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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:10 pm 
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NefariousKoel wrote:
Old Eagle wrote:

Also read anything by Keith William Nolan.





My old man is mentioned a couple times in his book The Magnificent Bastards.

His CO (iirc) mentions seeing the barrel of his M-60 glowing brightly during the night engagement(s) from his vantage point further back. Although the old man was a bit pissy that his account recalled him being a Private, but he'd actually made Sergeant by that point.

Tough battle against lots of NVA in I Corp attacking the base at Dong Ha in the lead-up to Tet IIRC. It was a brutal head-on fight more resembling large bloody battles of previous generations.

Pretty sure I posted a pic or two, here at the Doghouse or a previous iteration, of a village they had been holding after they were being lifted out after a few days of battle. Looked like the surface of the moon.. almost no buildings or vegetation just artillery craters left.

Got a few interesting little tidbit stories regarding that episode.

The most hair-raising book I've read by KWN was "Ripcord." It chronicled the destruction of Fire Base Ripcord by the NVA, near the end of the war.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:17 pm 
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mdiehl wrote:
Slightly off topic but Multiman Publishing will son release a tactical (company level) tabletop consim of VN combat called Front Toward Enemy. It's in Preorder status right now ($48) and will retail for $65 when completed.



GMT is also reprinting it's solitaire Fields Of Fire platoon-level command system this year.

The Army-focused version features the 9th Infantry in Vietnam, along with Korea and Normandy. Have read a lot of praise about how relevant the decision-making is, on that scale, within the game.

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-322-fields-of ... ition.aspx


They're also later reprinting the Marine sequel too.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:19 pm 
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This might be the 26 Dec 1972 strike ... still trying to figure it out ...

Image

Regardless, these are obviously D's and probably Guam based on the number and the runway with the extreme dip ...

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:50 am 
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Mills, Hugh, L., "Low Level Hell", Presidio Press, Sep 2000 (I read a kindle edition)

The author flew Aeroscouts in 1/4th Cav, 1st Infantry Division in 1969. About mid-summer he became the aeroscout platoon leader, when the existing PL DEROS'd. The first half of the book is amazingly positive and very full of action. It reads more like an action comic than the war memoir.

At this stage, most missions were flown with an OH-6A down low and an AH-1 up high. When Mills first showed up, the aeroscouts doctrine was to find the enemy and call in the gun (the cobra). But apparently Mill's had a hand in changing that doctrine and when he became PL, strapping a 7.62 mini-gun on the left side of the LOACH became SOP. There was also a crew chief in the rear cabin with an M-60.
Getting down as low as possible allowed the aeroscouts to find enemies that could not be seen from several hundred feet up. Also being low muffled the sound of the engines and created more opportunities to surprise the enemy. Being "shot down" was a normal event and some aeroscouts were shot down multiple times per day. They picked themselves up, dusted them selves off and went out again.
Mill's technique included the idea of always overflying a given area at a different height a different speed and from a different direction. The book contains examples of what happened to pilots who did not follow this technique.

In the second half of the book, the unit starts taking casualties and this is a less pleasant section, but it is real none the less, so cannot be ignored. Sometimes the enemy just gets lucky, sometimes the scouts or guns make mistakes. Even badly wounded crew members return to the fray after convalescence. Mill's has a rule that he will not accept a medal, that is not also given to the crew chief. Prior to his policy, the pilots were getting medals one level up from the chiefs.

It is an amazing book and I couldn't put it down. I think I will read it again soon. It will not be a chore.

Thanks OE (and doggie) for the suggestion!

==
BTW, in his second tour, he winds up in the Mekong and I wanted to read about that, since that is actually my subject - so looking for the second volume in the series !!!
:)

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Copying this review over here from the READING thread. Unfortunately, I started this Vietnam Studies thread about the same time the READING thread got stickied ... but I want to keep my VN stuff all together here. SO I will post the VN stuff here and nonVN stuff over in the READING thread.

==
Plaster, John L., SOG - The Secret Wars of America's Commands in Vietnam, ONYX, New York, 1998

Plaster was a SOG Recon man himself, so he knows about what he writes. The book tells the story of the US Army SOG operations in Vietnam in a chronological sequence. Operations involved "recon" and "rescue" and "prisonor snatching" and planting agents in NVN (as well as other ops types). The "recon" operations were the most frequent. These took place in Loas and Cambodia. The basic objective was to interdict supply lines from Haipong to the Northern 2/3rds of SVN as well as the supply lines from Sihanoukville to the Southern 1/3rd of SVN. A typical recon team consisted of "One Zero" US team lead, "One One" second in command and "One Three" third in command as well as an average of about five indigenous fighters, either "Nungs" or "Yards". Engagement level details are provided, included weapons, movement, disengagement, sleeping arrangements etc. In Laos, Recon men often carried CAR-15 a short barreled M-16 and tried to start with 21 (20 rd) magazines (a LOT of ammo). They carried various grenades and claymores as well. In the early days of Cambodia they carried all NVA style equipment, no US weapons, to provide "deniability" as to who they were. They carried lots of radios as well.
Overall my impression is sadness as these guys went into situations over and over again, that were virtually hopeless, being out numbered 10, 100, 1000 to one and when they survived it was only by a combination of luck and wits. They were brought in by helicopter and brought out by helicopter. The NVA learned to let the recon men alone and try to ambush the exfil choppers. This tactic then generated larger rescue operations on the part of SOG to pull out the crews of the shot down choppers as well.
SOG did a great job tactically and even operationally disrupted supplies far beyond their numbers, but with a flawed strategy at the highest levels, their efforts were for naught. But they did cover each others backs and do everything they could do to get each other out alive and that part is not sad.

Of course, this book contains no data from the NVA side, so we really are missing half of the story. How werr the raids perceived by the NVA? How effective were they really? I am working on developing other sources to try to answer these questions.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:54 pm 
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Quote:
... It's The Soldier

It's the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the
PRESS.

It's the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of
SPEECH.

It's the soldier, not the campus
ORGANIZER,
Who has given us the freedom to
DEMONSTRATE

It's the soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a
FAIR TRIAL.

It's the soldier who salutes the flag,
Serves under the flag
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who gives the protester the right to burn the flag.

Father D. E. O'Brien


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:49 pm 
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Michel III, Marshall L., "The 11 Days of Christmas", Encounter Books, New York, NY, 2002, 325p
Marshall Michal III flew 321 combat missions in Vietnam in F-4s and RF-4s from 1970 to 1973.

The book provides background for the history of SAC (Strategic Air Command) and events in Vietnam up to December 1972. The book traces through Nixon's decision to launch the Dec air campaign. Goals were to end American involvement and get our POWs home. There had been an agreement in Oct 1972, but the US side reniged and wanted additional changes and the North Vietnamese declined to accept the additional changes. Congress was due back in Washington in early January 1973 and expectations were that they would defund operations. Hence Nixon had a deadline, he had to get the North Vietnamese and himself to an agreement before the end of December.

The SAC culture that developed under LeMay was a top down leadership culture. The mission was to provided massive retaliation to any Soviet nuclear strike on the USA. The bomber component needed to remain on alert at all times, so rigid standardized processes were in place. SAC's motto was "Peace is Our Business". The author mocks this motto with a chapter entitled "War is Our Hobby" ... as SAC is resistant to use the B-52 at all in Vietnam. When the B-52 are used earlier in the war for "Arc Light" missions, these are unopposed and suffer no losses.

The Rolling Thunder campaign ran from 1965-1968 and involved no B-52s on tactical aircraft and tankers from SAC. From 1969 through Nov 1972, no major bombing of the North occured exept for a brief period in early 1972 known as "Linebacker".

As the plans for the December 1972 bombing evolved, the mission was political, get the North to agree to terms and get the POWs home. The USAF would be given free rein to set the targets, though minimizing civilian losses was still part of the ROE. SAC decided SAC would run the missions from Omaha. The B-52s were based on U-Tapao in Thailand and Andersen AFB on Guam. There twere two wings of B-52D and one wing of B-52G involved. One of the B-52D wings are U-Tapao, the other at Guam and the B-52G wing at Guam and total of just over 200 B-52s were available. The 8th Airforce was in charge at Guam. In addition 7th Airforce (Tactical) would provide Wild Weasel, MIGCAP and other support from Sout Vietnam and Thailand.

The B-52s had 6 man crews. Pilot, Co-Pilot, EW, Navigator, Observer, Gunner.

The D models's differed from the G models as follows: D model identifiable by taller sharp pointed tail, whereas the G model has shorter cut off tail. D models had bee modified to "big belly" standards carrying 108 x 500lb bombs. The G models could only carry 27x500lb bombs, 25% of the conventional payload. Also, the D models had multiple ALT-22 jammers which were more advanced than the bulk of the ALT-6B jammers on the G models. The D model gunner was physically located in the tail and had to eject out thru the tail. In the G, the gunner was in the main forward cockpit area and ejected with the rest of the crew.

The planning by SAC was embarrasing and deadly for the crews. The aircraft were flying in from the same direction (NW) each of the first 3 nights, at the same altitude in one solid stream and making PTT Post Target Turns) and the same spots each night. The predictability of this pattern, the fact that the PTT maneuvers significantly reduced jammer strength (by pointing the jamming attennae away from the enemy) and the reduced jamming capability of the G models, lead to losses in the first 3 nights of 6 G model and 5 D model. Given that twice as many D model were involved, the percent losses of the Gs were much higher and the G models were not sent to bomb in the Hanoi/Haiphong area again.

On the North side, they started the battle with 10 SA-2 battalions around Hanoi. During the campaign an additional 4 battalions would be involved. The biggest problem the North had was rate of assembly of new missiles. The Battalions started with 6 launchers each and had 12 total missiles (one on each launcher and one on each of six spare missile trucks). But rate of assembly only averaged 40 per day and some battalions fired all the missiles they had each night. So shortage of missiles was the key issue for the North.

Days 4-7 of the campaign were actually reduced intensity missions with only the U-Tapao D models participating. During this period, the decision was made to delegate planning and operational control down to the Eighth airforce. Significant changes in tactics were made for night 8 of the campaign.

All bombers for the night would arrive over the target in one 15 minute period, saturating the defense. Bombers would come fromi all directions and use altitude differences to reduce ppossibility of air collision. BOmbers would not use PTT, or would minimum angles of turns so as to avoid elimnating their jamming effects.

The idea of one quick massive strike also allowed the tac air supporting the operation to mass their resources, rather than have to spread them out over the whole evening.

Briefly, nights 8 thru 11 were very successful. Lots of bombs were dropped, lots of targets were destroyed AND the North ran out of missiles and realized they could not stop the bombing. The book gives us the impression that it was this realization that brought them back to the table.

The US agreed to go back to the original Oct agreement and the North agreed to that as well. Essentially we bombed them back to where they already were in terms of their position.

This is an "exciting" story. The "bad guys" are the SAC command structure almost more than the NV enemy as arguably the SAC tactics caused losses that could've been avoid, if SAC had not insisted on their tactics, which ignored recommendations from ALL field commanders.

The operation was close to a disaster for the US side up until the 8th night and hence the final results were hardly a forgone conclusion.

The aircrew did an amazing job of doing their duty despite terrible command.

The book does include information from the North side, though the info is not as inclusive as the info from the US side.

I wonder if there are any former SAC commanders who wrote anything that is "balanced". Will hunt for such. I understand that the official AirForce history actually tells us that SAC command won the campaign and brought the enemy back to the table. An account which is NOT aligned with the data in Michel's book.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:45 pm 
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Too many typos in the above... here is a cleaner version

Michel III, Marshall L., "The 11 Days of Christmas", Encounter Books, New York, NY, 2002, 325p

Marshall Michal III flew 321 combat missions in Vietnam in F-4s and RF-4s from 1970 to 1973.

The book provides background for the history of SAC (Strategic Air Command) and events in Vietnam up to December 1972. The book traces through Nixon's decision to launch the Dec air campaign. Goals were to end American involvement and get our POWs home. There had been an agreement in Oct 1972, but the US side reniged and wanted additional changes and the North Vietnamese declined to accept the additional changes. Congress was due back in Washington in early January 1973 and expectations were that they would defund operations. Hence Nixon had a deadline, he had to get the North Vietnamese and himself to an agreement before the end of December.

The SAC culture that developed under LeMay was a top down leadership culture. The mission was to provided massive retaliation to any Soviet nuclear strike on the USA. The bomber component needed to remain on alert at all times, so rigid standardized processes were in place. SAC's motto was "Peace is Our Business". The author mocks this motto with a chapter entitled "War is Our Hobby" ... as SAC is resistant to use the B-52 at all in Vietnam. When the B-52 are used earlier in the war for "Arc Light" missions, these are unopposed and suffer no losses.

The Rolling Thunder campaign ran from 1965-1968 and involved no B-52s or tactical aircraft and tankers from SAC. From 1969 through Nov 1972, no major bombing of the North occured exept for a brief period in early 1972 known as "Linebacker".

As the plans for the December 1972 bombing evolved, the mission was political, get the North to agree to terms and get the POWs home. The USAF would be given free rein to set the targets, though minimizing civilian losses was still part of the ROE. SAC decided SAC would run the missions from Omaha. The B-52s were based on U-Tapao in Thailand and Andersen AFB on Guam. There were two wings of B-52D and one wing of B-52G involved. One of the B-52D wings are U-Tapao, the other at Guam and the B-52G wing at Guam and total of just over 200 B-52s were available. The 8th Airforce was in charge at Guam. In addition 7th Airforce (Tactical) would provide Wild Weasel, MIGCAP and other support from Sout Vietnam and Thailand.

The B-52s had 6 man crews. Pilot, Co-Pilot, EW, Navigator, Observer, Gunner.

The D models's differed from the G models as follows: D model identifiable by taller sharp pointed tail, whereas the G model has shorter cut off tail. D models had been modified to "big belly" standards carrying 108 x 500lb bombs. The G models could only carry 27x500lb bombs, 25% of the conventional payload. Also, the D models had multiple ALT-22 jammers which were more advanced than the bulk of the ALT-6B jammers on the G models. The D model gunner was physically located in the tail and had to eject out thru the tail. In the G, the gunner was in the main forward cockpit area and ejected with the rest of the crew.

The planning by SAC was embarrasing and deadly for the crews. The aircraft were flying in from the same direction (NW) each of the first 3 nights, at the same altitude in one solid stream and making PTT Post Target Turns) and the same spots each night. The predictability of this pattern, the fact that the PTT maneuvers significantly reduced jammer strength (by pointing the jamming attennae away from the enemy) and the reduced jamming capability of the G models, lead to losses in the first 3 nights of 6 G model and 5 D model. Given that twice as many D model were involved, the percent losses of the Gs were much higher and the G models were not sent to bomb in the Hanoi/Haiphong area again.

On the North side, they started the battle with 10 SA-2 battalions around Hanoi. During the campaign an additional 4 battalions would be involved. The biggest problem the North had was rate of assembly of new missiles. The Battalions started with 6 launchers each and had 12 total missiles (one on each launcher and one on each of six spare missile trucks). But rate of assembly only averaged 40 per day and some battalions fired all the missiles they had each night. So shortage of missiles was the key issue for the North.

Days 4-7 of the campaign were actually reduced intensity missions with only the U-Tapao D models participating. During this period, the decision was made to delegate planning and operational control down to the Eighth airforce. Significant changes in tactics were made for night 8 of the campaign.

All bombers for the night would arrive over the target in one 15 minute period, saturating the defense. Bombers would come in from all directions and use altitude differences to reduce ppossibility of air collision. Bombers would not use PTT, or would minimumize angles of turns so as to avoid elimnating their jamming effects.

The idea of one quick massive strike also allowed the tac air supporting the operation to mass their resources, rather than have to spread them out over the whole evening.

Briefly, nights 8 thru 11 were very successful. Lots of bombs were dropped, lots of targets were destroyed AND the North ran out of missiles and realized they could not stop the bombing. The book gives us the impression that it was this realization that brought them back to the table.

The US agreed to go back to the original Oct agreement and the North agreed to that as well. Essentially we bombed them back to where they already were in terms of their position.

This is an "exciting" story. The "bad guys" are the SAC command structure almost more than the NV enemy as arguably the SAC tactics caused losses that could've been avoid, if SAC had not insisted on their tactics, which ignored recommendations from ALL field commanders.

The operation was close to a disaster for the US side up until the 8th night and hence the final results were hardly a forgone conclusion.

The aircrew did an amazing job of doing their duty despite terrible command.

The book does include information from the North side, though the info is not as inclusive as the info from the US side.

I wonder if there are any former SAC commanders who wrote anything that is "balanced". Will hunt for such. I understand that the official AirForce history actually tells us that SAC command won the campaign and brought the enemy back to the table. An account which is NOT aligned with the data in Michel's book.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:27 pm 
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Smith, John T., “Rolling Thunder - The Strategic Bombing Campaign - North Vietnam 1965-1968”, Air Research Publications, Surrey, Great Britain, 1994

It has not been possible to find out much about the author. There is a John T. Smith who was a lecturer at Hull University. Persons by this name have publications in 19C and 20C British history as well as several articles in AirPower Enthusiast. My assumption is these people are one in the same and that we have a historian, who might have first been a Victoria Era historian, but who made a hobby of airpower related studies, at least.

In the Introduction, the author makes the point that the Rolling Thunder campaign did not achieve its objective and asks the question whether this was because air power was incorrectly applied. The author states the book will attempt to answer the question.

As a chronology of the events of Rolling Thunder, the book is fine. We start with the reasons for the escalation to the bombing in the Johnson administration in 1964 and 1965, the attacks on bases in the South which has US servicemen killed and aircraft destroyed. And the Tonkin naval incidents. The idea of “graduated” attacks is discussed. The civilian targeting and “micromanaging” of weapons and tactics is reviewed.

Appendices cover much detail on the aircraft, refueling, and tactics used by the US aircraft to engage what became to most sophisticated air defense system on Earth.

The WWII experience of strategic bombing is reviewed. The biggest problem with this review, is that while the Allied experience in bombing Germany is covered in some detail , the campaign against Japan is not mentioned. This is unfortunate as most of the true strategic bombing done by the Allies was done against Japan. The author either left out the experience of the Japanese campaign because the data did not fit his thesis, or because he did not think the Japanese experience was different from the German experience, or perhaps because he did not think the Japanese experience was relevant. None of these reasons are good reasons. Omission of the Japanese bombing experience is a black mark against the author.

The firebombing campaign against Japan, was arguably the ONLY true strategic bombing campaign which has been carried out on Earth to date. The goal was to destroy the cities, some 67+ cities were substantially destroyed and Japan’s war making ability was paralyzed. Hamburg and Dresden were likewise bombed. But, the Allies did not under take a true strategic bombing campaign against Germany. Why against Japan and not Germany? Could it have been that Japanese civilian lives were not considered as valuable as German ones? Could it have been “racism” !!?? Perhaps! But the facts are the facts. And strategic bombing was used against Japan and it was effective. Perhaps it did not end the war all by itself, but it was certainly a factor.

Next the author repeats that the Rolling Thunder campaign was not effective in achieving its goals, which were to stop the North from fighting in the South.. This seems to be an obvious fact. The author asks whether air power could have been applied differently thereby achieving the result. The author states there is no evidence that a more intense campaign (bombing specific targets more quickly) would have changed the result. The author is correct, that there is no such evidence. History is a contingency science. We cannot “play it again” with a different choice. Essentially the author is saying we cannot know because it did not happen and that is true.

The author makes the point that the North was fighting a “total war” and that the US was fighting a “limited war” and hence, the North was able to react to the US bombing successfully and endure and this is also true.

But the author ignores the “elephant in the room” as to whether a true strategic bombing campaign would have taken the North massively and quickly out of their comfort zone and had the best chance of success.
Curtis LeMay, at the end of his tour as Airforce CoS, advised Johnston to Nuke the North. He was fired. There are two forms of strategic bombing, nucs and incendiaries. If you don’t want to use nukes due to your religion, then use incendiaries instead. The results are fairly similar, it just take a LOT more planes to carry all the incendiaries. If the B-52s had dropped Incendary/HE mixesin early 1965 only all DRV targets, that LeMay would’ve dropped Nukes on, as quickly as possible, the physical results would've been similar and perhaps the political results would have been achieved. We cannot know, because it was not done. But if it had been done, we would know we tried everything except nukes. We would know we tried true strategic bombing.

As a teaser, in his conclusions, the author does say, “There undoubtedly was a level of bombing that would have crushed the North but that was beyond the political and practical level that the Americans were prepared to go.”
Interesting. This is the only case, where the author allows that some viable (technical) option existed and he even says “undoubtedly” which is sort of a contradiction to his earlier “there is no evidence to support” … he says “beyond the political and practical” … political certainly as was exemplified by LeMay’s suggestion not being adopted. But beyond the practical? Hum. Of course the author never states what this “level of bombing that would have crushed the North” might be. For me, it is “true strategic bombing” … either nukes or incendiaries and we had the practical means to deliver either, but not the political will. We never should’ve been involved in VN anyway. But if you will fight, you must decide if you are willing to win and if not, then it is better to find something else to do. As it was, many people died for a really dumb reason.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:35 am 
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JW you're going to want to read this to continue with your studies:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tunnels ... 0891418696

I read this years ago and was amazed by how different these tunnel rats operated from the ones in the 101st.

Little men with YUGE BALLS.

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