of ordanance was carried, and which planes were most successful?

RE: CAS in Vietnam

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 08:37
by Habu
Ask Gums! He knows all! ;) btw...he flew A-37s

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 09:56
by TenguNoHi
LWF you can prolly ask in the other Vietnam thread and get a lot more response. Gums and other viet vets have been spending a lot of time there.

-Aaron

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 05:50
by Gums
Yo Ho!

Snake will likely chime in here, and I'll try to get some A-1 and SLUF folks and Hun folks to chime in.

When we talk about CAS in 'nam, remember the environment and the ops requirements. Much different than Iraq. So AAA different, much better gunners - hell, they had twenty years of practice.

I had about 300+ missions first tour and 80+ second (in the SLUF). About 60-70% were CAS.

Got some personal stuff now, so will get back......

Gums sends

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 16:46
by elp
-Gums in Hot

-Gums off to the west-

:D

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 18:01
by Habu
He'll come back for another run ;)

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 18:22
by Snake-1
In reply to LWF questions as to tactics, ordnance, best aircraft etc. I offer my humble reply.

GENERAL ASSUMPTIONS: Besides the weather and ROE everything associated with a strike depended on the delivery platform and its state of the art capabilities and survival in a particular threat area. THis could range from the old iron sights in the A-37, which was a reticle image on a plate of glass controlled by either a sliding lever gauge of thumb screw for the proper MIL settings, to the Lead Computing Optical Sights (LCOS) in the Double Ugly that would consider G loading and other delivery factors.

GOVERNING FACTORS: Weather was always the big one and operating in and around Thunderstorms or low hanging ceilings or broken cloud covers was the norm. Early morning missions would usually go into areas of heavy mist or ground fog, sometimes very thick, and you could see the shock waves of the bombs rapidly spreading away from the impact areas. Mid morning to early afternoon was usually pretty fair bombing weather but late afternoon was marginal a lot of the times. During Monsoon season delivieries were usually Aerial Sky Spot (we called them Sky Puke) from high altitude and were more a nusiance to the enemy then threat. Then there was the ROE, i.e., how close to friendlies, religious shrines, the borders, restricted areas (such as the Michelin rubber plantation) in South Vietnam or the boats in either the Hanoa or Haiphong harbors and dykes in the north.

ROE: THis was the general Bitch, especially in the North, where the restrictions were so great that it was a real job just to survive. Most of te targets were hand picked back in Washington against a criteria of measured response with little consideration of reducing the enemies capabilities to fight the war. Case in point would be the restriction against the Wild Weasels to hit the SAM sites under construction for fear of hitting Russian engineers. Instead we had to wait until they were operational and had shot down several of our wingmen before going after them. In the south we had much more latitude working with the Forward Air Controllers (FACs) who placed BYA every day to find us good targets instead of just mud moving.

ORDNANCE: On the most part the ordnance used was from the WWII and Korea era i.e., dumb bombs, napham, and 2.75 rockets. We also carried cannisters of CBU's but depending on the capabilities (and track record) of the delivery aircraft their use was at times restricted to area targets. The same holds true for the North and the trails between Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia with the primary weapons there being dumb 500 (Mark 82), and 750 pounders (Mark 117s). Some heavier dumb bombs were used in the North as BUSCH pointed out but the 82s and 117s were pretty much the standard load unless a special mission load was requested. We didn't have any guided munition until late in the conflict (72-73) when the ZOT and LORAN bombers came into play and had a marked improvement over the dumb trash we were throwing around SEA (but still a far cry from what is out there today).

TACTICS: These were as wide and varied as could be dreamed up by the mission commanders. In the North it was usually "One Pass, Haul A$$" avoiding as much or the enemy threat of SAMS, Triple A, and small arms as you possibly could in the minimum time possible. In the South the tactic was usually a "Wagon Wheel" delivery with random run-ins so the FAC could keep track keep track of the strike force and could correct the ordnance deilvery in a more leisurely fashion. If the threat was high the Wagon Wheel would use higher release altitudes for the bigger and more vulnerable aircraft with reduced kill capabilities. With Nap you had to skip it in for max results so it was a low angle, high vulnerability pass. CBU were primarily an area suppression weapon that kept the gomers heads down as were the 2.75 rockets. Additionally in the South the general targeting was either against a planned target (mud moving and useless), a real time target where the FACS spotted the bad guys or their activties and got clearance from the Corp Commanders to hit (pretty good targets), or TICs (Troops in Contact) where our guys were in a whole S$$t load of trouble and needed immediate help (the best). THe last two types were usually hit from birds on the alert pad or from aircraft diverted from Mud Moving targets.

BEST AIRCRAFT: Boy this is really a pandora's box and generates heated battles for those who really love their particular bird. I had the privilege of flying the Super Tweet, the Hun, and the Double Ugly in the CAS role so in my case it was the good, the bad and the ugly against the mission tasked. So let's keep it simple The bigger the aircraft the more vulnerable it becomes to the threat. Especially if carrying nap or high drags were you got to get down amongest them especially in the F-4 where I got hit by small arms more times then I care to remember. Add to that the god awful smoke trail the thing left visiable from 20 miles away made you a target with a projected flight path all around the target area (several stories here). So the F-4, 105, 100, and Navy A-6 were fairly ripe targets with the 4 topping the list. THe A-4, 37, and Sluf (A-7) had better luck with their smaller profile, greater loads, better CEA's, longer ranges, and better loiter times. But these assumptions are open to a hold lot of counter claims that are justified.

Hope this answers some of the questions.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 23:30
by Gums
Salute!

OK, I shall tell all that the A-7D was prolly best overall mudbeater, but in bad weather I would take the A-37 anyday. A-1 was super, and carried more ord, stayed longer, etc. OTOH, it took a long time to get there and was much easier for the gomers to hit.

The A-37 was superb in low ceilings. My mission to the Citadel at Hue during '68 Tet was only possible because the Huns ahead of us could maneuver well enough under the low clouds. One day that month the 7th AF cancelled our frag and directed us to some small valley up in II Corps to help some grunts. Clouds were low and only we and the A-1 Spads outta Pleiku could be of any help.

The SLUF could hit as well as the A-37, and it could do so going almost twice as fast and from three times higher. Honest, that computed system was only surpassed by the F-16 about 15 years later. SLUF also could carry as many eggs as the B-17!!! How about 12 x 500 pounders and not need refueling to go 300 miles out and back? plus hold for half an hour in the tgt area.

More later, as still more T-day chores.

out,

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2005, 23:46
by Guysmiley
Slightly OT, but what was the root cause of the Rhino's smoking problem? I know it was bad, the ANG base near my home had F-4s while I was growing up. Just an inherent problem with the engine design? Or a tradeoff of smokeless vs extra thrust? And jets like the Viper have hardly any smoke out the pipe, is that because of higher temperature alloys in the engine, or just better engineering?

Also, how did the A-37 and A-7's exhaust compare to the F-4?

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 00:10
by Snake-1
I'm a stick and not an engineer but I think it was the JP-4 we used combined with the fuel feed system. The Navy used JP-5 and I don't think put out as pointy a finger as we did. And the mod's were just to costly to convert our birds but you really need to talk to an engineer on this one.

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 05:38
by TC
Snake and Gums,

"Aerial Sky Spot" aka, "Sky Puke." Wasn't this the LORAN bombing? It had to have been low in the accuracy range, right?

Here's another one for you...did the Dragonflys ever carry Paveways, OR if not, did they ever designate for Paveway strikers?

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 06:14
by Snake-1
The Sky puke was a GCI type of delivery Where a ground station gives you an altitude to fly and then gives you headings, and changes to same, during the delivery run. So you fly straight and level with the armament set to ripple, adjusting your heading as directed and pickle when told to do so. You really felt like a BUF without the capability to get up and walk around. And never got any BDA.

What a waste!!!!!!

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 06:17
by Snake-1
Sorry

Forgot to answer the second question.

Paveway!!! Your kinding right??? We were totally dumb bombers with dumb weapons, an iron sight, and a mini-gun.

But we still did some serious damage.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2005, 06:19
by Gums
Salute!

The Sky Puke was a ground-directed release using SAC's MSQ-xxx radar. Previously used to 'score' buff drops. Someone figured out they could use it backwards and tell us when to pickle.

Not real accurate. Neither was the LORAN.

BTW, it was the MSQ and its operators on top of LS 85 that had everyone all upset when the gomers overran the place in early 1968. You wsee, "we had no ground personnel in Laos", don'tchya see. Of course, the electronics in that thing were also very sensitive. So some Thuds used Bullpups to blow it sky high.

Dragonfly never carried LGB's, but I guess we could have.

I believe that the fuel injectors were the problem with the Double Ugly. Later versions that USMC flew didn't smoke. A-37 and A-7D didn't smoke.

************

Back to CAS

some cardinal rules were:

1) Drop parallel to friendly lines when at all possible. If not possible, drop over their heads heading away from them.

2) Be damned sure you have the target or smoke. Worst feeling in the world was when the FAC would say, "O.K. everybody hold high and dry, acknowledge!" Or walking in the ops desk and having the clerk advise you to call some Army unit.

3) Always drop. Only confirmed loss we had from ground fire the year I was there was when lead didn't drop and the gomers lined up on number two and blew him away. He's still MIA, best I can find out.

Reason being that it took awhile to clear your ears and get your vision back after the nape rolled over or a bomb hit really close.

4) Don't follow guy in front too closely, as you can pick up frags or even parts of trees!! I know this from personal experience, and the crewchief was really peeoohhed.

5) If possible try to have other guy come in from a different direction, but not 180 out, as this makes gomer acquisition easier.

6) Drop a bomb first, then nape or CBU.

7) Don't waste much time seeing where you hit until well into the pull off.

8) Stay as high as possible until FAC puts in smoke. Keep Charlie from seeing you until it's too late, huh?

9) Flares are good at night if you are dropping real low. Otherwise, they help the gomers see you, and going in and out of the "fishbowl" is very disorienting.

later,


5)

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 01:30
by TC
Thanks for the updates there! That's what I had thought, as I had never seen pics of a Dragonfly loaded with Paveways. So did you not perform laser designation either? Seems like the A-37 and its superb loiter time could've made a great designator jet for the Rhinos...you know, when it wasn't busy naping Charlie! :twisted:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 02:24
by Snake-1
TC

As far as I know the Super tweet only operated in the "Corp" areas (south of the DMZ) and not in the "Route Pac" structure. GUMS could clarify a little more on them working the trails before I got there but again I don't think it was up north.

Again, we were only dumb bombers and I don't even think the bird could accomodate the PAVEWAY pod.

It would have been interesting to see if the 37 could have worked the trails because of its very small radar return (almost nothing), small profile, and surprise attacks.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 24 Nov 2005, 02:39
by TC
I see. I wasn't aware that Paveway munitions were not dropped in RVN. Knew it was used over Laos, you know, even though "we never fought in Laos." Yep...Uh huh...

BTW, it's about time for me to recommend a new book for everyone. As soon as I saw the title, I knew exactly what the book was going to be about.

It's called "War For the Hell of It" by Col. Edward Cobleigh. It's a pretty good book. It doesn't go over as many missions as other books that I've read, but it does have a good balance of flying over Laos, and what life was generally like over there, both in the air and on the ground. If you've got a few bucks laying around, it's a great paperback to add to your collection folks.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2005, 01:56
by LWF
The LGB's were only used against static targets, like bridges, or power plants. The main CAS planes in Vietnam were accurate enough for the task without PGM's, besides part of the reason for the PGM munitions was that all the Flak around targets Downtown made it hard to hit the target and survive. In South Vietnam there was little to no Flak or SAMs. Plenty of idiots with automatic rifles though.

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2005, 17:49
by Snake-1
Another story from the old sage.

It was back in 72 when we first started using guided munitions in the north. So here we are again escorting a strike flight of only four double uglies against some sort of reinforced target in Pac 6 just south of Hanoi (about 30-40 miles). I thought it strange that this strike four needed the same Wild Weasel and Cap cover and as larger package, but what I He$$ that was our job. So in we go and come across this very large Berm area that looks like a pyramid with its top cut off. In the center of this Berm area is a 5 or six story building with all sorts of antennas and radar dishes on its roof. THe sides of the building were about 30 or 40 feet from the vertical walls of the surrounding berm. As we enterd the area several SAMs were launched until the Weasels put down a site or two but the Triple A was fierce and never ending. Over the target two of the strike force started a climb while the other two started a orbit around the target. Within a minute one of the two higher F-4s started down the chute and released his 2 1000 pounders a lot higher than I had ever seen before followed quickly by the second delivery aircraft.

All four of the weapons landed inside the berm area. But what followed next was amazing. While two of the bombs hit the building and did some damage the other two landed within the berm area, exploded and the shock wave just kept bouncing off the berm and the building time and time again until the over pressures just collapsed the whole building. Because of the early morning mist you could actually see the over pressure waves bouncing back and forth. We learned later that this was their primary air defense headquarters.

Twas an amazing sight.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2005, 22:51
by LWF
That story is a bit hard to believe, except you've proven yourself trustworthy. Although I take it the berm was to stop us from dropping bombs on it, instead the berm destoyed the building. Good laugh.
On another note, did MiGs ever interfere with CAS in S. Vietnam? Or did they stick to N. Vietnam?

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2005, 00:13
by Snake-1
First a quick note on my last. Because of a late night last night and a booze storm that seemed to hit the valley I neglected to mention that the 2 lower F-4 were both designater aircraft (in case lead aborted) flying a wide orbit with the upper F-4s flying a tighter orbit inside the designators and rolled down the chute inside the designators orbit after the target was high lighted. There was nothing left when we exited Dodge City.

As far as I know, can remember, or have heard about, the MIGS never went further south then Vinh or Vinh parallel to the trails to the west. They always operated under strict GCI control, with strong mutual support from Triple A, Sams, and small arms and would often try to drag you into either a FLAK trap, SAM Attack, or a barrage of small arm fire if you were dumb enough to follow him down. The MIGS didn't have the same support in down south in the Route PAC system other then an ossasional SAM or Triple A Site along the trail and seldom out at Vinh. They would try to drag you into a fight if you were supporting strikes on the trail by coming at you full bore and then turn back when you turned into them. But even that after a while they gave up as a lost cause when we didn't take the bait .

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2005, 01:15
by TC
LWF, this one has nothing to do with Vietnam, but you know how close we came to taking out Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi during the Libya strike? If Blue 1's Pave Tack hadn't malfunctioned, we would have put a Paveway right between his eyes! :shock: The WSO tried his best to keep the malfunctioning laser centered with his stick, but it went off center, and took out the baby's room instead.

During ODS, I recall a reporter asking Gen. Horner how accurate were the LGBs we were dropping. General Horner pointed toward footage of a building and said, "Which window do you want the bomb to go through?"

I know Snake's story is accurate, because of the Pave Nail FAC (OV-10) pilots that I've talked to. They said before the advent of Paveway, it could take several strikes and a lot of loiter time to take out a target. After Paveway came on line, it was all over within one or two shots...much like the smart bomb footage you see today.

Yeah, Paveways are just that good! 8)

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2005, 01:25
by LWF
It's too bad it went wrong. But Murphy's Law "If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. And at the worst possible second"
I didn't doubt Snake's story but if it were someone else I might have doubted it.
LGBs, you gotta love 'em...
Not quite as useful for CAS as for strike.
Edit. Air Interdiction, not generic strike.

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2005, 03:12
by Snake-1
Hey Guys

I don't understand why this is so hard to believe. If you are of that school you should have been there cause to us it was the best thing since buttered bread and ***** combined. This was a brand new era to us who had looked over the mountain and saw the elephant. Can you imagine what we could have done with the bridges, the rail yards, the military depots and other targets that weren't hit because of collateral damage. God!!!!! we could have used three quarters of the aircraft in the air-to-air or fighter escort role instead of dumb mud moving mission where half the bombs hit the target and half didn't. It was like area bombing in WWII. And it was like someone raised a very heavy curtain on how to really fight a war.

Today the dinosaurs like myself see the LGB strikes in Iraq (or the cruise missiles) do more damage with a single aircraft then we did with a strike package of 8 to 12 birds.

If you still don't believe what overpressure from a 1000 pounder can do watch either "Linebacker II: or one of the other Air power presentation on Vietnam on the Military Channel. When that pressure wave hit the inside vertical walls of that berm it had no other place to go but back and then hit the other pressure waves of the other three bombs bouncing off the other walls ALL WITHIN THE SPAN OF ABOUT 250 FEET.

Its true and happened that way --- moving west.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2005, 00:08
by LWF
How strong do you think the berm was if it were able to withstand that kind of punishment? And do you know how long the overpressure waves kept reflecting back at the building?
And my comment seems to have been taken the wrong way. At first the story was hard to believe, but when you think about it you can tell it's true.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2005, 18:20
by Snake-1
To answer LWF

I would say that the Berm was as high as the 5 or 6 store building it was constructed to defend and sloped away at about a 45 degree angle so as to deflect any near misses or overpressure waves in the immediate area.

We kind of had our hands full at the time so I can't be sure how many times the waves bounced off one another or maybe even cancelled each other out. But as the building collapsed it first went this way and then reversed course and went the other until nothing was left. There is no doubt in my ever loving mind that nothing breathing could have survived that strike.

I think the ZOT bomber designators were out of Udorn (as I delivered one from the states there --- 22 hours in the seat with as many air refuelings, and only two stops enroute) so if there are any 432 dino's out there please chime in.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2005, 01:13
by TC
The Wolfpack had a Paveway mission out of Ubon as well.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2005, 05:38
by Gums
Yo Ho!

A few things, then more manana ( just got back after another foray to Katrina-ville)

1) The LGB's used near the end of 'nam were really, really good. Some Pave Nail troops told me that they could put the beam at the bottom of a cave, then actually see the bomb getting close and raise the dot to just above the cave entrance. Stupid bomb would try to climb to hit the dot, but not make it and fly right into the cave - whooosh, and a neat smoke ring comes out. I luv it.

Snake didn't stick around long enough to watch we SLUFs drop Downtown when we could use our system. Very impressive. All the guys who had Thud or Phantom tours beforehand claimed we could have had one-tenth the POW's and MIAs and KIAs if we had that system back in 65-66.

2) The A-37 actually did CAS in Laos during the test missions flown in Nov 67 thru Mar 68. We had a detachment at Pleiku that evaluated FAC, armed recce and night interdiction.

When a Prairie Fire emergency was declared, we flew CAS in support of the folks being extracted. See Plaster's book, "S.O.G.", where he has a pic of Rte 110, which I cut my teeth on in January of 1968.

The Combat Dragon JTF commander wanted us to fly in Rt Pack One, but he was turned down. So furthest we got was up near Mu Gia. I personally never flew further north than the Tchepone area, if that far north.

During 68 Tet, we flew in support of Khe Sanh, and I personally bombed inside the walls of the Hue Citadel to help some jarheads.

gotta log,

Unread postPosted: 02 Dec 2005, 01:32
by TC
I did some poking around for Tchepone, Laos, and found this map:

http://www.rjsmith.com/Tchepone_North_East.html

Gums, Mu Gia was the moutain pass between Laos and South Vietnam, right? Where was it in relation to Pleiku?

Also, wasn't "Combat Dragon" the project name that the Dragonfly was evaluated under?

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 04:30
by LWF
In S. Vietnam what kind of targets were each plane deployed against? And depending on the target what kind of ordinance and numbers would be sent out?

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 06:49
by Snake-1
There were several types of targets you could go against. THe first were what they called pre-planned targets. THese were usually of the category that the FAC or Army had been watching, or they got intell on and classified the potential area as being unfriendly. The ordnance would usually be what was best to destroy or reveal the potential target. THis category included but was not limited too, assembly areas (bombs, nap, and CBU) Truck and Fuel Parks, ammo dumps (Bombs, Nap, sometimes rockets). This type mission would usually be days in the planning, and getting executing authority so it was usually mud moving by the time we got there.

Alert pad birds would usually be armed with a generic load to meet all eventualities ( Bombs and Nap) and would be launches for TIC (Troops in Contact), enemy in the open, special forces base camps under attack or any other target that the high command felt needed quick response. The result of this type mission was usually a fair to good BDA where you could count on getting shot at.

THe third was an airborne divert (usually from a pre-planned target) in support of a immediate, time critical, target that would usually be backed up by alert birds just getting airborne (if necessary). Lots of enemy fire on this one and the odds of being diverted from a pre-planned were usually about 50 percent.

The last two categories were by far the best because you really felt like you were accomplishing something, especially when you had the opportunity to save someones bacon.

GUMS --- if I missed something chime in!!!!

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 06:51
by Gums
Salute!

Ord versus targets was always a problem.

HHQ assigned the mudbeaters against Army/USMC/ARVN tgts.

For static tgts it was usually bombs. For LZ insertions it would be like bombs and maybe rocks/nape. For the scramble missions off the alert pad it would be bombs, nape and CBU - troops in contact was usual mission there.

All of this is good history, but not real applicable to today's environment or weapons or planes. Won't go there..........

out,

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 17:43
by Guysmiley
How effective were CBUs in Vietnam? Don't trees really mess with the fuses? Was the dud rate back then significant? In ODS even there were a lot of dud bomblets that had to be cleaned up, and that was on (mostly) flat desert.

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 19:00
by TC
Don't know how effective they were, but I know that Charlie made booby traps out of unexploded CBU bomblets. Those could screw your day all up.

To Err is Human. To Forgive is NOT ACC Policy.

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 21:49
by Snake-1
Re: Guysmiley's questions.

I don't think we ever did a stat study of the duds on those little beauties. If they came out of the cannister or tubes it was a good weapon. In the A-37 we used either a six or seven tube dispenser or the clam shell cannister. The tube usually dropped the CBU with pushers props on them which would spin them up to arming speed and make them active. If the props didn't spin the bomblet wouldn't arm and you get a dud. Additionally, some of those little beauties had delay timers in them and could go off much later then the actual delivery. The cannister bomblets were the size and shape of baseballs with cresent shaped ridges around them to again spin them up to arming speed. They (like the prop driven ones) exploded when the spinning stops or is interrupted (like hitting the ground or trees) and shredded everything in sight. I think I was told once that the baseball bomblet contained over 300 fluchets going out at the speed of sound.

In the Hun and the F-4 we only carried the cannister CBU's and then only for area targets. THe only aircraft that was permitted to deploy CBU's for a TIC mission in my times was the A-37 because it could control the delivery pattern and envelope by Stuka'ing the delivery. GUMS can address the A-7's capability in this role.

Another hard and fast rule was that if you attempted to delivery and the bomblet didn't deploy you had to jettison that cannister (usually out to sea) in a cleared area. This included jettisoning the affected pylon or all pylons. If you had to drop it in the target area you had to notify the FAC and he would then direct your remaining delivery runs against the dud CBU cannister. You NEVER brought a hung CBU cannister back to base.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 06 Dec 2005, 22:20
by Guysmiley
Wow, interesting, thanks for the info Snake!

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2005, 04:10
by LWF
When performing CAS in S. Vietnam, would you generally loiter in the area providing support as needed or was it 'One Pass, Haul ---'? From what I've read, usually the flyboys would try and get out quickly, but I've also read about a time when they did something different.
On this mission there was always an F-4 waiting fully loaded on the runway while the others were dropping their bombs, and when one was out he would head back to base and the guy waiting would take off and join the fight.
The next day a special forces unit was sent for BDA and reported around 5,000 dead NVA.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2005, 06:09
by Gums
Salute!

Urban legend, LWF.

Best I ever had by actual count (small village near Plieku during '68 Tet) was about 100. A N Viet company got lost and didn't meet up with the local yokel. They ran into a group of trees but didn't know that it was only a thicket, not a forest. So we pounded it. Village chief rolled bodies into town on flatbed trucks for all to see. Our intel troop actually got to be there for interrogation of one of the survivors, hence we know how they wound up there.

The alert birds were primarily troops in contact missions. Sometimes a regular tree-buster or LZ insertion mission would get diverted to a TIC mission.

On TIC, we held and held and held to see how things developed. The A-37 and the A-7D had really good loiter time, as did the A-1. The Phantoms were always outta gas and looking for a tanker. The Thuds about the same. The F-5's as well.
I "held high and dry" many times in the SLUF when an F-4 flight showed up. FAC would expend the Phantoms quick, then we could go back to business when they booked outta the area screaming for gas.

later,

Gums sends........

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2005, 02:54
by LWF
It seems I made a rather large mistake, I couldn't find the book I read it from, so I made a rather large error, the correct number was 900 NVA killed.
I'll never live this one down. :oops:

I also found more details, this particular engagement took place in Laos, and when they rolled in they took a massive blanket of flak. Solution- fly lower, also the arrangement of the F-4s was in a wagon wheel over the target, and kept attacking until nothing was left of the target.

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2005, 19:15
by Snake-1
There were good and bad things about the wagon wheel concept of delivery.

If you had an aircraft that could keep constant pressure on the enemy and not give him the opportunity to recover from the first attack, acquire you, and get some shots off the wheel worked fine. Birds like the A-1, A-7, A-37, and maybe the A-4 with lotta's of power and a short turning radius could operate rather safely (especially if the FAC cleared you for random run-in headings). Many are the times when we went on a TIC mission in the super tweet where our guys were in critical hurts-vil we could suppress the enemy to such a degree that our guys could STAND UP and vacate the area or reposition to counter the threat. Launch a couple of two ship flights like this and the tide of battle would quickly turn to our favor. Using a flight of 4's, Thuds, or Hun's didn't give you the same advantages because of turning and performance limitations, and timing of the bird. If you were in a four ship the situation was improved as you had more time to set up and get back in the fight while your other wingmates delivered but still not ideal. I damn near got my S@*t shot away leading a four ship of F-4s into a pre-planned target in Four Corps one day where the bird took eight hits from small arms fire using the wagon wheel from random run-in headings (another story).

In the North a wagon wheel was very, very, dangerous as you flew a predicdable flight path in a heavily defended area. With the exception of the ZOT bombers (Loran), or fighter escort supporting the strike package, it was almost always one pass haul a$$ in and out of dodge so you were dependent on Lead to pick and bomb the right target as 2, 3, and 4 would be right behind him going down the chute. The maneuver was similiar to the pitch out with an 8 second spacing for the remainder of the flight to avoid shrapnel. ID'ing the target was based upon DETAILED target study, a really good INS, and four eye balls in a detailed seach mode. There was no such thing as GPS back in the Dinosaur age.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 16 Dec 2005, 23:18
by LWF
Which of the main CAS birds was the most survivable? I've heard the A-1 could take a lot of damage but it was very slow, the A-37 was hard to hit, and the A-7 was accurate but which was the most survivable in a hostile environment?

Unread postPosted: 17 Dec 2005, 22:48
by Snake-1
LWF

I think in order to answer this you have got to consider the threat environment for each of the aircraft mentioned. AS far as the A-37 is concerned I think the max they lost during their four or five years in Nam was 4 or 5 but they operated pretty much in the Corp areas which I would consider a fairly low to medium for threats. The A-1's did both the Corp and Route Pac areas (when they flew Sandy -- air rescue -- support) so their threat was the same as the A-37 in the South, but high in the Pac areas so the numb's would be completely different. But the A-1 was a flying tank and could really get beat up before giving up the ghost. GUMS would have to address the SLUF but I would imagine the rationale offered would hold up for them also.

To All you Vipers in Harm's way ---- Keep Checking 6
To all you Vipers elsewhere --- keep the faith.
To all of you ---- EVERYWHERE ---- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2006, 21:26
by LWF
Weren't CBU's at first very effective against AA sites, until the NVA developed countermeasures against them? I seem to recall reading that the GP bombs because they only destroyed things in a small radius were ineffective, but the wide radius of the CBU was more effective, until the NVA developed something like big steel enclosures that they would put around the guns with the barrel pointing down the route we would always take.

Unread postPosted: 29 Jan 2006, 23:36
by Snake-1
We were still using CBU on the killer (F-4) portion of the Hunter (F-105G Weasel birds) Killer teams out of Korat in 72 and during the 12 days of Christmas. I don't remember the NVA establishing a real defense against them as mentioned as they wanted to keep their sites mobile and if you had that much iron/steel plating you would probably leave a logistic footprint that the weasels could follow to the new site. Additionally, remember that the sites were usually positioned in a six pointed star array with the radar vans and power supplies near the center. So while they might be able to protect the radar van the missiles and power supplies might still be vulnerable. All you got to do is get one of the three components (Van, missiles, power supply) and you've shut them down.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 23 Feb 2006, 20:38
by MKopack
Since the A-37 has been mentioned quite a bit here, I thought I'd post this. From many, many years ago...

A mid-70's airshow with the 174th TFW 'The Boys from Syracuse'.

Mike

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2006, 16:40
by RoAF
This is a bit off topic (nothing to do with CAS) but since you talked about LGBs...here it goes: What was the effectiveness of the Walleye dropped by A-4s compared to those early LGBs? I watched a few years back a documentary about the A-4 in Nam on Discovery Channel and how they took out a big power station with only 2 planes and 4 Walleyes. How often were those weapons used compared with other early PGMs? Were GBU-15s used in Nam-being the air force's equivalent to the Navy's Walleye?

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2006, 22:11
by LWF
From what I've heard the Walleye was quite effective. Provided the target wasn't obscured, which pretty much precluded battlefield use. After it was used on the power plant, next time around the NVA had smoke machines around the power plant and anything else they didn't want hit.
And by the way, even though I specified CAS when I started the thread, it became more or less anything A-G. It was a little annoying at first but has ended up being more interesting than it would have been.

Unread postPosted: 08 Apr 2006, 20:20
by LWF
Snake, in one of your posts you mentioned a time when you nearly got shot down leading a F-4 four-ship wagon wheel.. care to elaborate? And I checked into the story about the wagon wheel that I posted, and it was a four-ship, with a steady flow of reinforcements.

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2006, 20:03
by Snake-1
The four ship mission to IV Corps was out of Korat on a suspected assembly area and was a fragged mission. Being Fragged we really didn't expect much but went through the whole combat briefing just in case (remember I told you earlier that Charlie was sneaky). Each of the four birds were carrying 6 750's (Mk 82s) on two TERs on the outboard stations. Additionally, it was to be an out and back mission meaning we would land at Bien Hoa, refuel and arm and hit another target on the way home thus avoiding the need for a tanker.

Got to the target area, was briefed to hit a 150 to 200 yards long and 50 yards wide row of trees running north to south in a flat dry area. THe only other growth around was three or four patches of trees offset from the target area by about 50 yards. The FAC wanted max coverage so he restricted our run-ins down the tree line. So into the Wagon wheel we go at about 8 grand. Upon getting clearance in I go and drop one that lands right in the center of the tree line and get a secondary out of it. The rest of the flight completes their passes with all bombs in the tree line.

In I go on the second pass and upon releasing the ordnance hear a ping, ping, ping, ping followed by every master warning and caution light in the cockpit start flashing and in the pull out the Bird starts wanting to go roll on me and I'm pulling and tugging to say upright pulling out of a screaming dive. I also called out that I thought I had been hit which was acknowledged by number 2 in the flight who saw muzzle flashes from one of the small bunches of trees directly adjacent to our run in heading. Two and three got immediate clearance to hit the gun while I got the bird back under control and reached for altitude saying I would hold high and dry until the rest of the flight expended all their ordnance.

While the flight creamed the gun, the other small clumps of trees and the remainder of the tree line I did a controllability check and found that the slower I got the more she wanted to flip on me. When the rest of the guys joined on me and did a battle damage check they informed me that I had a clean Ter on the left and a full TER on the right along with holes in both main gear doors 2 in the intake, one in the missile bay one in the Stab and two more elsewhere on the bird. Wanting to keep the bird and not walk home I elected to try to punch off all stations in the river just to the north of Bien Hoa. My plan was to fly down the river with my thumb on the jettison button and hope that the RAT would work or there was still some electrical juice left in the system to fire the jettison squibs.

As luck would have it when all the lights flashed on again I felt the stores come off and the bird immediately became easier to handle. The next controllability check was with the gear down and full landing configuration. Here is where my wingman told me that both main tires had been shot away. So I called the tower and said I would need an approach end engagement because of battle damage. In I go lining up perfectly, setting the bird down a good 500 feet before the barrier with the hook down thinking "piece of cake". When the main gear rims hit the barrier it caused it to bounce up on the arm of the hook snapping the hook up and out of the way of the barrier. Rolling down that 12,000 foot runway on just rims I passed the spot where I crashed an A-37 a couple years before and thought -- oh no ---not again. Anyways going slower I finally caught the departure end barrier and rapidly de-planed the aircraft.

Of the eight hits we took that day 3 were extremely effective. One each in the tires and the third one in the intake hit a bundle of wires as thick as your wrist severing it in half which when the wind hit it caused it to rub against its other half causing the lights and electrical systems to go ape. The fourth round that went into the missile bay travelled along the longitudinal axis of the bird hit an accumlator turning it 90 degree upward going through my Gibs seat into his survival pac and finally stopped about a half inch from his butt. The bird was on the ground for six weekd before it went back into combat. We caught a lift on one of the shuttle birds back to Korat and were back up North the next day.

Gopd really does Love fighter pilots and idiots!!!

Snake

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2006, 20:31
by Guysmiley
Wow! :crazypilot:

I can't fathom that ANYTHING still worked on your jet after that.

Snake-1 wrote:God really does Love fighter pilots and idiots!!!


Amen!

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2006, 21:16
by Snake-1
I didn't think so either, but after crashing an A-37 on the runway on takeoff because the manufacturer had the wrong size bearings in the main gear, getting hit by a SAM over Bullseye and making it back to Cam Ron Bay on one engine and fuel streaming out the back I had faith in the old bird and she trusted me to put her down safely. Say what you will about old double ugly she could take it as well as give it and still come back for more. A great old bird. But my hands were full that day. And yes, God does love idoits.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2006, 01:08
by TC
You know Snake, that is one resounding response I've heard from every Phantom Phlyer. It could take some big hits and still keep flying, even if it were to merely fly to a safer area, ala, Cunningham and Driscoll in "Showtime One-Zero-Zero". I recall Steve Ritchie saying that he never knew of a Rhino that simply "blew up". He stated that he had seen many on fire, and badly damaged, but never saw one explode as soon as it was hit. Glad you were able to walk away from one though.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2006, 02:02
by LWF
Would anyone object to me changing the name to Air-Ground in Vietnam?
That's pretty much what it's become.

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2006, 05:18
by Gums
Horrido!

Oh man, the war stories we could tell you guys at a Hootch Bar........, heh heh.

One of the favorite quotes from all fighter pilots, bomber pilots, recce pilots and others is what you think, say, feel after coming off target with heart beating at 180 per minute, dry mouth, eyes big as saucers, and maybe whole body a bit limp.

"Thanks, God, I'll take over from here!"

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2006, 20:41
by Snake-1
Gums -- Occasionally is right -- we could regale you with stories till you were old and gray -- and all of them true -- but you would have to buy!!!!

This one is about the last serious hit we took over the North in the 4. you would think that after two brushes with the grim reaper I would finally get smart and develop some super third sense or technique to make me invisible or indestructible to those who would do us bodily harm. But it seems that I have this uncanny ability to attract various sizes of pointed metallic objects at great heights regardless of what I did.

Today was going to be another air to air strike escort mission for some ZOT bombers just North of Hanoi. The bombers again were two illuminators to spot the target and two bombers to blow it away with thousand pounders.

We came in from the South China Sea towards the target and a very warm reception. It seems the Navy was there just before us and stirred up a real hornets nest. To add to this I had and FNG on the wing who was still a little raw around the edges so it was quite busy watching him, the strike force, the enemy gunners and everybody else within a stones throw.

The mission went pretty much as planned until the illuminators went into their wagon wheel. As the bombers went down the chute two separate SA-2 sites came up and sent four missile our way and our six ship started jinking in 20 different directions at the same time. They use to say that after three or four SAMS are thrown your way you get pretty use to it and evasive action becomes pretty routine --- BULL SH$$!!!!!!!

Your watching for that magic moment when the missile nose is buried so deep you can reverse in the vertical and the missile gyro can't keep up with your turn making the missile go ballistic. We got away from the first salvo, regrouped quickly as the bombs went off on target before the second set of four 2's headed our way. This time I was one quarter of a second to late in reversing and the missile blew up behind us but still shock the aircraft like a rag doll. A quick check of instruments indicated a fire warning light on a rapidly decaying left engine.

Footnote--- The one thing you learn early on when flying up north is that you never yell HELP!!!!!!, especially in PAC 6. If you did every air defense system in their arsenal locks on to you and tries to bring you down. Instead you develop secret words or special procedures to let your wingman or lead know your in trouble.

Today my wingman and lead heard my call and the lead (also my roommate) -- who was twenty miles away -- was on top of me before my wingman came across the circle to join. We were about 20 grand and the drag on the wind-milling engine was slowing us down to speeds were further evasive action against any new threat would have been useless. Not a good situation to be in this close to Hanoi.

Electing to stay with the bird as long as possible -- or at least until we got feet wet we turned east towards the water. I lit the burner on the good engine and started a gradual descent to maintain between 450 and 500 knots or as close to corner velocity I could get. WE had three good aircraft covering us but still had to go through another series of SAM sites and a deadly 100MM on Hon Gay island that took its fair toll of friendly crews.
Faking moves towards violent jinking, while avoiding a couple more flying telephone poles we all made it "Feet Wet" and well clear of the bad guys at about 10,000 feet before lead released 2 and 4 to go home with lead remaining with me.

We are now close to the line of four carriers positioned north to south along the North Vietnamese coast when the call comes through from the Navy saying that they have been monitoring our flight , understand our problem , and we are cleared to land on any of the boats on station. It was one of the most unbelievable statements I ever heard. Lead looked at me -- I looked at him and even thought both of us had our visors down you knew we shared the same thought ------ YGBSM!!!!!

After we warmly thanked the navy and told them we didn't want to mess up their boats we headed for Da Nang, streaming fuel (after I learned that I didn't even try to use burner again) being closely tracked by the Navy and their choppers (Big Mothers) in case we had to ditch. Fuel was running low but I couldn't risk going to a tanker with a bird that might go BOOM!!!! at any minute.

To make a long story short, we finally got to DA Nang, on fumes, landed against traffic, shut down in the de-arm area, de-planed and saw hydraulic fluid and jet fuel streaming from the left engine.

Although I was lucky enough to cheat death three times in the short span of four or five years I was luckier still never to be hit again.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2006, 02:44
by cutlassracer
I love this stuff. Besides stuff from Dale Brown, the only books I read are flying over Vietnam, never realy care about branch of service the book is about. Army, Navy, or AF. Not trying to exclude the Marines, but have never come across a book about them.

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2006, 03:15
by Snake-1
To all

I must clarify. In my haste to get this out to you I neglected to say that of the eight SAM's fired only two or three headed in our direction. I don't want our readers thinking that we evaded eight SAM's in the same conflict. That would be a real stretch in credibility.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2006, 20:48
by cutlassracer
Some of the 614th guys did that over Bagdad when they lost 2 jets. Think it was around 6. Used to have a copy of the HUD tape. Might still have it somewhere. Almost get dizzy watching it.

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2006, 01:49
by TC
Cutlass, if you want the definitive non-fiction book about Marine Rhino ops, read "Phantom Over Vietnam" by John Trotti. It's a great read, which I'd actually like to read again, if I could find my d@#! copy. :mad:

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2006, 20:38
by cutlassracer
Thanks, I'll check it out.

Unread postPosted: 25 Apr 2006, 19:24
by Meathook
Gums and Snake-1..

Nice to know you boys made it home (and contribute to this board from time to time), amazing how clear your memories are (mine too) even after so much time has past (who could ever forget those events).

You hope you can forget sometimes, then you realize you cant, it (the adventures both good and bad) stay forever.

What an era it was for us all (that were there), both maintainers and aircrew.....now it is all electronic and guidance, speed and design...amazing huh, but guys like you blazed the trail so it would get better for the next guy or gal going into harms way.

Thumbs up and salute to you both (glad you made it home).

Mission Accomplished

Unread postPosted: 26 Apr 2006, 05:45
by Snake-1
Meathook

And it was guys like you and your crew that made sure that we had the best damn machines possible to do the job. The hours you guys put in to correct some piddily minor write up so the bird would go off the next day at 110 percent made all of us who got all the glory proud. My crew chief was as much part of my team as my GIB was and nobody screwed with any of us. There never was a them (maintainers) and us (aircrews) just "WE" and it was great.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 26 Apr 2006, 15:17
by Meathook
I could not agree more, it has always been "us or we"...as it should be.

Sometimes politics did try and get into the way in the USAF (some folks just love that rank of theirs and play on it far too much), if only they knew, it is the person that comes first.

The position is always understood (I think some did forget that simple fact) because we all have them at some level.

Respect is earned, then given (when deserved) some folks feel they had to try and push it down another's throat (especially the wives :-)

I think it is because some folks lost that simple "team spirit"...there is no "me" in team, just an us, we breath and bleed together, pants go on the same way!

Ahh..the good ole days!

See ya

Salute brother.

Unread postPosted: 26 Apr 2006, 17:44
by Snake-1
To often people forget that the US on their uniforms stands for more then its original intent. It also states the silent spirit of the team as a whole.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 26 Apr 2006, 18:26
by Meathook
Roger that!

Unread postPosted: 28 Apr 2006, 03:51
by Snake-1
To complete the loop on the three aircraft accidents that really could have cost me my sweet cheeks this is the first of the three in an A-37 when Gums and I were there.

It was Friday, September 13, 1968 and I'm on the pad with Al Barnes (a great guy and super stick --- remember him GUMS???) assigned to aircraft 513. We were loaded with the standard pad load of 2 750 nap cans, 2 drop tanks, 2 500 pounders, and 2 250 lady fingers. At 0813 the klaxon went off and the Hun driver who answered it yelled "RAPS" and Al and I bolted for the door and our waiting steeds. Being old hands at this "Goat Rope" we were quickly strapped in cranked our birds and headed for the arming area.

When we were cleared for Takeoff we taxied on, ran engines up, cross-checked each other and were ready to go. I released brakes and Al would follow at the 8 second interval that we briefed. Acceleration was fast and smooth and I thought "here we go again in the name of freedom" when all Hell broke loose.

At about 80 knots (just before rotation) the nose started to veer to the right about 15 to 20 degrees. Quickly applied left rudder didn't help at all and the nose kept going right. Pulling back on the left throttle did less then nothing and the nose continued right. By now the nose is at (or near) the right edge of the runway and about 45 degrees from the runway heading.

Knowing its to late now to try to save the bird I shut down both engines and hit the master switch off. This was when the right main gear hit a runway light and sheared off the aircraft. This resulted in sparks from the broken gear struct with the aircraft now riding on the right hand drop tank and NAP can and the aircraft beginning two of the three ground loops before coming to rest. Somewhere in this series of ground loops the left gear sheared from the excessive side loads adding to the excitment at hand.

The first loop and a half were on the side of the runway and asphalt side apron. This caused the bottoms of the fuel tanks and NAP cans to split open. Between the sparks from the sheared gear , the ruptured tanks, and opened NAP cans a huge fire was brewing and trying to catch me as I spun in the soft mud just off the runway. Chunks of burning NAP and fuel were being thrown all over the aircraft and surrounding areas as I kept rotating and, finally, came to rest some 50 to 60 feet off the runway with the nose now facing east and pointing at the spot I had released brakes just 7 or 8 seconds ago.

There I sat for several seconds (that seemed like hours) wondering if I should blow the canopy or try to open it manually. Smelling fuel and not wanting to stay and become a crispy critter so young in life, I tried the manual route first and to my surprise the canopy opened.

Also to my amazement, there was a fire free path about five feet wide directly to my left that led to blue sky and brown mud. Just as my feet touched the ground the canopy slammed shut when the fire destroyed the electrical system. Heading down the fire free path I didn't think I could move that fast with all the combat gear and chute on but as I said so often God must love fighter pilots cause I cleared the site to the north and into the open just as Al was passing what had been a perfectly good aircraft some 15 seconds ago. Later Al told me that as he passed he called the tower and told them that the pilot didn't make it out and the flames had engulfed the whole aircraft and were now about 200 feet high.

Imagine tower's and Al's surprise when the tower saw me hot-footing it away from the dead bird-- not wanting to be in the same acre of real estate should any of the bombs decide to go boom and really ruin my day. But luckily the mud from the last four days buried the bombs -- under the fire-- and prevented them from exploding.

I found out later that that the right wheel had recently arrived in country from the manufacturer and instead of installing an inside and outside bearing they installed two inside bearing which are a little larger then the outside ones. So after the wheels heated up after a rapid taxi to the arming area they decided to lock on me just at rotation.

Noting the first paragraph ---- Ask me if I ever flew on Friday the 13th. again!!!!!!!!!!!!

Snake

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2006, 03:33
by Meathook
Amazing, just pure amazing..the man upstairs watches many of us, no doubt he watched you that day.

Flying on the 13th...cant say I blame you :-)

You da man! Salute, I know how that luck runs...what a day that was - WoW

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2006, 03:35
by Gums
Salute!

Oh yeah, Al was here for the reunion in 2001. Went back to his roots in MS and lives there now.

Best story about him was a double-engine rollback when he couldn't recover either motor. Yelled at him to jett everything, shut'em down and try for airstarts while he could still glide a minute. It worked.

That sucker got to go to Edwards for the A-9/A-10 flyoff 'cause I was at SOS and they needed a young sprog right then and there. Sniff, sniff, sniff. 'course, I got to get into Vipers about 9 years later and never flew the 'hog. But woulda been neat to fly those two planes in 1970.
-----------------------

On some of our alert pad missions we didn't go to the arming area, but used the midfield exit/entrance and they would pull all the pins right there at the alert pad. Your incident or maybe Jim Gray's might have been the reason we had to go down and use whole rwy plus the arming area.

------------------------

For those who haven't had the pleasure of flying a well-maintained jet, nothing like it. And I can remember the "hang dog" look on a crewchief when his jet and pilot didn't come home. They would sit on top of the revetments at Korat and count the planes coming down intitial. And they always had a cold towel and ice water for me when I climbed outta the jet.

Gums sends..........

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 07:26
by LWF
Just out of curiosity, did anyone hear serve in or alongside Misty? I've read a book about Misty but I'd also like the point of view of pilots who saw it firsthand.

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 11:39
by asiatrails
Snake-1 wrote:I'm a stick and not an engineer but I think it was the JP-4 we used combined with the fuel feed system. The Navy used JP-5 and I don't think put out as pointy a finger as we did. And the mod's were just to costly to convert our birds but you really need to talk to an engineer on this one.


Bottom line was a combination of poor intake design and cannular combuster design. This resulted in the F-4's "Smoky Joe" trail at high dry power settings. Your comment on JP5 is interesting as the smoke index with JP4 is usually higher, could be due to the burning temperature of the fuel.

The USN/USMC aircraft were fitted first with the smokeless J79-GE-10B or later -17E engines, solving the the prominent trail of sooty black smoke.

In modern engine design this is known as the smoke number index and is usually plotted against thrust.

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 14:39
by rhinophan99
Gums & Snake ..

Do you remember while flying the A-7, any specific times where you were controlled by Wolf or Laredo in there respectiv AOR's ? in the 72/73 time frame ..

RJ

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 14:50
by Snake-1
rhinophan99

My memory fails me -- wheren't Wolf and Laredo Fast FACs out of the Wolfpack and Udorn? When in A-37s I flew with O-1s, 0-2s, and in the later part of the tour one or two OV-10s. While I was in F-4s did some work on the trails with all the fast FAcs including the Tigers from Korat.


Snake

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 16:28
by rhinophan99
Snake ... Indeed Wolf ( Ubon ) and Laredo ( Udorn ) were Fast Fac shop's .. ( Owl ) Night at Ubon and as you mentioned ( Tiger ) from Korat and Stormy ( Da Nang & Taklhi for a short time ).. My interest in those above mentioned programs definately has run pretty deep through the years ...:) Back in the day's of real flying !

May I ask when were you in the Phantom ? and where ?

RJ

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 21:07
by Snake-1
rhinophan99

So the memory doesn't fail me!!!!
F-4s!!!!!!!! C's, D's, E's, G's from 67 to 79 a couple in SEA, DM, George, Luke, Nellis, and a quick trip to Spang in the G's.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 21:35
by rhinophan99
Snake ...

What Sqdns in SEA ? ...:)

Here is some pic's of my bar with HEAVY emphasis on Mcd's big 2 .. Phantom's and Eagles ... is a work in process ...

RJ

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 21:44
by Snake-1
Rhinophan99

The first was a test detachment of 4 birds out of Nellis at Ubon for some super secret stuff they were working on. The second was the 34th. out of Korat.

How about you??

Snake

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 22:02
by rhinophan99
Snake ..

Ah yes Det 1 414th FWS... the WZ coded D's from Vegas ...

I was in the SPS at Tonopah in 91/92 .. with the 37th FW ... :) To young for SEA but grew up with hanging around with a bunch of the MA ANG pilot's who had tours in SEA .. Really enjoyed there stories and everything that they were about ! ! !

RJ

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 22:33
by Snake-1
Talking about Fast Facs with 99 brings back memories of working the trails with those guys who really had a tough mission. They'd log a good 5 or 6 hours in the seat at low altitude, high speed, jinking and using High "G" manuvering the WHOLE TIME. They're only rest was going to the tanker four or five times between trips down the trail. When they finally landed they looked like a couple of really beat puppies. I lost a good friend who went through pilot training with me while he was Fast Fac'ing as Laredo (Steve Cuthbert) -- remember him 99??

But equally terrifying was the guys who flew the old-slow 0-1s, 2s, and 10s in the south. These guys had to improvise every day to keep the bad guys from either shooting him out of the sky or figuring out his tactics.

One such mission in the A-37 was to western four Corp for a pre-planned mud moving exercise.

After getting airborne in the early AM listening to "Up, Up, and Away" (AFN's sign on song in the morning) we headed for the rendezvous area and started setting up for the mission at hand.

About 30 miles out we changed to the FAC frequency and immediately heard an excited FAC trying to call us. Once we got him calmed down he told us to hold at about 20 grand and he would get back to us shortly. Twenty minutes later he was back with us still a little excited but a lot more professional.

He said that for the last hour he had been watching several small smoke columns coming from fires on the ground and was trying to figure out what they were without giving away his interest in that area. So he would take a look, go to another area, fool around there for a couple of minutes showing some concern in a non-existent target and then fly back over the ground fires but not show any real interest. Each time he did this the people on the ground seem to multiply watching this stupid FAC going back and forth but doing nothing. On his last pass he said he saw about 50 to 100 VC at the now suspected camp site with a train of bikes loaded with crates, etc. He also thought that the group on the ground had just completed a long nights march and were starting to bed down for the day in the safety of a tree line before they started out again.

The FAC briefed us wanting to use the element of surprise to get as much damage as possible. So in his target briefing he asked if we saw a very pronounced U bend in the river off to his left and the treeline about 150-200 meters back from the inverted crown of the "U" in the river. We acknowledged the sighting and he went on to say that that was our new target and we should position ourselves near the south end of the north south treeline and stay at 20 grand. He went on to say that he was going to fly to a nearby decoy target (nothing there) where he would drop a smoke -- our signal to arm them up (2 cans CBUs, 2 Mk82s, and two 250 pounders each. This smoke would be followed by a Willy Pete which would be our signal to roll in. So there he goes playing "Here. Kitty, Kitty"; down goes the smoke can and on go the switches for the CBU first. In goes the WP and us down the chuteat a five seconds interval with the engines at idle but spooling up nicely in the dive. I dropped the first can at about 8000 and the second about a quarter a way up the treeline followed by my trusty wingman who hit the half way mark and near the end of the line scattering hundreds of little baseballs all along the line.

By now the FAC was overhead and directing the remainder of the drop. By the time we were finished the treeline was non-existent and there was little if any movement on the ground. During the BDA briefing the FAC told us there was so much smoke that we'd have to wait for an accurate count but we were to report "A whole lot of KBA and a bunch of secondaries".

It was a great feeling going home that day knowing that we really hurt Charlie bad and worked with a great FAC who had his SH$$ together and rememberd where he put it.

I can't imagine in my wildest dreams them FAC'ing that way today.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2006, 23:03
by rhinophan99
Snake ... I do indeed know of Steve ... He and his backseater Marion Marshall were downed during a July 72 Laredo sorite, marking a target ( fuel complex ) in the North .. They were both 13th TFS crew .. Steve was listed as MIA till 1990 when his remains were returned and Marshall was captured and repatriated in March 73 ..

I believe I saw where they may have taken a 57m round in the empty centerline bag ...

RJ

Unread postPosted: 15 Aug 2006, 04:50
by Gums
Salute Rhino-breath!

(you too, Snake-man)

During the '72-'73 A-7 tour I heard the Laredo's on the radio, as well as the Wolf FACs. Never was controlled by them.

A Wolf was the dude that led Sandy 1 to the crash site of Bobbin 0-5, the first successful SAR pick-up by the SLUF after it took over from the A-1 troops. Damn CO only let Sandy 1 and 2 go out to locate the Bobbin crew and I had to stay behind as deputy dog (I was Sandy 3 that morning). The rescue was the next morning and I couldn't go as I had been holding down the fort all the day before and didn't have crew rest. Sigh...

On a sidebar, the A-37 was tested as a "half-fast" FAC during Combat Dragon. It was over the Trail, and all of us that were up there for that part of the test program were "FAC-qualified" using fast-movers, but not qualified for in-country CAS missions. Funniest war story was a troop that had run outta rockets and used a 500-pounder to mark the truck park (or whatever). The fast-mover asked what the Dragon had used to mark the tgt. After finding out it was a big egg he asked the Dragon, "What the hell do you need me for?". Heh heh.


I hear that the Viper has a secondary mission these days as a fast FAC. I tried it back in the early days and thot it would be great, especially with nothing but the RX pods and a centerline tank.

later,

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 15 Aug 2006, 18:16
by Snake-1
Hey Gummo!!!

Good to see you back.

With ref. to your comment about enjoying the Fast Fac role in the 16. I don't know about that.

My roommate (Tiger 1) alternated between mission commander for PAC 6 missions and Fast Fac'ing the next day. He use to come back from the Fast Fac'ing stuff absolutely beat out of his mind after five to six hours of 5 to 6 "G's" maneuvering. He said it was a real pleasure to go North in the Hunter-Killer and Mission Commander role cause he could rest his weary body for the next day Fac'ing the trails.

And you know the Viper is much more responsive with a much quicker G onset then the old double ugly. That would really have to hurt some.

But--- what the Hell!!!!!!

Snake

Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2006, 00:05
by rhinophan99
Hey Gums .. what is the deepest you flew into NVN in the Sluf ?

Snakey .. Do you remeber did the Tiger's have the tiger striped scraf's and name tags ? I have 2 different Tiger patches ...

I believe at one time NM ANG had a FAC(A) role when they had the block 40's at least ... The FAC school for the Viper is run by the 310th FS at Luke ..

RJ

Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2006, 01:10
by Snake-1
99

In trying to think back, I think that they did have patches but I really don't remember scrafs (as it was to damn hot to wear the things). He!!, we had our bag zippers at half mast trying to keep cool.

OBTW--- did you get my PM of a couple of days ago????

Snake

Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2006, 04:00
by rhinophan99
Snake ... No PM can you please resend ?

Yeah I bet it was pretty hot there at Ft Apache ! Did you see Rosco ?

RJ

Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2006, 05:46
by Gums
Horrido!

For Snake, yeah, been BZ up in the hills of Colorado trying to complete a fishin' cabin. Hoping to save enuf $$$ for next year's reunion.

For Rhino ...

- Flew the SLUF on three downtown missions during the Christmas blitz. First one was really neat, as WX was clear and we rolled in from 20K and hit a railyard in the middle of Hanoi. Snake had a TDY to HHQ, seems to me, or he would have provided MIGCAP for me.

- I was present for Roscoe's burial in 1975. Saluted him as they played taps. Buried him just outside the O-Club. Interestingly, he was in his regular chair that spring when the 388th Wing flew the last combat missions of the war (Koh Tang Island fiasco). That old dog KNEW when something was up. Strangely, we got our orders to close the base soon afterwards. So Roscoe's passing should have given us a clue that the whole thing was finally over.

Gums sends ...

Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2006, 15:41
by Snake-1
AAAAHHHH!!!!!! Roscoe

He was the only dog I know of that had complete run of the base. And Gums is right ---- he knew all. If he fell asleep in his chair during the pre-dawn briefing it was going to be an easy one. If he sat in his chair and watched everything going on it would be a nut buster. After the briefing he make his rounds to each of the squadrons while we suited up and then once in a while you'd see him sitting near the runway watching the takeoffs. In the club he wouldn't beg for food but knew he could get three squares just by coming through the doors. In the bar he'd sit and watch the strippers the same as the rest of us. He is still toasted at River Rats get togethers as a he!! of a mascot. One other interesting thing is I never heard him bark ---- not even once.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 17 Aug 2006, 14:04
by Meathook
Amazing, how the "soul and character" of a pet can change many of us. I too believe they know more then they can let out but as you guys learned, if you pay attention to the signs, you might be able to see what is happening.

Sounds like a wonderful dog at time he was much needed to keep you sain and find comfort (some cheer) among the insane acts of that era and part of the world.

You guys lucked out, I would have given a years pay to have witnessed such an animal and amazing spirit back then. Maybe the little guy was a gift from above, who knows but I can see he had many friends....how cool is that!

Good on him - Salute

Unread postPosted: 17 Aug 2006, 19:15
by rhinophan99
Hey Snake.... Did you ever happen to fly a Rhino at Korat with the name of " Arnold The Pig " ? I guess so named because it had a belly lnading once or twice and tender to always fly in a slew after that ...

Gums... Pretty neat on the NVN sortie ... I take it you always carried Aim-9's on those missions up into and around the North ...

Robert

:)

Unread postPosted: 17 Aug 2006, 19:25
by Snake-1
99

Never heard of a bird called the Pig and not to many of them had the nose art that some of the THud F's and G's carried. He!! we were lucky just to keep the Tiger Teeth on our birds that no one else had in 72-73 (see my earlier story on this). THe Double ugly E tail flashes were JJ for the 34th. and JV for the 469th. I forget what the D's from the 35th were (Busch would know).

Snake

Tiger and Rosco

Unread postPosted: 17 Aug 2006, 20:26
by olgo
I spent all of 70 at Korat in the 469th.We had some very good pilots to work with.After a softball game one night,Capt Mitch Sadler (great stick and glove)said he had to ck out early(no beers)because he was on his first Tiger Flt. in the AM.We were stunned.We knew he was a short timer and his wife was pregnant.He answered our question WHY with this response.ITS WHAT FIGHTER PILOTS DO.Some of us got up early.To watch him and his GIB,Gorden Hill,launch in 0279at about 0400.They never came back.The CC on 279 and I went to ops for info and Rosco sat between us for a hour or so and never moved but to nuzzled us from time to time.30/06/70 Very sad.
I lost my jet 67-0295Paper Tiger on 9 July 70 with Capt Ron Clingaman and GIB Capt Carey(BOMBS)Ripple.GS Escort.Again I went to ops and Rosco was close to the door and that dog did not leave me for one second while I was there.I saw that dog almost every day for a year and I agree with you SNAKE He never barked.
I made contact with both of my crew in June of this year,after 36 years.
What a Hoot.
Our Mascot at Takali in 65 was a Gibbon Ape named Henry .Does anyone recall?

RE: Tiger and Rosco

Unread postPosted: 18 Aug 2006, 02:34
by rhinophan99
Olgo ... great remembrances ! I have seen reference to " Henry " before not sure where though ..

Snake ..The D's at Korat would be the 35th TFS/3rd TFW from Kunsan with ( UP ) tail code .. The the C Weasel's from Kadena there late 72- early 73 ...

Did you fly any hunter killer missions with those guy's ? ( Kadena Weasels that is ) ..

RJ

Unread postPosted: 18 Aug 2006, 03:32
by Snake-1
99

Three Parts

I know the "D's" were from Kunsan -- just couldn't remember the tail flashes (getting Old). Primarily used them for mud moving in Dixie when not going North. Even the 35th. troops used our "E's" to go North (Busch got two MIGS withour "E's") as our CC wanted them to have as many defensive weapons we could give them (the gun). In fact I left one of their "D's" at Bien Hoa pretty badly shot up.

Don't remember any "C" Weasels during the time I was there in 72-73. Only the Thud "G's".

No Hunter Killer for me in SEA. Had to wait until joining the Weasels in 77-78 at George when we were bringing the F-4G on the line. Last tour was strictly Air to Air in the North.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 18 Aug 2006, 04:16
by Gums
Salute!

'tis true, Snake, the "C" model Weasels were there for Linebacker 2. I knew one of the pilots from my squad at the Zoo.

Secondly, we indeed carried Aim-9's when headed Downtown. In fact, one troop inadertantly launched one thru all the gaggle after coming off tgt. He had selected the missiles before realizing he had hung bombs. Hit the "select jett" mode and pressed the bomb button. Unfortunately, the missile stations were in priority and an unguided 'winder goes screaming thru the Wing's jets. Heh heh.

later ...

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2006, 05:04
by asiatrails
Here is a version of "High Flight" for all the F-4 folks out there:

Oh! I've slipped through the swirling clouds of dust a few feet from the dirt,
I've flown the Phantom low enough, to make my bottom hurt.

I've TFO'd the deserts, hills, valleys and mountains too,
Frolicked in the trees, where only flying squirrels flew.
Chased the frightened cows along, disturbed the ram and ewe,
And done a hundred other things, that you'd not care to do.

I've smacked the tiny sparrow, bluebird, robin, all the rest,
I've ingested baby eaglets, simply sucked them from their nest!
I've streaked through total darkness, just the other guy and me,
And spent the night in terror of things I could not see.

I've turned my eyes to heaven, as I sweated through the flight,
Put out my hand and touched, the master caution light.

-- Author Unknown


Here is the real version

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Died 11 December 1941 age 19.

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2006, 14:43
by Snake-1
Don't know about the young-uns but sure ate a lot of gulls on the low levels from George to the Nellis ranges going up 395 and then cutting across to the ranges. She just spit out the bones and kept on running. Kept an extra click of up trim just to be sure we'd go up if we took one through the front.

Love 50' and 500 on the smash!!!!!!!

Snake.

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2006, 22:00
by Destro
Gums,
How did you guys like those 250lb'ers you carried on the A-37? Were they effective or would you rather have something else like nape or cbu's?

Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2006, 23:17
by rhinophan99
Snake ... Can you give any specific's about the mission where you left the shot up D at Bien Hoa ?

Gums & Snake ... Do either of you know or remember what the standard loadout was for an F-4 fly in SUpport of the SAR force ? I believe sometimes the CS was carried ..

RJ

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2006, 00:08
by Snake-1
99

I'm not sure which story you are looking for but there are two on page 4 of this thread and several more in the "Air Tactics during the Vietnam War" thread in the Forum "Airpower " Thread.

I don't remember every being fragged for a SAR mission in the 4. If we went it was usually an air divert with the weapons that we had on board. And while we had some great bombers in our bunch they weren't nearly as good as the Sluf's, A-1, and A-37 pro's were precision delivery is required on each and every pass. In those cases a 50 foot circular bomb error is total disaster.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2006, 04:17
by Gums
Salute!

First...

We used the 250's on the A-37 as "wind bombs". Then we employed our 4 x 500 pounders, or 2 x 500 pounders and 2 x 750 pounders, or our ix of CBU, RX, nape.

Frag pattern on the 250's was about same as the 500 pounders, as biggest delta was more tritonal with the MK-82's. So the new "small diameter bomb" is basically the 250 lb MK-81 with a good guidance kit. Hell, if you can hit within 4 or 5 meters, then it will do the job. And the new guy hits closer than that.

Second ...

The chemical weapons we (USAF) employed in 'nam were of two varieties. We had basic smoke to keep the enemy from seeing the Jolly during the extraction. Then we had the non-lethal chemical stuff that came in two brands. One was a riot-control agent like tear gas. The other was stronger and was called an "incapacitating agent".

CNN tried to smear us on one op called "Tailwind". In that, we used the strong stuff. It wasn't nerve gas. I repeat, "IT WASN'T NERVE GAS". I was on one SAR where we used it, and it took special permission from 7th/13th AF. My squadron (3rd TFS) in Thailand in 1975 also used the weaker stuff on Koh Tang Island in May of that year. Stuff was degraded and didn't work worth sierra.

My only personal drop was in support of ROK troops in II Corps in early 1968. Forgot to be on 100% oxygen and almost barfed after second pass.

later,

Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2006, 14:23
by LWF
Tailwind was tabloid journalism plain and simple. It was a bunch of hippies trying to find a reason, (other than that pot isn't legal) to hate America.

Unread postPosted: 22 Aug 2006, 02:43
by rhinophan99
Snake ... Did you do any Turn's at Da Nang in addition to Bien Hoa ?

Do you remeber there being alot of USMC activity at Bien Hoa ?

RJ

Unread postPosted: 22 Aug 2006, 04:26
by Snake-1
99

Most of our turns for the 388th. were at Bien Hoa. The only time I went into Da Nang was with a shot up bird from pac 6 (the only place I could go). I think that they purposely kept the "goin North" bases off the quick turn birds so Da Nang could focus on their next trip down the Boulavard.

Didn't have any USMC activity at Bien Hoa while I was there (I think Gums also). Most of the Marine work came either from the boats or the Rose Garden in Thailand.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2006, 04:14
by LWF
Was anyone here ever on Misty, or Stormy?

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2006, 16:20
by Snake-1
Knew several Misty's, no Stormy's, but never flew their tough mission.

Snake-1

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2006, 23:26
by LWF
Did you ever recieve direction from Misty or Stormy then?

Unread postPosted: 12 Oct 2006, 00:35
by Snake-1
As I remember Misty's were primarily flying Huns out of Phu Cat and Tuy Hoa between 67 and 70 and working the trails. While Stormy (and Gunsmoke) were out of DaNang. Gums might have worked with Misty on the trails but my work in mud moving was primarily in the IV Corp area. I might have worked with Stormy (did with Gunsmoke on the trails) but memory fails me.

Snake-1

M-118 & FAEs

Unread postPosted: 20 Nov 2006, 06:22
by Obi_Offiah
Hi

I was just wondering if anyone had experience of dropping the M-118 or Fuel-Air-Explosives?.

Thanks
Obi

Unread postPosted: 09 Dec 2006, 22:10
by RoAF
Some questions about the CBUs used in Nam:

What type(s) were they exactly? - I only have this picture of an F-4 with what looks like CBU-52/58 and saw in a magazine a poor quality pic of a VNAF A-37 with a Mk20 Rockeye (post 1975).

Which was the most used type and why?

Unread postPosted: 09 Dec 2006, 23:41
by Snake-1
RoAF
You bring tears to my eyes when you show old 269 with the 34th. tail flashes and tiger teeth in a Korat revetment. She was a great old bird that later became a Wild Weasel - F-4G and I got to fly her again at George.

In answer to your questions most all of the heavy iron used the cannisters (52s/58s) as they were one of the best area suppression weapons we had at the time. Add to that time delays on about half of the actual munitions and you could have control of a little piece of real estate for a couple of hours. Within these cannisters were either the baseball type (with aerodynamic fins) or bomblet type (looked like a small can with a prop on the rear). Besides use as a area weapon they were also very effective for the killer portion of Hunter Killer teams in suppressing SAMs in the North.

On the A-37 we also had (Gums correct me if I'm wrong here) a five tube and a seven tube type CBU dispenser where the CBUs came out of the rear of the tube. This permitted greater control of the CBU and we could use these when we were tasked for a TIC mission (usually Stuka'd on the bad guys).

Snake

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2006, 07:15
by Gums
Salute!

Listen to the Snake.
*******

In the Dragonfly we carried the linear CBU like he described. 7 tubes or so, each with a dozen submunitions. We abandoned the "butterfly" type early on, as they had a high dud rate and the bad guys could use them for improvised mines. They were also a hazard for friendlies. So most of the stuff we carried in the tubes were the baseball doofers that spinned, armed and exploded when they slowed down. Those were the ones I got 5 trucks with on one pass.

We also carried CBU-24 and CBU-49. Both had same submunition forms, but the -49 doofers had a delay action as Snake described.

In the SLUF, we carried updated versions of the -24, -49. They had radar fuses and we could dial in the burst altitude. Best damned flak and SAM suppression things ever invented. Never personally used them on anything but AAA and SAM sites.

Personal comment: Most of the media hype about "cluster bombs" is way out of the reality zone. The new stuff goes dumb if it doesn't function upon impact or after a few minutes. The most widely used CBU submunitions don't lay around as "mines", and theyare very hard to use as improvised explosives. Now, we DO HAVE MINES. But they are not the weapons that the media is concerned with. They wouldn't know one if they saw one (or got their leg blown off, heh heh).

Another personal comment:

Napalm was the "bogey man" of the media. Not nearly as effective as CBU. The bad guys could hold their breath and duck. Then they would actually shoot at us out of the flames and smoke. Very good weapon for psychological purposes or for incinerating a hootch, but otherwise useless.

Gotta admit, though ...... it sure looked spectacular when it went off!!!

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2006, 19:02
by RoAF
Thank you both for the answers!
Snake - I didn't knew it was one of the birds you flew

A few more questions - what was the designation of the CBU tube dispenser on the A-37? What was the method of deployment - I guess small charges pushing the bomblet out of the tube one after the other (trough the back?)

Now, a couple of questions about SEAD.
AFAIK only the F-105 G carried the Shrike in SEA as far as USAF is concerned - right?
How effective was it? (the Shrike)
Did the vietnamese knew when they were targeted and shut down the radars or they had no clue before being hit?
What radars were targeted in most occasions - the SA-2 sites radar, AA artilery guidance radars or large search and coordination radars at regional HQs?
Did the F-105s need any targeting pod such as the HTS on the Viper? What about ECM pods? I guess the thing strapped to the port fuselage in this pic has to be one of the two.

Sorry for the multiple questions...

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2006, 20:44
by Gums
Salute!

I think the 7-tube doofer was a SUU-14.

The CBU designations were like CBU-14, 22 and 25. One was white phoshoros for laying a smoke screen. One was the baseball doofers that had to spin up to arm and exploded when they slowed down.

The F-4C Weasels carried the Shrike, best I recall from seeing them at Korat in Linebacker. The Thuds carried both that guy and the Standard ARM, which was like a telephone pole, heh heh. Huge sucker.

Shrikes were used for "close in " work. They didn't have a good inertial like the Std ARM or the HARM, so the radar had to be operating when the thing got close. They were very accurate and mostly flew thru the radar antenna when they guided. The Weasels also carried cannister CBU for SAM sites. Snake might have flown a few "hunter-killer" missions where the Weasels kept the enema radar off the air until the Double Uglies could drop CBU on the site.

The Weasels had super, cosmic gear to detect, classify and sort the threat radars. Stuff we got today is more sensitive, faster and more accurate. We also have other "assets" to help. I'll leave it at that.

The main tgts were the SAM sites, then the 85 mm acks, then acquisition stuff. Mainly the things that could shoot, but I am sure many Weasels lofted an ARM at search radars if they didn't shoot at a "shooter".

The SA-2 and SA-3 and many later SAM systems had to have at least one transmitter operating to guide the missiles. If they knew they were being hosed at, it was their call as to turning off whatever they still had running( if they turned off, the missiles went ballistic and our pulse rate went down). Our RHAW gear detected the search, track and guidance systems. The guidance transmitters had a distinctive sound if we had the "raw" audio enabled. And it was that signal that activated our "LAUNCH" light. The tracking radar - Fan Song, had a rattlesnake sound that was very easy to pick up. I have some neat tapes of one and will get a "wav" file up one of these days for all to listen to. The Fire Can (for 57 and 85 mm ack) sounded like car horns.

later,

Gums sends

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2006, 21:52
by Snake-1
Gums hit it pretty much on the head with his narration but I need to clarify (notice I didn't say correct) and add a few small points.

The standard Arm AGM-78 was a big heavy mother and once fired (a great distance out) would send out a signal that closed down quite a few sites thus letting the guys into the area without to much of a threat as the 78 could acquire and track after being shot. But it was a bitch landing with if you had asymetric loading.

In order to get some extra range out of the 45 after acquiring a target at the edge of the 45's effective envelope the guys would loft it at the target.

Didn't get to do any Hunter -Killer activity in SEA but did quite a bit in the "G" afterwards where the whole team was made up of F-4G's armed for both roles.

Now for a clarification the weasels main and primary targets were anything that was a threat to them or the force they were providing SAM Suppression to. But the SAMS with their longer reach and greater hitting power were primary targets and if you got the emitter trailor or the gennerators you effectively shut down 6 or more SAMS.

The RHAW gear was very effective in giving you a heads up at what was looking at you in azimuth but at times (like the 12 days of Christmas) it was such a nunciance because of the volume of activity that we turned it way down or off so we could hear our wing mates instead of the many different tones going off at the same time.

Snake1

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2006, 22:17
by Meathook
The E Modal tail looks like the same jet that came to Clark AB back in 1970 when I was there in the First Test Squadron, we hung a selection of weapons on it for testing...looks like that same jet, I remember that tail and the Tiger Teeth.....man, what a fast flash back that was - thanks

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2006, 01:58
by Gums
Salute!

You can sure tell that the Snake flew in a "crew" jet!

I can see the scenario playing out...........

Snake,"Hey GIB, I'm turning down the volume on the RHAW audio"

GIB, "OK, Snake, I got a handle on stuff". And the GIB is swiveling neck left/right up et al and still listening to all the beeps and such from the RHAW. Gib is also using radar to keep track of we mudbeaters and any Migs approaching the arena. What a blast, as I look back on it.

So we "one-hearts" (single engine and one pilot). turn down the RHAW audio a bit and turn up our VHF/FM radio and basic UHF. We are trained by a honest-to-God SAC EWO assigned to the 354th FW. He would have us listen to all the sounds and test us. We could tell a Fan Song from a Fire Can or a height-finder or a Mig AI radar or an F-4 radar or ..... just by listening. So we had a huge advantage over many folks. Could have the raw audio in the background and the really serious stuff would get our attention.

"Oh well, those days are gone. I should just let them go."

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 14 Dec 2006, 04:22
by Snake-1
El Gummo

I think we had the same SAC EWO as we had the same test. But you got to admit it was quite noisy and overpowering during those Christmas days of 72.

Also please note that I said "WE" in my offering as we both had our sweet cheeks on the line and you know my GIB and what a great credit and rep that he brought to the Viper after going to pilot school. Without a doubt one of the very best in the business with eyes like an eagle.

snake1

Unread postPosted: 31 Jan 2007, 17:26
by RoAF
Some questions regarding rockets:
-what was the most common pod? (I've seen a lot of pictures with 19 tubes for 2.75, some with 4-tubes for the larger ones, but hardly any 7 tube for 2.75)
-how many were usually shot in a pass (from each pod). Did you just empty the pod or select 5, 10, whatever
-rockets colliding against each other (see pics attached) - was this just a rare accident or a common issue - if so how could it be avoided?
-front plastic covers on the pods for improved aerodinamics - were they in use back than?

Unread postPosted: 31 Jan 2007, 18:22
by Snake-1
RoAF

On the A-37 we primarily used the 7 tube and I don't remember ever carrying a rocket pod on the heavier iron that I flew.

I never had much use for them and really didn't consider them a practical weapon for most of the targets we went against. I thought it was more of a nuisance weapon then something to blow their stuff away.

Add to that that if one of the fins didn't open correctly, or they collided, you'd have a ballistic weapon that could cause some collateral damage you didn't want.

Gum's --- your feeling?????

The snake

Unread postPosted: 04 Apr 2007, 01:51
by LWF
Generally my information says that rockets were mostly used by helicopter gunships, not fast movers. Now the exception to that was the WP rockets carried by both fast and slow FACs for target marking. From what I've heard about those, they were fairly reliable. And on a humorous note about the WP rockets, I just read a thing about the LRRPs (long range reconnaissance patrols if you didn't know) and one time a patrol was in danger of being overrun, and an FAC comes along and fires WP rockets at the NVA, and the NVA actually retreated despite the fact that the WP rockets were just target markers, not highly dangerous weapons. Ended up saving the patrol.

Rocks

Unread postPosted: 08 Apr 2007, 04:40
by Gums
Salute!

I personally saw Rhinos fire multiple pods of the LAU-3 variety over the Trail in 1968. Didn't see any Huns firing them, best I recall.

We carried the small pods and the big ones frequently in the A-37. Most of the LAU-3's were "salvo". The 7-tube Lau-57's could be set for single-fire and we would just hit the button quickly.

The A-7D carried both varieties when acting as helo escort in 1072. Could fire a bunch or use the others to mark targets when on SAR missions.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

out,

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2007, 01:00
by Snake-1
RoAF wrote:Thank you both for the answers!
Snake - I didn't knew it was one of the birds you flew

A few more questions - what was the designation of the CBU tube dispenser on the A-37? What was the method of deployment - I guess small charges pushing the bomblet out of the tube one after the other (trough the back?)

Now, a couple of questions about SEAD.
AFAIK only the F-105 G carried the Shrike in SEA as far as USAF is concerned - right?
How effective was it? (the Shrike)
Did the vietnamese knew when they were targeted and shut down the radars or they had no clue before being hit?
What radars were targeted in most occasions - the SA-2 sites radar, AA artilery guidance radars or large search and coordination radars at regional HQs?
Did the F-105s need any targeting pod such as the HTS on the Viper? What about ECM pods? I guess the thing strapped to the port fuselage in this pic has to be one of the two.

Sorry for the multiple questions...


ROAK

In re-reading your input I noticed that I didn't answer some of your questions --- sorry!!! --- it must be an age thing.

First, The Thud did carry a majority of the WW role in Sea with both the Shrike and the 78. But in 72-73 we did have some F-4C Weasels giving a needed helping hand. But they only carried, and employed, the Shrike. They did not have the majic boxes to work the 78. I think that there was also a carriage problem with the 78 for the 4 at that time.

Next, The shrike was fairly effective against any radar controlled site (i.e., SAms, AAA, etc.) as long as the site stayed up. Once it went down the missile went ballistic. But, if the missile was fired and left an electronic footprint, sites would not know if it was targetting/locked on to them or someone else. If they stayed up they had a good probability of being hit. If they went down they weren't protecting anything. So either way the Weasels job was done.

As I said above, the bad guys had to decide if they had big Brass ones or tiny nuggets. In order to keep them shut down for the longest time possible crews would loft the missile at its max range.

The target offering the greatest threat to the Weasels and the strike force was the primary. In most cases it was the SAMs but if the strike birds went in at medium to low altitude it could be AAA. THe SAMS were the biggest worry to the strike force as they could really reach out and touch someone.

I'm not really sure what the Thud had on board as tracking equipment but I do know it was in azimuth only (No range). And yes they did have ECM pods. We didn't get the range capability until the F-4G with the 35 radar system. This little beauty would tell you EVERY threat that you were facing with range and azimuth and would track in memory its position while you are messing around in the target area. You could also prioritize (ZSU-23-4's, 6's and 8's over 2's, or what ever order you wanted) targets to take out to reduce the threat. Then we put the AGM-65 on board so that we could go in low, pop on the target for minimum exposure time, lock and launch the 65, and get back in the weeds again as quickly as possible. We'd be exposed for maybe 15 or 20 seconds depending on how fast the bear locked up the 65. It was great fun and being the snake I loved it down there (besides I get nose bleeds at high altitude).

Quick story-- in the FOT&E phase of bringing the G on line we had to go against the Navy at the Fallon Electronic range. Their sites were positioned at each corner of a wide rectangle and they were use to the Thuds and their tactics of launching their 45's and 78 and medium to high altitude so they had a very high kill rate against the threat from George. We went in with two "G's" split up (coming in from the east) about 100 miles out with one G coming in from the north against the west two targets and the other G coming in from the South against the two eastern targets. We were so low we were leaving sand roster tails and the snakes were looking up at us. WE both popped within 5 to 10 seconds of each other killed all the targets on the first pass within another 15 seconds and then circled the site while the Navy tried to catch up. They then asked us to try that stunt again and again we whipped them badly. They became better over time but still had problems with quick lock-ups and firing when we came in from the weeds.

Hope this answers all.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2007, 05:42
by Gums
Salute!

You talking the IIR Mav, Snake?

Damned E-O doofer was a bear to get locked on. The IIR version could pick out a "hot" antenna or whatever real easy.

The HARM seemed to me a super doofer. The ones we were integrating in the late 80's and early 90's had a really good inertial that could "remember" where the threat was and hit pretty close if the dude shut down.

We were doing work for the Navy's A-12 (before it got cancelled) and had a few briefs with the Rhino Weasels here at Eglin's TAC outfit (pre- Air Combat Command). Our intention was to get rid of the "dedicated" boxes that the HARM used on other Navy planes like the Hornet. The Rhino Weasels didn't use them, so we went to them to find out what we could.

********

Folks that haven't seen the STD ARM don't realize how big that sucker was. Looked like a telephone pole to me when the Thud Weasels carried them.

later,

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2007, 02:49
by Snake-1
Gunno!!!!

Sorry for the delay in answering but wanted to check with my old Bear before I put my foot in my mouth.

In the Fot&E we tested both the 65 A and B and did some work with the EO and the IIR married to the APR-38 (which after upgrading became the 47).
Helluva system!!!!!

To amplify on your discription of the size the the Standard arm. It was the only weapon that I ever carried that I could look at from the front copypit of the 4G and see the front half of the puppy. AND THAT's ON THE INBOARD STATION (the only place we could carry it). And when firing at night YOU NEVER LOOKED AT it!!!!!!

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2007, 02:50
by Snake-1
GUMMO!!!!

Sorry on the misspell of your handle

Snake

Unread postPosted: 22 May 2010, 05:41
by Snake-1
To all
Been a long while and a half since I've been up on Freq. and have missed the great discussion and BS we shared.

But now have some news that should not be passed up.

For pages and pages now El-Gummo and I have regaled you with stories about how great the A-37 was in the combat environment and how poorly reports of its accomplishments had been published. WELL --- those days are over and we are now getting a little long overdue recognition in a highly recognized aeronautical magazine.

At our last Reunion in Branson Missouri a writer from Air & Space Smithsonian Magazine sat in awe as we regaled him for hours above the grand little bird and its historical accomplishments. Our comments were reflected in his writing and published in the January 2010 edition of the magazine under the title of "Legends of Vietnam: Super Tweet" and ran for eight pages starting on page 42. The cover of the magazine has a photo of Charles Lindbergh and last I saw it was still up on the internet of Air&space Magazine. If you are interested take a read.

And yes TC we did have handle bars at the time.

Gummo -- sorry you missed the last get together as it's main theme was to honor Lou Weber. I took it upon myself to go all the way to the Vice Chief to get a Fly over for the boss. And after reviewing my input and his accomplishment(i.e., flying as a Flying Tiger in WW two,F-86's in Korea and then the super tweet in Nam the Vice said "Hell Yes we want to do this" and the A-10's out of Whitean did a Hell of a job on both timing and position that we got on videotape. It was a great ssend off to a great leader.

THe Snake

Unread postPosted: 22 May 2010, 15:55
by Guysmiley
That's awesome! The article is also available on the Air & Space website: http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/Legends-of-Vietnam-Super-Tweet.html

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2010, 00:34
by TC
With a handle bar 'stache and a $h!tload of Snakes & Napes anything is possible!

Great article Snake! Welcome back!

Unread postPosted: 23 May 2010, 03:10
by Snake-1
TC

Great to be back with this elite bunch!!!!!!

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 28 Jun 2010, 20:29
by sundowner11
This might not be exactly air to ground, but I heard somewhere that Vietnam was divided into different administrative zones, I've never been sure what that was all about, someone have an answer?

Unread postPosted: 29 Jun 2010, 14:50
by Snake-1
In answer to sundowner

I'm not sure if this could be referred to as administrative zones but the country was divided into Route Pacs in the north, 1 through 6, and in the south Corp areas, 1 through 4. These division, I think, were made up for identification of combat zones for ongoing operations. But I am not sure if they were also used as administrative. If I can find a map o f these areas I will post it for you.

The Snake

Unread postPosted: 29 Jun 2010, 21:33
by fiskerwad

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 03:15
by sundowner11
To snake and fiskerwad,

That clears things up alot thank you. I was always confused when reading a book about Vietnam they would mention about I Corps or something like that.

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 04:16
by Snake-1
11

AS promised here are the maps of the Route Pac areas, with special interest areas annonated, and the Corp areas of the South along with the Admin areas. Now if I can figure out how to attach them we're golden.

THe Snake

Has anyone heard from GUMMO lately or are we going to have to send out a res-cap for him.

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 04:27
by Gums
Salute!

Heyo, Snake-breath!!!

Up in the mountains trying to get this cabin finished and looking at our rejoin site for next year.

TNX for the Corps and Rte pack map. Something to help the yutes.

I worked in the frag shop last four months and it looked like 7th AF worked across the Corps lines only a little. Most missions were allocated according to the Corps and fighter wing locations. Hence, we rarely flew II Corps, and Phu Cat rarely flew IV Corps. in fact, I never saw the Phan Rang Huns flying IV Corps, and it seemed to be rlegated as the sole hunting ground for the Bien Hoa Huns and the Raps.

During Tet of '68 all bets were off and everybody flew all over the place.

During the late years, the A-37's outta Bien Hoa flew Cambodia, II Corps a lot from what I hear.

Over on the F-35 forum I just commented about hi-tevch versus low-tech planes depending on the mission and resources like $$$$. Jump in there.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 15:27
by fiskerwad
sundowner11 wrote:To snake and fiskerwad,

That clears things up alot thank you. I was always confused when reading a book about Vietnam they would mention about I Corps or something like that.


You're welcome, sundowner. That same website has some online books on the war that might be of interest.
http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/books/
fisk

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 16:09
by Snake-1
Gummo

No tally or visual on the F-35 Forum you are quacking about.

Give ame a steer.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 16:13
by fiskerwad

Unread postPosted: 02 Jul 2010, 21:21
by sundowner11
You're welcome, sundowner. That same website has some online books on the war that might be of interest.
http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/books/
fisk



Have you ever read anything by Colonel (USA ret) David Hackworth? Its pretty good stuff in my opinion.

To any veterans here, what was a typical ground support sortie like? Did face any particular challenges or anything like that?

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 00:49
by Snake-1
11

I'm sorry but I don't think there is a generic type of ground support mission. They could either be a walk in the park or as Gums would say knifes in a phone book. If they were a pre-planned mission they could be pretty ease cause the bad guys would probably know you are coming or the FAC's repeated interest in an area would cause one of two things. Either the gomer's would disappear or they'd set up an ambushand try to gut you if you got careless. If you came off the alert pad or were air diverted you know that your people on the ground were in deep Kim-Shee and the going was going to be rough. In either case you never got complacant -- NEVER!!!!!

Then there is the question of aircraft involved and what risks you could take with her. With the A-37 you could pretty much be assured that you would make it home unless you were a complete fool and tried to play John Wayne with the bird. She was very small as a target so the golden bee-bee would have to be coated in krypton and the God's behind it to hit you. Besides that we could Stuka the ordnance from 10,000 feet and the first they knew you were there was when they were picking their teeth out of their coffee cup. It was also very quiet. Out of over 350 mission in her I only took battle damage once and that was because I pressed the target (I was young and foolish at the time) and ate my own frag.

Its a different story with either Hun or the Double Ugly though. Here you were flying a very big and predictable target to them and commited to a convention type of 30 45 or 60 degree dive angle where if you diveate from it, the bomb may land in the same county but not on target. And once you are commited to the attack the gomer knows your delivery airspeed and can track you accordingly. Besides that once you set up your pattern (either random or wagon wheel or whatever they also know that the majority of the flight will start their delivery from the same altitude use the same dive angle and delivery airspeed, usually about 450. Finally, they probably saw and heard you come into the area several minutes ago that allowed them to set up their welcome mat. And if you were asked to loiter that just gave them more time to figure out what they were going to do to you when they were ready.

I guess the morale to this story is never treat any mission as a milk run. Next, don't be predictable. Split your flight into elements attacking from different altitudes and/or dive angles. It makes them stop and think and re-configure and those seconds can mean everyone coming home or maybe not. Don't be afraid to try something new and different. Just because you haven't read about it in training or studied it doesn't mean you can't do it. Besides surprise may play in your favor as the enemy doesn't know what your doing and he will have to figure it out before he commits his people and reveals his fighting postion.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 01:09
by sundowner11
Wow thanks again, Snake. You flew Dragonflies then you switched to F-4, right? Aside from the obvious what was it like to fly the two in a sortie.

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 03:11
by Snake-1
11

THe difference was like night and day. The little Dragonfly was the last true fighter aircraft. Now before I have every Viper stick jump down my throat or kicking me off the net, let me explain. THe little "A" was a basic as they come -- just like the Mustang's, Lightings and Thunderbolts of WWII. No boosts, no gee whiz electronics, no warning signals, no auto pilot (just altitude hold) straight wing, iron sights, and needle ball and airspeed. In other words everything was dependent on the pilot. And if you were a brand new brown bar (and we had a couple) it was a hellavu airplane to learn in and very forgiving too. She would give you exactly what you asked for and if you asked for too much she'd shutter and that was the only clue you got. Besides that she had two very powerful engines that could carry and deliver over three thousand pounds of ordnance futher then the hun from the same base. A great little airplane to lose your cherry in combat.

The F-4 was the cream of the crop in that era. She had all the bells and whistes there was and she needed them. Threat warnings, ECM emitters, lead computing sights, internal cannon (when it finally came, mers and ters, TISIO, Loran, etc, etc, etc. But in the North you couldn't get by without them and survive on a repeated basis. And while you had to be as aware as you would in the "A" or any combat environment you had to go one step further to keep up with all the other equipment beeping or blinking at you so the job at hand was a lot more demanding in the 4 and I would imagine in the Viper and then the 22 and 35 as one replaced the other and more strides in technology had been sucessful.

I guess the thing I'm trying to say is that in the "A" you flew the airplane but now with fly by wire technology, you almost need a PHD in computer science just to get the bird ready to fly, and you are more managing the aircraft and being as old as I am I like the old school better. But I also understand that in today's thinking of having one airplane that does everything its a good way to fight but a hellavu lot more demanding.

Didn't mean to step on any toes here and hope I didn't.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 04:58
by Gums
Salute!

Listen to the Snake and Gums and Outlaw. Dinosaurs, sure, but we had the chance to move from one generation of jets to another, and yet another in my case.

As with Snake, I only got hit once in over 300 missions in the A-37. was my flameout landing mission, and I made repeated passes at low alt dropping lineal CBU at about 300 feet.

The fascination with high-tech that i see from the yutes regarding the F-35 bugs me. The thing has some of the best attributes you can have even without the whiz-bang helmet and another thing or two. Great legs, decent ord, stealthy, and a high degree of commonality with the other few thousand that will be fielded in the next ten years.

The Vee experience was repeated in Desert Storm with the Warthog. There's a mission for a lower tech jet as well as the high-tech ones. Ya gotta balance the threat with the mission requirements and your available platforms.

The "new" close air missions today use GPS-guided bombs or laser-guided ones. Exception being the Warthog when it strafes, heh heh. For small enemy units this works. If you have a few enemy units, then the coord and such required for the GPS deliveries begins to bog down. meanwhile, the Warthog can change direction and roll in within seconds on the new target.

later,

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 05:06
by Snake-1
Gums

Since we are in the Air to ground arena I'm only going to say this once. You better get your skinny little butt to the Springs next year or I'll hunt you down like a mad junk yard dog and rip your vitals out inch by bloody inch!!!!!!!

DO YOU COPY????

The Mean A$$ Snake

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 12:42
by fiskerwad
OT!
As one who will celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, I would like to thank
Snake and Gums and Outlaw and all the others who make that possible.
fisk

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 13:42
by sundowner11
Snake-1 wrote:11

THe difference was like night and day. The little Dragonfly was the last true fighter aircraft. Now before I have every Viper stick jump down my throat or kicking me off the net, let me explain. THe little "A" was a basic as they come -- just like the Mustang's, Lightings and Thunderbolts of WWII. No boosts, no gee whiz electronics, no warning signals, no auto pilot (just altitude hold) straight wing, iron sights, and needle ball and airspeed. In other words everything was dependent on the pilot. And if you were a brand new brown bar (and we had a couple) it was a hellavu airplane to learn in and very forgiving too. She would give you exactly what you asked for and if you asked for too much she'd shutter and that was the only clue you got. Besides that she had two very powerful engines that could carry and deliver over three thousand pounds of ordnance futher then the hun from the same base. A great little airplane to lose your cherry in combat.

The F-4 was the cream of the crop in that era. She had all the bells and whistes there was and she needed them. Threat warnings, ECM emitters, lead computing sights, internal cannon (when it finally came, mers and ters, TISIO, Loran, etc, etc, etc. But in the North you couldn't get by without them and survive on a repeated basis. And while you had to be as aware as you would in the "A" or any combat environment you had to go one step further to keep up with all the other equipment beeping or blinking at you so the job at hand was a lot more demanding in the 4 and I would imagine in the Viper and then the 22 and 35 as one replaced the other and more strides in technology had been sucessful.

I guess the thing I'm trying to say is that in the "A" you flew the airplane but now with fly by wire technology, you almost need a PHD in computer science just to get the bird ready to fly, and you are more managing the aircraft and being as old as I am I like the old school better. But I also understand that in today's thinking of having one airplane that does everything its a good way to fight but a hellavu lot more demanding.

Didn't mean to step on any toes here and hope I didn't.

Snake


No toes stepped on, I'm only 18. I'm learning a lot right now.

What was the deal with the FAC (Foward Air controllers)? Correct me if I'm wrong, but they were used to coordinate air strikes in a particular area. I've heard the term mentioned here before, but I've heard them using different call signs, did a particular call sign fly from a particular base?

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 15:01
by Snake-1
11

The Forward Air Controllers (FAC's) had one of the toughest job in SEA as they were always at the mercy of the bad guiys flying low and slow antique aircraft in the start of the war and living in remote areas surrounded by gomers and operating out of mostly dirt runways. In the South they flew either the O-1, the O-2 (with push-pull props) or later the OV-10 and controlled all air strikes, with the exception of B-52 strikes and Sky Spot missions, in their areas of responsibility. In the North Route Pac areas they started out flying the F-100 along the Trails but because she guselled fuel she was replaced by the F-4 that worked both the trails and Route Pac areas.

The callsigns were assigned to both operating locations and individuals. So when you were working Covey 14 in the south you knew that Covey was out of XXX site and 14 was John Wayne. It was the same in the North for the Tiger (Korat), Laredo (Udorn), and Wolf (Ubon) FAC's.

In the south the FAC's were always in touch with the army group they were assigned to as well as the TACC which was their two controlling agencies. The Army for realtime TIC strikes and the TACC for pre-planned mud moving sorties. In the North the fast movers pretty much had a free hand in target selection and delivery but also worked with the airborne ABCCC (Air Borne Command and Control) aircraft for airbourne diverts of sttrike aircraft to them for hot targets.

Finally, the FAC's in the south usually flew for the better part of the day while the FAC's up North usually would only work 4 to 5 hours in the high threat areas. This was due to both the multiple refueling you needed to stay on stattion and the continued high "G" maneuvering you would have to do jinking all the time to avoid enemy ground fire. You came back from those missions so beat up it was unreal and every muscle in your body hurt.

Snake

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 15:29
by Gums
Salute!

And then there were the Ravens........

Go google them, and then read the book.

You may also wish to google Rustic, Sidewinder, Misty ( great book - "Bury Us Upside Down", and Don Shepperd flew the A-37 after his tour in Huns in 68, went on to become Air National Guard Chief and a CNN "expert" in 2001 -2002).

The Trail was divided into Tigerhound, Steel Tiger and Barrel Roll. I was in the A-37 detachment at Plieku that flew night interdicton when the Joint Test Force was still going, then we switched to in-country for the '68 Tet. Check out Nimrod, Zorro, Spad, Yellowbird, Alley Cat, Hillsborough, et al. We flew as Dragons then.

Have a happy 4th !!!

GUms sends ...

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 15:49
by Snake-1
Gums

Wasn't Hillsbourgh the ABCCC bird that worked the area near NKP??

Snake

Unread postPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 23:24
by sundowner11
Wow thanks again Snake-1 and Gums. I hope I didn't cause you guys any trouble having to answer all might questions.

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 20:25
by Gums
Punt

Had to find this thread to go with the other one with all the Mig kill war stories

Gums sends...

P.S. For all, I made the last Dragonfly rejoin and coord'd the USAFA tour and on the tour we went to the new Viet Nam Pavillion. An inspiring place and a prominent memorial bench or two for our last A-37 loss - Mike Blassie.

Unread postPosted: 09 May 2012, 07:16
by archeman
For any Thud pilots that care to answer....
I have always been curious about the mindset of 105 pilots when enemy air activity was reported to be vectoring towards your flights.
Was the standing orders of the time to stay in formation and let the package CAP intercept them or did every element have it's own authority to pickle bombs and turn into the enemy or egress?

Follow up....
The Thud appears to be clearly an energy fighter and not a device to take into a turning fight with the Migs of that era. What air engagements can you relate and what tactics were most effective for the mix of aircraft and weapons that were available.