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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:02 pm 
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Re-reading MacCarthy and Michel and Grau ... realized I'd better re-read them before I post. This is regarding Linebacker II.

Enjoying the re-reads.
:)

==
OE ... I read Tunnels of ChuChi years ago IIRC ... but nothing else on that topic since ... it was harrowing ... grab an m1911 and a flashlight and head down into the earth to see what happens! Not sure I have enough balls for that ... :)

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:20 am 
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FInally ...

Sources:

McCarthy, James R. Brig. General, Allison, George B. Lt-Col., "Lineback II: A View From The Rock", Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Airpower Research Institute, Air War College, 1979

Drenkowski, Dana, Grau, Lester W., "Patterns and Predictability: The Soviet Evaluation of Operation Lineback II"

http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/docume ... bility.pdf

Michel III, Marshall L., "The 11 Dayss of Christmas: America's Last Vietnam Battle, San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002.

==

The purpose of these posts is to highlight some ideas from Michel's book. Drenkowski and McCarthy will be used as supporting material.

Michel's theme throughout most of the book is the SAC micromanagement created conditions within the B-52 force bombing hanoi, which exacerbated the losses. They initially refused to listen to advice to change tactics. But perhaps worse, after the war, they and the USAF high command have suppressed the truth of the near disaster, preferring to paint a story of a great success, led by SAC.

The early chapters of Michel's book tell the story of SAC of through the start of Linebacker II. SAC was very much the brainchild of Curtis Lemay. The rigid procedures were Lemay also. But given the primary nuclear mission and the preceived importance of that mission in those days, this is perhaps understandable. But that meant that SAC enters the Vietnam war, unprepared for the sorts of combat they will face. In fact SAC (Lemay) heavily resisted any use of its bombers in "little wars" including both Korea and Vietnam.

For the B-52 force (a.k.a. SAC, though SAC included the KC-135 force as well), the VN War up to Linebacker primary involved the ARCLIGHT missions in the South which were unopposed. So mostly flying out and dropping ordnance on jungle corrodinates and flying back. A combat mission, but not the same experience the TAC drivers were having going up north, or even going down in the weeds in the South. So SAC's experience during the VN war did not further prepare them for Linebacker II, other than the expansion of the capability to carry more bombs in the "D" models. Also, interestingly, the EMC of the "D" models had been upgraded, but not all of the EMC of the "G" models had been upgraded by the time of LBII.

So by the time LBII starts, SAC is still itself a top down driven force, eat, drink, sleep, wake, flying abort, bomb, etc all by the book. All part of the machine. Contrasting this to the TAC drivers who by this point believed there was no sense talking about tactics above the squadron level and the missions and hence the ordnance, the engagement areas, the opposition, the targets would be different and to discuss tactics, one needed experience flying in the conditions for which the tactics were being discussed.

LBII was conceived as an operation designed to "end the war" or more properly to "get the USA POWs home". In that sense it was successful. However, during LBII, after the 3rd night, the NV walked out of the Paris talks thinking they were winning. However, after the 8th night they signalled willingness to reengage in talks, thinking they were losing. They then signed in January (so did USA, SVN, VC) and the POWs were home in a few months.

LBII almost failed, but it got turned around. Why did it almost fail? How did it get turned around? Why did it ultimately succeed? And is USAF still attempting to deceive itself over the LBII events, I think Michael answers these questions.

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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:21 am 
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continued due to length ...



Why did it almost fail? How did it get turned around? Why did it ultimately succeed?
The first three days of bombing 18, 19 and 20 Dec 1972 SAC was in charge. The specified that three waves of bombers would be used, staggered by several hours and that all waves and all cells would follow the same flight path (exactly) and use the Post Taget Turns. In Nuclear delivery, the B-52 few single ship missions and used the PTT (even as far back as Hiroshima and Nagasaki the PTT were used). And there were no "waves" in Nuclear war.
The NVN were able to deduce the patterns and act accordingly and by the 3rd day the SAMs on the ground were ready. Day one has 2 x B-52 downed, day two had none but day three saw six B-52 shot down with four of them being the "G" models with inferior jaming. The "G"s were then withdrawn from combat over Hanoi.
Per Michel, The crews were very upset with the rigid "tactics" dictated by SAC HQ in Omaha by people who has never had a missle fired at them.
THe B-52s were flying out of both Andersen AB on Guam and UT AB in Thailand. Crews from both bases were complaining to their bosses. The bosses, like McCarthy, at Guam supported the SAC tactics and threatened to court martial any crew that violated them. The boss at U-T acted differently. In response to data he received from his crews, he reacted in an extraordinary fashion. He violated the chain of command.
His name was General Glenn Sullivan, he sent his message directly to General Meyer, the SAC boss and sent a copy to his direct boss, General Johnson at 8AF. Michel tells us this effectively ended Sullivan's career. But, Joe speaking here, a man who supports his troops might be a hero in the eyes of some! :)
So Sullivan asked for:
Vary the inbound routes, change the altitudes, no PTT a total of ten specific tactics changes.
The net result was that SAC did delegate tactics to 8AF. On the 26th of Dec, the next big mission. The B-52s came in from multiple directions at different altitudes, no PTT all B-52s over the targets in one 15 minute timeframe. This also allowed concentration of the chaff blanket. The 8th night raid included 120 x B-52s, 78 from Andersen and 42 from U-T. Two B-52s were lost. The next day, Dec 27th, the NVN reengaged in the "Peace" talks and the rest of history.
At the price of a career, the control and tactics was gained and one night's raid with the new tactics made the difference.
Joe talking ... but what if Sullivan had been an ass-kisser like McCarthy?

And one more question:
Is USAF still attempting to deceive itself over the LBII events?
In his chapter "Denoument" Michel tells us the story of the post war historiography of LBII.
SAC desired to tell the story of how excellent SAC planning and execution won the war and brought the POWs home. There were some internal USAF studies that indicated otherwise, but Michel tells us these were suppressed and destroyed. Then one Dana Drenkowski (B-52 and F-4 pilot) wrote some articles published in Armored Forces Journal and Soldier of Fortune that stirred the pot. His position was that SAC screwed the pouch and only heroics by the crews and Sullivan saved LBII from failure. The USAF reacted by attempting the smear Drenkowski. Those studying the data will have to decide for themselves.

Other material:
I wanted to read McCarthy's book directly before commenting on it and I have. Per Michel (page 231) McCarty's book "remains the accepted Air Force view".

And I found a 2011 article by Drenkowski and Les Grau. This paper gives us insight into the Soviet side on the battle and is interesting data! But further, in the end notes, the authors discuss and compare Michel's book with McCarthy's book. They write: "Michel has written the most comprehensive, even-handed, English language book on operation Linebacker II and we relay on his research ..." and also they write, "Brigader General James R. McCarthy and Lieutenant Colonet George B. Allison produced "Linebacker II, A View from the Rock" as the official USAF history of the operation. Unfortunately, it whitewashes SAC's problems and appears to be written to prevent criticism of USAF senior leadership. The Soviet material supports the Michel book."

The Authors and their sources:
Michel, Drenkowski, McCarthy and Allison were all USAF pilots during the period about which they write. Thus they are all subject matter experts. Unfortunately, that does NOT make them professional historians !!! :D

Michel and McCarty's books do not use footnote or endnote format's that are aligned with the standards of professsional historians.
Les Grau I know well. He was an Army officer and he was in my Military History program at KU about a decade ago. We say side by side in a number of classes and have also met at conventions. He has been translating russian to english for his entire career and in late 2000's got a PhD in miiltary history in the combined Leavenworth/KU Program and now works at Leavenworth. So, Les is a professional historian and hence the Drenkowski/Grau paper is documented correctly. I put a lot of weight on the evaluation of Michel and McCarty's works provided in the Drenkowski/Grau paper, due to Grau's involvement.

Summary:
LBII almost failed due to rigid SAC procedures, which make sense in the Nuclear War they were built/trained to fight, but did not fit into the war in SEA. They adapted after 3 days, but one commander had to fall on his sword to make it happen. The USAF continues to avoid learning the lessons from LBII that would benefit the service. This is the worst aspect. The crews that fought and died as disrespected and the service itself is disrespected. Maybe this will be corrected one day.

_________________
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(will the resident return to being the President?)
(will the rainbow shack return to being the White House?)


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:34 pm 
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First Sergeant

Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:50 pm
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Apologies for the typos ... I have attempted to correct them and here is v2 with those corrections :)
==
Sources:

McCarthy, James R. Brig. General, Allison, George B. Lt-Col., "Lineback II: A View From The Rock", Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Airpower Research Institute, Air War College, 1979

Drenkowski, Dana, Grau, Lester W., "Patterns and Predictability: The Soviet Evaluation of Operation Lineback II"

http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/docume ... bility.pdf

Michel III, Marshall L., "The 11 Dayss of Christmas: America's Last Vietnam Battle, San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002.

==

The purpose of these posts is to highlight some ideas from Michel's book. Drenkowski and McCarthy material will be used in support.

Michel's theme throughout most of his book is that SAC micromanagement created conditions within the B-52 force bombing hanoi, which exacerbated the losses. They initially refused to listen to advice to change tactics. But perhaps worse, after the war, they and the USAF high command have suppressed the truth of the near disaster, preferring to paint a story of a great success, led by SAC.

The early chapters of Michel's book tell the story of SAC of through the start of Linebacker II. SAC was very much the brainchild of Curtis Lemay. The rigid procedures were Lemay also. But given the primary nuclear mission and the preceived importance of that mission in those days, this is perhaps understandable. But that meant that SAC entered the Vietnam war, unprepared for the sorts of combat they will face. In fact SAC (Lemay) heavily resisted any use of its bombers in "little wars" including both Korea and Vietnam.

For the B-52 force (a.k.a. SAC, though SAC included the KC-135 force as well), the VN War up to Linebacker primary involved the ARCLIGHT missions in the South which were unopposed. So mostly flying out and dropping ordnance on jungle corrodinates and flying back. A combat mission, but not the same experience the TAC drivers were having going up north, or even going down in the weeds in the South. So SAC's experience during the VN war did not further prepare them for Linebacker II, other than the expansion of the capability to carry more conventional bombs in the "D" models. Also, interestingly, the EMC of the "D" models had been upgraded, but not all of the EMC of the "G" models had been upgraded by the time of LBII.

So by the time LBII starts, SAC is still itself a top down driven force, eat, drink, sleep, wake, flying abort, bomb, etc all by the book. All part of the machine. Contrasting this to the TAC drivers who by this point believed there was no sense talking about tactics above the squadron level and the missions and hence the ordnance, the engagement areas, the opposition, the targets would be different and to discuss tactics, one needed experience flying in the conditions for which the tactics were being discussed.

LBII was conceived as an operation designed to "end the war" or more properly to "get the USA POWs home". In that sense it was successful. However, during LBII, after the 3rd night, the NV walked out of the Paris talks thinking they were winning. However, after the 8th night they signaled willingness to reengage in talks, thinking they were losing. They then signed in January (so did USA, SVN, VC) and the POWs were home in a few months.

LBII almost failed, but it got turned around. Why did it almost fail? How did it get turned around? Why did it ultimately succeed? And is USAF still attempting to deceive itself over the LBII events, I think Michael answers these questions.

_________________
Go trumpf Go !!!
(will the resident return to being the President?)
(will the rainbow shack return to being the White House?)


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:35 pm 
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First Sergeant

Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:50 pm
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Location: Eskridge, KS
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hy did it almost fail? How did it get turned around? Why did it ultimately succeed?
For the first three days of bombing 18, 19 and 20 Dec 1972 SAC was in charge. SAC specified that three waves of bombers would be used, staggered by several hours and that all waves and all cells would follow the same flight path (exactly) and use the Post Taget Turns. In Nuclear delivery, the B-52s flew single ship missions and used the PTT (even as far back as Hiroshima and Nagasaki the PTT were used). And there were no "waves" in Nuclear war.
The NVN were able to deduce the patterns and act accordingly and by the 3rd day the SAMs on the ground were ready. Day one has 2 x B-52 downed, day two had none but day three saw six B-52 shot down with four of them being the "G" models with inferior jaming. The "G"s were then withdrawn from combat over Hanoi.
Per Michel, The crews were very upset with the rigid "tactics" dictated by SAC HQ in Omaha by people who had never had a missile fired at them.
The B-52s were flying out of both Andersen AB on Guam and UT AB in Thailand. Crews from both bases were complaining to their bosses. The bosses, like McCarthy, at Guam supported the SAC tactics and threatened to court martial any crew that violated them. The boss at U-T acted differently. In response to data he received from his crews, he reacted in an extraordinary fashion. He violated the chain of command.
His name was General Glenn Sullivan, he sent his message directly to General Meyer, the SAC boss and sent a copy to his direct boss, General Johnson at 8AF. Michel tells us this effectively ended Sullivan's career. But, Joe speaking here, a man who supports his troops might be a hero in the eyes of some! :)
So Sullivan asked for:
Vary the inbound routes, change the altitudes, no PTT a total of ten specific tactics changes.
The net result was that SAC did delegate tactics to 8AF. On the 26th of Dec, the next big mission. The B-52s came in from multiple directions at different altitudes, no PTT, no "waves" all B-52s over the targets in one 15 minute timeframe. This also allowed concentration of the chaff blanket. The 8th night raid included 120 x B-52s, 78 from Andersen and 42 from U-T. Two B-52s were lost. The next day, Dec 27th, the NVN reengaged in the "Peace" talks and the rest is history.
At the price of a career, the control of tactics was gained and one night's raid with the new tactics made the difference.
Joe talking ... but what if Sullivan had been an ass-kisser like McCarthy? So the result was NOT a foregone conclusion (Joe talking).

And one more question:
Is USAF still attempting to deceive itself over the LBII events?
In his chapter "Denoument" Michel tells us the story of the post war writings about LBII.
SAC desired to tell the story of how excellent SAC planning and execution won the war and brought the POWs home. There were some internal USAF studies that indicated otherwise, but Michel tells us these were suppressed and destroyed. Then one Dana Drenkowski (B-52 and F-4 pilot) wrote some articles published in Armored Forces Journal and Soldier of Fortune that stirred the pot. His position was that SAC screwed the pooch and only heroics by the crews and Sullivan saved LBII from failure. The USAF reacted by attempting to smear Drenkowski. Those studying the data will have to decide for themselves.

Other material:
I wanted to read McCarthy's book directly before commenting on it and I have. Per Michel (page 231) McCarty's book "remains the accepted Air Force view".

And I found a 2011 article by Drenkowski and Les Grau. This paper gives us insight into the Soviet side of the battle and is interesting data! But further, in the end notes, the authors discuss and compare Michel's book with McCarthy's book. They write: "Michel has written the most comprehensive, even-handed, English language book on operation Linebacker II and we rely on his research ..." and also they write, "Brigader General James R. McCarthy and Lieutenant Colonet George B. Allison produced "Linebacker II, A View from the Rock" as the official USAF history of the operation. Unfortunately, it whitewashes SAC's problems and appears to be written to prevent criticism of USAF senior leadership. The Soviet material supports the Michel book."

The Authors and their sources:
Michel, Drenkowski, McCarthy and Allison were all USAF pilots, in either F-4s and/or B-52s during the period about which they write. Thus they are all subject matter experts. Unfortunately, that does NOT make them professional historians !!! :D

Michel and McCarty's books do not use footnote or endnote format's that are aligned with the standards of professsional historians.
Les Grau I know well. He was an Army officer and he was in my Military History program at KU about a decade ago. We sat side by side in a number of classes and have also met at conventions. And we've even played wargames together. He has been translating russian to english for his entire career and in late 2000's got a PhD in miiltary history in the combined Leavenworth/KU Program and now works at Leavenworth. So, Les is a professional historian and hence the Drenkowski/Grau paper is documented correctly. I put a lot of weight on the evaluation of Michel and McCarty's works provided in the Drenkowski/Grau paper, due to Grau's involvement.

Summary:
LBII almost failed due to rigid SAC procedures, which made sense in the Nuclear War they were built/trained to fight in, but did not fit into the war in SEA. They adapted after 3 days, but one commander had to fall on his sword to make it happen. The USAF continues to avoid learning the lessons from LBII that would benefit the service. This is the worst aspect. The crews that fought and died are disrespected and the service itself is disrespected. Maybe this will be corrected one day.

_________________
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(will the resident return to being the President?)
(will the rainbow shack return to being the White House?)


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 Post subject: Re: Vietnam Studies
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:19 am 
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Am referring to your last 4 posts ... Good summary, fits with my understanding.

SAC's planning was shit, after the first day the aircrews told the planners their plans were shit and they were being sent on missions that were more dangerous then need be due to the planning. SAC planner ignored them and ordered them on the same missions ... the aircrews followed orders and again suffered heavy losses. Don't remember how many missions they flew with those orders until somebody ordered a change and the heavy losses stopped.

The aircrews were heroes, they knew what whey were up against ... a high chance of being shot down, dying or Hanoi Hilton.

They bitched and followed orders.

As far as the disrespect, maybe, been gone since '76. The Desert Storms may have cleared the air ... if it needed clearing?

These fuckups happen to all services, in all nations. Like:
Quote:
WAR IN THE GULF: R.A.F.; British Pilots' Risky Mission: Low-Level Raids on Airfields
By PHILIP SHENON, Special to The New York Times
Published: January 25, 1991

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 24— They fly the most dangerous mission of the air war against Iraq, these daring young British pilots, most in their 20's, who must skim over Iraqi territory just a few dozen feet above the desert sands and try to bomb well-defended airfields.

So far, 10 of the Tornado bomber airmen have died or are missing; 6 of the planes have been shot down over enemy territory or crashed. That compares with 15 planes lost by the much larger American bomber fleet.

Another two-man Tornado crew disappeared today when its plane went down over Iraqi territory.
(Continued)
http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/25/world ... ields.html
They changed their tactics after headlines like this.

I wouldn't say the 'Royal Air Force' should be called the 'Royal Air Farce' ... have too much respect for the men who risk their lives then and now.

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