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When I was defending Chicago in 1955-56, we worried that Soviet aircraft could/would:

-partially or totally jam our radars
(and we were totally untrained and unprepared at that time)
- launch missiles that followed our radar beams back to us.
Evidently I was worried a little early.

The following is from Mike about adventures about 10 years later, with the U.S. doing the jamming and "anti-radiation" missiles.
received 10/31/05
from Mike


[On 4 July 1966, we] arrrived at Takhli, Thailand (90+% of missions into North Vietnam originated in Thailand) in 354 Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying the F-105F Thunderchief, affectionately known as the Thud. We had 8 Pilot/Electronic Warfare officer crews and 6 F-105s modified with Radar Homing and Warning Receivers.

In NVN, we only had to deal with the SA-2 system with its Guideline missiles. The radar was a Track While Scan, which never really "locked" onto its target. It just centered you in the azimuth and elevation scans.

Our equipment allowed us to get an azimuth indication of the radar (no range) and we could home in on it like following a TACAN signal, and could tell when we passed over the site.

They were extremely difficult to acquire visually as they were usually well camouflaged and looked just like the villages or jungle close by. If they chose to launch missiles at you, we were sometimes able to see the cloud of dust or steam from the launch site, and after dodging the missile (s) could attack the site with 2.75mm rockets, 500# bombs and 20mm cannon fire.

Attacks had to take place at around 6-8K ft altitude which gave us a good line of sight and kept us above most of the AAA.

We later got a few of the Navy's SHRIKE anti-radiation missiles, which helped some. Their drawback was that they had a range of 7 nautical miles and only a 150# warhead, while the Guideline missiles had a 19 nautical mile range, went Mach 2.5 and had a 450# proximity fused, shaped warhead.

In spite of that we had the upper hand. The NVN SAM operators were usually conscripted university students who had been studying technical fields. As such they were sometimes a bunch of Candy Asses and sometimes didn't fire for fear of us attacking them (That is almost a direct quote from their history of the war.)

At the end of 45 days, we had one airplane left (of six) and had 4 guys killed, three wounded (two badly enough to be sent home), two POWs and one guy found employment elsewhere.

Losses by the strike force to SAMs came to a screeching halt however, and we recieved additional aircraft and crews in October of 1966. Our greatest losses throughout the war were to the 14.5mm, 37mm, 57mm, 85mm that were deployed in depth around any target worth a damn.

The tour length was 1 year or 100 missions over NVN. Missions in South Vietnam or Laos didn't count. I finished in April of 1967 (my second tour.)


If you have comments or suggestions, Send e-mail to Ed Thelen

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