Guerilla warfare in the air

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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nastle

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Unread post05 Jun 2020, 17:06

https://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Shadows- ... 1410215806

https://media.defense.gov/2017/Dec/27/2 ... IN_SKY.PDF

Based loosely on the above study I wanted to ask if "Air guerilla warfare" could have been used in the latter half of 20th century as a viable alternative against an opponent with overwhelming air superiority ?

In many ways was the vietnam's tactics against USAF/USN not the epitome of air guerillas ? refusal to use airpower in the traditional sense , hit and run tactics by small groups of fighters

Can anyone please cite other examples from the cold war period ?
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basher54321

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Unread post05 Jun 2020, 18:34

If you look at some of the things that enabled those tactics in Vietnam/Indochina then you could see what would happen in another situation.

The US often helped them a lot by flying in large formations at a height using similar routes - allowing them to be picked up by radar - thus the MiGs could be directed to intercept from a position of advantage (often remaining hidden until too late).

If the MiGs made it through the intercept then could usually fly back to a base that couldn't be bombed, and even when the US started bombing the MiG bases they could still land in China. So although they didn't have that many MiGs operational at the same time no one could touch their supply lines to China / USSR for more of them - so overall a right a pain in the neck.

On the few occasions the VPAF deviated from this and tried tactics with large numbers of MiGs they came off very badly.

One thing though detecting an enemy first, moving into position and then hitting them before getting out is a desired traditional tactic not really new to Vietnam.

One problem with the later Cold War years is that most things moved to the deck because Radars. For any intercept to work you need to know where they are first with enough time to get your jets there.
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nastle

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Unread post05 Jun 2020, 18:48

basher54321 wrote:If you look at some of the things that enabled those tactics in Vietnam/Indochina then you could see what would happen in another situation.

The US often helped them a lot by flying in large formations at a height using similar routes - allowing them to be picked up by radar - thus the MiGs could be directed to intercept from a position of advantage (often remaining hidden until too late).

If the MiGs made it through the intercept then could usually fly back to a base that couldn't be bombed, and even when the US started bombing the MiG bases they could still land in China. So although they didn't have that many MiGs operational at the same time no one could touch their supply lines to China / USSR for more of them - so overall a right a pain in the neck.

On the few occasions the VPAF deviated from this and tried tactics with large numbers of MiGs they came off very badly.

One thing though detecting an enemy first, moving into position and then hitting them before getting out is a desired traditional tactic not really new to Vietnam.

One problem with the later Cold War years is that most things moved to the deck because Radars. For any intercept to work you need to know where they are first with enough time to get your jets there.


good points

I feel like a weaker airpower can focus on more "air denial" than "air control " missions
i.e rapidly concentrate its inferior resources in a smaller area of the front, challenge enemy air control for a short duration to achieve aims whether they be to interdict strategic targets deep inside enemy airspace, support of ground operation or simply to inflict disproportionate attrition on enemy airforce. And then withdraw its air forces and absorb the resulting punishment by superior airforce.SOmetimes I feel like even the soviets had a similar strategy to counter NATO air superiority, and this was necessary for them as they did not have the long ranged high performance fighters to maintain CAP over enemy territory.
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mixelflick

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Unread post11 Jun 2020, 14:26

This has a Taiwan vs. China conflict written all over it IMO..

Taiwan knows it can't stand toe to toe with a Chinese airpower onslaught, so they'll probably attempt something similar. If I'm not mistaken, their F-5E's and new Brave Eagle fighter are plumbed for the Sky Sword II hypersonic, long range missile. Hit and run tactics will be their only recourse. Even new F-16v's will be out-classed in some cases by newer Chinese designs. Perhaps they'll be tasked with taking on whatever Chinese aircraft get through the first Sky Sword volleys.

Hopefully we'll never see it. But if we do, they'd be well served to use such a strategy IMO..

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