History of B-52's in Vietnam

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Caver 60, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    I just found this website. It contains the history of B-52 operations in Vietnam from 18 June 1965 until August 1973. There’s a good writeup and lots of pictures on pages 149 thru 167.
    (warning big downloads)

    https://media.defense.gov/2017/Mar/28/2001722969/-1/-1/0/04-ILL_HIST_CH08-CH10_(PAGES149-200).PDF

    My participation in these operations began with my first bombing sortie flown in October 1966. My last sortie was flown in mid December 1972, just before Linebacker. I had flown into North Vietnam prior to Linebacker, but not to Hanoi.

    There are many bombing operations mentioned in this account that I participated in during my first and subsequent tours over there. In November 1966 I participated in operation Attleboro, operation Cedar Falls in January 1967, and operation Junction City in February 1967.

    I flew many sorties in defense of Khe Sanh (Operation Niagara) from February 1968 thru March 1968. I recall the new scheduling procedure called Bugle Note that is mentioned in both articles.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=SgynyCanXQMC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=Bugle+Note+bombing&source=bl&ots=itG2Vuiwnb&sig=ACfU3U196jSwz_xdH4n56ynGrlfQR9-RUQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwielOaEzdLnAhX4Ap0JHfucDZEQ6AEwD3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Bugle Note bombing&f=false

    Bugle Note greatly increased the efficiency of B-52’s in Vietnam. It allowed rapid target changes in response to enemy movement.

    A commander on the ground could almost change the target at the last minute as they observed enemy activity, and we could respond rapidly to the new enemy troupe location. It was a great success during the remainder of the war.

    Prior to Bugle Note, from late 1965 until Combat Skyspot was fully operational (1967), the average time from a commander on the round requesting a B-52 strike, until he got it, could be anywhere from a couple of days to as much as 5 days. This was due to several factors, not the least was US political involvement in the selection and approval of targets.

    Of course the Viet Cong were very mobile. So frequently the target box was empty by the time we got there. Then after Combat Skyspot came along, the time lag decreased quite a bit. And the political approval process was streamlined. But the VC were still getting away. The Bugle Note procedures greatly increased our effectiveness.

    With the Bugle Note procedure, we would takeoff knowing only the general location of our target. Inflight we would get a message, further narrowing down the target location. But the Combat Skyspot guys would then direct the actual bomb drop, based on the latest reports from the ground.

    On January 23 1968, the USS Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans. My crew was already on Guam when that happened. They told us to go into crew rest to fly a weapons loaded B-52 to Okinawa at Kadena AB. We had taken B-52’s to Okinawa for weather evacuations, but never a weapons loaded B-52. We landed at Kadena and the rest of my stateside base arrived there a day later.

    We sat alert prepared to fly a ‘special mission’ with Iron bombs, for two weeks. Then the Pueblo thing died down, and we started bombing Vietnam from there as mentioned in the first article.

    On 18 March of 1969 our crew flew the lead B-52 in the first ever B-52 strike in Cambodia. This started Operation Menu as mentioned in the article.

    I also participated in the Laotian bombing campaign mentioned in the article.

    My last tour ended just before Operation Linebacker in mid December 1972. I had bombed in North Vietnam, but never went to Hanoi. Just before Linebacker started, it was my crews turn to rotate stateside, in accordance with SAC’s no Permanent Change of Station policy. All our Vietnam tours were conducted as Temporary Duty tours, due to the necessity to maintain a nuclear alert capability during the entire period.

    I served 720 days over there, and flew 317 bombing missions.
     
  2. Pwhfirefighter

    Pwhfirefighter

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    Thanks for posting. Love this kinda stuff.
     
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  3. OXMYX

    OXMYX

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  4. Wake_jumper

    Wake_jumper

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    Interesting stuff. Thank you for your service.

    My uncle was in the AF Reserve and was told to be ready to fly in Vietnam but was never called up. He was a B-17 pilot in WWII. The family story is the he was going to fly B-52's in Vietnam, but I don't' know for sure. Seems like a stretch to go from a B-17 to B-52... but maybe he had been training in them. He's been gone for many years.
     
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  5. MulletLoad

    MulletLoad

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    I recall one of the Doolittle Raiders going from B-25's in WWII to Commanding a squadron of Mach 2 B-58's in the late 60's, but I think he never left the military during his time.

    I think a lot of guys did that amazing progression. Col Robin Olds was a WWII ace and later almost one in Viet Nam flying a Mach 2 F4 killing Migs.

    Amazing progress at that time.
     
  6. OXMYX

    OXMYX

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    Jimmy Stewart flew bomb missions in all 3 wars, even though one was off the record. If anyone gets a chance to go to the AF museum in Wright-Patterson, check this one out. Some officers were on drugs when they spec'ed this one out for bids.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FJVxtTNjJk
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  7. Bradley T

    Bradley T

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    Every so often one will fly into Forbes, and it's always cool to see! They used to fly out to some landmark or other to the northwest of Topeka on some kind of simulated bombing runs, I think- that's what it looked like they were doing. That is a fantastic aircraft!
    ( My wimpy little phone couldn't handle that download, dang it!)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  8. OXMYX

    OXMYX

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    Every bomber built after the B-26 and before the B-52 were death traps.
     
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  9. OXMYX

    OXMYX

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    The Air Force "We need the payload" Nope, then "We need maneuverable supersonic". Nope, "then we need supersonic with the payload". Nope.

    The aircraft industry "How about we design and build an aircraft that can deliver a bomb on target?" "Ok, that'll work."


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW7BeNlAuJg
     
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  10. OXMYX

    OXMYX

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    I think the AF was testing LSD on some of the general staff with this one but by god it is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen with wings.

    iuU0Z7HJP3.jpg

    xb70ship101.jpg
     
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  11. jim goose

    jim goose "The Goose"

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    Thanks for your service.

    I had a very low fly over of a b-52 at the St. Louis airshow. Maybe 500 ft, and it was insane.

    love that aircraft.

    grandad bombed Germany with the RAF so always a fan.
     
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  12. Bus007

    Bus007

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    The first source said the internal capacity was up to 27, which was max on the G models i loaded, I thought the D model carried more internally. Did we use G of H models over there?
     
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  13. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    We used G's intermittently (including Linebacker). The D model (my primary aircraft) was the 'heavy hauler' during the war. No H's were involved.

    You're right, the G could only carry 27 bombs total. A navy A-6 could carry 28 bombs. And the G didn't have the best ECM. The D always got the newest ECM equipment as soon as it was available. The G's only went to Hanoi a few times early in Linebacker, due to heavy losses. Then they started sending the G's to targets that were less well defended.

    That first source aircraft modification in 65, I'm pretty sure was an F model? I'll have to research that?

    The D could carry 84 of the 500 pound class bombs in the bomb bay and 24 of the 750 pound class bombs on the external Multiple Ejector Racks (MER racks) for a total gross weight load of 64,500 pounds. If you multiply those numbers out, the total doesn't come out right. That is because each bomb actually weighted slightly more than it's class designation.

    We didn't carry that 64,500 pound load very often from Guam, due to fuel degradation from those fat 750 pound bombs in the slip stream on the wing. We mostly carried 500 pound bombs on the wing from Guam. And 750 pound bombs in the bomb bay from Guam. The load weighed close to 20,000 pounds less, because we couldn't fit as many 750s in the bomb bay, thus we could carry more fuel.

    From Thailand the extra fuel degradation from 750s on the wing and 500 pounders in the bomb bay was no problem due to the much shorter mission. In fact from Thailand we didn't even use a max gross weight takeoff (450,000 pounds) because there was no sense in carrying the extra fuel. We also sometimes carried 750 pounders on the wing from Okinawa. But we made max gross weight takeoffs at Okinawa just like Guam.

    From Okinawa for most missions, we could fly unrefueled. From Guam we had to air refuel and take on about 84,000 pounds of fuel. It took fourteen minutes in contact with the tanker (see my new Aviator) to get that on load.
     
  14. Bus007

    Bus007

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  15. Bus007

    Bus007

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    I'm glad I didn't load the D models. I worked G models at Loring. We mostly loaded the good stuff in the alert area.
     
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  16. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    In my last years prior to retirement, one of my additional duties was a 'Coded Switch' Custodian. Not only did we install the Coded Switch on the aircraft, we also put the 'special' codes in the special weapons.

    We had G's when I was at Blytheville, but I was a staff officer by then. I didn't have to fly anymore.

    I never got to Loring.

    Edit One time I roughly multiplied it out. With my 317 D model missions, that came close to 18 million pounds of bombs, just out of my aircraft. Really helped the scrap iron business over there. A few years ago the National Geographic had an issue article about the scrap iron business over there.
     
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  17. willie_pete

    willie_pete NRA Life Member

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    The story of Stewart's classified bombing mission.

    https://www.sofmag.com/jimmy-stewart-flew-in-vietnam-what-movie-was-that-/


    " Brig. Gen. James Stewart had retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1968. He never spoke of his classified mission in Vietnam. Capt Amos never did, either. He went on to fly 34 combat missions over Vietnam in the B-52F, and later 126 missions in F-105Ds. He retired as a Colonel in 1984.

    Col Amos said only of that mission, “It was a great experience for us all and a huge honor for us to have Brig Gen. Stewart fly with us. He is truly the same modest gentleman in person as he portrayed in his many films.” "
     
  18. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    From what I've read Olds actually passed up a chance to become an ACE in Vietnam, because he didn't want to leave the theater. He was enjoying it to much and he knew if he became an Ace, they would bring him stateside for publicity.

    His F-4 back seater for awhile, became my Wing Commander later on. Early on the F-4 back seater was a fully rated pilot. That changed later.
     
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  19. The Fist Of Goodness

    The Fist Of Goodness

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    My dad said that the most impressive things he saw in Vietnam were a B52 strike and the aftermath of a "Spooky" gunship run.
     
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  20. willie_pete

    willie_pete NRA Life Member

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