Sunday, March 11, 2012


This is coolbert:

Flak trap!

From the earliest days [1965] of the American aerial bombardment and offensive against North Vietnam, the American Air Force not faring well, meeting unexpected resistance and looking very bad in the process.

Encountering the Soviet SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile [SAM] for the first time, the USAF demonstrating a lack of preparedness that must have startled a lot of high ranking officials. And the aftermath even much worse!!

Thanks to the book: Clashes: Air Combat Over North Vietnam, 1965-1972" - - By Marshall L. Michel, III.

"USAF"On July 24, 1965, Leopard, a flight of four Air Force F-4's, was in the area of the of the SA-2 site when the site's Fan Song radar locked on . . .  despite [a] warning SA-2's hit the F-4 formation, downing Leopard 2 and damaging the other three f-4's. After the loss permission was given to attack several sites; three days later a strike force of F-105's made an ill-advised low-level attack on two missile sites . . . Only one site was occupied; the other site a was a flak trap whose AAA tore into the American strike. Six F-105's were lost, and the sites essentially were undamaged."

That radar site and missiles removed by the North Vietnamese in anticipation of a USAF retaliatory air strike, a false emitting radar left in place, the area saturated with AAA [anti-aircraft-artillery], A TRAP THAT WORKED! AN ENTIRE USAF AIR WING THAT STRIKE FORCE OF FORTY-EIGHT F-105 SENT TO DESTROY A BOGUS SAM SITE, RATHER THAT WING SUFFERING EVEN GREATER LOSSES IN THE PROCESS!!

Please do not think, however, that the USAF was ALONE in the mistake of flying large formations of tactical bomber aircraft into flak traps! The United States Navy [USN] aviation too was guilty of the same!

"on the night of August 11-12 [1965] the Navy lost an A-4 to a SAM. Permission was given to attack this particular installation, and two days later the Navy repeated the Air force's mistake by sending a large strike force to find and attack the site. Not only did the attackers not find the SAM Site, but North Vietnamese guns in the area shot down six of the Navy aircraft."

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?

I am not sure what the highest level of civilian leadership must have thought of such ineptitude? Is this the correct work - - ineptitude? The American military aviation at the time would have been perceived to be more or less omnipotent and not susceptible to such poorly executed missions with disastrous results?

But it was so!


1 comment:

Steiner said...

USAF strike tactics were limited during the first few years of the war by the requirement that the SAM site launch first. Search and destroy was expressly forbidden thanks to the absurd micromanagement of combat by the political command. Colonel Broughton describes this policy and its deadly effect on the F-105 fleet in "Going Downtown".