f-104 in vietnam

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greg

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Apr 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/18/99
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a friend recently told me that f-104 played
a major role in vietnam
although i am not a historian,
i've not heard of any of their exploits
any comments?


Tex Houston

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Apr 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/19/99
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Not major in the F-105, F-4 vein but they did CAP flights when we went north
but like the F-102, they were minor players.

Regards,

Tex Houston

greg wrote in message <7fe3oe$ejp$1...@east43.supernews.com>...

Ed Rasimus

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Apr 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/19/99
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"greg" <tst...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>a friend recently told me that f-104 played
> a major role in vietnam
>although i am not a historian,
>i've not heard of any of their exploits
>any comments?
>
>

The Zipper was only purchased by the AF in small numbers, although
production for other nations was significant. The aircraft was
deployed to SEA at least twice but never had much impact. It wasn't
optimized in U.S. versions for ground attack and didn't prove very
effective in the CAP or escort roles due to lack of a decent A/A radar
fire control system.

The 104's suffered several losses due to SAMs and one blunder
navigationally that resulted in a shoot-down over Hainan island. They
didn't exactly cover themselves with glory.


Ed Rasimus *** Peak Computing Magazine
Fighter Pilot (ret) *** (http://peak-computing.com)
*** Ziff-Davis Interactive
*** (http://www.zdnet.com)

Hugh Dickson

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Apr 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/19/99
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Aloha, I Think the "blunder" was 104 pilot Philip E. Smith 9/65.
I am now reading his 1992 book Journey into Darkness. Autographed
too! He was ground backup to a flight of four on SAR cap. He
launched solo to replace a broke bird. Never got a good vector to
his flight, lost the DG after some hard maneuvers and the whiskey
compass was frozen in its holder. Shot down over Hainan Island
by a ChiCom Mig 19 using guns. Seven years solitary at the "Hotel
Peking".
Released after Nixon went to China. Smith was later base CO at
Hellenikon, Greece and Bergstrom, TX.

Regards, Hugh

StrykerBC

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Apr 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/19/99
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F-104s never proved to be the best aircraft in Vietnam. They suffered several
losses and were ineffective on CAPs due to their poor fire-control system and
their short range, and were all but useless in combat against MiGs, mainly
because they weren't very manuverable. Had the F-104G played a role (or a
US-modified clone), the F-104 might've been an excellent anti-personnel
platform, thanks to its powerful M61 cannon and its ability to fly fast at low
level. Another thing that puzzles me about the 104 is why it was never made
into a "Wild Weasel." It was fast, made in 2-seat B and D versions, could be
modified with ARMs, and, most importantly, it had a small radar return. I've
thought it over again and again and my opinion is that the F-104 would've made
an excellent Wild Weasel.


--
"That's my story and I'm stickin' to it"-

Stryker
Chairman of EIEIO

Remove "NOSPAM" to respond via EMail
********
"I'm White Knight, you're Black King, and I owe you a chessboard."

Page 57, Chapter Four,
"Tomorrow Never Dies"

wal...@oneimage.com

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Apr 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/19/99
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thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>"greg" <tst...@yahoo.com> wrote:>
>>Snip>
The TAC 104Cs in 'Nam didn't do much for a variety of reasons.
1) Inability of the HQs to employ the aircraft as an interceptor
due to lack of knowledge.
2) Inadequate training of the pilots in Intercept and ACM tactics
using the best points of the aircraft. The 479th TFW's DOC was
strike, not air superiority. The 479th pilots 'dogfought' rather than
using the aircraft's superior speed and acceleration, rather like
the first P38 pilots trying to turn with Zeroes in WW2.
3) The 104C could only carry 2 bombs (of course during the bomb
shortage that's all anyone got).
4) The fixed IFR boom on the Zipper was an abortion that cost the bird
fuel and mach. Had MacNamara okayed some bucks it could have had a
no-drag receptacle.
I could go on but it's all ancient history now . . .
Walt BJ ftr plt ret


Ed Rasimus

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Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
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stry...@aol.comNOSPAM (StrykerBC) wrote:

>F-104s never proved to be the best aircraft in Vietnam. They suffered several
>losses and were ineffective on CAPs due to their poor fire-control system and
>their short range, and were all but useless in combat against MiGs, mainly
>because they weren't very manuverable. Had the F-104G played a role (or a
>US-modified clone),

If you consider the fact that the 104G was equipped with the
Thunderstick fire control system (radar, doppler nav, autopilot,
weapons release computer, etc) then you'll recognize that they already
had aircraft with longer legs, better low altitude speed, heavier load
capacity, and arguably greater survivability in theater. F-105D.

> the F-104 might've been an excellent anti-personnel
>platform, thanks to its powerful M61 cannon and its ability to fly fast at low
>level.

Flying fast at low level was a 104 problem--inlet heating. And, of
course, they weren't the only game in town with an M-61. But, more
importantly, anti-personnel wasn't the mission in NVN. It was
interdiction--road cuts, infrastructure attrition, POL, supply
transhipment. Finding a suitable target for the gun was a problem.
There are few targets that can be strafed that are worth the
exchange--you've got to kill a lot of $10K trucks to equal the loss of
one $10M aircraft.

>Another thing that puzzles me about the 104 is why it was never made
>into a "Wild Weasel." It was fast, made in 2-seat B and D versions, could be
>modified with ARMs, and, most importantly, it had a small radar return. I've
>thought it over again and again and my opinion is that the F-104 would've made
>an excellent Wild Weasel.

Then add into your thinking (again and again) that hanging ARMs
doesn't make a Weasel. The essence of a Weasel is detection, filtering
and presentation of electro-magnetic emissions. It takes antennae and
transistors plus scopes and processing. Anybody can come along and
shot the site, it's the Weasel's job to find the site.

I'll never argue against the performance of the 104 or it's
suitability as a day, clear-air, high-altitude interceptor. I respect
the development work of the 479th TFW guys and particularly the 435th
TFS in the area of double-attack/loose deuce/split-plane/free-engaged
fighter theory. BUT, in the NVN campaigns the Zipper was out of its
element. It wasn't their mission.

Ed Rasimus

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Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
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wal...@oneimage.com wrote:

> The TAC 104Cs in 'Nam didn't do much for a variety of reasons.
>1) Inability of the HQs to employ the aircraft as an interceptor
>due to lack of knowledge.

And, of course, the lack of anything to "intercept." The interceptor
mission is, by definition, defensive and the NVN campaigns were
offensive (in every sense of the word :-))

>2) Inadequate training of the pilots in Intercept and ACM tactics
>using the best points of the aircraft. The 479th TFW's DOC was
>strike, not air superiority. The 479th pilots 'dogfought' rather than
>using the aircraft's superior speed and acceleration, rather like
>the first P38 pilots trying to turn with Zeroes in WW2.

Had they the legs and endurance, and had the operations been conducted
during '65-'66 at mid/high altitudes, they might have been great
escort aircraft. Once engaged at visual range, they could have done a
job. Without a BVR capability however they wouldn't be much help in
the CAP role and sweeps were, with the exception of Bolo (which wasn't
really a sweep but a decoy), largely ineffective. And, here I don't
mean BVR shooting but BVR detection and sorting.

>3) The 104C could only carry 2 bombs (of course during the bomb
>shortage that's all anyone got).

Well, the "big boys" got more bombs usually. I remember flying "poor
man's Weasel" sorties in Route Pack I/II in a two ship of 105s (at
least one of which had to have an APR-25/26) loaded with 4xLAU-3
rocket pods or 6xBLU-1B finned napalm. We would enter the area and
support 4 flights of 4 F-104s with 2 bombs each. They would come in
sequentially for five minute TOT periods. When they were all done we
still had 20 minutes left for road recce to expend our ordinance.

>4) The fixed IFR boom on the Zipper was an abortion that cost the bird
>fuel and mach. Had MacNamara okayed some bucks it could have had a
>no-drag receptacle.

And, of course there was the problem of having to generate "papa"
tankers which then were unavailable for F-4s in the area. 105's and
101's could handle either method of refueling although the basket was
only about half the throughput rate.

> I could go on but it's all ancient history now . . .
> Walt BJ ftr plt ret

History, yes, but please don't call us "ancient"...

g_al...@hotmail.com

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Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
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In article <
371d89f0....@news.rmi.net>,

thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
> wal...@oneimage.com wrote:
>
> > The TAC 104Cs in 'Nam didn't do much for a variety of reasons.
> >1) Inability of the HQs to employ the aircraft as an interceptor
> >due to lack of knowledge.
>
> And, of course, the lack of anything to "intercept." The interceptor
> mission is, by definition, defensive and the NVN campaigns were
> offensive (in every sense of the word :-))
>
> >2) Inadequate training of the pilots in Intercept and ACM tactics
> >using the best points of the aircraft. The 479th TFW's DOC was
> >strike, not air superiority. The 479th pilots 'dogfought' rather than
> >using the aircraft's superior speed and acceleration, rather like
> >the first P38 pilots trying to turn with Zeroes in WW2.

No, that's not correct, Walt. A friend of mine, who used to post on r.a.m.
(and had some exchange with you), is friends with a pilot who was the 435th's
Weapons officer. This guy was one of two FWS grads in the F-104C, developed
and taught Double-attack to the 479th (un-officially. Fluid Four was gospel,
but the Wing CO told him that once the flight split, he was free to do what
he wished, and teach whatever he wished as long as he didn't hear about it
officially). He was also one of the 104C pilots on Project Featherduster,
which was used to develop tactics against the MiG-17 and MiG-21. The 104s
stomped everyone: F-86Hs, F- 100s, F-102s, F-105s, F-106s, F-5s, F-4s, and
F-8s. Nor is this just bar talk, as my friend's friend has given him copies
of the reports (I've sent extensive excerts to Ed in the past).

They used essentially the same tactics you used, Walt: a roll in from the
perch, a high speed missile/guns pass; if the target broke, they'd make a
high-angle tracking pass at up to 5g (they could sustain 7.33g at 510KEAS or
more, but were in buffet above 5g) until the speed bled down to no lower than
450 IAS (they found they could easily track F-86s making max. rate turns;
after all, they're almost stationary crossing targets given the closure);
once they couldn't pull lead or the speed had bled down to 450 they'd roll
level and unload into ground clutter until they'd got out of AIM-9 range,
then go burner and head back up to the perch (often at about 1.1 or more),
turning slightly to maintain sight of the target. While getting back up on
the perch, the targets often lost sight of them (and these were metal, not
camo a/c); even if they did try to follow, the wingman would roll in for his
pass.

The only time they had any problems was when they were ordered to fight high
altitude subsonic fights against the F-8s, which is something no 104 jock in
his right mind would ever do voluntarily.

Anyway, the 104 pilot I mentioned was on both the 1965 and 1966 deployments.
He says the 1965 deployment had a lot of experienced guys, but the 1966 one
much less so. He was allowed to pick many of the people for the 1966
deployment, but the wing CO told him he had to take some of the new guys,
including some ADC guys who apparently weren't up to speed on the TAC
environment. Two of these guys were the ones lost to SAMs. My friend has
interviewed the one who survived (Sam Cantrell? Cottrell?), as well as looked
at his logbooks. The survivor states that after the mission before the one
on which he was lost, the other ex- ADC pilot had told Cantrell that he
didn't have the "faintest idea what was going on up there today."


> Had they the legs and endurance, and had the operations been conducted
> during '65-'66 at mid/high altitudes, they might have been great
> escort aircraft. Once engaged at visual range, they could have done a
> job. Without a BVR capability however they wouldn't be much help in
> the CAP role and sweeps were, with the exception of Bolo (which wasn't
> really a sweep but a decoy), largely ineffective. And, here I don't
> mean BVR shooting but BVR detection and sorting.

This same pilot (and others), who flew both the 104C and the F-4 in combat,
states that ranges of the two a/c in the escort role were comparable,
depending on the mission profile. Escorting Thuds, the 104 was usually
better, owing to its higher cruise speed, much better fuel burn and much
better accel compared to the F-4. As to BVR capability, as Ed knows (because
I've given him the data), only 3% of initial a/c detections were by onboard
radars in NVN. Some more were with EC-121 pickups leading to radar contacts,
but the majority were visual, especially since the VPAF learned to vector
their MiGs around the strikes at low altitude, then climb up from the side or
rear and make a high-speed pass. Things were somewhat better in 1972 owing to
Combat Tree and QRC-248, but a very high percentage of detections were still
visual. Even in Bolo, most of the initial contacts were visual. As to CAP,
by 1967 we'd come to the conclusion that it was pointless, as the NVN could
recognize the CAPs on radar and would just vector their fighters around them,
and/or fire some SAMs at them to keep them busy. Only the advent of QRC-248
and especially Combat Tree (because it gave look down detection and longer
ranges) made CAP a worthwhile proposition again.

Guy

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wal...@oneimage.com

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Apr 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/20/99
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thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>wal...@oneimage.com wrote:>
>snip>
Well, I'm getting into that category, Ed . . .

Seriously, the F104A, at any rate, was a pretty decent interceptor, and who says
interception has to be a defensive game? With GCI coverage to get you within 20
miles the pilots and the ASG14 could do the rest just fine. Too bad
the 319th was never tasked for soem air superiority work - that was
our primary mission and we were good at it. Very good.

Gary Watson

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Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
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I'm surprized the USAF didn't use the 104 as a photo recce aircraft as we
did with the CF-104. I worked in Europe for 4 years on the Recce squadrons
and the Viggen camera system was far superior to the system carried by the
RF 101s and the RF4s. "Lower than a snake's belly at the speed or heat"
seemed to sum up the 104s low level capability and I seldom heard about the
Intake duct overheat light coming on even in Europe. Of course in SEA it
might have been more of a problem but the absolute stability of the aircraft
due in part to its high wing loading, low vis profile and the short
distances in SEA should have made the aircraft a natural for this role.
Ed, Walt, do you know if it was ever tried in that role with the USAF?

Gary Watson


Ed Rasimus

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Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
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g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>In article <
>371d89f0....@news.rmi.net>,
> thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>> wal...@oneimage.com wrote:
>>

>Anyway, the 104 pilot I mentioned was on both the 1965 and 1966 deployments.
>He says the 1965 deployment had a lot of experienced guys, but the 1966 one
>much less so. He was allowed to pick many of the people for the 1966
>deployment, but the wing CO told him he had to take some of the new guys,
>including some ADC guys who apparently weren't up to speed on the TAC
>environment. Two of these guys were the ones lost to SAMs. My friend has
>interviewed the one who survived (Sam Cantrell? Cottrell?), as well as looked
>at his logbooks. The survivor states that after the mission before the one
>on which he was lost, the other ex- ADC pilot had told Cantrell that he
>didn't have the "faintest idea what was going on up there today."

In mid-'66 when that event occured, it had become quite common for
"senior" (which means time-in-grade and total flying hours, but not
fighter time) pilots to wander around NVN without the "faintest idea".
This was the result of the USAF mis-guided "one tour" policy. The
establishment of RTU (Re-Training Units) in lieu of CCTS (Combat Crew
Training Squadrons) meant that lots of non-fighter pilots were getting
the short course and being shipped to the war.

I remember vividly several flights in which the 1/Lt wingmen directed,
cajoled, reminded and virtually led the ex-BUFF or recent staff
officer flight lead.

>
>
>> Had they the legs and endurance, and had the operations been conducted
>> during '65-'66 at mid/high altitudes, they might have been great
>> escort aircraft. Once engaged at visual range, they could have done a
>> job. Without a BVR capability however they wouldn't be much help in
>> the CAP role and sweeps were, with the exception of Bolo (which wasn't
>> really a sweep but a decoy), largely ineffective. And, here I don't
>> mean BVR shooting but BVR detection and sorting.
>
>This same pilot (and others), who flew both the 104C and the F-4 in combat,
>states that ranges of the two a/c in the escort role were comparable,
>depending on the mission profile. Escorting Thuds, the 104 was usually
>better, owing to its higher cruise speed, much better fuel burn and much
>better accel compared to the F-4.

Unfortunately the combat experience of any F-104C USAF pilot in NVN is
quite limited. Let me suggest that, as a 105 driver who was "escorted"
by both Zippers and Phantoms, that the 104 didn't do well in the low
altitude environment. Acceleration wasn't really a factor as either
aircraft could walk away from a 105 in the 350-450 KIAS range and
neither could keep up in accelerations starting above 600 (as long as
we were below 10K feet).

A three-bag A/A Phantom could stay with the strike without any
consideration for early bingo. A Zipper with four bags, no Sparrows
and only 2 Snakes was always whimpering about fuel.

> As to BVR capability, as Ed knows (because
>I've given him the data), only 3% of initial a/c detections were by onboard
>radars in NVN.

The statistics you offer may be correct, but they relate to initial
detections of enemy by aircraft which achieved kills. That is
considerably different than detections by competent aircrews of other
aircraft in the arena with the accompanying increase in total
situational awareness. Please add to your stats about "initial a/c
detections by onboard radars" my experience in 150 NVN missions (100
F-105 and 50 F-4E) that on every one of those missions I detected
(without GCI assistance) other aircraft (usually friendly),
occasionally non-combatant, often support such as tankers, jammers,
CAP, and intermittently MiGs.

Even the 105's ground attack opimized system was helpful in seeing who
was in the playground. I inadvertently attempted joinup one day with a
flight of 3 MiG-21s near Haiphong, feet wet in a damaged 105 with gun
only remaining.

With the F-4E and a dedicated radar operator, there were plenty of
contacts achieved without benefit of College Eye, Red Crown or other
GCI.

> Even in Bolo, most of the initial contacts were visual.

F-4C's led by Robin who was notorious for eschewing the radar and PSO.

> As to CAP,
>by 1967 we'd come to the conclusion that it was pointless, as the NVN could
>recognize the CAPs on radar and would just vector their fighters around them,
>and/or fire some SAMs at them to keep them busy. Only the advent of QRC-248
>and especially Combat Tree (because it gave look down detection and longer
>ranges) made CAP a worthwhile proposition again.

I can't agree that CAP was pointless. Dedicated A/A assets on station
are quickly deployable when enemy aircraft are detected whether by
visual sighting from the strike package, by GCI or SigInt. Steve
Ritchie will probably agree also, since his kills were all on CAP
missions--he didn't do escort.

And, in general, fragged CAP orbits were not inside SAM coverage.
Certainly they entered SAM areas when committed, but they didn't
orbit. And, you give (IMHO) excessive credit to the level of IADS
integration of the NVN. Coordination between MiGs and SAMs occured,
but it was difficult and not that common. Guns, of course, operated
either way.

wal...@oneimage.com

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Apr 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/21/99
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"Gary Watson" <wat...@home.com> wrote:
>I'm surprized the USAF didn't use the 104 as a photo recce aircraft:
snip>
Nope. We had the RF101 which was very fast at any altitude, had great
range even without external tanks and much more space for internal
cameras than the 104 could supply. No point in converting 104s when
the 101 already was a proven product. Besides 'Bobb Mac' was DOD,
remember? He wanted one airplane to do everything - The KCBRFC-111 ;<)

g_al...@hotmail.com

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Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
In article <371ddd45...@news.rmi.net>,

In Featherduster it was found that the 104, like the 105 and F-4, had the
largest Ps advantage at low altitudes, typically below 15,000 feet, over the
MiGs; the 104 excels there. I certainly agree with you that the 105 Weasels
really didn't need escort, as both the 104 and F-4 had problems keeping up
with them. IIRC, I believe my buddy said that he'd corresponded with you,
and gave you the name of a weasel pilot you knew who "requested" 104s instead
of F-4s for escort, because the 104s could come closer to the Thud's
endurance. The "request" was along the lines of, "well, if you're going to
force us to have escorts, at least give us Zippers, because we don't have to
slow down so much for them," or words to that effect.

>
> A three-bag A/A Phantom could stay with the strike without any
> consideration for early bingo. A Zipper with four bags, no Sparrows
> and only 2 Snakes was always whimpering about fuel.

Ignore the snakes (what's an dedicated escort doing carry them? Besides, you
can't carry four tanks and iron bombs on an 104C). I've got numerous
accounts by 105 and F-4 pilots stating that the 105s would run the pure
A/A-loaded escorting F-4s out of gas, even though the F-4s would be cruising
at a higher altitude and would always punch their tanks off when empty, while
you guys normally kept yours. Your buddy Piowaty stated this, and you've
said how much trouble you had in an F-4E. The 104C is a lot cleaner than the
Rhino, cruises at a higher speed, and has 1/3rd the fuel burn in cruise of an
F-4 (which only carries 2.2 times the fuel). While the C doesn't have quite
the performance of Walt's 104A w/J79-19, it still moves right along.

> > As to BVR capability, as Ed knows (because
> >I've given him the data), only 3% of initial a/c detections were by onboard
> >radars in NVN.
>
> The statistics you offer may be correct, but they relate to initial
> detections of enemy by aircraft which achieved kills. That is
> considerably different than detections by competent aircrews of other
> aircraft in the arena with the accompanying increase in total
> situational awareness. Please add to your stats about "initial a/c
> detections by onboard radars" my experience in 150 NVN missions (100
> F-105 and 50 F-4E) that on every one of those missions I detected
> (without GCI assistance) other aircraft (usually friendly),
> occasionally non-combatant, often support such as tankers, jammers,
> CAP, and intermittently MiGs.
>
> Even the 105's ground attack opimized system was helpful in seeing who
> was in the playground. I inadvertently attempted joinup one day with a
> flight of 3 MiG-21s near Haiphong, feet wet in a damaged 105 with gun
> only remaining.

And the 104's radar had a max. range of 20nm, assuming you had time to look
down to use it.

>
> With the F-4E and a dedicated radar operator, there were plenty of
> contacts achieved without benefit of College Eye, Red Crown or other
> GCI.

Actually, very few _overall_, and most of the contacts were friendlies or
unknowns. And I notice how you specify a "dedicated" radar operator, i.e. a
WSO and not a "Pilot" (as opposed to "Aircraft Commander") I agree, the Navy
method of having dedicated NFOs who are their to work the radar, instead of
trying to get into the front seat, is more effective, even though the AF
hadn't gone all the way in 1972. Given my druthers in 1972, I'd take an
Combat-Tree, TISEO and T.O.-556 equipped F-4E with a dedicated, well-trained
A/A crew, over an F-104 too. I wouldn't take an F-4C or D over the F-104C in
1965-68, because the crews aren't specialized (the 479th's guys, like the F-8
jocks, were primarily A/A trained, even if TAC wanted them to drop iron bombs
and nukes), and the a/c are lacking the single most effective A/A weapon of
the period (a reliable internal gun with a computing gunsight). The F-4's
performance, especially if you hang a gun pod on it (and thus lose the C/L
fuel tank), just isn't in the same league.

I agree with you that having a dedicated radar operator who's got the time to
use the radar while you keep an eye out for SAMs, MiGs, AAA, formation, turn
points, etc., is a good thing. However, the percentage of VPAF kills scored
by unseen a/c was about as high in the Rolling Thunder period as it was in
previous wars, and the average spotting range on a MiG was 1.5-2.0 nm. The
104 pilots would have done better than that, because they were used to flying
around with a/c of much smaller visual signatures than the 105/F-4, and the
visibility out of the F-104 is much better than that out of the F-4 (In the
Navy's maneuvering target test, aka "Project Plan", it was found that the
_two_ crew in the F-4s lost sight more often than the one guy in the 104, and
of course there's no comparison in visual spotting ranges). Indeed, John
Nichols credits much of the F-8's success to the fact that they were always
flying around with A-4s, which trained them to spot MiG-sized targets.
That's one of the things DACT is for.

>
> > Even in Bolo, most of the initial contacts were visual.
>
> F-4C's led by Robin who was notorious for eschewing the radar and PSO.

Bolo was specifically set up to provide the first three flights into the
area, Olds, Ford, and Rambler, with BVR missiles-free opportunities. Indeed,
Robin Olds a/c was one of the ones that did get radar contact (but lost it as
the MiG passed under his flight). He'd already had to cancel missiles-free,
as he'd made a 180 and was heading back towards the other flights).

>
> > As to CAP,
> >by 1967 we'd come to the conclusion that it was pointless, as the NVN could
> >recognize the CAPs on radar and would just vector their fighters around them,
> >and/or fire some SAMs at them to keep them busy. Only the advent of QRC-248
> >and especially Combat Tree (because it gave look down detection and longer
> >ranges) made CAP a worthwhile proposition again.
>
> I can't agree that CAP was pointless. Dedicated A/A assets on station
> are quickly deployable when enemy aircraft are detected whether by
> visual sighting from the strike package, by GCI or SigInt. Steve
> Ritchie will probably agree also, since his kills were all on CAP
> missions--he didn't do escort.

The U.S.A.F. disagreed with you, in the 1967 time frame, for the reasons I've
stated. Because MiG activity had increased so much, they started using
dedicated F-4 escorts in late April (instead of just dedicating one flight to
dump their bombs and engage if MiGs were sighted), and began providing at
least two escort flights per strike package, one just behind the first strike
flight, the other behind the last strike flight. This was such a strain to
generate the necessary a/c (plus straight F-4 strike birds), that the 366th
was brought in as escorts as well, with it and the 8th each responsible for
providing escorts for one wing of Thuds (8th/355th; 366th/388th). They also
assigned the first Thud flight off the target as Tarcap, with typically an
AIM-9 each. Oddly enough, although the sample size is small, the F-105 had a
higher pK with the AIM-9B than the F-4s did:

April - June, USAF. 61 engagements.

F-105/AIM-9B, 3/11, .27. F-105/M-61A1, 6/21, .28; F-4/AIM-9B, 10/59, .17.
F-4/ AIM-7E, 8/72, .11. F-4/AIM-4D, 0/10, .00. F-4/Suu-16 or -23, 5/9, .55.

The result of all this (including the F-4Cs carrying gun pods, and the
introduction of the F-4D) was that we claimed 23 kills in May in 110 MiG
encounters, and the VPAF severely curtailed their activities from late May
through June.

>
> And, in general, fragged CAP orbits were not inside SAM coverage.
> Certainly they entered SAM areas when committed, but they didn't
> orbit. And, you give (IMHO) excessive credit to the level of IADS
> integration of the NVN. Coordination between MiGs and SAMs occured,
> but it was difficult and not that common. Guns, of course, operated
> either way.

Actually, the escorts left the strike flights as they entered the target
area, acted as Tarcap, and met them again as they came out (I'm speaking of
the mid- '67 period). From July 21, 1967, NSA gave the O.K. to interrogate
with the QRC- 248, and the lead escort flight was often able, because of
College Eye QRC-248 contacts, to break up the MiG flight on the way in, if
they timed it right. They'd often fire a Sparrow (often unguided) to get
their attention and blow their setup.

If the MiGs managed to sneak around behind without being spotted, the
trailing escort flight just didn't have the acceleration to catch them as
they blew through at Mach 1.4 or so on their way to the strikers. Here is
where I think the F-104 would have been better than the F-4, as it
accelerates much better and has much lower fuel burn.

Take care,

Ed Rasimus

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>In article <371ddd45...@news.rmi.net>,
> thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>> g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>> > Escorting Thuds, the 104 was usually
>> >better, owing to its higher cruise speed, much better fuel burn and much
>> >better accel compared to the F-4.
>>

>> Let me suggest that, as a 105 driver who was "escorted"
>> by both Zippers and Phantoms, that the 104 didn't do well in the low
>> altitude environment. Acceleration wasn't really a factor as either
>> aircraft could walk away from a 105 in the 350-450 KIAS range and
>> neither could keep up in accelerations starting above 600 (as long as
>> we were below 10K feet).
>
>In Featherduster it was found that the 104, like the 105 and F-4, had the
>largest Ps advantage at low altitudes, typically below 15,000 feet, over the
>MiGs; the 104 excels there.

There's Ps and then there's Ps. Note my caveats regarding acceleration
at two different airspeed regions. I remember my astonishment on a
mission with an RF-4C at tanker drop off (325 KIAS) where the photo
guy literally zoomed away from us. But when we got "on the step" at
about 540 kts there were few that could avoid asking for some cut-off
in the next turn to close it up.

> I certainly agree with you that the 105 Weasels
>really didn't need escort, as both the 104 and F-4 had problems keeping up
>with them.

As we've agreed on several occasions, it was a long war and many
things changed and changed again. In my experience in 105s in '66
flying with 105F Weasels as well as my experience in '72-'73 flying
F-4Es with 105G (and the occasional F-4C) Weasels, we never used
escort. We were "first in, last out" and operated autonomously. In
fact, our requirement for pods-off operation regularly resulted in
mis-ID by Red Crown and College Eye as MiGs with CAPs occasionally
vectored on us. (Thank God for restrictive ROE :-) )

> IIRC, I believe my buddy said that he'd corresponded with you,
>and gave you the name of a weasel pilot you knew who "requested" 104s instead
>of F-4s for escort, because the 104s could come closer to the Thud's
>endurance. The "request" was along the lines of, "well, if you're going to
>force us to have escorts, at least give us Zippers, because we don't have to
>slow down so much for them," or words to that effect.

I don't recall getting a Weasel name relative to that request. I would
suspect that any such request took place before the double loss on
Thud Ridge of the 2 Zips (was that August or Sept. 66??)


>
>>
>> A three-bag A/A Phantom could stay with the strike without any
>> consideration for early bingo. A Zipper with four bags, no Sparrows
>> and only 2 Snakes was always whimpering about fuel.
>
>Ignore the snakes (what's an dedicated escort doing carry them? Besides, you
>can't carry four tanks and iron bombs on an 104C).

Ooopss, I'm guilty of a "Plummerism"--by "snakes" I meant Sidewinders,
not snake-eye retarded GP bombs. A dedicated escort with gun only
would be a wasted sortie.

> I've got numerous
>accounts by 105 and F-4 pilots stating that the 105s would run the pure
>A/A-loaded escorting F-4s out of gas, even though the F-4s would be cruising
>at a higher altitude and would always punch their tanks off when empty, while
>you guys normally kept yours.

The "killer" F-4Es during LB were configured with 3 bags, 4xCBU-52 or
58, and 3 x AIM-7E2. We always blew the C/L when empty (as did all the
strikers and CAP). We retained the 370 O/B tanks except on Northeast
railroad/Kep-by-land profiles. We stayed with the 105G, in tactical
spread variations--usually with the 105 element leading on ingress,
sniffing and shooting ARMs. If engaged the Phantoms attacked while the
105s would stand off, and on egress the Phantoms would take the flight
lead conducting visual armed recce of suspected SAM sites or targets
of opportunity. Gas was seldom a problem with Weasels or Phantoms
about split with first "bingo" calls.

That differs slightly from the F-4C escorts of the 1966 period where
they often ran out of testosterone before they ran out of gas. That
situation changed with the arrival of Robin Olds at the 8th.

> Your buddy Piowaty stated this, and you've
>said how much trouble you had in an F-4E.

I love Pio like a brother, but he didn't get to fly the Phantom and
his experience in the 105 was out of Tahkli in '67 only. Suffice to
say that there are differences in aircraft, but F-4s and 105 Weasels
were reasonably compatible.


>> > As to BVR capability, as Ed knows (because
>> >I've given him the data), only 3% of initial a/c detections were by onboard
>> >radars in NVN.
>>
>> The statistics you offer may be correct, but they relate to initial
>> detections of enemy by aircraft which achieved kills. That is
>> considerably different than detections by competent aircrews of other
>> aircraft in the arena with the accompanying increase in total
>> situational awareness.

>> Even the 105's ground attack opimized system was helpful in seeing who
>> was in the playground. I inadvertently attempted joinup one day with a
>> flight of 3 MiG-21s near Haiphong, feet wet in a damaged 105 with gun
>> only remaining.
>
>And the 104's radar had a max. range of 20nm, assuming you had time to look
>down to use it.

Clearly my point. A 20 nm radar leaves you totally at the mercy of
GCI, and as an escort you MUST be co-frequency with the force you are
supporting which CANNOT afford to have a weapons controller garbaging
up the radio with situation updates.

>
>>
>> With the F-4E and a dedicated radar operator, there were plenty of
>> contacts achieved without benefit of College Eye, Red Crown or other
>> GCI.
>
>Actually, very few _overall_, and most of the contacts were friendlies or
>unknowns.

Again you are falling back on MiG-kill recountings and not on
day-to-day operations. The ability to radar search the area and update
your mental picture with locations of friendlies and unknowns,
integrating that info with what you hear on the radio and what you
know regarding mission sequencing, TOTs and support positioning is all
critical. Of course "most of the contacts were friendlies or
unknowns"--in the days before NCTR and with Combat Tree a very limited
asset, those were the only two choices.

>> > Even in Bolo, most of the initial contacts were visual.
>>
>> F-4C's led by Robin who was notorious for eschewing the radar and PSO.
>
>Bolo was specifically set up to provide the first three flights into the
>area, Olds, Ford, and Rambler, with BVR missiles-free opportunities. Indeed,
>Robin Olds a/c was one of the ones that did get radar contact (but lost it as
>the MiG passed under his flight). He'd already had to cancel missiles-free,
>as he'd made a 180 and was heading back towards the other flights).

The joke in the 105 community about Bolo was that "they had one kill
in the target area, three on egress, five when they got to the tanker
and seven during debrief."


>
>> I can't agree that CAP was pointless. Dedicated A/A assets on station
>> are quickly deployable when enemy aircraft are detected whether by
>> visual sighting from the strike package, by GCI or SigInt. Steve
>> Ritchie will probably agree also, since his kills were all on CAP
>> missions--he didn't do escort.
>
>The U.S.A.F. disagreed with you, in the 1967 time frame, for the reasons I've
>stated.

Well, as I said it the beginning, things changed--and then changed
back. We used CAPs in '66 (with little success) and we were still
using CAPs in Linebacker.

> Because MiG activity had increased so much, they started using
>dedicated F-4 escorts in late April (instead of just dedicating one flight to
>dump their bombs and engage if MiGs were sighted), and began providing at
>least two escort flights per strike package, one just behind the first strike
>flight, the other behind the last strike flight.

In LB the escort was flown as "outrigger" with one flight of four
F-4Es for the strike package and one for the chaff package. Typically
the escorts stayed with the strikers, overflew the target and
cross-turned to resume position on the strike package on egress.

g_al...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/22/99
to
In article <371f3198...@news.rmi.net>,

thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
> g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:
>
> >In article <371ddd45...@news.rmi.net>,
> > thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
> >> g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:
<snip>

> > IIRC, I believe my buddy said that he'd corresponded with you,
> >and gave you the name of a weasel pilot you knew who "requested" 104s instead
> >of F-4s for escort, because the 104s could come closer to the Thud's
> >endurance. The "request" was along the lines of, "well, if you're going to
> >force us to have escorts, at least give us Zippers, because we don't have to
> >slow down so much for them," or words to that effect.
>
> I don't recall getting a Weasel name relative to that request. I would
> suspect that any such request took place before the double loss on
> Thud Ridge of the 2 Zips (was that August or Sept. 66??)

I suspect that was the case, but my memory's hazy. I can't seem to lay my
hands on the date of the double 104 loss right now, but it was in that
timeframe.


> >> A three-bag A/A Phantom could stay with the strike without any
> >> consideration for early bingo. A Zipper with four bags, no Sparrows
> >> and only 2 Snakes was always whimpering about fuel.
> >
> >Ignore the snakes (what's an dedicated escort doing carry them? Besides, you
> >can't carry four tanks and iron bombs on an 104C).
>
> Ooopss, I'm guilty of a "Plummerism"--by "snakes" I meant Sidewinders,
> not snake-eye retarded GP bombs. A dedicated escort with gun only
> would be a wasted sortie.

Not to the 104 guys. They considered the gun the primary weapon, as it had
by far the highest pK and could be used at high G. Besides, they didn't have
any trouble running down anything the VPAF had at the time. But, carrying
four tanks and no AIM-9s was only done when "escorting" the weasels.
Normally, they carried wing tanks and tip-winders. In one more example of
"not wanted here," the AF ran out of 205 gal. wing tanks with integral pylons
early in the deployment, and then only bought the 195 gal. tanks with a
separate pylon, despite the fact that the former were apparently cheaper! As
far as the 435th guys were concerned, the prevailing opinion was that if they
got engaged, they were punching the pylons as well as the tanks; nobody'd
complain if they got a MiG, and if they didn't they'd be so miserable a
chewing out wouldn't matter:-)


> > I've got numerous
> >accounts by 105 and F-4 pilots stating that the 105s would run the pure
> >A/A-loaded escorting F-4s out of gas, even though the F-4s would be cruising
> >at a higher altitude and would always punch their tanks off when empty, while
> >you guys normally kept yours.
>
> The "killer" F-4Es during LB were configured with 3 bags, 4xCBU-52 or
> 58, and 3 x AIM-7E2. We always blew the C/L when empty (as did all the
> strikers and CAP). We retained the 370 O/B tanks except on Northeast
> railroad/Kep-by-land profiles. We stayed with the 105G, in tactical
> spread variations--usually with the 105 element leading on ingress,
> sniffing and shooting ARMs. If engaged the Phantoms attacked while the
> 105s would stand off, and on egress the Phantoms would take the flight
> lead conducting visual armed recce of suspected SAM sites or targets
> of opportunity. Gas was seldom a problem with Weasels or Phantoms
> about split with first "bingo" calls.
>

Maybe this is an F-4C/D vs. E thing. I can't remember if you said that you
had the foamed tanks or not in 1972, but if not, you had more gas than the
earlier models (7th tank), plus the hard-wing F-4E seems to have had more Ps
(more thrust, maybe lower drag?) compared to the short-nose a/c with the
J79-15. Also, the 105Gs were slower as well, being heavier than the earlier
weasels and having more drag (ALQ-105 pods as well as more antennas; I've got
the exact figures somewhere, but the ALQ-105s decreased range something like
2.5% subsonic, 4% supersonic. I'll find the data), as well as the airframes
just being old and tired. OTOH, the usual 105F load in 1967 was a pair of
CBU-24s and a pair of Shrikes plus a C/L, so I don't know how the drag would
work out.

Countering that, you've said that the 105Gs got rid of the AGM-78 at the first
opportunity; did they keep the wing tank on the other side, or dump that too?


> That differs slightly from the F-4C escorts of the 1966 period where
> they often ran out of testosterone before they ran out of gas. That
> situation changed with the arrival of Robin Olds at the 8th.

The typical 1967-era (i.e. Olds was there) F-4 driver comment to the Thud
guys seems to have been, "If you guys would slow down, maybe we could
actually escort you":-)


> > Your buddy Piowaty stated this, and you've
> >said how much trouble you had in an F-4E.
>
> I love Pio like a brother, but he didn't get to fly the Phantom and
> his experience in the 105 was out of Tahkli in '67 only. Suffice to
> say that there are differences in aircraft, but F-4s and 105 Weasels
> were reasonably compatible.

Fair enough, but see above.

> >> > As to BVR capability, as Ed knows (because
> >> >I've given him the data), only 3% of initial a/c detections were by
onboard
> >> >radars in NVN.
> >>
> >> The statistics you offer may be correct, but they relate to initial
> >> detections of enemy by aircraft which achieved kills. That is
> >> considerably different than detections by competent aircrews of other
> >> aircraft in the arena with the accompanying increase in total
> >> situational awareness.
> >> Even the 105's ground attack opimized system was helpful in seeing who
> >> was in the playground. I inadvertently attempted joinup one day with a
> >> flight of 3 MiG-21s near Haiphong, feet wet in a damaged 105 with gun
> >> only remaining.
> >
> >And the 104's radar had a max. range of 20nm, assuming you had time to look
> >down to use it.
>
> Clearly my point. A 20 nm radar leaves you totally at the mercy of
> GCI, and as an escort you MUST be co-frequency with the force you are
> supporting which CANNOT afford to have a weapons controller garbaging
> up the radio with situation updates.

They were almost totally at the mercy of GCI in Rolling Thunder; it was the
availablility of the QRC-248, and especially permission to use it actively ,
that made it possible to even know where the MiGs were, and when to detach
one of the escort flights to head them off (BTW, I gave the wrong date
yesterday. QRC-248 was first used passively in June, but permission for us to
interrogate, instead of just reading the transponder when the NVN
interrogated, didn't happen until October 6th). It was found that detaching
had to be timed right, as too early and the MiGs would break off an maybe
reposition, too late and they'd blow through to the strike before the escorts
could find them and fire. The ideal range to detach one of the escort
flights was found to be about 20nm; additionally, it was unlikely (prior to
Combat Tree) that the F-4s would contact them much beyond that range, even if
they weren't in ground clutter. Of course, that assumes that the F-4 radars
were working; they often weren't. I suspect the F-4E's radar was
considerably more reliable than earlier versions, especially as in 1967 they
were still in the middle of solving the great "SEAsia spore just loves to eat
F-4 electrical connection potting compound, causing all sorts of exciting
shorts" problem. For that matter, Oyster flight might have had 4 instead of
3 MiG-21 kills on 10 May 1972, if Tom Feezel's radar hadn't gone Tango
Uniform.

You do raise an interesting point though, about the extra radio in the F-4.
According to the Bolo report, the Aux. radio receiver was first used to allow
"battle intelligence" to be passed on that mission. Later, it seems that the
usual method was for MiGCAP flights to keep the Aux. radio on the strike
freq. so they could monitor what was happening with them, with the main radio
on their dedicated MiGCAP freq. The F-4 radio's unreliability was one of
Ritchie's pet peeves; in his end of tour interview with Momyer, he told him
that the air force shouldn't spend another dime on tactical a/c until they
bought and installed a reliable UHF radio.

That's another point mentioned in "Clashes", pointing out how unreliable the
radios in the RC-135 relay a/c were in 1972, when relaying to/from Teaball.
On several occasions, they went down at most inopportune times, resulting in
U.S. losses.


> >> With the F-4E and a dedicated radar operator, there were plenty of
> >> contacts achieved without benefit of College Eye, Red Crown or other
> >> GCI.
> >
> >Actually, very few _overall_, and most of the contacts were friendlies or
> >unknowns.
>
> Again you are falling back on MiG-kill recountings and not on
> day-to-day operations. The ability to radar search the area and update
> your mental picture with locations of friendlies and unknowns,
> integrating that info with what you hear on the radio and what you
> know regarding mission sequencing, TOTs and support positioning is all
> critical. Of course "most of the contacts were friendlies or
> unknowns"--in the days before NCTR and with Combat Tree a very limited
> asset, those were the only two choices.

Uh huh, and since virtually all of those contacts are friendlies, just how
much useful info are you getting? There's 20 contacts out there, which are
probably all friendlies, even if they aren't responding to your IFF. It was
the QRC-248 and Combat Tree that boosted the effectiveness of the F-4's
radar, cutting losses (and increasing BVR kill opportunities). Prior to the
active use of QRC-248, the MiGs had really got their act together, and first
demonstrated their new tactics on August 23rd, 1967. Quoting from "Clashes":

"The MiGs [two Mig-21s] stayed in the ground clutter to avoid interception by
U.S. airborne radars, but their transponders were picked up by one of the
orbiting EC-121's QRC-248 [in passive mode]. The EC-121 called out the MiGs'
location, but the escort did not react. Once the North Vietnamese GCI saw
the MiGs were abeam the strike flight[s] and outside the radar range of the
MiGCAP F-4s [actually escorts], they instructed the MiGs to climb quickly to
28,000 feet. This put the MiGs above the overcast and on one of the flanks
of the strike force, still unseen by the F-4 radars. The MiGs closed on the
force and, on GCI's command, dived out of the overcast and swept down at high
speed on Ford, one of the rear F-4 strike flights. The MiGs attacked with
Atolls; the first warning the F-4s had was when Ford 3 saw a missile hit Ford
4, which blew up in a ball of flame. At the same time, Ford 2 watched an
Atoll pass by his wing and destroy Ford 1. The MiGs escaped unscathed."

They used these tactics pretty much for the rest of the war. See below.

> The joke in the 105 community about Bolo was that "they had one kill
> in the target area, three on egress, five when they got to the tanker
> and seven during debrief."

BTW, joking aside, the VPAF confirm 5 of them. I've got the 8th's report, and
there are two claims I consider less certain than the rest.


> >> I can't agree that CAP was pointless. Dedicated A/A assets on station
> >> are quickly deployable when enemy aircraft are detected whether by
> >> visual sighting from the strike package, by GCI or SigInt. Steve
> >> Ritchie will probably agree also, since his kills were all on CAP
> >> missions--he didn't do escort.
> >
> >The U.S.A.F. disagreed with you, in the 1967 time frame, for the reasons I've
> >stated.
>
> Well, as I said it the beginning, things changed--and then changed
> back. We used CAPs in '66 (with little success) and we were still
> using CAPs in Linebacker.

We went back to CAPs in late '67, because the new MiG-21 tactics made our
tactics ineffective. Because of this, they got permission to go active with
QRC-248, which allowed us to see them coming. As you say, things change.

> > Because MiG activity had increased so much, they started using
> >dedicated F-4 escorts in late April (instead of just dedicating one flight to
> >dump their bombs and engage if MiGs were sighted), and began providing at
> >least two escort flights per strike package, one just behind the first strike
> >flight, the other behind the last strike flight.
>
> In LB the escort was flown as "outrigger" with one flight of four
> F-4Es for the strike package and one for the chaff package. Typically
> the escorts stayed with the strikers, overflew the target and
> cross-turned to resume position on the strike package on egress.

In October 1967, they moved the escorts out as you've said, to try and
counter the new MiG-21 tactics. It doesn't appear that we ever developed a
very effective counter to them, even with Combat Tree. At best, the 1972
USAAF daytime F-4 vs. MiG-21 kill (claim) rate was around 1.4-1.75:1
(35/20-25), depending what U.S. losses you include or leave out (for example,
there was an F-4 loss to fuel starvation, in which they'd been unable to
disengage from maneuvering against coordinated SAMs and MiGs. Is that
awarded to the MiGs, the SAMs, or ?). Allowing for overclaims on our side,
and some U.S. losses that we may have misattributed to AAA/SAMs instead of
MiGs (There are several candidates, based on VPAF claims), the real ratio may
be around 1:1 or so. Luckily for us, the number of a/c they could control
simultaneously was limited, as was their pilot pool, and their misiles were
as limited in performance and unreliable as ours were. Not that they ever
had the ability to contest air superiority with us.

Gary Watson

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
Well us poor folks up north had one a/c to do everything as we couldn't
afford all the new toys coming out of GD,MDD,etc. The externally mounted
Viggen Camera seemed to work really good. The other Canadian sqns were
flying nuclear strike with mission profiles that gave the pilot one egress
option. Toss the bomb and head south until you run out of gas. Our 101s were
tasked as Air Defence with the Genie. Comox and Baggottville were the homes
for the VooDoos.
Gary Watson

wal...@oneimage.com wrote in message <371e2...@206.168.123.253>...

Dweezil Dwarftosser

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 22:56:53 GMT, g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

Just a couple of short notes, Guy... lots of snips.

>Maybe this is an F-4C/D vs. E thing. I can't remember if you said that you
>had the foamed tanks or not in 1972, but if not, you had more gas than the
>earlier models (7th tank), plus the hard-wing F-4E seems to have had more Ps
>(more thrust, maybe lower drag?) compared to the short-nose a/c with the
>J79-15. Also, the 105Gs were slower as well, being heavier than the earlier
>weasels and having more drag (ALQ-105 pods as well as more antennas; I've got
>the exact figures somewhere, but the ALQ-105s decreased range something like
>2.5% subsonic, 4% supersonic. I'll find the data), as well as the airframes
>just being old and tired. OTOH, the usual 105F load in 1967 was a pair of
>CBU-24s and a pair of Shrikes plus a C/L, so I don't know how the drag would
>work out.

By the time I left Korat in 1971, we had only two ( of 12 or 14 )
F-105Gs which possessed the QRC-105 blisters under the wings.

>Countering that, you've said that the 105Gs got rid of the AGM-78 at the first
>opportunity; did they keep the wing tank on the other side, or dump that too?

I don't know about the 1972 time frame - but all of the planes I saw
return (after launching AGM-78s) had punched the now-assymetric tank.


>They were almost totally at the mercy of GCI in Rolling Thunder; it was the
>availablility of the QRC-248, and especially permission to use it actively ,
>that made it possible to even know where the MiGs were, and when to detach
>one of the escort flights to head them off (BTW, I gave the wrong date
>yesterday. QRC-248 was first used passively in June, but permission for us to
>interrogate, instead of just reading the transponder when the NVN
>interrogated, didn't happen until October 6th). It was found that detaching
>had to be timed right, as too early and the MiGs would break off an maybe
>reposition, too late and they'd blow through to the strike before the escorts
>could find them and fire. The ideal range to detach one of the escort
>flights was found to be about 20nm; additionally, it was unlikely (prior to
>Combat Tree) that the F-4s would contact them much beyond that range, even if
>they weren't in ground clutter. Of course, that assumes that the F-4 radars
>were working; they often weren't.

No one ever took off on a COMBAT mission with a broke radar. It
grounded the jet as surely as a bad engine.

To clarify that: about 1/3 to 1/2 of all F-4 missions returned with a
radar discrepancy of some sort. Just guessing now - but they were
probably equally divided into minor, major, and "no defect". To be
more specific: many of those discrepancies ( maybe "most" of them )
were Built-in-Test problems, which may have left actual operation
unaffected. For example: "Weak targets ( just 8 ) in Bit 1." - when
this receiver test should have displayed 12-15 progressively-weaker
test targets at one-mile intervals. That same "problem" system may
have been capable of locking onto (presumably) airline traffic at
35-50 miles, while running on ground power. What to do ? "Break"
the jet since the BIT problem is valid - or let it fly, since actual
operation is normal ?

> I suspect the F-4E's radar was
>considerably more reliable than earlier versions, especially as in 1967 they
>were still in the middle of solving the great "SEAsia spore just loves to eat
>F-4 electrical connection potting compound, causing all sorts of exciting
>shorts" problem.

The APQ-120 was slightly more reliable than the APQ-109 - but not
enough to write a book about the differences. In the 1972 time frame,
the "new" scope controller for the TISEO jets was the most un-
reliable piece of junk I have ever seen placed into a fighter. I
don't think it ever made a single "CODE ONE" sortie. ( "MSDG - Trash,
by Hazeltine".)

> The F-4 radio's unreliability was one of
>Ritchie's pet peeves; in his end of tour interview with Momyer, he told him
>that the air force shouldn't spend another dime on tactical a/c until they
>bought and installed a reliable UHF radio.

This is the first time I have ever heard of the F-4 radios being
called "unreliable". The COMM guys I knew were just like the "Maytag
repairman" - the loneliest guy in town. About the only time they left
the shop was to reset the codes for secure voice - something they
looked forward to - between Pinochle games.

- John T.

Hugh Dickson

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
Aloha, 9/20/65 was TRIPLE -104 loss day for 436th.
Smith down by Mig 19 gunfire off Hainan Island. Carlson
and Quackenbush by mid-air just off Da Nang returning
from SAR for Smith at night. Both "day fighters" had elec.
troubles and no lights. Planes lost viz. contact with each
other. Lead lit burner on turn to long final so #2 could ID
lead. #2 hi lead. Both ejected but were recovered OK.
Source: "Journey Into Darkness" by Col. Philip E. Smith.

Ed Rasimus

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
wc...@usa.net (Dweezil Dwarftosser) wrote:

>On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 22:56:53 GMT, g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>Just a couple of short notes, Guy... lots of snips.

Somehow my news server didn't get Guy's post from which these quotes
are snipped. Nevertheless, I continue to throw in my two-cents.

>
>>Maybe this is an F-4C/D vs. E thing. I can't remember if you said that you
>>had the foamed tanks or not in 1972, but if not, you had more gas than the
>>earlier models (7th tank), plus the hard-wing F-4E seems to have had more Ps
>>(more thrust, maybe lower drag?) compared to the short-nose a/c with the
>>J79-15.

The hard wing E had a bit more gas until they foamed the tanks, then
the foam took up some space. And, they did have a bit more thrust
although Ps doesn't tell the whole story. Most hard-wing drivers gave
the turn-rate/radius lead to C/D models due to factors of moment of
inertia caused by the heavy gun way out front. The E had the "slotted
slab" to try to give a bit more aerodynamic efficiency and delay
airflow separation and slab stalling when commanding high nose rates.

>Also, the 105Gs were slower as well, being heavier than the earlier
>>weasels and having more drag (ALQ-105 pods as well as more antennas; I've got
>>the exact figures somewhere, but the ALQ-105s decreased range something like
>>2.5% subsonic, 4% supersonic. I'll find the data), as well as the airframes
>>just being old and tired.

Certainly the "G" was old, warped and heavy. There was a serious quest
for weight reduction going on in mid-72 with proposals to remove the
gun, the displacing gear and the rear cockpit flight instruments among
other things.

>> OTOH, the usual 105F load in 1967 was a pair of
>>CBU-24s and a pair of Shrikes plus a C/L, so I don't know how the drag would
>>work out.

The fact that ANY weasel was carrying CBU reflects the increase in the
number of available airframes by 1967. When initially deployed in May
'66 there were six sent to Korat and six to Tahkli. Within three weeks
five of the six at Tahkli were lost and the remaining one was battle
damaged and unflyable. One aircraft was lost from Korat at the time
leaving 5. We supported all the SEAD requirements with those five
through Nov. '66 when I finished the tour and new (modded) aircraft
began to trickle in. By '67 they were able to fly multiple Weasels in
the same flight and by '68 they flew Weasel four-ships (a tactically
unsound procedure IMHO).

In Linebacker, we had limited G models again so the flights were
two-Gs and two Phantoms.

>
>By the time I left Korat in 1971, we had only two ( of 12 or 14 )
>F-105Gs which possessed the QRC-105 blisters under the wings.

In '72 every aircraft possessed by the 17th/561st WWS was blistered.


>
>>Countering that, you've said that the 105Gs got rid of the AGM-78 at the first
>>opportunity; did they keep the wing tank on the other side, or dump that too?

It was a function of aircrew choice and threat level. Downtown the
tank came off immediately after the blivet. In peripheral areas the
tank was retained to aid maintenance in turnaround time.

>
>I don't know about the 1972 time frame - but all of the planes I saw
>return (after launching AGM-78s) had punched the now-assymetric tank.
>
>

>> The ideal range to detach one of the escort
>>flights was found to be about 20nm; additionally, it was unlikely (prior to
>>Combat Tree) that the F-4s would contact them much beyond that range, even if
>>they weren't in ground clutter. Of course, that assumes that the F-4 radars
>>were working; they often weren't.
>

>No one ever took off on a COMBAT mission with a broke radar. It
>grounded the jet as surely as a bad engine.

Dweezil is right on that. Radar was a totally integrated component of
the weapon system in both 105 and F-4. If the radar wasn't functional
there was no way to deliver ordinance. That doesn't mean that a radar
couldn't crump during the mission, but my experience was that the
radar was always working--but that's only 250 missions.
>

>> I suspect the F-4E's radar was
>>considerably more reliable than earlier versions, especially as in 1967 they
>>were still in the middle of solving the great "SEAsia spore just loves to eat
>>F-4 electrical connection potting compound, causing all sorts of exciting
>>shorts" problem.

I wasn't a maintenance type (although in '73 I spent about six weeks
as Jack Chain's exec when he was Korat LG), but my first recollection
of the potting compound issue was well into '73 with repotting going
on through IRAN throughout most of my tenure at Torrejon flying the
C-models.


>
>
>> The F-4 radio's unreliability was one of
>>Ritchie's pet peeves; in his end of tour interview with Momyer, he told him
>>that the air force shouldn't spend another dime on tactical a/c until they
>>bought and installed a reliable UHF radio.
>

>This is the first time I have ever heard of the F-4 radios being
>called "unreliable". The COMM guys I knew were just like the "Maytag
>repairman" - the loneliest guy in town. About the only time they left
>the shop was to reset the codes for secure voice - something they
>looked forward to - between Pinochle games.

I've got to side with Ritchie on this one. It wasn't so much that the
radio was unreliable as that it was poorly positioned. The control
head was on the right console located just perfectly inboard from the
cockpit wall to place it directly under the canopy sill dripline. When
it rained the control head got saturated resulting in NORDO shortly
after take-off when the water soaked in. If you could hold off about
twenty minutes the heat of operation would dry things out.

The other aspect was the location of the radio itself which required
removal of the rear cockpit bucket to swap.

g_al...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
In article <371FF122...@worldnet.att.net>,

hnl...@worldnet.att.net wrote:
> Aloha, 9/20/65 was TRIPLE -104 loss day for 436th.
> Smith down by Mig 19 gunfire off Hainan Island. Carlson
> and Quackenbush by mid-air just off Da Nang returning
> from SAR for Smith at night. Both "day fighters" had elec.
> troubles and no lights. Planes lost viz. contact with each
> other. Lead lit burner on turn to long final so #2 could ID
> lead. #2 hi lead. Both ejected but were recovered OK.
> Source: "Journey Into Darkness" by Col. Philip E. Smith.
>
> >
> > I suspect that was the case, but my memory's hazy. I can't seem to lay my
> > hands on the date of the double 104 loss right now, but it was in that
> > timeframe.

Hi, Hugh, thanks for the date, but that's not the one we're referring to. I'm
familiar with the above incident; IIRC (my buddy spent a couple of hours
talking to Harvey Quackenbush a couple of years ago), the lights weren't
working because they were not considered a reason to down the a/c (becasue
they were day only), and was one of those things that would be fixed when
required maintenance downed the a/c.

Ed and I are talking about a dual loss, probably to SAMs, in Aug./Sep. 1966,
while flying Weasel escort.

g_al...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
In article <37208843...@news.rmi.net>,

thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
> wc...@usa.net (Dweezil Dwarftosser) wrote:
>
> >On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 22:56:53 GMT, g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

<snip>

> >> OTOH, the usual 105F load in 1967 was a pair of
> >>CBU-24s and a pair of Shrikes plus a C/L, so I don't know how the drag would
> >>work out.
>
> The fact that ANY weasel was carrying CBU reflects the increase in the
> number of available airframes by 1967. When initially deployed in May
> '66 there were six sent to Korat and six to Tahkli. Within three weeks
> five of the six at Tahkli were lost and the remaining one was battle
> damaged and unflyable. One aircraft was lost from Korat at the time
> leaving 5. We supported all the SEAD requirements with those five
> through Nov. '66 when I finished the tour and new (modded) aircraft
> began to trickle in. By '67 they were able to fly multiple Weasels in
> the same flight and by '68 they flew Weasel four-ships (a tactically
> unsound procedure IMHO).

Bt March or so '67, it was normally 2 Fs, 2 Ds, with the Fs being 01 and 03.
They'd split into elements bracketing the target area. The Ds would normally
carry 2 Shrikes, two tanks, and 6 Mk. 82 or sometimes 4 CBUs on the C/L.


> >> The ideal range to detach one of the escort
> >>flights was found to be about 20nm; additionally, it was unlikely (prior to
> >>Combat Tree) that the F-4s would contact them much beyond that range, even
if
> >>they weren't in ground clutter. Of course, that assumes that the F-4 radars
> >>were working; they often weren't.
> >
> >No one ever took off on a COMBAT mission with a broke radar. It
> >grounded the jet as surely as a bad engine.
>
> Dweezil is right on that. Radar was a totally integrated component of
> the weapon system in both 105 and F-4. If the radar wasn't functional
> there was no way to deliver ordinance. That doesn't mean that a radar
> couldn't crump during the mission, but my experience was that the
> radar was always working--but that's only 250 missions.

And you also never had a gun jam in your entire career. The gods smiled on
you, Ed:-) I wasn't suggesting that they'd takeoff with a bad radar, but
that it would fail sometime during the mission. Come to think of it, ISTR
you overheated and burned out a radar once on a mission, while you were doing
the speed of heat in a Thud.

> >> I suspect the F-4E's radar was
> >>considerably more reliable than earlier versions, especially as in 1967 they
> >>were still in the middle of solving the great "SEAsia spore just loves to
eat
> >>F-4 electrical connection potting compound, causing all sorts of exciting
> >>shorts" problem.
>
> I wasn't a maintenance type (although in '73 I spent about six weeks
> as Jack Chain's exec when he was Korat LG), but my first recollection
> of the potting compound issue was well into '73 with repotting going
> on through IRAN throughout most of my tenure at Torrejon flying the
> C-models.

There appear to have been several waves of problems with the potting compound.
ISTR that it started in '65 or '66; they made a change, which worked for a
while, but then some other organism decided it liked the new stuff as well.
This went on for a while. OTOH, the Cs were replaced by Ds in SEA by 1968 or
so, so maybe these a/c had just never been reworked, while most of the Ds/Es
came in with the new stuff. Pure speculation on my part.

> >> The F-4 radio's unreliability was one of
> >>Ritchie's pet peeves; in his end of tour interview with Momyer, he told him
> >>that the air force shouldn't spend another dime on tactical a/c until they
> >>bought and installed a reliable UHF radio.
> >
> >This is the first time I have ever heard of the F-4 radios being
> >called "unreliable". The COMM guys I knew were just like the "Maytag
> >repairman" - the loneliest guy in town. About the only time they left
> >the shop was to reset the codes for secure voice - something they
> >looked forward to - between Pinochle games.

And since Walker, IIRR, sold the tech manuals of the KY-8 as well as most
other crypto gear, you wonder if it even mattered. I wonder if he's still so
smug, after all these years. Aargh!


> I've got to side with Ritchie on this one. It wasn't so much that the
> radio was unreliable as that it was poorly positioned. The control
> head was on the right console located just perfectly inboard from the
> cockpit wall to place it directly under the canopy sill dripline. When
> it rained the control head got saturated resulting in NORDO shortly
> after take-off when the water soaked in. If you could hold off about
> twenty minutes the heat of operation would dry things out.
>
> The other aspect was the location of the radio itself which required
> removal of the rear cockpit bucket to swap.

Ritchie apparently got into quite a froth about the whole seat removal bit,
since you had to get an ordnance guy to remove the pyrotechnics before you
could pull the seat, etc. He said the location was just nuts, and kept a/c
down when they shouldn't have been. Given the lack of Combat Tree-equipped
a/c through most of his tour (8 initially, down to 3 by July 1972, when they
finally got 20 more a/c fitted with it), I can see his point. Fortunately,
the brass were already on that, and had started to spec maintenance
accessibility.

One of the points in favor of the 104 in Rolling Thunder, BTW, is the much
higher reliability of the a/c, and the ease of repair (which Walt has
described in the past). My buddy's 104 pilot friend flew the 104 used in the
Navy's "Project Plan" maneuvering target test. He took one 104C, one
airframe guy, one engine guy, and a spare set of tires to Pt. Mugu (from
George). VX-4 had 5 F-4Bs allocated for the test, plus they had their
squadron maintenance facilities. ISTR he made every sortie, but there were
several occasions where they couldn't generate a single F-4 by takeoff time.
He'd taxi over in front of their squadron hangar and jazz the throttle, just
to drive the point home that he was ready to play, and they weren't:-)

Dweezil Dwarftosser

unread,
Apr 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/23/99
to
On Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:07:18 GMT, thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:

>>On Thu, 22 Apr 1999 22:56:53 GMT, g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>>> I suspect the F-4E's radar was
>>>considerably more reliable than earlier versions, especially as in 1967 they
>>>were still in the middle of solving the great "SEAsia spore just loves to eat
>>>F-4 electrical connection potting compound, causing all sorts of exciting
>>>shorts" problem.
>
>I wasn't a maintenance type (although in '73 I spent about six weeks
>as Jack Chain's exec when he was Korat LG), but my first recollection
>of the potting compound issue was well into '73 with repotting going
>on through IRAN throughout most of my tenure at Torrejon flying the
>C-models.

I'll second that - removal of the "wet" green/black potting from relay
panels was still going on when I was at Bitburg, '75-'78. The
replacement was pink/tan.

- John T.

Ed Rasimus

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>In article <37208843...@news.rmi.net>,
> thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:

>And you also never had a gun jam in your entire career. The gods smiled on
>you, Ed:-) I wasn't suggesting that they'd takeoff with a bad radar, but
>that it would fail sometime during the mission. Come to think of it, ISTR
>you overheated and burned out a radar once on a mission, while you were doing
>the speed of heat in a Thud.

That was an unusual circumstance, to say the least. We had gone in on
the deck down Phantom Ridge to a railyard along the NE railroad. At
the target area we popped for a right roll-in and as lead's nose came
up we were covered with 37/57MM barrage flak so thick that as #4 in
the flight I momentarily lost sight of the lead element 9-12K feet
away in the clouds of exploding white popcorn.

As lead rolled in, he realized we had the railroad but didn't have the
yard, so he called off dry and circled left for a re-attack. He
directed that we then jettison our inboard 450 gal. tanks (since we
were going back through that flak.)

When I punched the tanks (I found out after landing), the cannon plug
for electrical connections to the right pylon didn't separate as it
was supposed to, but when the tank came off it pulled all the wires
out leaving about four feet of wires flailing in the breeze--all still
electrically "hot".

Within seconds of the tank coming off my aircraft experienced a severe
jolt and I thought I'd been hit. The MER empty light came on leading
me to believe the hit had been to the belly, blowing the MER off. I
called that I'd been hit and was heading for the coast, although by
that time the other three aircraft were already outbound.

On the way out, the flailing wires were intermittently (apparently)
closing various circuits and in short order I lost the radar in a
giant flash of green on the scope, then the RHAW and the gun sight.
Autopilot was inop, but stab-aug stayed.

When I rejoined, my element lead confirmed the MER was gone and the
wires were dangling, but apparently no other damage. All quited down
as we went to the post-strike tanker, but when I moved into
pre-contact position and pulled the handle to open the refueling door,
that re-activated the cannon plug and the outboard pylons blew
off--almost into the face of my lead. That was the final occurence and
my flight lead let my element leader escort me home while he and #2
went hunting for strafe targets in Route Pack 1.

The radar could hardly be blamed for the failure, however.


>
>One of the points in favor of the 104 in Rolling Thunder, BTW, is the much
>higher reliability of the a/c, and the ease of repair (which Walt has
>described in the past).

Sure, you get high reliability with a simple system. An engine, a wing
and a gun is easy to keep up. If you want to add radar and weapons
control systems, etc, you suffer a few more downs. The 104G would have
been a better comparison to either the 105D or F-4C/D/E.

> My buddy's 104 pilot friend flew the 104 used in the
>Navy's "Project Plan" maneuvering target test. He took one 104C, one
>airframe guy, one engine guy, and a spare set of tires to Pt. Mugu (from
>George). VX-4 had 5 F-4Bs allocated for the test, plus they had their
>squadron maintenance facilities. ISTR he made every sortie, but there were
>several occasions where they couldn't generate a single F-4 by takeoff time.
>He'd taxi over in front of their squadron hangar and jazz the throttle, just
>to drive the point home that he was ready to play, and they weren't:-)

Let me refer you to my classic movie endeaver: "There Is A Way" about
F-105 ops out of Korat in Nov. '66. Wimpy Peake is doing voice-over of
a night flightline scene and compliments the maintenance troops. He
truthfully says, "I don't know how they do it. We always get an
airplane..."

Maintenance effectiveness tends to by cyclical, but while I was in
SEA, it was always remarkably high.

g_al...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
In article <3721d41a...@news.rmi.net>,
thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:

> g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:
>
> >In article <37208843...@news.rmi.net>,
> > thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>
> >And you also never had a gun jam in your entire career. The gods smiled on
> >you, Ed:-) I wasn't suggesting that they'd takeoff with a bad radar, but
> >that it would fail sometime during the mission. Come to think of it, ISTR
> >you overheated and burned out a radar once on a mission, while you were doing
> >the speed of heat in a Thud.
>
> That was an unusual circumstance, to say the least. We had gone in on
> the deck down Phantom Ridge to a railyard along the NE railroad. At
> the target area we popped for a right roll-in and as lead's nose came
> up we were covered with 37/57MM barrage flak so thick that as #4 in
> the flight I momentarily lost sight of the lead element 9-12K feet
> away in the clouds of exploding white popcorn.
<snip details>

> The radar could hardly be blamed for the failure, however.

I thought that was on another mission. My recollection was that you'd said
the canopy was too hot to touch and the radar overheated and burned out, as
you were doing something like 780CAS at the time. My mistake.

> >One of the points in favor of the 104 in Rolling Thunder, BTW, is the much
> >higher reliability of the a/c, and the ease of repair (which Walt has
> >described in the past).
>

> Sure, you get high reliability with a simple system. An engine, a wing
> and a gun is easy to keep up. If you want to add radar and weapons
> control systems, etc, you suffer a few more downs. The 104G would have
> been a better comparison to either the 105D or F-4C/D/E.

Yes, the 104G would have compared more directly, but the 104C did have a
radar, and from Walt's description of it it was just fine for pure pursuit
attacks and ranging, being easy to use, reliable, and easy to repair. No
angle track capability, but essentially a 'C' type display like a HUD,
showing relative direction to the target(s) as well as range, plus a narrow
cone for gun ranging.

The main advantage the G had from a command standpoint, and which could
presumably have been put in the C if the brass had been willing to spend any
money on it at all, was an INS. Indeed, of all the many reasons given for
pulling the 104s from SEAsia (range, lack of RWR, can't put a pod on it,
etc.), its lack of a nav. system is the only one that isn't demonstrably
false or at least subject to debate. Momyer, in "Air Power in Three Wars,"
describes the great emphasis placed on staying out of the buffer zone and not
crossing the border, and says that a combination of GCI, nav. systems in the
fighters, and a lot of command emphasis kept the violations to a minimum
(with a few exceptions, inadvertent or otherwise, right Ed? :-) ).

Re the 104G, while it had the search/track radar with a B-scan (a somewhat
dubious advantage in combat in the 1967 era given NVN tactics), it also had
the lowest Ps of the whole line, as well as being less maneuverable (nose
heavy, like you described the F-4E, and the Israelis describe the Nesher
compared to the Mirage IIIC). My friend's friend has flown most of the 104
versions, including the C,D, CF-104/G, and S (although not, to his eternal
sadness, the A with -19), and he liked the G the least. In addition to the
lower performance, he also didn't care for the larger tail. It was
undoubtedly a better low-level nuke/recon/maritime strike platform than the A
or C, but for the air superiority mission, he didn't think so. The 104's
whole advantage is its performance, and the radars of the time didn't provide
enough of an advantage for their weight, in his opinion (not with RoE that
required VID). Now, put a nice modern multimode PD set in, with AMRAAMs and
AIM-9s, and he might change his mind:-) As it is, apparently an F-104S has a
better A/B intercept radius (and will get there faster) than an F-15, hardly
surprising when you consider the sfc of a turbojet in A/B compared to the
F100s.

As a practical matter, the Navy F-8s did have quite a decent AI radar (60nm
on a bomber, typically 20-25 on a fighter), but they rarely seem to have had
time to use it for search, except for rendezvous on the way out or finding
the tanker. Too much going on outside the cockpit. Doesn't seem to have
negatively affected their exchange rate, and may have been a positive factor
in it.


> > My buddy's 104 pilot friend flew the 104 used in the
> >Navy's "Project Plan" maneuvering target test. He took one 104C, one
> >airframe guy, one engine guy, and a spare set of tires to Pt. Mugu (from
> >George). VX-4 had 5 F-4Bs allocated for the test, plus they had their
> >squadron maintenance facilities. ISTR he made every sortie, but there were
> >several occasions where they couldn't generate a single F-4 by takeoff time.
> >He'd taxi over in front of their squadron hangar and jazz the throttle, just
> >to drive the point home that he was ready to play, and they weren't:-)
>

> Let me refer you to my classic movie endeaver: "There Is A Way" about
> F-105 ops out of Korat in Nov. '66. Wimpy Peake is doing voice-over of
> a night flightline scene and compliments the maintenance troops. He
> truthfully says, "I don't know how they do it. We always get an
> airplane..."
>
> Maintenance effectiveness tends to by cyclical, but while I was in
> SEA, it was always remarkably high.

Yup. Of course, the SEAsia 105 units were, at least according to one source
(David Anderton's book on the 105, IIRR), at 150% manning for maintenance
personnel compared to peacetime standards. Whether that was general for all
types in theater or not, I can't say. And you were overhauling engines much
more frequently than you would normally, and lots of other things that you
wouldn't usually do.

For that matter, you may have always got an airplane, but they weren't always
ready to fly. Piowaty describes (in the Squadron Signal book "Thud") a
mission he was supposed to lead, in which his assigned a/c was sick. He then
ran to a spare, strapped in in a hurry, started it and did a high-speed taxi
to the runway. He couldn't get the required epr for the day, but decided to
go anyway. He ran it up to full power on the brakes, lifted his feet and went
into burner, hit the water injection switch, and the instrument panel fell
into his lap. Oh well, people were tired and overworked:-)


BTW, I don't know if my previous message (the one John replied to, and which
you hadn't gotten) ever showed up on your mailer, but dejanews has it.
There's some stuff there that you might find interesting, or else feel just
has to be rebutted:-)

wal...@oneimage.com

unread,
Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
to
thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:>
>>In article <37208843...@news.rmi.net>,
>> thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
> "I don't know how they do it. We always get an
>airplane..."
>>Maintenance effectiveness tends to by cyclical, but while I was in
>SEA, it was always remarkably high. Ed Rasimus > Fighter Pilot (ret) *** (http://peak-computing.com)
>
>>>Yes indeed. It's called leadership and morale. During a 390Th Squadron
down-day at DaNang when most of the utfit got to go to China Beach 19 of
the men volunteered to stay on the line for backup 'just in case". The
4th and 421st fell flat on their faces and 19 men turned 21 sorties from
0800 to 1800 - - - - not too shabby with 20 F4Ds that had been there
in-theater for 7 years! These same 135 men (should have been 153but that's
Personnel for you) took the same 20 aircraft averaging about 225 writeups apiece,
delayed and otherwise, and in 3 months of good hard effort got the books down
to less than 10 each. Again, not shabby at all! Damn good men.

wal...@oneimage.com

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Apr 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/24/99
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wc...@usa.net (Dweezil Dwarftosser) wrote:
>That time frame is correct, John. Our F4Ds in the 390th had been over there since new and in 71-72 we were not having problems.
But the Misawa birds, F4Cs, were as early as 69. BTW I was in the 36 CSG at Bitburg from'73-76 when I got reassigned to the
31 TFW at Homestead.

Hugh Dickson

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Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
Aloha, Many of us mechs. think we "own" the planes.
We just "loan" them to pilots once in a while.

Hugh

wal...@oneimage.com wrote:

Ed Rasimus

unread,
Apr 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/25/99
to
g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>In article <3721d41a...@news.rmi.net>,
> thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:
>> g_al...@hotmail.com wrote:

>> The radar could hardly be blamed for the failure, however.
>
>I thought that was on another mission. My recollection was that you'd said
>the canopy was too hot to touch and the radar overheated and burned out, as
>you were doing something like 780CAS at the time. My mistake.

I never experienced canopy heating. I will confess that in the story
related above, my airspeed did "creep up a bit" -- probably in the
neighborhood of 680-700 KCAS. At those speed we used to get the
"tunnel effect" where the normal shock wave started moving forward
along the canopy creating a condensation cloud. As you got close to
the Mach the cloud would be all over the canopy so that your only
clear view was straight ahead. Of course, at that speed, that's the
only direction that counts.
>


> Momyer, in "Air Power in Three Wars,"
>describes the great emphasis placed on staying out of the buffer zone and not
>crossing the border, and says that a combination of GCI, nav. systems in the
>fighters, and a lot of command emphasis kept the violations to a minimum
>(with a few exceptions, inadvertent or otherwise, right Ed? :-) ).

We always knew where we were, but occasionally did ignore it. I think
I've previously recounted the trip with my squadron commander, Fred
Tracy (first F-105 MiG kill) in which we headed north of Dien Bien Phu
to about 75 miles into China. His reason? "I'll never get a second MiG
if we don't go where they are."

Or the killing of a pair of trains along the NE railroad that we
encountered during ingress to a target using the buffer zone for
maneuver. The choice was court-martial or no crews for sorties the
next day. Intel "re-plotted" the train location and I wound up with
DFC #2.
>

>> Maintenance effectiveness tends to by cyclical, but while I was in
>> SEA, it was always remarkably high.
>

>


>For that matter, you may have always got an airplane, but they weren't always
>ready to fly. Piowaty describes (in the Squadron Signal book "Thud") a
>mission he was supposed to lead, in which his assigned a/c was sick. He then
>ran to a spare, strapped in in a hurry, started it and did a high-speed taxi
>to the runway. He couldn't get the required epr for the day, but decided to
>go anyway. He ran it up to full power on the brakes, lifted his feet and went
>into burner, hit the water injection switch, and the instrument panel fell
>into his lap. Oh well, people were tired and overworked:-)

Sometimes things happen. I wound up with a bird that had no gun sight
to sit spare on a strike package to the Phuc Yen airfield POL storage
area. Naturally someone crumped and I chose to go anyway. Without the
sight, I had to get a "little bit close to my work" to get the bombs
on target--which led to my being filmed by a camera carrying bird in
another flight getting the hit. Two aircraft out of 12 fragged were
lost on the mission, and my "Colin Kelly" act got a Silver Star.
(August 1966)

John Keeney

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Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
to
On Sun, 25 Apr 1999 14:11:34 GMT, thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:

>Sometimes things happen. I wound up with a bird that had no gun sight
>to sit spare on a strike package to the Phuc Yen airfield POL storage
>area. Naturally someone crumped and I chose to go anyway. Without the
>sight, I had to get a "little bit close to my work" to get the bombs
>on target--which led to my being filmed by a camera carrying bird in
>another flight getting the hit. Two aircraft out of 12 fragged were
>lost on the mission, and my "Colin Kelly" act got a Silver Star.
>(August 1966)

But do you have a copy of the film?

Ed Rasimus

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Apr 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/26/99
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jdke...@iglou.com (John Keeney) wrote:

>But do you have a copy of the film?

Nope. Typically strike camera film was funneled directly into Intel
for analysis and then forwarded to 7th AF in Saigon. It was always
classified Secret.

g_al...@hotmail.com

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Apr 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/27/99
to
In article <37232026...@news.rmi.net>,
thu...@rmii.com (Ed Rasimus) wrote:

>g.alcala wrote:

<snip>

> >For that matter, you may have always got an airplane, but they weren't always
> >ready to fly. Piowaty describes (in the Squadron Signal book "Thud") a
> >mission he was supposed to lead, in which his assigned a/c was sick. He then
> >ran to a spare, strapped in in a hurry, started it and did a high-speed taxi
> >to the runway. He couldn't get the required epr for the day, but decided to
> >go anyway. He ran it up to full power on the brakes, lifted his feet and went
> >into burner, hit the water injection switch, and the instrument panel fell
> >into his lap. Oh well, people were tired and overworked:-)
>

> Sometimes things happen. I wound up with a bird that had no gun sight
> to sit spare on a strike package to the Phuc Yen airfield POL storage
> area. Naturally someone crumped and I chose to go anyway. Without the
> sight, I had to get a "little bit close to my work" to get the bombs
> on target--which led to my being filmed by a camera carrying bird in
> another flight getting the hit. Two aircraft out of 12 fragged were
> lost on the mission, and my "Colin Kelly" act got a Silver Star.
> (August 1966)

So that's what it was for. I'd been unsuccessful trying to pry the story out
of you in the past:-) Question, though. You remember you said that strafing
AAA guns with a multimillion dollar a/c was a really dumb idea, but you
admitted you'd done it yourself. ISTM sending an a/c on a mission without a
bombsight, which will require it to go a lot further into the threat envelope
to get a hit, doesn't seem to be a very intelligent use of expensive assets
to me, unless the target is vital. Such doesn't seem to be the case here.

I can sort of understand your decision to go (you were young, aggressive, and
immortal, I assume), but I can't figure out why your Squadron CO or Ops
officer would even put you in that a/c, unless this was just another battle
in the Air Force/Navy "Sortie wars". I mean, there's no way one or two a/c
more or less on this target is that significant; the war isn't going to be
won or lost as a result of this one mission in the POL campaign. Did they
deliberately put you spare in that a/c even though the gunsight was U/S, or
did you discover it yourself and go anyway?

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