Air-Ground in Vietnam

Discuss air warfare, doctrine, air forces, historic campaigns, etc.
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Snake-1

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Unread post02 Jul 2010, 16:09

Gummo

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

Give ame a steer.

Snake
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fiskerwad

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sundowner11

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Unread post02 Jul 2010, 21:21

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?
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Snake-1

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 00:49

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
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sundowner11

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 01:09

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.
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Snake-1

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 03:11

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
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Gums

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 04:58

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...
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Snake-1

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 05:06

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
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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 12:42

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.
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sundowner11

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 13:42

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?
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Snake-1

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 15:01

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
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Gums

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 15:29

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 ...
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Snake-1

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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 15:49

Gums

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

Snake
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Unread post03 Jul 2010, 23:24

Wow thanks again Snake-1 and Gums. I hope I didn't cause you guys any trouble having to answer all might questions.
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Unread post29 Apr 2012, 20:25

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.
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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