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The 1960's saw the tragedy of Vietnam unfold, with the US unleashing its full arsenal of air weapons and the North Vietnamese responding with advanced jets from the USSR, frequently flown by Russians, along with a formidabled array of surface to air defence missiles.

This is a call to action to get aircrew stories from this titanic struggle into the history books. We know something of the US experience but there is much left to tell, and we know almost nothing about the North Vietnamese, Russian and Chinese experience. And the Australian involvement is largely unknown.

If you have anything to contribute please contact us and we'll work with you to get your data, histories, stories, letters and photos into the people's history. Just email us via our Helpdesk.

Following are links to sites that have valuable and interesting information on the Vietnam conflict. We have an effort underway to contact these sites to see if they have personal histories they can contribute to Aircrew Remembered. If you know of other sites we could contact, please let us know.

U.S. Air Force Units in the Vietnam War

Vietnam War: Air Force Top Secret Blue Book Studies 1962 to 1980 Top Secret "Blue Book" studies produced by the Air Force Historical Studies Office. The "Blue Book" studies examined a wide range of United States Air Force plans, policies, and operations in Southeast Asia. The historians at the Air Force Historical Studies Office created current history reviews of essential Vietnam War subjects. Some of these studies were not declassified until August 2008. The thirty-six studies in this collection include: USAF Plans and Operations: The Air Campaign against North Vietnam, 1966 Produced in 1968 as a Top Secret (not declassified and released to the public until 2008) current history, this study reviews the political background and top level discussions leading to the renewed bombing campaign in early 1966, the restrictions that were still imposed on air operations as of 1968, and the positions taken on them by the military chiefs. It discusses the various studies and events which led to President Johnson's decision to strike at North Vietnam's oil storage facilities and the results of those mid-year attacks. It also examines the increasing effectiveness of enemy air defenses and the continuing assessments of the air campaign under way at year's end. The report covers: Barrel Roll - Initiated in December 1964, Barrel Roll missions were flown against troops, equipment and supplies provided by North Vietnam in support of the Communist lead Pathet Lao. Combat Beaver - An air concept developed by the Air Staff in conjunction with the other services during September-November 1966. It was designed to support a proposed electronic and ground barrier system between North and South Vietnam. Flaming Dart - The initial Navy and Air Force retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam on 7-8 and 11 February 1965. Gate Guard - An air program designed to slow North Vietnamese infiltration toward the demilitarized zone. It began on 1 May 1966 in the northern part of Laos and then shifted into route package area I in North Vietnam. Rolling Thunder - The major air campaign begun on 2 March 1965 which inaugurated regularly scheduled air strikes against North Vietnam. Steel Tiger - Initiated in April 1965, Steel Tiger strikes were made against infiltration routes south of the 17th parallel in Laos. Tally-Ho - An air interdiction program started on 20 June 1966 in the southern part of North Vietnam, aimed at slowing the infiltration of North Vietnamese troops, equipment, and supplies through the demilitarized zone into South Vietnam. Tiger Hound - Begun in December 1965, these strikes were aimed at infiltration targets in southern Laos. They featured for the first time in Laos the use of forward air controllers and airborne command and control for certain strikes. Wild Weasel - USAF aircraft, largely F-100F's and F-105F's, specially equipped with electronic and other devices to neutralize or destroy Soviet-provided SA-2 sites in North Vietnam. The appendixes includes a chronology of the growth of North Vietnamese Air Defenses and tables covering U.S. and VNAF Attack Sorties in Southeast Asia, B-52 Sorties in Southeast Asia, U.S. and VNAF Attack Sorties in North Vietnam, U.S. Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia, USAF Combat Attrition in North Vietnam, U.S. Aircraft Losses to SA-2's, SA-2 Sites in North Vietnam, Light and Medium Antiaircraft Artillery Guns in North Vietnam, U.S. Aircraft Losses in Aerial Combat, and North Vietnamese Aircraft Losses in Aerial Combat. USAF Counterinsurgency Doctrines and Capabilities 1961-1962 When the Kennedy administration took office in January 1961 the United States faced major crises in Cuba, the Congo, Laos, and Vietnam. This study produced in 1964 concerns a subject that at the time had newly became of great importance to the Air Force and the national security system of the United States. The study USAF Counterinsurgency Doctrines and Capabilities traces the upsurge of insurgency movements in many areas of the world and narrates the actions taken by the United States during 1961 to 1962. It covers the development of doctrines and capabilities to counter such movements, with special attention to Air Force action. The report covers the meager counterinsurgency capability of the United States in the early 1960's; the impact of President Kennedy's interest in the subject; the development of an Air Force counterinsurgency doctrine; the roles and missions' controversy between the Air Force and the Army; the relationship with the U.S. Strike Command; the acquisition of suitable aircraft; and the buildup of specially trained Air Force counterinsurgency units. USAF Plans and Policies in South Vietnam, 1961-1963. This study outlines the role of the USAF in aiding the South Vietnamese effort to defeat the communist-led Viet Cong. The author begins by discussing general U.S. policy leading to increased military and economic assistance to South Vietnam. He then describes the principal USAF deployments and augmentations, Air Force efforts to obtain a larger military planning role, some facets of plans and operations, the Air Force-Army divergence over the use and control of air-power in combat training and in testing, defoliation activities, and USAF support for the Vietnamese Air Force. The study ends with an account of events leading to the overthrow of the Diem government in Saigon late in 1963. Special Air Warfare Doctrines and Capabilities, 1963 This study recounts the continuing Air Force-Army struggle over special warfare roles and missions; the OSD acceptance of an Air Force proposal to increase its special air warfare force; the Army's efforts to add organic aviation to its Special Forces; the relationship of STRICOM to the special warfare forces of the services; the buildup of special air warfare units in the unified commands; the growing importance of civic action and mobile training teams in underdeveloped nations; and progress in securing more modern aircraft. USAF Plans and Policies in South Vietnam and Laos 1964 This study emphasizes USAF's plans and policies with respect to South Vietnam and Laos in 1964. In the first four chapters the author describes the progressive military and political decline of the Saigon regime, after two government coups, and the efforts by U.S. authorities to cope with this problem. He notes especially the view of the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, who frequently stated that only air strikes on North Vietnam could end the insurgencies in South Vietnam and in Laos and bring stability to the Vietnamese government. This contrasted with administration efforts to devise an effective pacification program and, pending emergence of a stable government, its decision to adopt a "low risk" policy to avoid military escalation. In the remaining chapters of the study, the author discusses briefly the major USAF augmentations, the expansion of the Vietnamese Air Force, the problem of service representation in Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and the rules of engagement as they affected particularly air combat training. The study concludes with a brief review of the beginning of USAF special air warfare training for the Royal Laotian Air Force and the inauguration of limited USAF and Navy air operations over Laos to contain Communist expansion in that country. USAF Plans and Operations in Southeast Asia, 1965 This study highlights USAF plans, policies, and operations in Southeast Asia during 1965, especially as they were significantly changed by President Johnson's key decisions to bomb North Vietnam and transform the U.S. advisory role in South Vietnam to one of active military support. The author focuses on USAF participation in the development of policy for prosecuting the war, the build-up of U.S. military strength in the theater, and the gradually intensified air operations against enemy forces in South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and Laos. USAF Deployment Planning for Southeast Asia, 1966 This 1967 study discusses Air Force position on the strategy for the war. The report describes the Johnson Administration's deployment planning into 1968 for Southeast Asia and other Pacific Command areas. It focuses especially on the impact of the planning on the Air Force's resources and world-wide defense posture. The Search for Military Alternatives 1967 This study focuses on the Chief of Staff and Air Staff roles, and highlights the plans and policies of higher authorities, the White House, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the recommendations of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Topics covered include plans for the military buildup in Southeast Asia, political considerations associated with new force deployments, and the continuing debate on war strategy and the conduct of the air campaign in the North. USAF Plans and Policies: Logistics and Base Construction in Southeast Asia, 1967 This study completed in 1968 examines the overall logistic problems facing the Air Force in 1967 as it undertook to prepare for a war of seemingly indeterminate length. The author reviews the steps taken to improve the Air Force's munitions situation, Southeast Asia base construction, and high-level planning for construction of an anti-infiltration system across South Vietnam and Laos, which would require special USAF support facilities, equipment, and personnel. USAF Manpower in Limited War, 1964-1967 This study examines the Air Force’s effort to augment its manpower resources to meet the rapidly expanding requirements of the Vietnam War. Prior to the summer of 1965, when Southeast Asia operations sharply increased, the USAF manpower pool had been contracting as a result of previous decisions and actions. Thereafter, the trend was reversed and the Air Force undertook measures to enlarge its base as quickly as possible. USAF Plans and Policies: R&D for Southeast Asia, 1968 This study reviews several critical investigations of Air Force research and development procedures and programs, examines the functioning of the Southeast Asia Operational Requirement system, and discusses USAF efforts to modify or develop new systems and equipment to counter the enemy's growing air defenses in North Vietnam. It reviews steps taken by the Air Force to improve bombing accuracies and briefly discusses the major systems which were developed and deployed to the theater under Project Shed Light. The Administration Emphasizes Air Power, 1969 This 1971 Top Secret (declassified in 2008) study covers the policy changes introduced by the Nixon administration during 1969 in regard to the Vietnam War, particularly as they affected the role of air power. Repeatedly expressing determination to end the war as early as possible on the basis of self-determination of the South Vietnamese people, President Nixon decided, after negotiations with the Communists in Paris proved fruitless, to unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces while simultaneously strengthening Saigon's forces to take up the slack. The first reduction in U. S. military strength in South Vietnam took place during the summer of 1969 when 25,000 troops were withdrawn. However, a particular phenomenon of the year was that air power was not materially reduced. The main theme of this history is that, in his effort to "wind down" the war via Vietnamization while maintaining pressure on North Vietnam to negotiate, the President made new and greater use of the Air Force. The Role of Air Power Grows, 1970 This 1972 top secret (declassified in 2008) report reviews plans and policies effecting the air war in Southeast Asia, as they were discussed, reviewed, and ordered implemented in 1970 by the White House, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Air Force In this study, the author discusses the Air Force's role in supporting President Nixon's decisions to withdraw American ground troops from the theater and rely primarily on air power to provide continuing U.S. support to the South Vietnamese in their fight against Hanoi's military units. The author examines the Washington-level decisions of early 1970 to reduce U.S. air operations while taking additional steps to strengthen Saigon's armed forces. The author also reviews the debates among Washington-level agencies on the effectiveness of the various air campaigns, and she devotes a chapter to USAF efforts to improve and modernize the Vietnamese Air Force. Shield for Vietnamization and Withdrawal, 1971 This 1976 Top Secret (declassified in 2008) monograph covers United States Air Force plans, policies, and operations in Southeast Asia, focusing on the role of the Air Force in support of American Decisions to withdraw U.S. combat troops and to turn the conduct of the war over to the South Vietnamese. Massive USAF efforts were devoted to attacking and destroying enemy stockpiles and troop concentrations in Cambodia and Laos, to supporting South Vietnamese ground attacks in the Laotian panhandle, to attempting to Vietnamize the interdiction function, and, finally, to countering the enemy air buildup in late 1971. Complicating these endeavors was the requirement to withdraw certain American air units as part of the overall drawdown from Southeast Asia. In describing these actions, the author reviews key national policies and other developments that affected operations. These provide a background for understanding the dramatic events of 1971 in which the USAF was so much involved. It is an exciting and significant aspect of Air Force history. Tactics and Techniques of Close Air Support Operations 1961 - 1973 This study traces the chief developments in close air support tactics and techniques from 1961 to 1973. Produced by Lt. Col. Ralph Rowley in 1976, this study was classified secret until 2007. In this study, Rowley examines such operations from the viewpoint of the pilots and crews of the attack aircraft. These included T-28's, A-1E's, A-26's, A-7's, F-100's, B-26's and B-57's. The role of Air Force gunships including the AC-47, AC-119, and the AC-130, and the armed FAC. In addition, the author describes the key role played by the Tactical Air Control System, which the Air Force established in Vietnam in the early 1960's. End of US Involvement, 1973-1975 This 1980 monograph covers the United States Air Force involvement from 1973 up to the defeat of South Vietnam at the end of April 1975. Actual USAF operational involvement spanned only the first seven and a half months of 1973 and the final days of evacuation in 1975. However, the plans for retaliatory air attack against North Vietnam remained in effect throughout. According to Major General John W. Houston, who at the time was chief of the Office of Air Force History, after 1973, "South Vietnamese continued to hope that U.S. air power would come to their rescue as it had before." In the introduction E.H. Hartsook wrote, "It might appear that once the cease-fire agreement was signed in January 1973 and all U.S. forces withdrawn, there would be no further history to write about the Air Force in Southeast Asia. This was not the case, however. Although U.S. ground forces had withdrawn from Vietnam in accordance with domestic political and economic pressures, the administration still exerted strong efforts to increase South Vietnam's chances of survival against the North. The underpinning for these efforts included plans for an important continuing role for airpower based in Thailand. "A prime objective in trying to increase South Vietnam's chances of survival was to guarantee the cease-fire against encroachments by Hanoi. In this, the administration made use of several tactics. First of all, by keeping the B-52s in Thailand, it aimed to scare North Vietnam into abiding by the peace agreement for fear of a Linebacker II-type retaliation, thus buying time for South Vietnam to strengthen its position. It tried to get Russia and China to stop sending military aid to Hanoi, within the framework of its larger diplomatic agreements with them. It sought cease-fires in Laos and Cambodia that would effectively keep North Vietnam from using these countries to supply its forces in South Vietnam. In this, it backed up its diplomatic efforts with its continued bombing and other U.S. military support to the governments in Laos and Cambodia that were contending with aggressive pro-communist factions. Making use of every tactic in trying to assure South Vietnam's viability, the administration also offered reconstruction aid to Hanoi, provided it honored the peace terms." Air Power Helps Stop the Invasion and End the War 1972 This monograph produced in 1978 covers the Air Force's participation in the last full year of US involvement in the Vietnam War when, after the great majority of US forces had been withdrawn, Hanoi launched its Easter offensive. This study relates how air, as almost the sole remaining US weapon, played a complex and varied role. This consisted not only of its key part in the military operations which turned back the North's offensive, but also of its influence on the negotiating process and its exercise of a "persuasion" role for US diplomacy. The RF-101 Voodoo in Southeast Asia, 1961-1970 This study is a narrative of the use of the RF-101 Voodoo reconnaissance plane during the Vietnam War. The RF-101 Voodoo was conceived in the final months of World War II as the XF-88, the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo came into being 12 years later as a supersonic, single-place, twin-engine tactical fighter. Its reconnaissance version, the RF-101A, first joined Tactical Air Command reconnaissance squadrons at Shaw Air Force Base in March 1957, and two years later PACAF's two reconnaissance squadrons converted to the stronger RF-101C Voodoo. The RF-101C carried a nose oblique camera and a three-camera fan array ahead of the cockpit, a viewfinder that allowed the pilot to see the ground below and ahead of his aircraft, and a split-vertical arrangement of two large-format cameras behind the cockpit. Subsequent modifications installed faster cameras for low altitude missions and improved controls, but also introduced the unpopular small-format cameras. With two 15,000-pound thrust jet engines with afterburners, it had a speed of 875 knots, and its 3,150 gallons of JP-4 fuel gave it a combat radius of more than 800 miles. Light on the controls and highly maneuverable, it was a pilot's airplane. When the United States decided to bomb targets in North Vietnam, RF-101C pilots took the first pre-strike and post-strike photographs and led the Air Force and Vietnamese strike aircraft to the targets. The Voodoo pilots photographed objectives all the way to the China border braving antiaircraft fire, missiles, and MIG interceptors, and suffering losses. B-57G - Tropic Moon III, 1967-1972 This 1978 study covers the development, testing, use in combat, modifying, and the retirement of the B-57G. Conceived in 1967 as project Tropic Moon III, the B-57G was the first jet bomber specifically configured for self-contained night attack sorties in Southeast Asia. Development and Employment of Fixed Wing Gunships, 1962-1971 For this 1974 study the author interviewed many key participants involved in the development and employment of gunships. The report includes extensive data relating to this unique weapon system. Among the primary sources he consulted were official letters, messages, memoranda, reports, and minutes of meetings. He also consulted a number of historical studies dealing with gunships. Forward Air Control Operations in Southeast Asia 1965-1970 This study is the second of a two-part history of Air Force FAC operations in Southeast Asia. The author discusses the evolution of the FAC force, its training, and typical aircraft flown in combat, primarily the O-1, O-2A, and OV-10. He also describes the use of other aircraft in FAC roles, such as helicopters, AC-47 gunships, A-26K attack aircraft, AC-130's, C-123's, the AC-119G, and the F-4 jet. The study also reviews steps taken by the Air Force to improve and refine tactics and techniques, including visual reconnaissance, marking targets, bomb damage assessment, etc. Among the combat roles forward air controllers performed were flying armed FAC aircraft, supporting long-range ground reconnaissance teams and the Special Forces, and maintaining a round the clock "rocket watch" in the Saigon area to deter Communist mortar and rocket attacks on allied bases. The Air Force and Contract Management, 1961-1965 This report deals with the impact of a study project initiated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to improve the management of Department of Defense contracts. It briefly describes the Air Force's contract management organization and general approach to performing the function, the recommendations emerging from the study, and the decision by OSD to centralize contract management within a new Defense agency. Evolution of Command and Control Doctrine for Close Air Support This study completed in 1973 was prepared in response to an Air Staff request for a history of command and control procedures used in close air support (CAS). Forward Air Controls Operations in Southeast Asia 1961-1965 This study describes the many problems which faced the first air controllers after their arrival in South Vietnam in early 1962. It discusses their efforts to overcome the language barrier and help train Vietnamese Air Force personnel, their role in establishing a centralized air control system, and the tactics and techniques they developed during the years 1961-1965. The Air Force in Southeast Asia Logistic Plans and Policies 1968-1969 This study covers logistics support of the air war in Southeast Asia. It points out some of the problems dealt with and plans formulated by the air logistic staff in the period January 1968 through December 1969. Other studies include: The Air Force in Southeast Asia Logistic Plans and Policies 1968-1969 Electronic Countermeasures in the Air War against North Vietnam Tactics and Techniques of Night Operations 1961-1970 USAF Plans and Policies: R&D for Southeast Asia, 1965-1967 Airpower Deployments in Support of National Policy, 1958-1963 The Air Force Command and Control System, 1950-1966 Logistic Plans and Policies in Southeast Asia, 1965 Logistic Plans and Policies in Southeast Asia, 1966 USAF Logistic Preparations for Limited War, 1958-1961 USAF Plans and Policies Logistics and Base Construction in Southeast Asia, 1967 Manpower Trends, 1960-1963 Strengthening of Air Force In-House Laboratories, 1961-1962 Strengthening USAF General Purpose Forces, 1961-1964
Jacob Van Staaveren
USAF Historical Diyision Liaison Office
January 1968

USAF Plans and Operations: The Air Campaign Against North
Vietnam, 1966, is the seventh of a series of historical studies on
the war in Southeast Asia prepared by the USAF Historical Division
Liaison Office. The previous monographs covered plans, policies,
and operations in the theater beginning in 1961.
The current history reviews the political background and top
level discussions leading to the renewed bombing campaign in early
1966, the restrictions still imposed on air operations, and the
positions taken on them by the military chiefs. It discusses the
various studies and events which led to the President's decision
to strike at North Vietnam's oil storage facilities and the results
of those mid-year attacks. It also examines the increasing effectiveness
of enemy- air defenses and the continuing assessments of
the air campaign under way at year's end.

USAF Historical Division
Liaison Office
(Material on this page is UNCLASSIFIED)

Listed below are the code names
programs, and aircraft cited in this

Barrel Roll

Initiated in December 1964, Barrel Roll missions
were flown against troops, equipment
and supplies provided by North Vietnam in support
of the Communist-led Pathet Lao.

Combat Beaver
An air concept developed by the Air Staff in conjunction
with the other services during September-
November 1966. It was designed to support a
proposed electronic and ground barrier system
between North and South Vietnam.

Flaming Dart
The initial Navy and Air Force retaliatory air
strikes against North Vietnam on 7-8 and 11
February 1965.

Gate Guard
An air program designed to slow North Vietnamese
infiltration toward the demilitarized zone. It
began on I May 1966 in the northern part of Laos
and then shifted into route package area I in North

Iron Hand
Operations begun in August 1965 to locate and destroy
Soviet-provided SA-2 missile sites in North

Rolling Thunder
The major air campaign begun on 2 March 1965
which inaugurated regularly scheduled air strikes
against North Vietnam.

Steel Tiger
Initiated in April 1965, Stee1 Tiger strikes were
made against infiltration routes south of the 11th
parallel in Laos.

An air interdiction program started on 20 June 1966
in the southern part of North Vietnam, aimed at
slowing the infiltration of North Vietnamese troops,
equipment, and supplies through the demilitarized
zone into South Vietnam.

Tiger Hound
Begun in December 1965, these strikes were aimed
at infiltration targets in southern Laos. They
featured for the first time in Laos the use of forward
air controllers and airborne comrnand and
control for certain strikes.

Wild Weasel
USAF aircraft, largely F-100Frs and F-105Frs,
specially equipped with electronic and other devices
to neutralize or destroy Soviet-provi.ded
SA-2 sites in North Vietnam.



Air Operations in May: Beginning of Gate Guard
Background to Rolling Thunder 1
The Air Force and JCS Urge Early Renewed Bombing 4
Secretary McNamara's Views 7
The Bombing Resumes and Further Air Planning g

Air Operations and Analyses  14
The Beginning of Rolling Thunder Program 50
The Rolling Thunder Study of 6 April. 22
Air Operations in May 25
Highlights of June Operations .27

Background of the POL Air Strikes. . 29
The Strikes of 29 June . 3 I
The Mid-1966 Assessment . 33
The Beginning of Rolling Thunder Program 5l . . . 35
The Tally-Ho Air Campaign . . . 38

. Operational Studies . 43
The Effectiveness of Air Power . . 45
Studies on Aircraft Attrition " 49
The Hise Report. . . Sz
Secretary McNamarats Proposal to Reduce Aircraft Attrition . b6

Approval of Rolling Thunder Program 52 . bg
The Furor over Air Strikes on Hanoi . 60
Other Air Operations in Novernber and December. . . " . 62
Assessment of Enemy Air Defenses . . . " 63
Assessments of the Air War Against North Vietnam " 6?
NOTES . .72

Appendix I - U.S. and VNAF Attack Sorties in Southeast Asia " 82
Appendix 2 - B-52 Sorties in Southeast Asia , 82
Appendix 3 - U.S. and VNAF Attack Sorties in North Vietnam . 83
Appendix 4 - U. S. Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia " 84
Appendix 5 - USAF Combat Attrition in North Vietnam . 85
Appendix 6 - U. S. Aircraft Losses to SA-2's . 85
Appendix ? - SA-2 Sites in North Vietnam . 86
Appendix 8 - Light and Medium Antiaircraft Artillery Guns
in North Vietnam. . 86
Appendix I - U"S. Aircraft Losses in Aerial Combat . 87
Appendix 10 - North Vietnamese Aircraft Losses ln Aerial Combat . . 87

Route Package Areas, North Vietnam
Chronology of the Growth of North Vietnamrs Air Defenses . "

From its inception, the out-of-country air campaign in Southeast
Asia, that is, against targets in North Vietnam and Laos, was limited in scope
and objective. The first air strikes against North Vietnam were conducted'onr
5 August 1964 by Navy aircraft in retaliation for Communist attacks on U. S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The next ones occurred on 7-8 and 11 February 1965 when
USAF and Navy aircraft flew "Flaming Dart I and II missions in retaliation for
Viet Cong assaults on U. S. military bases in South Vietnam. These were followed
by an air program against selected North Vietnamese targets in order to exert,
slowly and progressively, more military pressure on the Hanoi regime. Designated
"Rolling Thunder, " it began on 2 March 1965. As explained by Secretary
of Defense Robert S. McNamara, the air attacks had.three main purposes: raise
South Vietnamese morale, reduce the infiltration of men and supplies to South
Vietnam and increase its cost, and force the Communists at some point to the
negotiating table.

Background to Rolling Thunder
The Rolling Thunder program was basically a USAF-Navy air effort
but included occasional token sorties by the Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF). Adm.
U. S. Grant Sharp, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), Honolulu, exercised
operational control through the commanders of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), the
Seventh Fleet, and the Military Assistance, Command, Vietnam (MACV). Coordination
control was assigned to the PACAF commander with the tacit understandingthat
it wouldbe further delegatedto Maj. Gen. JosephH. Moore, Jr.,
* For highlights of the air war against North Vietnam and Laos prior to 1966, see
Jacob Van Staaveren, USAF Plans and Policies in South Vietnam and Laos, (AFCHO,
1964), and USAF Plan
commander of the 2d Air Division (predecessor of the Seventh Air Force) in
South Vietnam. Both the Air Staff and the PACAF commander considered this
arrangernent inefficient, believing that air assets in Southeast Asia, with few
exceptions, should be under the control of a single Air Force commander.
(m+ft With the air program carefully circumscribed, the North Vietnamese
initially enjoyed extensive sanctuarj-es. These included the Hanoi-
Haiphong area and the northeastern and northwestern portions of the country
closest to China. Targets were selected by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
after cOnsidering the recomrnendations of Admiral Sharp and the MACV commander,
Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the decisions being based on intelligence
from the war theater and in Washington. The Secretary of Defense
reviewed the recommendations and then submitted them to the President for
final approval. Special targeting committees performed this vital task.
(Sr€Ff) Rolling Thunder at first was characterized by individually approved
air strikes but, as the campaign progressed, the high authorities
approved one- and two-week target ttpackagestt in advance and also gradually
expanded the bombing area. In August 1965 they narrowed North Vietnamrs
sanctuaries to a 30-nautical mile radius of Hanoi, a l0-nautical mile
of Haiphong, a Zl-nautieal mile "buffer" near the Chinese border extending
from the coast to longitude I06c E. and a 30-nautical mile buffer from longitude
106" E. westward to the Laos border. By early September armed reconnaissance
sorties had reached a rate of about 600 perweek and did not above
thib figure during the remainder of the year. There was a reduction in the
number of fixed targets that could be hit
*nd ,to extension of the bombing
area. Poor weather contributed to the static sortie rate after September.
SePtember was not reduced.
22 Apr 66
,f -.... .Ar".,. l,{t'''^'' *
^j i.l.' {uo c^l
\--",.*. ]
fIt--., '1-r-\,
,l----t .z'r lt\\ l\
Defined os thot Areo Extending North frm
th€ DMZ to o line cmmencing on the cost
ot f 7-52N, 106'27E, olmg ond ircluding
rqrte |08 to its junction of routes |95 ond
15, due wesi to the Lootion Sorder.
Thot oreo extending North.from the Nqthern
boundory of RP-l to o line beginning ot the
Lootion border 3 NM Northwest of route 8,
thencle 3 NM Nqth ond West of rante 8,
Eostword to luncticr with route | | 3, thence
3 NM Norfh of route I l3 Eortword to th€
Thot oreo extending North hm the Northern
bondory of BP-2 to o line conmencing ot
the Lsotion border 3 NM South of Rote | 18,
thence 3 NM Soth of Route.l 18 Eostword
to lunction with Rote 15, ihence 3 NM
West of Rote 15 Southword to luncticr wifh
Rote 701 , ihence 3 NM South of Route 701
Eostword to the coost.
Thot ors extending North frorn the Nsthern
bondory of RP-3 to loiitude 20-31 N.
Thot oreo Nqth of lotitude 20-31N ond West
of longitude 105-20E extending westerly olmg
the Lootion border to the CHICOM bcder,
thence nctherly ond eosterly olong the
CHICOM border tq 105-20E.
t RP-6 Thot oreo North of lotitude 20-31 N ond Eost
of longitude 105-20E extending northeosterly
to the CHICOM border. This ro.ute pockogo
is further divided by o line cmmencing ot
20-31 N/|05-20E ond lunning northeosterly
to Honoi thence olmg'lfid ioiflllre porolleling
Route lA to the CHICOM bqder. The
oreo to the West of this line is designofed
RP-6A. Ihe oreo io the Eost of this line
is designoted RP-68.
Source: USAF fu1gt Summary, 22 Apr 66
(H;fl In Novernber Ig65 there was an important change in bombing procedure
whenAdmiral Sharp, at the Navy's request, divided North vietnam into
six principal 'rroute packages. " Each included lines of communication (LOC's)
and other targets suitable for armed reconnaissance strikes and were to be
assigned to the Air Force or Navy for a two-week period, the duration of specific
Rolling Thunder programs at that time. (Service air strikes against fixed
JCS-numbered targets were excepted'and took precedence over armed reconnaissance
operations. ) Starting I0 December, the Air Force began armed reconnaissance
flights in route packages II, rv, and v, and the Navy in route
packages I and III.
G"rr.""I Moore, commander of the 2d Air Division, was
dissatisfied with this split system of air responsi.bility. He felt it continuec
to forfeit the advantages of centralized air control under which the complementing
capabilities of Air Force and Navy aircraft could be better coordinated.4
(u) on 24 December rg6b the Ameri.cans began a two-day christmas bombing
pause in the air campaign against the North which eventually grew into a
37-day moratorium as the U. S. government made a major effort to find a basis
for negotiating an end to the war. The limited bombing of targets in Laos and
the air and ground war in south vietnam continued, however. D
The Air Force and JCS Urge Early Renewed Bornbing
l|#) Both the Air staff and the usAF chief of Staff, Gen. John p.
Mcconnell, were deeply troubled by the bombing moratorium. Testifying
before Senate committees early in January 1g66, General McConnell observed
that it enabled Hanoi to move men, supplies, and equipment around the clock
and to restore its lines of communication. A delay in resuming attacks could.
ed until April 1966. See p 21.
prove costly in lives. Concerned about the relative ineffectivenes€ 'of the*965
bombing effort, he favored removing political restraints on the use of air
power to allow heavier strikes before a major U. S. and allied force buildup,
then under consideration by the administration, was approved. He thought that
the military effort against North Vietnarn should have a priority equal to that
given by the administration to the war in the South.
(ff461 Other service chiefs supported General McConnellrs recommendations
to resume and intensify the bombing of the North. On 8 Jarmary
1966 they informed Secretary McNamara that the bombing pause was greatly
weakening the U. S. negotiating "leverage" and proving advantageous to Hanoi,
permitting it Jo reconstitute its forces and continue infiltration through Laos
into South Vietnam. They recommended renewed bombing 48 hours'5?fbi*'a
Soviet delegation, then in Hanoi, returned to Moscow. Concerned about a possible
Communist rnisinterpretation of U. S. resolve, the Joint Chiefs wanted
to insure that any peace negotiations were pursued from a position of strength.
{-rC!+ After a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) analysis eonfirmed that the 1965 bombings had failed to halt the
resupply of Communist forces, the JCS prepared another recommendation for
Secretary McNamara. On 18 January it urged, again in accordanee with General
McConnellts view, that the bombing moratorium end with a "sharp'b16'itrr'b'frcllowed
by expanded air operations throughout the North. It suggested reducing the
ttsanctuarytt areas to a lO-nautical-mile radius of Hanoi and Phuc Yen airfield,
a 4-nautical mile radius of Haiphong, and a 20-nautical-mile "buffer" zone in
the northeast and northwest areas near the Chinese border. The JCS also called
for closing the major seaports (by mining) and removing other political restraints
B against striking i.mportant targets.
(If|{!-lt On 25 January, in answer to a query from Secretary McNamara,
the JCS proposed three alternate ways to resume the bombing. One would use
all Thai-based USAF aircraft and planes from three Navy carriers, flying 450
sorties per day f.or 72 hours, hitting all land and water targets (vehicles,
ferries, pontoon bridges, etc. ) outside of the sanctuary areas. The second
would use the same aircraft flying armed reconnaissance against all LOC and
petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) targets for 24 to 72 hours with fol:loWon
attacks in accordance with the first alternative. The third called for 600
armed reconnaissance sorties per week in southern North Vietnam with the
ternpo being increased until the target program recommended on 18 January
was reached.
(+ATt€ In addition to their proposals to renew the bombing, the Joint
Chiefs examined ways to improve air activity. They sent Admiral Sharp guidance
on making more effective air strikes against watercraft on inland waterways
in the North. Until the bombing halt, more watercraft had been observed
as air attacks on the road and rail network had forced the North Vietnam.esF to
rel,y increasingly on water transportation. The Joint Chiefs concluded that better
air-delivered rnines should be developed and asked the Chief of Naval Operations
(CNO) to give special attention to this matter. 10
({t+GF3) The JCS also examined the problem of elosing down the l24-mile
rail link between Hanoi and Lao Cai. This and the Hanoi Dong Dang line were
the two principat rail arteries to the Chinese border. Secretary McNamara had
expressed surprise that the Hanoi-Lao Cai segment was still in service despite
repeated air strikes by USAF aircraft before the bombing pause. On22 January,
the JCS chairman, Gen. Earle G. Wheeler responded that there were two
reasons why it remained open: frequent aborts because of weather during
December 1965 -- amounting to 37 percent of the planned sorties that month --
and the arrival of Chinese railway engineering personnel that substantially
augmented the North Vietnamese repair capability. To keep the line elosed,
said General Wheeler, wouLd require the destruction of three bridges, at
least 100 armed reconnaissance sorties per week, and the use of reliable,
Iong-delay bomb fuzes and seismic fuze antirailroad mines, both still under
Secretary McNamarar s Views
(U) The administration moved cautiously toward a decision cn whether
to renew the bornbing of the North. On 19 January Secretary McNamara informed
the Joint Chiefs that their views on this matter were under constant
study by the State Department. On the 26th, in a summation of
the 1965 Rolling Thunder program, the Defense Secretary told a House subco-
It was clearly recognized that this pressure, by itself, woul-d
not ever be sufficient to cause North Vietnam to move toward
negotiation unless it were accompanied by military action in South
Vietnam that proved to the North that they could not win there.
These were our objectives then; they are our objectives now. A
corollary of these objectives is the avoidance of unnecessary
military risk. We, therefore, have directed the bombing against
the military targets, primarily routes of infiltration. +
We have not bombed Hanoi, we have not bombed Haiphong. We
have not bombed certain petroleum which are important.
We have not mined the Haiphong port. We have gradually evolved
from last February to mid-December, a target system that included
all of North Vietnam except certain specified locations.
The targets were very carefully chosen and the rate at which
the bombing prograrn grew was very carefully controlled, all for the
purpose of trying to achieve our limited objective without widening
the confU.ct.
(U) It was also Secretary McNarnarats "strong personal opinion" that
the war in South Vietnam could not be won solely by bombing the North and
that the northern air campaign should be essentially a Itsupplement" to military
action in the South. 13
(al6|r{prfFAlthough the air warwas carefully limited, the Defense Secretary
informed the President that it had already achieved the objective of rai.sing
the cost of infiltration. Air attacks had reduced the amount of enemy supplies
reaching the South, carried mostly by trucks over greatly improved routes,
from about 400 to 200 tons per day. Moreo.rer, they had diverted 50,000 to
100,000 personnel to air defense and repair work, hampered the rnobility of the
populace, forced decentralization of government activities thus creating rnore
inefficiency and political risk, and reduced North Vietnamrs activities in Laos.
(.lfl.q!r+' For 1966, Secretary McNamara thought that the bombing "at a
minimum" should include 4,000 attack sorties per month consisting of day and
night armed reconnaissance against rail and road targets and POL storage
sites except in cities and the buffer zone near the Chinese border. He proposed
more intense bombing of targets in Laos, along the Bassac and Mekong
rivers running into South Vietnarn from Cambodia, and better surveillance of
the sea approaches. In the South there should be rnore harassment of enemy
LOC's and destruction of his bases.
({-€4IFtt Recognizing that estimates of enemy needs and capabilities
and the results of air action "could be wrong by a factor of two either way, "
the Secretary advised the President that unless studies under way indicated
otherwise, heavier bombing probably would not put a tigirt ceiling on the
enemyrs activities in South Vietnam. However, he thought it upuld reduce
the ftow of Communist supplies and limit the enemy's flexibility to undertake
frequent offensive action or to defend himself adequately against U. S. , allied,
nse and repair crews varied widely during
1966. See pp 34, 47, and 69.
and South Vietnarnese troops. Mr. McNamara suggested two pcssible byproducts
of the bombing effort: it should help to eondition Hanoi toward
negotiation and an acceptable end to the war and it would maintain
the morale of the South Vietnamese arrned forces. The defense
chief also outlined for the President the 1966 military objectivds fof*S€ruth
The Bombing Resumes and Further Air Planning
(U) Having received no aceeptable response from Hanoi to his peace
overtures, President Johnson on 31 January ordered resumption of the bombing
of North Vietnam. It began the same day. "Our air strikes. from the
beginning, t' the President announced, "have been aimed at military targets and
controlled with great care. Those who direct and supply the aggression have
no claim to immunity from military reply. " other officials told newsmen
that the United States would continue to limit bombing of the North but intensify
other aspects of the war, includingmore use of B-52 bombers and ground
'rtillery in South Vietnam. I5
{neff) As antieipated, the bombing moratorium had in fact benefited
the North Vietnamese. USAF reconnaissance revealed that supplies had moved
by truck and rail 24 hours per day and that repairs and new "orrli.r.r"rri on
the road and rail net likewise had proceeded on a ttround-the-clockt'basis.
General McConne1l believed that the moratorium had permitted the North to
between President Johnson,
and South vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen cao Ky at Honolulu from 6 to
8 February. They agreed to try to: (i) raise the casualty rate of Viet Cong-
North Vietnamese forces to a level equal to their capability to put new men in
the field; (2) increase the areas denied to the Comrnunists from 10 to 20 percent
to 40to 50 percent; (3) increase the population in secure areas from 50 to
60 percent; (4) pacify four high-priority areas containing the following population:
Da Nang, 387,000; Qui Nhon, 650,000; Hoa Hao, 800,000, and Saigon,
3, 500,00O; (5) increase from 30 to 50 percent the roads and rail lines open for
use; and (6) insure the defense of all military bases, political and population
centers, and food-producing areas under the control of the Saigon government.
strengthen its antiaircraft defenses, including expansion of its SA-2 system
from about 50 to 60 sites. Admiral Sharp reported the enemy had deployed
about 40 more air defense positions in the northwest rail line area and 26
more guns to protect routes south of Vinh.
(*€{ft? When the aerial attacks resumed as Rolling Thunder program
48, allied air strength in South Vietnam and Thailand consisted of about 689
U. S. and I25 Vietnamese Air Force tactical combat aircraft.
tor" would
aruive in subsequent months. The limitations placed on the renewed bombing
effort disappointed the Joint Chiefs, especially since none of their recomrnendations
had been accepted, In fact, the program was more restrictive
than before the bombing pause. Armed reconnaissance during February was
limited to 300 sorties per day and almost solely to the four route package
areas south of Hanoi. Only one JCS target, Dien Bien Phu airfield, was hit
several times, Poor weather forced the cancellation of many strikes and
others were diverted to targets in Laos. A Pacific Command (PACOM) assessment
indicated that the renewed air effort was producing few important results
as compared to those attained during 1965 against trucks, railroad rolling
17 '?: '#
stock, and watercraft.
tE5#) Meanwhile, the bombing policy remained under intensive review.
At the request of Secretary McNamara, General Wheeler on I February asked
the service chiefs to establish a joint study group which would exarnine again
the Rolling Thunder program and produce data that could serve as a basis for
future JCS recommendations. They quickly organized the group under the
Ieadership of Brig. Gen. Jammie M. Philpott, Director of Intelligence,
x The number of U. S. tactical combat aircraft by service were: Air Force,
355; Navy (three carri.ers), 209; and Marine Corps, 125. In addition the Air
Force had 30 B-52rs in Guam. (North Vietnam possessed about ?5 MIG's. )
Strategic Air Command (SAC). Its report was not issued until April.
* 18
(ff#fi On 8 February, following a three-week conference of service
officials in Honolulu to plan U. S. and allied air and ground deploy.rnentsthrough
fiscal year 1968, AdrniraL Sharp and his staff bri.efed Secretary
McNamara on the results of their deliberations. They proposed a program
of stepped up air attacks in the North and in Laos with the immediate goal
of destroying Communist resources contributing to the aggression, and of
harassing, disrupting, and impeding the movement of men and materiel.
Admiral Sharp advocated 7, 100 combat sorties per month for the North and
3, 000 per month for the Solrth.
(gS{F*) Secretary McNamara did not immediately respond to these
sor.tie proposals. However, he approved, with certain modifications, CINCPAC's
recomrnended schedule for additional air and ground forces.
These deployments promised to strain severely the resources of the services,
especially those of the Air Force and the Army. Coneerned abqrt,theinimpact
on the Air Forcers ttroles and missions,rl 1e1"" structure, overall posture,
and research and development needs, Lt. Gen. H. T. Wheless, Assistant Vice
Chief of Staff on 18 February directed Headquarters USAFTs Operations Analysis
Office to undertake. a trvigorous" analysis and asked all Air Staff offices
to support the effort. Its major purpose was to develop a more comprehen-'
sive data base on the use of air power in Southeast Asia.
{:#ff Because of the decision to deploy more forces and the likelihood
of stepped up air and ground operations, General McConnell decided
a number of organizational changes were necessary. He directed the Air
Staff to replace the 2nd Air Division with a numbered Air Force, upgrade the
* See P 22.
commander of the Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines to three-star rank,
and formalize USAF-Army airlift arrangements in the theater. '' :'r' -q
1ffi4|' With the air campaign continuing at a low tempo, the JCS, with
Air Staff support, reaffirmed its prior recommendation to Secretary McNamara
for accelerated air operations against the North and to all targets
stilL under administration wraps. If this could not be approved, the JCS
urged extending operations at least to the previously authorized areas. The
Joint Chiefs \Marned that if more remunerative targets could not be hit to
compensate for the handicaps imposed by operational restraints, more air
sorties should be flown elsewhere. They also raised their estimated sortie
requirernent for the nort[ern campaign from 7, 100 to 7,400 perarronth,..citing
Admiral Sharp's newly acquired intelligence which confirmed additional enemy
deployments of SA-2 missiles and possible Chinese antiaircraft artillery units
22 in the northeast region.
(egr€ltl Secretary McNamara i.nforrned the JCS that the political atmosphere
was not favorable for implementing these recommendations, Some
Air Staff members attributed the administrationts cautiousness to the Senate
Foreign Relations Cornrnittee hearings on the riqar, v/hich began 4 February
under the chairmanship of Senator J. William Fulbright. In addition, the Defense
Secretary was known to believe that there were limitations to what air power
could do in the type of war being waged in Southeast Asia. Mr. McNamara
thought that even the obliteration of North Vietnam would not corrpletelyoend
that countryts support of enemy operations in the South since most of the arms
and arnmunition came from other Communist nations. He firmly believed
* See Van Staaveren, 1966, p 40.
that the war would have to be won on the ground in South Vietnam,
(U) Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown echoed this administration
position position, asserting publicly on 25 February that tfie'destmction
of the Northrs industrial capacity would neither prevent the resupply
of equipment and troops in the South nor end hostilities. He also said:24
. should it appear that we were trying to destroy North
Vietnam, the prospect of escalation by the other side would
increase, and with it would increase the possibility of heavier
U. S. casualties and an even harder and longer war
. our objective is not to destroy North Vietnam. It is to
stop aggression against South Vietnam at the lowest feasible
cost in lives and property. We should take the course that
is most likely to bring a satisfactory outcome . " at a comparately
low risk and low cost to ourselves. Our course is to
apply increasing pressure in South Vietnam both by ground and
supporting air attacks; to make it clear to the North Vietnamese
and Cong forces , . that life is going tq get more difficult
for them that war is expensive and dangerous.
(U) Thus, for the time being, the JCS-recommended program for an
accelerated air eampaign against North Vietnam had no chanee of receiving
administration approval. t' !
{ffff) On 1 March the JCS generally enCorsed Admiral Sharprs
"Case I" air, ground,. and naval deployment program leading to steppedup
operations against the Communists in North and South Vietnam and Laos.
It also recornmended again that the war be fought in accordance with the
Concept for Vietnam paper which it had approved on 27 August 1965 and
later amenCed. This paper called for air strikes against the Northrs warsupporting
industries in the Hanoi-Haiphong area, aerial mining of the
ports, additional interdiction of inland and coastal waterways, and special
air and ground operations in Laos -- all recommended many times in
various ways. But administration authorities continued to favor a more
modest air effort against the Hanoi regime.
Air Operations and Analyses
The new Rolling Thunder program -- number 49 -- was
ushered in on 1 March. It was still limited to armed reconnaissance of
the North but the admi.nistration had broadened the authorized attack area
to include coastal regions and had eased restrictions to permit the use of
air power up to the level existing when bombing ceased on 24 December 1965.
The Air Force and Navy were allocated a total of 5, 100 armed reconnaissance
sorties (and 3, 000 for Laos), with the number to be flown by each contingent
on weather and other operational factors. Poor weather, however, limited
their sorties to 4,491 during the month. The Air Force concentrated its
efforts against targets in route packages I, III, and VIA, the Navy in route
x Case I called for deployment of a total of 413,557 U.S. personnel in South
Vietnam by the end of calendar year 1966.
packages II and IV and against coastal targets in route package I through
IV. The VNAF flew token sorties in route package I under the protection
of U. S. Marine Corps electronic and escort aircraft. On 10 March the
JCS again pressed for its proposed accelerated air program vfith-eanly
attacks on POL sites, the main rail system running from, and the
mining of deep water ports. Again the recommendation was not acted
2 upon.
(il5r€?f) Meanwhile, the North's air defense system began to pose
a greater threat to USAF and Navy operations. On 3 March photo reconnaissance
aircraft discovered about 25 MIG-21 fuselage crates at Phuc
Yen airfield near Hanoi. USAF " Big Eye" EC-121D aircraft also detected
airborne MIGts about 55 times during March, although there were no engagernents.
Admiral Sharp directed the PACAF and Seventh Fleet. commanders
to prepare for counter-air operations and the SAC commander
to submit a plan for a B-52 strike, if necessary, against Phuc Yen and Kep
airfields. He asked for additional electronically equipped USAF EB-66
aircraft to reduce the effectiveness of the SA-2 missiles and the antiaircraft
guns. t'Jamming" was thought to have already reduced the use-
3 fulness of enemy air defenses, t "'"'',
({FHTFT) Aircraft losses to enemy ground fire continued to cause
rnuch concern. A Joint Staff study of the problern during March showed
that 199 American aircraft had been lost over North Vietnam since the
bombings began on 7 February 1965, sixteen of them by SA-2 missiles.
mrnended striking the
North's airfields on 10 Augrst 1964 and the JCS sent its first recommendation
to do so on 14 November 1964. By 1 March 1966 the JCS had made a
total of Il such recommendations but the administration had approved strikes
on on1.y three small airfields at Vinh, Dong Hoi, and Dien Bien Phu in May
1965, June 1965, and February 196f. respectively.
The aircraft loss rate was six times higher in the northeast, the most heavil
defended area,than in the rest of North Vietnam.Headquarters USAF estimated
the Northrs antiaircraft strength at 2,525 guns.
To improve its analysis of aircraft losses and other operational
data, the Air Staff on 26 March established an ad hoc study group in the
Directorate of Operations. In the same month the Chief of Operations Analysis,
in response to General Whelesst directive of l7 February, completed an
initial study on the effectiveness of air interdiction in Southeaet,Asia;. It
summarized the enemy's supply requirements, his capability to transport
supplies by land or sea, and the extent air strikes had hampered such activities.
One conclusion was that air attacks had not yet decreased the movement
of men and supplies from the North through Laos to South Vietnam.
They had, however, infLicted about $15 to 916 million direct and g8 million
indirect damage on the Northrs economy and forced Hanoi to recruit 30,000
more personnel, in addition to local forces, to perform repair work. An
analysis of one route from Vinh to Muang Phine suggested that air attacks
had caused the Communists to increase their truck inventorv by one-third
and their transport time by two-thirds. 5
{:ff) Another Operations Analysis interdiction study listed enemy
targets destroyed or damaged in North Vietnam and Laos thrtugh March
1966 as follows:
* Estimates of North Vietnamrs antiaircraft gun inventory varied considerably
during 1966. See Admiral Sharp's estimate of July,p 34,the Seventh
Air Forcers estimate for January and December 1966, p 64, and a final
estimate, app 8.
LOC Network *
Counter-Air *
++ All Other
North Vietnam
Dam TotaI
2,500 4,3O7
4,381 4,927
1 89 323
4,196 7,877
11, 266 17,164
Des Dam Total
ft:"-' 't
515 485 1,000
398 4,886 5,284
L45 67 I 45
2,783 1,259 3,99?
3,841 6,697 LO,426
l, 537
€rfls Concerning the Communist effort to fill craters and repair roads
damaged by air attacks, there were indications that only one man-day of direct
productive effort per attack sortie was needed to perform this task. "At
this rate, " the Operations Analysis study observed, rra few hundred sorties
t. ,. ,
per day would only make enough work for a few hundred men.rl
(fr€FS) As for Communist supplies, the study estimated that in 1965
they averaged 5I tons per day across the North Vietnamese-Laos border and
L6 tons per day acnoss the Laos-South Vietnamese border. For 1966 (through
March), the figures were ?0 and 35 tons respectively. The Laos panhandle
infiltration routes in themselves appeared to be capable, despite air attacks,
of supporting the current low-level cornbat by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese
forces. To support a higher combat level, for example, one day in seven, the
Communi.sts would have to use other supply channels or dip into South Vietnamese
stockpiles, either of which would complicate their distribution problems.
x Included bridges, road cuts, rail cuts, ferry ships.
-l-.:*. * i4
+ Included aircraft, runways, antiaircraft sites, SA-2 sites, and radar
++ Included buildings, POL tanks, power plants, locks and dams.
tffrapll Concurrently, there was planning for the next Rolling
Thunder program. In meetings with General Wheeler on 21 and 23 March,
Secretary McNamara set forth certain guidelines for stepping up air strikes
in the northeast and hitting additional JCS targets. The Joint Chiefs quickly
responded by proposing Rolling Thunder program 50. It called for launching
900 attack sorties against major lines of comrnunication and striking nine
POL storage areas, six bridges, one iron and steel plant, one early warning
and ground control intercept (EW/cCI) site, and one cement pi"t, inJ r*ra."
in Haiphong. Admiral Sharp planned to conduct this program within an allocation
of 8, 100 sorties (5, 100 for North Vietnam, 3, 000 for Laos), 7
(5r€;f) Administration approved this program, which began
on 1 April. For the first time in 1966 armed reconnaissance was authorized
over the far northeast and four new JCS targets (a11 rail anO fri.glway'iridges)
were cleared for interdiction. However, some time before program 50 ended
on 9 July, permission to strike the other JCS-recommended targets was withdrawn.
Dissatisfied the restri.ctions, General McConneLl and the Marine
Corps chief jointly advised the JCS that "sound military judgment" dictated
that all the targets be hit immediately. Higher administration officials withheld
consent, however, principally because of the unstable South Vietnamese
political situation vrhich developed after the ruling juntats ouster on 10 March
of Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chanh Thi, the I Corps .o*rrr"rrd"r.8
FS) Poor weather in April again limited the number of attack sorties
flown against the North and delayed until 5 May the completion of strikes
against the four authorized JCS targets. Other air operations included armed
reconnaissance against roads, rail lines, watercraft and similar LOC
.$.,i'i:l l. :;il
. ;i t:il i:{i.{.: n rrd{1:i1,r..." 11.11
l I0P{F8ftEfr
tar:gets. April also saw severaL important developments: establishment of
the Seventh Air Force, the first B-52 strike in North Vietnatn', a rnanked
step-up i.n Hanoits air defense effort that resulted in a U. S. downing of the
first MIG-21, a change in the command and contiol of route package I, and
the beginning of a study on increasing air pressure to offset civil disturbances
in South Vietnam.9
(Wl The establishment of the Seventh Air Force, effective B April,
followed General McConnellrs successful efforts to raise the stature of the
major USAF operational command in the theater. General fVfSbl'e cffrtinued
to serve as its chief with no change in his relationship with other commanders.
Also, in accordance with General McConnellts wishes, the commander of the
Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines was raised to three-star rank on
1 July.
(If+D SAC made the first B-52 strike against the North on 12 April
when 30 bombers dropped 7,000 tons of 750- and 1,000-pound bombs on a
road segment of Mugia Fass near the Laotian border. It was believed to be
the single greatest air attack on a target since WmldWar II. Initial reports
indicated that "route 15" had been "definitely closed" by a lar{dslide"ts had
been hoped; however, 26 ll2 hours later reconnaissance photos showed all
the craters filled i.n and the road appeared serviceable, attesting to the quick
repair capability of the North Vietnamese. A second strike by 15 B-52's on
26 April on a road segment six kilorneters north of Mugia blocked the road
for only 18 hours. The apparent inability of the B-52rs to close down the
road -- expressed by the Secretary of State and other officials -- and a
Seventh Air Force report of an SA-2 site near Mugia, prompted Admiral
Sharp on 30 April to recommend'to the JCS no further attacks on the pass.
20 rffi
In fact, the bombers were not again used near North Vietnam until 30 J,rty.
* 1l
(S#fowards the end of April Hanoi stepped up its air defense
activity, dispatching 29 to 3l MIG's against USAF and Navy aircraft. In
nine separate engagements in five days, six MIG's were destrijyed, all by
USAF F-4C's which suffered no losses. The first MIG-21 was downed on
26 April by two F-4C's. Antiaircraft fire continued to account for most
American aircraft combat losses with 31 dovrned (14 USAF, l?,Navy),.while
12 two -- an F-102 and a Navy A-lH -- were struck by SA-2 missiles.
(I5d[ff) Meanwhile, a change in command and eontrol of air operations
in route package I followed a meeting on 28 March between Admiral Sharp
and the JCS. The PACOM commander recommended that General Westmorelandrs
request for partial operational eontrol of this area be approved
and that the sector be accorded the same priority as for South Vietnam and
Laotian "Tiger Houndrt air operations. General Westmorelapd urgently
desired more air power to hit enemy approaches to the battlefield area near
the Demllitarized Zone (DMZ) for which he was responsible. Admiral Sharp
thought that 3, 500 sorties a month was warranted alone for route p".k.g. I.18
(CrFe) USAF eommanders and the Air Staff objected to the proposed
change, feeling that MACVTs command authority should be limited to South
Vietnam. They believed that the PACAF commander should remain the sole
coordinating authority for the Rolling Thunder program. Nevertheless,
Secretary McNamara approved the change on14 April and the JCS endorsed
it on the 20th. To allay any doubts where he thought the war's emphasis
should be, the defense chief said that air operations north of route package
I could be carri.ed out only if they did not penalize air operations in the
* See p 40.
"extended battlefield, " that is, in South Vietnam, the Tiger Hound area of
Laos, and route package area I. Under this change Admiral Sharp still retained
partial operational control of route package I. General Westmoreland's
authority was limited to armed photo reconnaissance and intelligence analysis
of Rolling Thunder and "Iron Hand" operations. Simultaneously, the Air
Force-lrlayy rotational bombing procedure in other route packages, in
effect since late 1966, also ended.
* 14
GfS4e) The civil disturbances and reduced U. S. and allied military
activity in both South and North Vietnam that followed General Thi's disf
Inissal prompted the Joint Staf f on 14 ApriL to recommend a step-up in the
attacks in accordance with the JCS proposals of 18 Januar! .* It
thought this might help arrest the deteriorating situation. A special Joint
Staff study of the problem also examined the possibility that a government
coming to power in Saigon might wish to end the war and ask U. S. and allied
15 forces to leave.
(5A€Fl) The Air Staff generally supported the Joint Staff's recommendation
for an intensified air offensive against the North and withdrawal
of U. S. forces if a local fait accompli left the United State*,and, itsnallies
no choice. But the Army's Chief of Staff doubted that heavier air strikes
could resolve the political situation in South Vietnam. that
Admiral Sharp already possessed authority to execute some of the recommended
strikes, he opposed sending the Joint Staff's study to Secretary
McNamara on the grounds that if U.S. strategy \,eas to be reevaluated it
should be by separate action. General McConnell suggested, and the JCS
agreed, to consider alternate ways of withdrawing part or all of the U. S.
x See p4.
+ See p 18.
. itO?fioifl.*
22 .m
forces from South Vietnam should this be necessary. Reviews were begun
but in subsequent weeks, after political stability was gradually restored,
the need to consider withdrawal action lessened and no final decisions were
The Rolling Thunder Study of 6 April
(U) April also witnessed the completion of the special joint report on
the Rolling Thunder program requested by Secretary McNamara in February.
Prepared under the direction of General Philpott, it rvas baBed on all data
available in Washi.ngton plus information collected by staff members who
visited PACOM, MACV, the 2d Air Division, and the Seventh Fleet.
(ryref*f Completed on 6 April, the Philpott report reviewed the results
of one year of Rolling Thunder operations (2 March 1965-2 March f966).
Duringthis period U.S. and VNAF aircraft had flown about 45,000 combat
and 20, 000 combat support, damaging or destroying 6,100 "fixed"
targets (bridges, ferry facilities, military barraeks, supply depots, ete. ),
and 3, 400 trmobile" targets (trucks, railroad rolling stock, and water"craft).
American combat losses totaled about 185 aircraft.
(rur5pq The report touched briefly on Laos where the air effort consisted
primarily of armed reconnaissance in two principal areas designated
as "Barrel Roll'r and t'Steel Tiser. " It noted that the effectiveness of USAF
strikes in Laos was limitea l.]*u"" of small fixed targets, high jungle
growth, and mountainous terrain that hampered target location and identification.
AIso, important targets were normally transitory and had to be
confirrned carefully before they could be attacked. The operations in North
Vietnam and Laos, said the report:
* see pp 10-11.
. have achieved a degree of success within the p/tirarneters
of imposed restrictions. However, the restricted scope of
operations, the restraints and piecemealing effort, have degraded
program effectiveness to a level well below the optimum'
Because of tNs, the enemy has reeeived war-supporting
rnateriel frorn external sources, through routes of ingress,
which for the most part have been immune from attack, and
has dispersed and stored this rnateriel in politically assured
sanctuaries. . . 'Although air operations caused significant
disruption prior to the standdown, there has been an increase
in the North Vietnamese logistic infiltration program, indicating
a much greater requirement for supplies in South Vietnam.
JJJ5rJrpal Of a total of 236 "JCS numbered" targets in North Vi'etnam,
I34 had been struck, i.ncluding 42 bridges. Among the 102 untoughed targets,
90 were in the northeast area and, of these, 70 were |n the sanctuary
zones of Hanoi, Haiphong, and the "buffert' territory near China. Elsel'
. ;:, .rrl
where il the North 86 percent of the JCS targets had been hlt. The report
further asserted:
The less than optimum air campaign, and the uninterrupted
receipt of supplies from Russi.a,, satellite countries, and
certain elements of the free world have undoubtedly contributed
to Hanoi's belief in ultimate victory. Therefore . . the Study
Group considers it essentiat that the air campaign be redirected
against specific target systems, eritical to the capability and
important to the will of North Vietnam to continue aggression
and support insurgency.
(Isrfrf ) It consequently proposed a three-phase strategy. In Phase I,
over a period of four to six weeks, the United States would dxpirna the armed
reconnaisSance effort over the North except for the sanctuary areas and
again attack previously struck JCS-numbered targets in the northeast. Air
units also would strike 11 more JCS-numbered bridges, and the Thai NgUyen
railroad yards and shopS; perform armed reconnaissance over Kep airfi.eld;
strike 30 more JCS*numbered targets, 14 headquarters/barracks, four ammunition
and two supply depots, f ive POL storage areas, one airfield, two
naval bases, and one radar site.
t#eFt? In Phase II, a period of somewhat less duration than Phase I,
American aircraft would attack 12 military and war-supporting targets within
the reduced sanctuary areas, consisting of two bridges, three POL storage
areas, two railroad shops and yards, three supply and storage depots, one
machine tool plant, and one airfield. During Phase III all remaining JCSnumbered
targets (now totaling 43)wou1d be attacked, including six bridges,
seven ports and naval bases, six industrial p1-ants, seven locks, 10 thermal/
hydroelectric plants, the headquarters of the North Vietnamese rninistries
of national and air defense, and specified railroad, supply, radio, and
transformer stations.
(fll#) Concurrent with this program, the study group proposed
three attack options that could be executed at any time: Option A, strike
the Haiphong POL center; Option B, mine the channel approaches to Haiphong,
Hon Gai, and Cam Pha; and Option C, strike four jet airfields --
at Phuc Yen, Hanoi, and Haiphong.
Finally, it proposed that Admiral Sharp should deterrnine when to hit
the targets in each of the three phases, the weight of the air attacks, and
the tactics to be employ.d.
^, .-
(CtEltt) General Wheeler, who was briefed on the report on 9 April,
called it a ttfine professional approach, t' a ttgood job, rr and endorsed it,
The rnanner in which it should be sent to Secretary McNamara created
difficulties, however. General McConnell suggested that the Joint Staff
prepare ttpositivett recommendations for the implementation of the reportts
air program, stating that if this vrere not done, it would not receive the
attention it deserved. But strong ser.vice support was lacking for that
approach. An agreement eventually was reached to send the report to
secretary McNamara with the Joint chiefs "noting" it. They advised him
it was fu1ly responsive to his request, was in consonance with the JCS
recommendations of 18 January 1966, and would be useful in considering
future I8 recommendations of the Rolling Thunder program.
Air Operatiolq in May: BegiffiilLg oL "cate d;;rdi, *
(U) The Rolling Thunder study had no immediate impact on air operations.
In fact, Secretary Brown on 22 May publicly affirmed the administrationrs
decision not to expand significantly attacks on new targets. He said
such action would not cut off infiltration but would raise the danger of a
'wlqer *19 war.
F++ Thus the authorized level of 5, 100 sorties for North Vietnam
rernained unchanged in May and only a few important attacks on fixed targets
were approved. The principal operation was against seven targets
within the Yen Bai logistic center which were struck by T0 uJ;F "oiti"" .
Monsoon weather again plagued the air campaign, causing the cancellation
of.2,972 USAF-Navy sorties or about 32 percent of those scheduled. usAF
20 sortie cancellations amounted to 40 percent.
€6rG!t) Heavier North Vietnamese infiltrati.on toward the DMZ as
indicated by more truck sightings led to a change in tactics. Beginning
on I May, a special air effort called "Gate Guard" was initiated in the
northern part of the steel Tiger area in Laos and then shifted into route
package I when the monsoons hit the Laotian region, utilizing many of the
I'integrated interdiction'r tactics developed in Laos earlier in the year,
Gate Guard involved stepped-up air strikes on a series of routes or "belts "
x Not stated by Secretary Brown was the fact that civil disturbances in South
Vietnam triggered by the dismissal of General Thi on 10 March still prompted
the administration not to risk escalation of the war at this time. See p18.
26 . +0P'$teflfi[r
running east to west. Many special USAF aircraft were used: C-i30 airborne
command and control centers, C-130 flare aircraft, EB-66rs for ECM, and
RF-lOlrs. Attack aircraft interdicted selected points in da;rtime and destroyed
"fleeting targets" at night.
tt5's-€44ll During the month there were few MIG sightings and only one
was destroyed. Heavy antiaircraft fire accounted for most of the 20 U. S.
aircraft (13 USAF, six Navy, one Marine) that were downed. USAF losses
included seven F-105's in the northeast. The enerny's ground fire, General
McConnell informed a Senate subcommittee during the month, was "the only
thing we are not able to cope with . . " whereas the SA-2's -- which were
deployed at about 103 sites ---had destroyed only five USAF lnd two !{avy
aircraft. The SA-2rs were countered by decoys, jamming techniques, and
evasive aircraft tr"ti"". * 22
(fl€€F3) During May the Air Staff began a study effort to establish
requirements for a suitable, night, all-weather aircraft interdiction system
using the latest munitions, sensors, and guidance equipment to provide an
"aerial blockade" against infiltrating men and supplies. This followed an
expression of frustration by high State Department and WhitE.House_gfficials
in late April about the inability of air power to halt these movements into
the South. As part of this study, the Air Staff solicited the views of PACAF,
SAC, and other commands, advising them of the need for a solution wi.thin
existing bombing restraints. Recommendations to t'strike the sor.u'ce" of
Communist supplies, they were informed, were politically unacceptable and
likely to remain
"o, "
x Air Force confidence in the value of anti-SA-2 operations was challenged
in a Seventh Fleet study, dated 1.2 July 1966 and based on SA-2 USAF and
Navy firing reports. It asserted that the value of ECM and ,other jamming
techniques was uncertain as aircraft with deception devices normally sought
to evade the missiles when fired upon. For General Harrist view, see pp 53-54.
(3*Cf#In a joint reply on 24 N'{ay, the commanders-in-chief of PACAF
and SAC, Generals Hunter Hamis, Jr. and John D. Ryan, pointed to improved
results from air operations in route package I and in parts of Laos. They said
that interdiction could become even more effective by greater use of airdelivered
mines (against ferries), "deniall' munitions with deil.ayed.f.uaes insuring
"longevity" up to 30 days, around-t'he-ctock air strikes on selected
routes south of Vinh, special strikes against Mugia Pass, and improved airground
activity in Laos, They also proposed the use of low-volatile chemicalbiological
agents to contaminate terrain and surface bursts gf nucle,nq weapons.
The latter would trdramatically" create t'barrierstr in areas difficult to bypass.
To implement these measures, General Harris again stressed the
need for centralized control of air resources, asserting it should be a I'high
priority'r Air Force objective. But most of these suggestions could not or
would not be implemented in the immediate flrt.r.". 24
Highlights of June Operations
€3+€t June witnessed another step-up in air activity over North
Vietnam, the major highlight being USAF-Navy strikes, beginning 2l June,
against previously exempt POL storage sites and culminating in major POL
strikes in Hanoi and Haiphong on the 29th. (See details in Chapter III. )
tE0{F0) Other targets continued to be hit, such as the Hanoi-Lao
Cai and Hanoi-Dong Dang rail lines, but most USAF sorties concentrated
on route package I targets which absorbed about 93 percent of the total flown
in the North that month. These strikes reflected the importance General
Westmoreland placed on curbing the flow of enemy troops and supplies
toward and into the DMZ, Gate Guard targets were hit hard and, after the
introduction of USAF MSQ-77 "Skyspot" radars for greater bombing
x accuracy, the infiLtration ttgatestt were ttguardedtt virtually'around the
clock. About 97 percent of the Navy effort was concentrated along the
coast in route packages II, UI, and IV. The VNAF flew 266 sorties in route
package I, its highest total against the North in 12 months.
(IS*l*t The Gate Guard campaign seemed to confirm the vaLue of
night air attacks. By 7 JuIy the nightime missions had achieved better
results than those in da5rtime, 164 trucks being destroyed and 265 damaged
compared with the da5rtirne toll of 154 destroyed and 126 damaged.
(flS# Despite these successes, Gate Guard operations faced
certain handicaps. During dayiight hours USAF 0-I forward air control
(FAC) aircraft -- used to support U.S. strikes -- were highly vulnerable
to the heavy ground fire and, when forced to f1y higher, became less
effective. AIso, interdiction points, often on flat terrain, were easy to
repair or by-pass. And the North Vietnarnese could store and service
their trucks in numerous small villages, secure in the knowledge that U. S.
aircraft would not attack civilian areas. Events finally overtook the Gate
Guard effort. Corrtinued infiltration through the DMZ pro*pi"a ge"O]
quarters MACV to develop a t'Ta1ly-Ho" air program -- a more ambitious
effort to block, if possible, a large-sca1e invasion by North Vietnamese
troops through the DMZ into South Vietnam's northernmost provinc.r."
* The initial MSQ-?7 radar was plaeed at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam on
I April 1966, and the second one at Pleiku in May. With the installation
of the third and fourth radars at Nakhon Phanorn, Thailand and Dong Ha,
South Vietnam on 3 and 12 June, respectively, the system could be used
for air strikes in route package I. A fifth radar was placed at Dalat, South
Vietnam on 26 September. The MSQ-,77 was an MSQ-35 bomb-scoring
radar converted into a bomb-directing radar with a range of 200 nautical
ttl. THE PoL sTRIKES AND RoLLING THUNppn pnocnAnn rt
€-e".drds indicated, the highlight of the aipwar -- and of the Rolling
Thunder program since its inception -- were the POL strikes in June 1966.
General McConnell and the other service chiefs had long urged the destruction
of North Vietnam's major POL sites but the administration did not seri.ously
consider attacking them until March.
Background of the POL Air Strikes
{ssraFri Some months before, in December 1965, a cIA study had concluded
that the destruction of the North's POL facilities would substantially
increase Hanoi's logistic problems by requiring alternate import and distributing
channels and the use of more rail cars, drums, and other storage
& ..,a,
items. CIA analysts recognized that the North Vietnamese probalrly anti -
cipated such attacks and that the POL facilities near Haiphong, a major port
city, politically were sensitive targets. Assessing the consequences of a
POL air campaign, they further concluded it would (1) not change Hanoirs
policy either toward negotiation or tourard sharply entering the war; (2)
probably result in more Soviet pressure on theregime to negotiate;(3) force
Hanoi to agk for and receive more supply and transport aid from China and
air defense aid from the Soviet Union; (4) aggravate Soviet-Chinese relations,
and (5) cause further deterioration of U. S. -Soviet relations, especially if a
Soviet ship were hi.t. Soviet counteraction was thought possible and might
take the form of attacks on U.S. ferrett aircraft or interference with U.S.
access to West Berlin. Chinese Commrnist intervention in the v/ar, while
possible, was considered unlikely.
(Irer#l| In March another CIA study predicted that the destruction of
POL sites (and a cement plant in Haiphong) would severely strain the Northrs
transportation system. It was one of the most influential doctrtn€nts to bear
on the subject. On 23 March Secretary McNamara informed General Wheeler
that a new RoIIing'Ihunder program directed against POL storage and distribution
targets might be favorably received. On 25 Apil, Deputy Secretary
of Defense Cyrus R. Vance assured the JCS that its 1965 POL studies were now
receiving full consideration. On 6 May, a White House aide, Walt W. Rostow,
reealling the impact of oil strikes on Germany in World War II, suggested to
the Secretaries of State and Defense that systematic and sustained bombing
of POL targets might have more prompt and decisive results on Hanoits
transportation system than conventional intelligence indicated,
(flFEflt On 31 May -- although a final decisionto hit the major facilities
had not been made -- Admiral Sharp was authorized to attack certain POLassociated
targets in the northeast aLong with five small route targets. On
6 June General Westmoreland advised CINCPAC that an improving political
situation in South Vietnam (since civil disturbances began on 10 March) was
causing Hanoi much disappointment and dismay. Noting this circumstance
and the heavy toll inflicted by the air campaign over North Vietnam and Laos,
he recommended that these psychological and military gains be rrparl,ayed into
dividends" by hitting the POL storage sites. To do so later, he warned, would
be less effective because of dispersal work already under way.
(!trFCFlt Support continued to build up. Admiral Sharp quickly endorsed
General Westmorelandrs views and, on 8 June, the U. S. Ambassador
I Mr. Rostow observed that in 1965 U.S. estimates showed that 60 percent
of the Northts POL was for military purposes and 40 percent for civilian needs.
The current ratio was now placed at 80 and 20 percent, respectively.
to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge suggested that intensified bombing
was the most effective way to get Hanoi to the negotiating table. General
McConnell, who had long supported such action, told a Senate subcommittee
that hitting POL targets woul.d have a "substantial" effect on the amount of
supplies the Communists corrld send to their forces in South Vietnarn. An Air
Staff intelligence report asserted that hitting the sites would harre€t
prof ound " impact on Hanoits infiltration activities and expressed confidence
it could be done vrithout causing severe civilian casualties.4
The Strikes of 29 June
The administration now moved'toward its decision. In a preliminary
action, the JCS on 16 June authorized Admir'al Sharp to hit aII of the
POL dispersal sites listed in the curuent Rolling Thunder program except
those within a 30-nautical-mile radius of Hanoi, a l0-nautical-mile radius
of Haiphong, and 25 nautical miles from the Chinese border east of longitude
105o 2ct E. and 30 nautical miles west of longitude tos* zo' n. on 21 June
USAF jets struck and oil depot sites ranging from 28 to 40 miles
from Hanoi. Several other sites, previously exempt from attack, were hit
in ensuing days outside the Hanoi-Haiphong "."*.
tffi3) In addition, extraordinary steps were taken to prepare for
the attacks on POL targets in the two main cities of North Vietnam. On 23
June, after Seeretary McNarnara and General Wheeler had informed President
Johnson of their precautionary rneasuru"o ,o avoid attacks on ci.vilian areas
ffiwrx usfiT pliots most experienced with operations
in the target areas,weather conditions permitting visual target identification,
avoiding to the extent possible populated areas,minimum pilot distraction to
improve delivery accuracy, use of munitions assuring highest precision consistent
with mission objeetives, attacks on air defenses only in sparsely
populated areas, special security precarrtions concerning the proposed operations,
and person\l attention by commanders to the operations.
and foreign merchant ships, the JCS authorized Admiral Sharp to strike early
on the 24th seven POL storage facitities and a radar site at Kep, northeast
of Hanoi. Although special security precautions surrounded the planning, the
news media soon reported the essential details of the operation. This forced
the administration to postpone it and deny any decision had been made.
(if:€Fat The strike was rescheduled and took place on 29 June. A USAF force
of 24 F-I05's, 8 F-105 "Iron Handts", 4 EB-66's plus 24 F-4Crs and 2 F-104rs
for MIG """p" and escort hit a 32-tank farm about three-and-a-half miles from
Hanoi. Approximately 95 percent of the target area, comprising about 20
percent of the Northts oil storage facilities, was damaged or destroyed'
l" .,.
simultaneously, Navy A-4 and A-6 aircraft hit a large POL storage area two
miles northwest of Haiphong. This facility, containing an estimated 40 percent
of the Northts fuel storage capacity and 95 percent of its unloading equipment,
was about B0 percent destroyed. One USAF F-I05 was lost to ground
fire. Four MIG-l?'s challenged the raiders and one was probably shot down
by an Iron Hand F-105. No sA-2 missiles rvere observed. Maj' Gen. Gilbert
L. Myers, deputy comrnander of the Seventh Air Force termed the raids t'the
most signifieant, the most important strike of the war' " Secretary McNamara
subsequently called the USAF-Navy strike "a superb professional job, "
although he was highly incensed over the security leaks that preledea tfie
I attacks.
(u) In a press conference the next day, the defense chief said the strikes
were made ltto counter a mounting reli.ance by North Vietnam on the use of
trucks and powered junks to facilitate the infiltration of men and equipment
from North Vietnam to South Vietnam. " He explained that truck movements
in the first five months of 1966 had doubled, and that daily supply tonnage and
troop infiItration over the "Ho Chi Minh trail" were up 150 percent and I20
percent, respectively, over 1965. Further, the enemy had built new roads
and its truck inventory by December 1966 was expected to be double that of
January 1965. This would require a 50- to 70-percent increase in oil imports
over 1965. The Secretary also justified the timing of the strikes, asserting
that the "perishablet' nature of POL targets made it more desirable to attaek
them now than earlier in the ,""t.
(alfl{prf' President Johnson said that the air strikes ontbitritarytargets
in North Vietnam I'will continue to impose a growing burden and a high price
on those who wage war against the freedom of others. " He directed that in
the forthcoming weeks first priority be given to "strangling" the remainder
of Hanoits POL system except for that portion in areas still exempt from air
attack. He also wanted more bombing of the two main rail lines running
between Hanoi and China.9
The Mid-1966 Assessment
(flfi€dJ Shortly after the 29 June POL strikes, another maior conference
took place in Honolulu to review the war and plan additional U. S.
and allied air, ground, and naval deployments. A mid-year assessment of
the war, contained in a letter from Admiral Sharp to the JCS and the Office
tr* ,.": .:.- . .u1.;a
of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), was expanded in briefings for Mr. MeNamara
in Honolulu on 8 July. The PACOM commander said that he considered the
air program for North Vietnam still inadequate, observing that previous recommendations
to hit major ports of entry, logistic targets leading from China,
and certain POL sites (in addition to those struck on 29 June) had not been
approved. He thought it impossible to prevent the enemy from moving supplies
from North to South and thus to "isolate the battlefield"; rather, the "highest
Truck Parks
Military Storage Facilities
Military Installations
Transshipment Points
1 Jan 66 1 Jul 66
55 126
31 6 696
38 180
680 939
-td5?3 - 65 2:b63
task" was route interdiction and strikirg new targets as they were uncovered.
Recent intelligence showed that the air campaign was hurting Hanoi. Its
repair and reconstruction force now totaled about 500,000 and the morale
of the government and troops was declining. To raise the cost of infiltration,
he proposed striking as soon as possible 33 important exempted targets and
rnore of the enemyrs supplies, road and rail repair centers, and military
training areas.
(Hp-+l Admiral Sharp pointed to Hanoirs greater effor"t to hide and
disperse its logistic supplies because of the air attacks. As a result there
was greater U.S. effort inthe first six months of the year to uncover more
of the following types of targets:
New Targets
DD -6fr-
The table showed an increase of g0 percent in significant targets since
I January 1966 with the major portion consisting of truck parks, military
storage facilities, and transshipment points.
tflCO) During the first half of the yeaqAdmiral Sharp continued,
Rolling Thunder strikes had destroyed or damaged 1,076 trueks, 900 pieces
of rolling stock, and 3,304 watercraft. A total of 2,771 trucks were destroyed
or damaged in Laos. Discussing the Northts air defense system, he
said that Hanoi's antiaircraft gun inventory had increased from about 859 in
February 1965 (when the bombings began) to more than 4, 200T an average
increase of about 205 guns per month. The North also possessed 20 to 25
active SA-2 battalions, good early warning, ground control interception
equipmentrand a respectable MIG force.
{g*U In reply, Secretary McNamara reported that President Johnson
had accorded first priority to 'rstrangulation" of the Northts POL system' Thus,
it was essential to determine Hanoits land and sea distribution system, categorize
the targets, and then render them ineffective. The Secretary also
pointed out the need for increased interdiction of railroad lineqIpar:tiqlrlarly
bridges i.n the northeast and northwest leading to China. Expressing concern
over U. S. aircraft attrition, he said OSD was working with the services on ways
to reduce it.
The Beginning Rolling Thunder Program 5I
spsal The stra.ngulation campaign was incorporated into a new
Rolling Thunder program -- number 51. It was authorizedbythe JCS on 6
July and went into effect on the 9th. Armed reconnaissance could now encompass
all of North Vietnam except for the established sanctuary areas
(i. e., a 30-nautical-mile radius of Hanoi, a I0-nautical-mile radius of Haiphong,
and 25 to 30-nautical-mile buffer area adjacent to China). Admiral
Sharp assigned PACAF specific responsibility for halting all rail traffic in
the northeast and northwest sectors. In addition, the JCS on 9 July authorized
an increase in attack sorties for North Vietnam and Laos from 8, I00 to 10, 100
per month.
(51t6;r|pBecause of the high priority assigned to the strangulation effort --
and in response also to Secretary McNamarats direction -- the Air Staff on 16
July established anOperationgombat Strangler task force headed by Maj' Gen'
Woodrow P. Swancutt, Director of Operations, Headquarters USAF. Its immediate
objective was to evaluate POL strangulation and LOC interdiction plans
prepared by the seventh Air Force and pACAF. sirnultaneously, the Air
Staff established an Operations Review Group within the Directorate of Operations
under col. LeRoy J. Manor, an enlarged and reorganize&,suceesfor to
the ad hoc study group formed on 26 March 1965. It examined the effeetiveness
of combat and combat support operations in southeast A.sia as well as
the activities of USAF worldwide operational fo.""".14
(gf#fi Under Rolting Thunder program 51, USAF aircraft intially
concentrated on route packages I, V, and.VIA and the Navy on the others.
Then on 20 July, at the direction of General westmoreland, the Air Force
inaugurated a "Tally-Hot' air campaign in route package I in a renewed effort,
somewhat similar to Gate Guard, to curb Comrnunist infiltration into and
through the DMZ. AIso, on 6 August at General westmoreland's'request and
by the decision of Admiral Sharp, the "Dixie station" aircraft carrier used
for air operations in south vietnam was moved to ttyankee Station, tt thereby
providing three rather than two carriers for the stepped up air activities
against the North. Another important change was an agreement between the
Seventh Air Force and Seventh Fleet commanders whereby the former would
provide about 1, 5c0 sorties per month in the normally Navy-dominated route
packages II, III, and IV. The Air Staff and General Harris considered the
arrangement better than the relatively rigid deli.neation of service air responsibility
for the North that had existed previously. Although the agreement
took effect on 4 September , restrictions on air operations
prevented its full .""lir*tiorrl+ 15
x See p 16.
+ By September USAF aircraft generally were covering 46,265 square miles or
77 percent of the land area of North Vietnam. 'Ihe Navy, by comparison, was
coverlng 13,891 square miles or about 2g percent of the land area.
++ The restrictions were eased in December 1966.
(flfrCf*ffhe immediate priority, of course, was given to POL sites.
The campaign increased in momentum until the week of 13-19 August when
140 attack sorties were flown against POL targets. Thereafter the sortie
rate dropped. By the end of August an estimated 68 percent of known POL
storage capacity in route paekages I, V, and VI had been destroyed. On
19 September the remaining POL capaeity in the North was plbced at.,pbout
69,650 metric tons, of which 18,526 metric tons urere not yet authorized
16 for destruction.
(fl€rGF€) By the end of September it was apparent that the POL strikes
were becoming less productive. There had been no let-up in Soviet deliveries
of POL supplies and the North Vietnamese continued their dispersal
efforts. Supported by Combat Strangler analyses, PACAF considered the
benefits derived frorn attacking the scattered sites no longer worth the cost
in aircraft lost. In a report to Secretary Brown on 14 October, PACAF stated
that the POL campaign had reached the point of diminishing returns and that
the Soviet Union and China could adequately supply the North wifh PQL products.
Also, U. S. air power could best force changes in POL handling and
distribution by striking targets listed in Rolling Thunder program 52 proposed
by the JCS on 22 August.
tnr" would constitute, PACAF fel.t, the best kind
of ttstrategic persuasiont' before Hanoi could devise counterm."",r".",l7
{f{|pr$ The railroad strangulation effort, particularly against the Hanoi-
Lao Cai and the Hanoi-Dong Dang lines running to China and located in route
packages V and VI A, was not especially productive because of bad weather
and the ability of the North Vietnarnese to .repair the lines quickly. In fact,
rt This program called for 872 sorties over 19 new targets.
$':||Frn .t
PACAF beli.eved it was virtually impossible to maintain an effective.4ir
program against them. Weather problems in the two route packages forced
the cancellation or diversion of about ?0 and 81 percent of the attack sorties
scheduled for July and August, respectively. The weather improved in
September but turned poor again in October.
(f:{l!l*) Enemy antiaircraft defense, including additional SA-2rs also
added to the difficulty in interdicting the two main rail lines. As American
aircraft losses rose, Admiral Sharp on 20 September ordered a reduction of
about one-third of the air strikes in route package VIA until rneasures could
be devised to reduce the tol]. For example, on 7 AugUst anti.aircraft guns
knocked down seven U.S. aircraft (six USAF, one Navy ), tfre highest oneday
total since 13 August 1965 when six were shot down. American combat
losses in the North during the third quarter of the year were: 4l in July, 37 in
August, and 26 in September. Eighty of these were USAF aircraft. In
October combat losses declined to 23, only nine of them USAF.
(eApr+1 MIG pilots also became increasingly aggressive. Fifteen
"incidents" i.n July resulted in two MIG-21's and one MIG-17 being shot down
against the loss of one USAF F-105 and one Navy F-8. During an engagement
on ? July, two MIG-2]rs for the firsttime inthe war fired air-to-air
missiles against two F-105's but failed to score. Another milestone in the
air war oecurred on 21 September when the biggest air-to-air'battle .,
to date was fought over the North. In seven separate encounters USAF
pilots downed two MIG-I?'s, probably a third, and damaged a MIG-21 without
suffering any losses.
The Tally-Ho_Campaign
(!FFt In terms of total sorties flown, the largest portion of the
USAF effort, as in previous months, was concentrated in route package I
' T0P€E0fl[:h
which included the DMZ, the area of the greatest enemy threat. Intelligence
believed that about 5,000 North Vietnamese had infiltrated through the zone
in June. PACAF speculated that these enemy movements rnay have been due
to the recent success of Tiger Hound air operations in Laos which, together
with monsoon weather, had virtually blocked certain logistic routes in that
fiffrpedite procurement of an antiradiation missile, develop betterl,,warneed$
using the implosion principle, ernploy beacons to aid in finding SA-2 emitters,
provide VHF/UHF homing capabilities for Wi.ld Weasel aircraft, and improve
data exchange between the Rome Air Development Center and Southeast
Asia operational activities.
{9fftfl The Air Staff generally agreed with Admiral Sharprs recommendations.
The JCS also concurred and directed General McConnell to procure
and deploy adequate numbers of anti-SA-2 devices and equipment. The
Joint Chiefs were still undecided at the end of the year whether to recommend
to Secretary McNamara an all-out campaign against the SA-2's in the iml8
mediate future.
Assessments of the Air War Against North Viltnam
rjilsrhD As 1966 ended, General McConnell and the Air Staff remained
convinced that greater use of air power, especially in North Vietnam, was
the only alternative to a long, costly war of attrition. They also thought
it would make unnecessary the massive buildup of U. S. and allied ground
forces still under way. Although the combined air and ground effort in Southeast
Asia had prevented a Communist takeover of South Vietnam, one Air
Staff assessment found no significant trend toward the attainment of other
U. S. objectives in that country.
4W Within the JCS General McConnell continued to support recommendations
to reduce operational restrictions and expand target coverage
in the North. The level of air effort was less than he desired, but he believed
air power had shown how it could be tailored to the geography of a country
and, by the selection of weapons and mode of air attack, be responsive to
political and psychoLogical considerations. In some instances, it was clear,
the Vietnam experience ran counter to conventional ai.r power concepts. As
he had observed in May, t'tactical bombingtr in South Vietnam was being conducted
in part by "stralegic" B-52 bombers pnd "strategictt bombing of the
North was being conducted largely by rrtactical bombers". 20
(U) Any evaluation of the effect of air power, especially in the North,
ti"r. .*a
had to consider political factors which limited military activity. To deal
with this circumstance, General McConnell offered the following dictum:
"Since air power, like our other military forces, serves a political objective,
it is also subject to political restraints. Therefore, we must qualify any
assessments of air powerts effectiveness on the basis of limitations that
govern its applicatiorr. " 21
Ff!* General Ha*is, the PACAF commander, singled out three
principal factors hampering the air campaign against North Vietnam: poLitical
restraints and geographical sanctuaries that precluded striking more lucrative
targets, poor weather for prolonged periods of time, and Hanoirs ability
to repair and reconstruct damaged target areas. With respect to the last,
PACAF officials acknowledged the North Vietnamese had t'exceptionaltr recuperative
capabilities to counter air attacks on trucks, rolling stock, and
the lines of communications. They had built road and rail by-passes and
bridges in minimum time, dispersed POL by using pack animals, human
porters and watercraft, and developed an effective air defense system. Infil.
tration through the DMZ, Laos, and Cambodia was pt"""A'"t Z, OOilto
9,000 men per month,
and the enemy logistic systern was supporting an
estimated 128,000 combat and combat support personnel with out-of-country
resources. General Harris thought that an important t'lesson learnedtt was
that the gradual, drawn-out air campaign had created very little psychological
impact on Hanoits leaders and the populace. He also continued to believe
(as did the Air Staff and other Air Force comrnanders in Southeast Asia)
that control of air operations in the North -- as well as in Laos and South
Vi.etnarn -- was too fragmented and should be centralized under a single air
(f,5r€7r8) Admiral Sharp's view of the air carnpaign against the North
in 1966 was that little had been accomplished in external assistance
to the enemy. Except for the June strikes on POL targets in Haiphong
* MACV and DIA eventually estimated that about 81,000 North Vietnamese
entered South Vietnam in 1966. The infiltration rate was high in the first
half and dropped sharply in the second half of the year.
. i$ffifffif,
(which handled 85 percent of the North's imports during the year), the port
was almost undisturbed. Of the nearly 82,000 attack sorties flown during
the year, less than one percent were against JCS-proposed targets. In the
critical northeast area (route packages VIA and VIB), of 104 targets only 19
were hit in 1965 and 20 in 1966; the remaining 99 percent of attack sorties
were armed reconnaissance and ftowl to harass, disrupt, and irnpede the
movement of men and supplies on thousands of rniles of roads, trails, and
inland and coastal waterways. IIe noted that despite severe losses of vehicles,
rotling stock, watercraft, supplies and men from air attack, the North
Vietnarnese were ingenious in hiding and dispersing their supplies and
showed "remarkable" recuperative ability. He concluded that the overall
amount of supplies and men rnoving through ttre DMZ, Laos, and Cambodia
into South Vietnarn probably was greater in 1966 than in 1965.23
(U) Secretary Brown took a somewhat different view of the air campaign
believing it had inflicted "serious" logistic losses on the North. From
2 March 1965 (when the Rolling Thunder program began) through Septernber
1966, air strikes had destroyed or damaged more than 7,000 trucks, 3,000
rail,way cars, 5,000 bridges, 15, 000 barges and boats, two-thirds of the
POL storage capacity, and many ammunition sites and other facilities. He
cited prisoner of war reports indicating that troops in the South received no
rnore than 50 percent of daily supply requirements.* In add$iotv,'.thgair
war had diverted 200,000 to 300,000 personnel to road, rail, and bridge repair
work, and combat troops for air defense. * t, December, military action in
both North and South Vietnarn had reduced battalion size attacks from seven
x Seep L
+ on I March 196?, Secretary McNamara estimated that Hanoi was using
I25,000 men for its air defenses and "tens of thousands" of others for
coastal defense.
to two per month and, in the past eight months, raised enemy casualties
from 3,600 to 5, 200 per month.
(u) Although infittration frorn the North continued, secretary Brown
said: "I do not believe that an air blockade of land and sea routes will ever
be completely effective any more than a sea bLoekade can prevent all commerce
from entering or leaving a country. " He thought the air attacks were
becoming more effective due to improvements in intelligence, tactics, equipment,
and techniques.
(u) The Air Force secretary defended the administrationrs policy of
exempting certain targets from air attack if they supported only the North's
civilian economy, were close to urban areas and would cause civilian suffering
if hit, and would not significantly affect in the short term the enemyrs
ability to continue fighting. He 1isted five criteria for judging whether to
strike a target: its effect on infiltration from North to south, the extent of
air defenses and possible u.s. aircraft losses, the degree of 'rpenalty" inflicted
on North Vietnam, the possibility of civilian casualties, and the danger
of soviet or chinese intervention resulting in a larger war. He thought
that a "Korean-type" victory -- with the aggressor pushed back and shown
that aggression did not pay -- would meet u. s. objectives and make the war
in Vietnam a ttsuccess .t, 24
(tlnpq Secretary McNamarars views on the controlled use of air power
against the North were well known. rn a ttdeployment issuett paper sent to
the JCS on 6 october in conjunction with deproyment planning, he said that
intelligence reports and aerial reco.nnaissance clearly showed how the air
program against the North effectively harassed and delayed truck movements
and rnateriel into the South but had no effect on troop infiltration moving along
trails. He thought that the cost to the enemy to repLace trucks and cargo as
a result of stepped up air strikes would be negligible compared with the cost
of greatly increased U.S. aircraft losses. In a summation of his views on
the war before House Subcommittees in Februarv 1967 te further stated:
For those who thought that air attacks on North Vietnam
would end the aggression in South Vietnam, the results from
this phase of the operations have been disappointing. But
for those who understood the political and economic structure
of North Vietnam, the results have been satisfactory. Most
of the war materiel sent from North Vietnam to South Vietnam
is provided by other Communist countries and no amount of
destruction of the industrial capacity . can, by itself,
eliminate this flow
When the bombing campaign began he added, "we did not believe that air
attacks on North Vietnam, by themselves, would bring its leaders to the
conference table or break the morale of its people -- and they have not
done so. "
(U) The Defense Secretary also observed that although air strikes had
destroyed two-tNrds of their POL storage capacity, the North Vietnamese had
continued to bring it in t'over the beachrt and disperse it. POL shortages
did not appear to have greatly impeded the Northts war effort. He reiterated
the U. S. policy that 'rthe bombing of the North is intended as a supplement to
and not a substitute for the military operations in the South. " 25
72 Notes to Pages I r 7
Chapter I
Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1965, vol II, pp 326 and 328; Project CHECO SEA
Rprt (TS), 15 Dec 66, subj: Comd and Control, 1965, pp 1-7; memo (TS),
Lt Col B. F. Echols, Exec, Dir/Plans to AFCHO, 27 Nov 6?, subj: Review
of Draft Hist Study, "The Air Campaign Against NVN. "
Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1965, vol II, pp 326 and 328; Testimony of Gen J. p.
McConnell, CSAF on 9 May 66 before Senate Preparedness Investigating
Subcmte of Cmte on Armed Services, 89th Cong, 2d Sess (U) g-10 May 66,
USAF Tactical Air Ops and Readiness, pp 25-26.
Rpft (TS), An EvaI of the Effects of the Air Campaign Against NVN and
Laos, prepared by Jt Staff, Nov 66, in Dir/P1ans; Talking paper for the
JCS for the State-JCS Mtg on 1 Apr 66 (TS), Undated, subj: Discussions
with Mr. Bundy on Far Eastern Matters, in Dir/plans; Hist (TS),
CINCPAC, 1965, vol II, pp 339-41; memo (TS), Col D. G. Gravenstine,
Chief Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops to AFCHO, 22 Nov 6?, subj: Draft of
AFCHO Hist Study.
Memo (TS), CoI J. C. Berger, Asst Dir for Jt Matters, Dir/Ops to CSAF,
10 Aug 66; Background Paper on Division of R/T Area (TS), Mar 66, both
in Dir/Plans; Excerpts from Gen Moorets Presentation to the JCS (TS),
13 JuI 66, in OSAF; Project CHECO SEA Rprts (TS), 15 Dec 66, subj: Comd
and Control, 1965, pp 1-9; and I Mar 6?, subj: Control of Air Strikes in
SEA, pp 95-97; memo (TS), Echols to AFCHO, 27 Nov 6?.
Van Staaveren (TS), 1965, pp 7L-74; N.y. Times, l Feb 66.
6. Memo (TS), CoI J.H. Germeraad, Asst Dep Dir of Plans for War plans,
Dir/Plans to CSAF, 10 Jan 66, subj: Strat for SEA; Background paper on
Pertinent Testimony by SECDEF and JCS given on 20 Jan 66 (TS), 20 Jan
66, both in Dir/Plans.
JCSM-16-66 (TS), 8 Jan 66.
Memo (TS), Lt Gen J.T. Carroll,, Dir DIA to SECDEF, 2L Jan 66, subj:
An Appraisal of the Bombing of NVN, in Dir/ptans; JCSM-41-66 (TS),
18 Jan 66.
JCSM-56-66 (rS), 25 Jan 66.
JCS 2343/751 (TS), 13 Jan 66; SM-82-66 (TS), 22 Jan 66.
Memo (TS), SECDEF to Chmn JCS, S Jan 66, no subj: in Dir/ptans; CM-
1135-66 (TS), 22 Jan 66.
(This Page is Unclassified)
Notes to Pages 7 - 14 UI{CLASSIFIED
Testimony of Secy McNamara on 26 Jan 66 before House Subcmte on
Appns, 89th Cong, 2d Sess (U), Supplemental Def Appns for 1966, p 3I.
Ibid., p 32; background briefing by U.S. officials (U), 31 Jan 66, in
Memo (TS), SECDEF to Pres, 24 Jan 66, subj: The Mil Outlook in SVN,
i.n Diri Plans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, p 605.
trfash Post, I Feb 66; N.Y. Tirnes, 1 Feb 66.
Intvw (U), McConnell with Hearst Panel, 2I Mar 66, in SAFOI; Hist (TS),
CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, p 49I; Rprt (TS), Dir/Ops, 20 Apr 66, subj:
SEA Counter-Air Alternatives, p A -28, Ln AFCHO.
Memo (TS), Col D. G. Cooper, Ofc Dep Dir of Plans for War Plans, Dir/
Plans to CSAF, 12 Feb 66, subj: The Emplo;rment of Air Power in the War
i.n NVN; Briefing of JCS R/t Stuay Gp Rprt (TS), 6 Apr 66, subj: Air Ops
Against NVN, App A; Rprt (TS), An EvaI of Effect of the Air Campaign
Against NVN and Laos, all in Dir/Plans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II,
pp 493-44; Jacob Van Staaveren, USAF Deployment Planning for SEA
(AFCHO, 1966) (TS), pp 1-2 and 26 (hereinafter cited as Van Staaveren,
CM-I14?-66 (TS), I Feb 66.
Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp 510-11; Van Staaveren (TS), 1966,
ch II.
Merno (U), Lt Gen H. T. Wheless, Asst Vice CSAF to Deps, Dirs, Chiefs
of Cornparable Ofces, l? Feb 66, subj: Analysis of Air Power, in Dir/
Plans; Van Staaveren, 1966, pp 10-15.
Merno (S), Lt Gen R. R. Compton, DCS/P&O to DCS/P&R, 21 Feb 66, subj:
Organization in SEA, in Dir/Plans.
Memo (TS), Maj Gen S. J. McKee, Asst DCS/Plans and Ops for JCS to
CSAF, 18 Feb 66, subj: Air Ops Against NVN; JCSM-113-66 (TS), 19 Feb
66, both in Dir/Plans.
Testimony of Secy McNamara on 25.Jan 66 before House Subcmte on
Appns, 89th Cong, 2d Sess (U), Supplernentary Def Appns for L966, pp 33
and 39; memo (TS), Cooper to ment
of Air Power in the War in VltI; memo (TS), McKee to SECDEI', 24 Mar
66, subj: Air Ops against NVN, both in Dir/Plans; N.Y. Tirnes, 5 Feb 66.
Chapter II
I. Jacob Van Staaveren, USAF Plans and Operations in Southeast Asia
(AFcHo, 1e65) (TS), p so s-)lflan
Staaveren, 1966, pp 4 and 19.
UNCLASSIFIED Notes to Pages 15 - 20
Rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Mar 66, pp 2-3, prepared by Dir/Tac Eval,
Hqs PACAF ( hereinafter cited as PACAF rprt); JCS R/T Study Gp Rprt
(TS), 6 Apr 67, App A; ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 18 Sep, subj: An
Eval of CY 66-67 Force Rqmts; rprt (TS), Eval of Effects of the Air
Campaign Agai.nst NVN and Laos, Nov 66, all in Dir/ptans; JCSM-I53-
66 (TS), 10 Mar 66.
Memo (TS), McKee to Gen. W. H. Blanchard, Vice CSAF, 23 Mar 66,
subj: Air Ops Against AfLds in NVN, in Dir/Ops; Hist (TS) MACV, 1966,
p 431; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, Vol II, p 494.
Memo (TS), McKee to CSAF, 25 Mar 66, subj: Acft Losses Over NVN,
w/atch Talking Paper, in Dir/plans; intvw (U), McConnelt with Hearst
Panel, 21 Mar 66 in SAFOI; rprt (TS),Dir/plans,20 Apr 66, p A-34;
N.Y. Journal American, 2O Mar 66.
Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-Dec 66, p 10; Hq USAF Ops Analysis Initial progress
Rprt (S), Mar 66, subj: Analysis of Effectiveness of Ipterdiction
in SEA, in AFCHO.
Hq USAF Ops Analysis Second Progress Rprt (S), May 66, subj: Analysis
of Effectiveness of Air Interdiction in SEA, ch Vrin AFCHO.
Summary of Action by JCS (TS), 2b Mar 66, subj: Air Ops Against NVN,
in Dir/Plans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vo1 II, p 497.
CSAFM-W-66 (TS), 20 Jan 66; CSAFM-P-23-66 and CMCM-33-66 (TS),
18 Apr 66; Talking Paper onAir Interdiction NVN/Laos (TS), 6 JuI 66;
rprt (TS), An Eval of the Effects of the Air Campaign Against NVN and
Laos, Nov 66, all in Dir/P1ans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II,
p 497; Hist (TS), MACV 1966, p 43I.
CSAFM-W-66 (TS), 20 Jun 66; rprt (TS), An Eval of the Effects of the
Air Campaign Against NVN and Laos, Nov 66, PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air
Ops, Apr 66, pp 3-8, all in Dir/plans.
DAF Order No 559N (U), 26 Mar 66, in AFCHO; Hist (TS), CINCPAC,
1966, vo1 II, p 468; tel to Ofc of Asst for Gen Officer Matters, DCS/P
(U), 15 Aug 6?.
PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Apr 66, p 388, in Dir/Ops; Seventh AF
Chronology, I Jul 65-30 Jun 66 (S), p 48; HqUSAF Ops Analysis Second
Progress Rprt (S), May 66, pp 39-44, both in AFCHO; project CHECO
SEA Rprts (TS), 15 JuI 67, subj: R/T, Jul 6b-Dec 66, p b0, and 21 JuI
67, subj: Expansion of USAF Ops in SEA, f966, pp 100-03; Hist (TS),
CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, p 575.
Seventh AF Chronology, I JuI 65-30 Jun 66, p bI; pACAF rprt (S), SEA
Air Ops, Apr 66, pp 3-8.
Notes to Pages 20 - 28
Background Paper on the Division of the R/T Area (TS), Mar 66; Talking
Paper on the Division of the R/T Area (TS), Mar 66, both in Dir/Plans;
Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp 494-95.
Memo (TS), McKee to CSAF, 16 Apr 66, subj: Priority of Air Effort in
SEA; memo (TS), SECDEF to Chmn JCS, 14 Apr 66, no subj: ltr (TS),
CINCPAC to JCS, 18 Sep 66, subj: Eval of CY 66-67 Force Rqmts w/atch
MACV Rprt (TS), 5 Sep 66; CM-1354-66 (TS), 20 Apr 66; Background
Paper on R/T Areas (TS), Mar 66, all in Dir/Plans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC,
1966, vol II, pp 494-97; merno (TS), Gravenstine to AFCHO, 22 Nov 67.
JCS 2343/805-1 (TS), 14 Apr 66.
CSAFM-P-30-66 (TS), 20 Apr 66; memo (TS), Maj Gen L. D. Clay, Dep
Dir of Plans to CSAF, 26 JuI 66, subj: U.S. Strat for SEA and S.W.
Pacific; JCS 2343/805-1 (TS), 14 Apr 66; JCS 23431805-5, 22 Jlu'L 66, a1l
in Dir/Plans.
JCS R/T Study Gp Rprt (TS), 6 Apr 66, subj: Air opsAgainst NVN; memo
(TS), McKee to CSAF, 13 Apr 66, subj: R/T Stuay Gp Rprt, Air Ops
Against NVN; memo (TS), Gravenstine to AFCHO, 22 Nov 66.
CSAFM-P-22-66 (TS), 13 Apr 66; memo (TS), McKee to CSAF, 13 Apr 66;
JCSM-238-66 (TS), 14 Apr 66, all in Dir/Plans.
Transcript (U), Secy Brownrs remarks on "Meet the Press, " 22 May 66,
Memo (S), Berger to CSAF, 15 Sep 66, subj: ?th AF Ops in RP II, Itr,
and IV; PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, May 66, pp l-8, both in Dir/Plans.
PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, May 66, pp L-8; Seventh AF Chronology,
I Jul 65 to 30 Jun 66, p 52; ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 18 Sep 66; Project
CHECO SEA Rprts (TS), I Sep 66, subj: Night Interdiction in SEA, pp 33-
37, and 25 May 67, subj: Interdiction in SEA (1965-1966), pp 39-69.
Testimony of McConnell on 9 May 66 before Senate Preparedness Investigating
Subcmte (TS), pp 16-17 (AFCHO's classified copy); PACAF rprt
(S), SEA Air Ops, May 66, pp l-8 and 22; CINCPACFLT Analysis Staff
Study 9-66 (TS), 12 Jul 66, subj: Cornbat Effectiveness of the SA-2 through
Mid-I966, both in Dir/Plans.
Memo (S), Maj Gen R. N. Smith, Dir of Plans to DCS/P&O, 3 May 66, subj:
Capabilities for Aerial Blockade; msg 87716 (TS), CSAF to SAC, PACAF,
TAC, USAFE, 6 May 66, both in Dir/Plans.
Msg 95413 (TS), CINCPACAF to CSAF, 24 May 66, in Dir/Plans.
Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-Dec 66, p 126; PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops,
Jun 66, pp 6-9; Seventh AF Chronology, 1 Jul 65-30 Jun 66, (S), p 52;
ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 18 Sep 66; Project CHECO SEA Rprt (S),
9 Aug 6?, subj: Combat Skyspot, pp 6 and 19; Project CHECO SEA Rprt
(TS), I Sep 66, subj: Night Interdiction in SEA, pp 33-37.
UITICLASSIFIED Notes to Pages 28 - 35
26. PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Jun 66, pp 6-9; project CHECO SEA
Rprt (TS), I Sep 66, subj: Night Interdiction in SEA, pp 33-3?.
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 25 May 6?, subj: Interdiction in SEA,
1965-1966, pp 60-6I.
Chapter III
Memo (TS), R. Hekns, Acting Dir CIA to Dep SECDEF, 27 Dec 6b, subj:
Probable Reaction to u. s. Bombing of pol, Targets in NVN, in Dir/
2 Memo (TS), McKee to SECDEF, 24 Mar 66, subj: Air Ops Against NVN;
memo (S), C. R. Vance, Dep SECDEF to Chmn JCS, 2b apr OO, sarne subj;
memo (TS), W.W. Rostow, Spec Asst to pres to Secys State and Def, 6 Miy
66, no subj, all in Dir/plans; study (TS), 2z oct 66, subj: Effectiveness
of Ai.r Strikes Against NVN, prepared by Sys Analysis Div, Dept of Navy,
in OSAF.
Memo (TS), Smith to CSAF, 16 Jun 66, subj: NVN Strike prog, in Dir/
Plans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, p 498.
Ibid. ; Testimony of Mcconnell on g May 66 before Senate preparedness
Investigating Subcmte of the Crnte on Arrned Services (Ul, p 27.
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), t5 Jut 6?, subj: R/T, Jul 65-Dec 66, p 59;
N. Y. News, 24 Jun 66; Wash post, 30 Jun 66, N. y. Tirnes, I Jul 66.
Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp 499-b00; Hist (TS), MACV i966,
p 431; fg!-p""l, 26 Jun 66; Balt Sun, 2? Jun 66.
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), Ib Jul 62, subj: R/T, Jut 65-Dec 66, p 64;
Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp 499-500; Van Staaveren, 1966,
p 42; N. Y. Tirnes, I JuI 66.
8. Wash Post, 30 Jun 66.
q N. Y. Times, I Jul 66; Van Staaveren, 1966, p 42.
10. Ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 4 Aug 66, subj: CINCPAC Briefing for
SECDEF, 8 JUI 66; memo (TS), A. Enthoven, Asst SECDEF for Sys
Analysis to Secys of MiI Depts et al, 12 Jul 66, subj: crNCpAC July g,
1966 Briefing, both in Dir/plaridlffist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol Ir, pp
Ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 4 Aug 66; memo (TS), Enthoven to Secys
of MiI Depts et al, 12 Jul 66.
Van Staaveren, 1966, pp 42-53.
Notes to Pages 35 - 40 UNCLASSIFIED
PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Jul 66, pp 4-?; Rpt (TS), An Eval of the
Effect of the Air Campaign Against NVN and Laos, Nov 66; 1tr (TS),
CINCPAC to JCS, 4 Aug 66.
Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-Dec 66, pp 13 and 20-22.
Memo (TS), Berger to CSAF, 15 Sep 66; Excerpts from Gen Moorers
Presentation to the JCS (TS), 13 Jul 66; pACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops,
JuI 66, pp 4-7; memo (TS), Gravenstine to AFCHO, 22 Nov 6?.
Talking Paper for JCS for Their Mtg with Adm Sharp at the JCS Mtg of
23 Sep 66 (TS), 22 Sep 66, in Dir/ptans; PACAF rprt (S), SEA AirOps,
Aug 66, pp 1-2; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp b00-02.
Memo (TS), M/cen J. E. Thomas, Asst CS/I to SAF, 14 Oct 66, subj:
PACAF Rprt on the NVN POL Situation, in Dir/plans.
PACAF Rprts (S), SEA Air Ops, JuI 66, pp 4-b, Aug 66, pp 1-3; Sep 66,
pp 4 and 8; and Oct 66, pp 10-ll, all in Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops.
Talking Paper for JCS for Their Mtg with Adm Sharp . . . on 23 Sep 66
(TS), 22 Sep 66; PACAF rprts (S), SEA Air Ops, JuI 66, pp 4-5 and 20;
Aug 66, p 22; Sep 66, p 23; and Oct 66, p 23.
PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops,
Jul 66 and 9 Aug 66; Wash Star,
Jul 66, pp 4-5 and 20; N. Y. Times, 8
8 Aug 66; Balt Sun, 2fE!-6El-
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), I Sep 66, subj: Ni.ght Interdiction in
SEA, pp 37-38; ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 18 Sep 66; Hist (TS), MACV,
1966, p 434; NJ. Times, 3I Jul 66.
Project CHECO SEA Rpts (TS), 9 Sep 66, subj: Night Interdiction in
SEA, pp 37-38; 2l Nov 66, subj: Operation TaIly-Ho, pp vi and l-12;
15 Feb 67, subj: Air Ops in the DMZ Area, pp 3b-42; and 15 May 6?,
subj: Air Interdiction in SEA, pp 6I and 64; briefing (TS), by Brig
Gen C. M. Talbott, Dep Dir Tac Air Control Center, ?th AF for SECDEF
et al (Saigon), 10 Oct 66, Doc No 13 in Project CHECO SEA Rprt, Ib
Feb 67 pt II; PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, JuI 66, pp ?-8; Wash Star,
1 Aug 66.
Memo (TS), Rear Adm F. J. Bloui, Dir Fast East Region, OSD to Dir
of Jt Staff, 1 Jun 66, subj: Air Ops in ttre DMZ; msg (TS), JCS to
CINCPAC, 20 Jun 66, both in Dir/plans; Hlst (TS), MACV, 1966, pp
PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Aug 66, p 6; JCSM-603-66 (TS), t? Sep 66;
N.Y. Times, 3l JuI 66.
Memo (S), McConnell to Dep SECDEF, 25 Aug 66, no subj, in Dir/plans;
Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul 66, p 255; project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 2l Nov
66, subj: Operation Tally-Ho, pplT-2b.
?8 U]{CLASSIFI[D Notes to pages 4r - 4s
26. PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Oct 66, p 2; Project CHECO SEA Rprt
(TS), 15 Feb 6?, subj: Air Ops in tlrre DMZ area, pp 22, 26-28, 37, and
27. Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 25 May 67, subj: Air Interdiction in SEA,
1965-1966, pp 64-65.
28. Memo for record (S), by Lt CoI L. F. Duggan, Exec Asst Ofc, Dir Jt
Staff, 13 Oct 66, no subj; memo (TS), undated, subj: JCS Assessment
of the Threat, both in Dir/Plans; Briefing (TS), by Brig Gen Talbott,
l0 Oct 66; Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 15 Feb 67, subj: Air Ops
in the DMZ area, 1966, pp 24-25 and 51; PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops,
pp l-7 and I7.
29. Memo (TS), Holloway to SAF, 19 Oct 66, subj: Results of Air Effort
Upon Movement Through NVN/SVN DMZ During Aug 66, in Dir/Plans.
30. Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 25 May 6?, subj: Air Interdiction in SEA,
1965-1966, p 68; Doc 96 in Project CHECO SEA Rprt, 15 Feb 67,
pt II.
Chapter IV
t. Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-Dec 66, pp 20-23.
2. Memo (S), CoI F.W. Vetter, MiIAsst to SAF to Vice CSAF, 3 Aug 66,
subj: Significance of Watercraft Destroyed in NVN, in Dir/Plans.
3. Ibid.
4. Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-Dec 66, pp 23-24; memo (TS), Gravenstine to
AFCHO, 22 Nov 66.
5. Memo (TS), SECDEF to SAF, SN, 2 Sep 66, subj: Night Ops in SEA, in
6. Ibid.
7. Memo (S), SN to SECDEF, 28 Sep 66, subj: Study Results: Night Ops in
8. Memo (S), SAF to SECDEF, I0 Nov 66, no subj; study (TS), 2? Oct 66,
subj: Effectiveness of Air Strikes Against NVN.
9. Memo (TS), SN to SECDEF, 3 Nov 66, subj: Study of Effectiveness of
Air Strikes Against NVN w/atch study (TS), 27 Oct 67, subj: Effectiveness
of Air Strikes, both in OSAF; memo (TS), Gravenstine to AFCHO,
22 Nov 67.
10. Memo (TS), SAF to SECDEF, I0 Nov 66.
Notes to Pages 49 - 58 UNCLASSIFIED
Merno (S), SAF to SECDEF, 19 JuI 66, subj: A/C Attrition in SEA, in
Memo (S), SAF to SECDEF, 24 66, subj: Questions Resulting from
Briefing on Night Ops in SEA; merno (TS), McConnell to Dep SECDEF,
25 Aug 66, subj: JCS 2343/894-1, 25 Aug 66, both in OSAF.
Memo (S), Clay to CSAF, 25 Aug 66, subj: SEA Tac Ftr Attrition and
A/C Proc Prog; merno (S), Holloway to Chmn JCS, 29 Aug 66, subj:
SEA Tac Ftr Attrition and A/C Procur, both in Dir/Plans.
N. Y. Times, 23 Sep 66.
Briefing Rprt of Factors Affecting A/C Losses in SEA (S), 26 Sep 66,
prepared by Col. H.W. Hise, Chrnn, JCS A/C Losses Study Gp; ICS
A/C Losses Study Gp Rprt (TS), Nov 66, subj: Factors Affecting Combat
Air Ops and A/C Losses in SEA, both in Dir/Plans.
Msg 20135 (S), CINCPACAF to CSAF, 20 Oct 66, in OSAF; CINCPACFLT
Analysis Staff Study 9-66 (TS), 12 Jul 66, subj: Combat Effectiveness of
the SA-2 Through Mid-1966; Briefing Rprt of Factors Affecting A/C
Losses in SEA (S), 26 Sep 66, both in Dir/Plans; Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-
Dec 66, pp 272-74.
Msg 20135 (S), CINCPACAF to CS,AF, 20 Oct 66; Briefing Rprt of Factors
Affecting A/C Losses in SEA (S), 26 Sep 66.
Memos (S), Clay to CSAF, 23 and 2? Sep and 3 Oct 66, same subjs:
Factors Affecting A/C Losses in SEA, in Dir/Plans; JCSM-651-66, 10
Oct 66.
Memo (Vl, 22 Oct 66, subj: Secy Brownrs Questions Concerning the Hise
Rprt, in OSAF; Talking Paper for Chmn JCS on an Analysis of Air Ops
in NVN to be discussed with SECDEF on 12 Nov 66 (TS), I1 Nov 66, subj:
Analysis of Air Ops in NVN, both in Dir/Plans; JCS 2343/956-f (TS),
15 Nov 66.
Memo (S), SECDEF to Chmn JCS, 17 Sep 66, subj: SEA Utitization of A/C,
in OSAF; transcript (U), SECDEF News Briefing, 22 Sep 66, in SAFOL
Memo (TS), Chief, PAC Div, Jt Staff to J-3, 17 Sep 66, . subj: Utilization
of A/C in SEA; in OSAF; JCSM-646-66 (TS), 6 Oct 66.
23. JCSM-645-66 (TS), 6 Oct 66; JCSM-646-66, 6 Oct 66.
Chapter V
l. Van Staaveren, 1966, ch V.
80 U}ICLASSIFITD Notes to Pages 58 - 66
CM-1906-66 (TS), 8 Nov 66; memo (TS), cravenstine to AFCHO, 22 Nov 6?.
Memo (TS), SAF to SECDEF, 10 Nov 66, no subj, w/atch Interirn Reply on
Air staff Action Items Resul.ting from SECDEF Trip to sEA, 10-14 oct 66,
in OSAF.
PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Nov 66, pp I-4; rprt (TS), An Eval of the
Effects of the Air Campaign on NVN and Laos, Nov 66, both in Dir/plans;
Van Staaveren, 1966, pp 63-66.
PACAF rprts (S), SEA Air Ops, Nov 66, pp t-9; Dec 66, pp l-8, both
in Dir/Plans.
Ibid.; Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS),
pp 98-99; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966,
18 Dec 66; N.Y. Tirnes, 16 Dec 66.
BaIt Sun, 14 Dec 66; N.Y. Times, lb Dec 66; 8""!:g$ 15 and i6 Dec 66.
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), tb Jul 67, subj: R/T, .lut 65-Dec 66,
pp 99-I00.
Ibid.; N.Y. Times, 27 Dec 66.
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 2b May 6?, subj: Air Interdiction in SEA,
1965-1966, p 68; PACAF rprt (S), SEA Air Ops, Nov 66, pp l-9; Dec 66,
pp l-8.
Ibid.; app I and Z; \tfJi*qg, 26, 27 Dec 66, and 3 Jan 6?.
CASFM-D-25-66 (TS), 23 Nov 66; memo (TS), Brig Gen E.A. McDonald,
Dep Dir of Plans for War Plans to Dir/plans, 16 Dec 66, subj: Combat
Beaver, both in Dir/Plans; Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-Dec 66, pp 2-3 and
Memo (TS), McDonald to Dir/plans, 23 Nov 66; Hist (S), Dir/Ops, Jul-
Dec 66, pp 2-3; Project CI{ECO SEA Rprt (TS), lb Jul 6?, subj: R/T,
JuI 65-Dec 66, pp 94-95.
Project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS), 2l JuI 6?, subj: Expansion of USAF Ops
in SEA, 1966, p I11; PACAF rprts (S), SEA Air Ops, Nov 66, p 22; and
Dec 66, p 25.
PACAF Chronology, Jul 65-Jun 66 (S), in AFCHO; PACAF rprts (S), SEA Air Ops, Nov 66, pp 1-9; Dec 66, pp l-8; project CHECO SEA Rprt (TS),
15 Jul 67, subj: R/T, .lut 6b-Dec 66, p lL8; USAF Mgt Surnmary (S), 6 Jan
67, p 70; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp b22-28; app t0 and D.
Ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 22 Nov 66, subj: SA-Threat Conf Rpt, in
Dir/Plans; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1g66, vol II, pp 516-19.
15 Jul 67, subj: R/t, .lut 65-Dec 66,
vol II, pp 504-05 and 512; BaIt Sun
Notes to Pages 66 - ?1 '-$[$fE[r
17. Ltr (TS), CINCPAC to JCS, 22 Nov 66; JCS 23431977 (TS), 16 Dec 66.
Memo (TS), Cof E. T. Burnett, Dep Chief, Tac Div, Dir/Ops to Asst
Dir of Plans for Jt and NSC Matters, 28 Nov 66, subj: Major Recommendations
of the SA-2 Conf, in Dir/Plans; JCS 23431977 (TS), 16 Dec
66; Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, p 519.
Van Staaveren, 1966, pp 7l-74.
Address (U), Gen McConnelL before Jt Activities Briefing, Hq USAF,
23 Nov 66, in SAFOI; Testimony of McConne1l on 9 May 66 before
Senate Investigating Preparedness Subcmte (U), p 29i Yan Staaveren,
1966, pp 7l-74.
Address (U), Gen McConnell before the Houston, Texas Forum, 29 Nov
66, in SAFOI.
Project CHECO SEA Rprts (TS), t Mar 67, subj: Control of Air Strikes
in SEA, pp 8I-99; and 23 Oct 67, subj: The War in VN, pp 44-45; memo
(TS), SAF to SECDEF, 3 Jun 67, subj: Possible Course of Action in
SEA; memo (TS), SAF to SECDEF, 9 Jun 67, no subj, both in Dir/Plans;
memo (TS), Echols to AFCHO, 27 Nov 67.
23. Hist (TS), CINCPAC, 1966, vol II, pp 510-12 and 606-07.
Address (U), Secy Brown before Aviation/Space Writers Assoc Mtg,
Wash D. C., 8 Dec 66, in SAFOI; Balt Sun, 9 Dec 66; rprt (U), Selected
Statements on VN by DOD and OIGIEIETn Officials, I Jan-30 Jun 6?,
p 33, in SAFOI.
Testimony of Secy McNamara on 20 Feb 67 before House Subcmtes of
the Cmte onAppns, 90th Cong, lst Sess, Supplemental Def Appns for 19-67.
p 21; Van Staaveren, 1966 pp 48-50.
U. S. and VNAF Attack Sorties in Southeast Asia
North Vietnam 44, b00 32, 9b5 8,694 ?99 8 I, 948 Laos 32, 11 b 9,044 B, 60 I O 44,760
South Vietnam ?0, 36? 21,729 S?, 61 0 32, 033 I 6 1,. ?89
TOTAL t46,982 63,729 44,905 32,832 299,447
SOURCE: Annual Supplement to Summary Air Ops, SEA, Cy 1966, prepared
by Dir/Tac Eval, Hqs PACAF, 23 Jan 6Z; Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops,
B-52 Sorties in Southeast Asia
North Vietnam 176 South Vietnam 4,LL2 Laos 647 4,93b
DMZ North 104 DMZ South l? 8 282
TOTAL 280 4,290 647 5,2t7
SOURCE: Strat Ops Div, J-3, JCS; Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF
, €E€RI*;
U. S. and VNAF Attack Sorties in North Vietnam
(by Month)
Jan *
2, 559
6, 170
1, 265
2, 568
3, 078
4, 683+
3, L47
2, 090
0 137
o 2,8L2
0 4,478
L44 5,447
103 4,465
266 ?,788
243 r0,199
2l ll, 832
6 I2,t60
4 8,642
8 7,260
4 6, 736
799 8 l, 956
* Bombing of North Vietnam resumed on 3l January 1966. + Reflects an increase from two to three aircraft camiers at ttyankee
Station" beginning in August 1g66.
SOURCE: Annual Supplement to Summary of Air Ops SEA, Cy 1966.
Prepared by Dir/Tac Eval, Hqs PACAF, 28 Jan 6?; Ops
Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
U.S. Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia
Hostile Causes
196 5
North Vietnam Laos South Vietnam Total
22 70 262
Operational Causes
1965 1966 Total
10t 130 23L
* Excludes helicopters. Includes losses due to enemy mortar attacks.
+ USN and USMC figures subject to variatj.ons contingent on bookkeeping
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
USAF Combat Attrition in North Vietnam
Sorties Losses
Type of Sorties +
Rate per
1,000 Sorties
5, 675
4, gg3
r 6, 587
78, O20
Confirmed Probable
Losses Losses
Percent Effective
Confi.rrd Total
5.6 6.1
1.9 2.9
* Bombing of North Vietnam began on 7 February 196b. * Excludes E-52 strikes.
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
U.S. Aircraft Losses to SA-2ts
1965 x
t8 t2 2.4 3.4
* The first SA-2 firings were sighted in JuIy 1965.
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
SA-2 Sites in North Vietnam
J"go Sep Dec
115 t44 15 I
@e was detected in April t96b.
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
19 66
Light and Medium Antiaircraft Artillery Guns in North Vietnam
Jan Feb * Jun Sep Dec
3, 092
l, 418
1, 643
4, I23
6, 398
* Bombing of North Vietnam began on 7 February 1g65.
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
U. S. Aircraft Losses in Aerial Combat
I 5'
USMC Total
* Consisted of 2 F-105rs.
+ ConsisteC of 3 F-105's, t F-4C, I RC-4? and two 'rprobables", I F-4C
and I A-1.
++ Consisted of 3 F8ts and 1 KA3. No "probables. "
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Di.r/Ops, Hq USAF.
North Vietnamese Aircraft Losses in Aerial Combat
Destroyed by:
* No "probables" listed,
SOURCE: Ops Review Gp, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF.
MIG-I5's MIG-I7|s MIG-2I's Total'*
196 5

Below is a list of AFCHO historical monographs dealing various
aspects of the conflict in Southeast Asia which may be obtained on loan or
for permanent retention. Copies may be obtained by calling Oxford 6-6565
or by forwarding a written request.
USAF Counterinsurgency Doctrines and Capabilities, 196I-1962.

USAF Special Air Warfare Doctrines anl-Capabilities. 1963. (S-Noforn)
USAF Plans and Policies in South Vietnam, 196l-1963. (TS-Noforn)
USAF Plans and Policies in South Vietnam and Laos, 1964.
USAF Plans and Operations in Southe?st Asiq. 1965. (TS-Noforn)
USAF Logistic Plans and Policieq in Southeast Asia. 1965.
USAF Logistic Plans and Policies in Soqtheast Asia. 1965. (TS-Noforn)
USAF Deployment Planning For Southeast Asia, 1966. (TS-Noforn)
In addition to the above monographs, there are a large number of
historical studies dealing with Vietnam operations prepared by Project
CHECO and by the various partici.pating and supporting commands, including
organizational histories down to the wing and squadron level.
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