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  • Gunships actions in Vietnam

    i have read excellent stories of gunships in service SW asia, i love the spooky, specter, shadow and stingers. they all tell about the flying part, how they hit targets, but never heard inputs of the men in the ground supported by them. can you Vietnan Veterans place comments about being supported by gunships? what's the feeling of miniguns, vulcans and bofors firing the hell out the VC at night? thanks for your comments!

    ac472.jpg jdriskell14lg.jpg


    ____________________________________________

    The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • #2
    Originally posted by kurt tank 152 View Post
    i have read excellent stories of gunships in service SW asia, i love the spooky, specter, shadow and stingers. they all tell about the flying part, how they hit targets, but never heard inputs of the men in the ground supported by them. can you Vietnan Veterans place comments about being supported by gunships? what's the feeling of miniguns, vulcans and bofors firing the hell out the VC at night? thanks for your comments!

    [ATTACH]50155[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]50156[/ATTACH]


    ____________________________________________

    The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    May 1968 - From the Equipment Incorporated compound, Thu Duc, Vietnam 2:00 a.m. or so.

    Looking in the direction of Di An, a few miles distant. Continuous streams of red tracers coming out of the air toward the ground. Arriving shortly afterwards a deep throated growl.

    You knew people were dying out there - nowhere to run or hide.
    Vietnam - US Army, Aug 66-Feb 68
    Vietnam - USG Civilian, Feb 68-Aug 71
    Special Agent/Criminal Investigator - US Customs Jan 72-Jan 2001
    Wannabe Concert and Sports Photographer

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    • #3
      A couple of famous photos.

      AC-47


      AC-119


      Images used without permission. No claims made on the images and can be found at: http://www.spookyhq.com/
      Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

      "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

      What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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      • #4
        I, for one, loved them. It evened up the score if you were outnumbered. It was such an eerie sight. After the first time I saw one in action it was my position that if the other side had them, I don't know how I could have handled it. The fact that the enemy stood up in the face or such overwhelming fire power speaks well of their tenacity.

        The time that I was truly saved by gunships I figured that it was too late for me. I might have been wrong on that.
        The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated ~ Mark Twain

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        • #5
          A couple more images I found on the 'net. Also check out the AC-47 in Vietnam site here.

          Spooky aka Puff (AC47) working out at Pleiku Vietnam in 1969.







          AC-47 tracers over Saigon 1968.



          Spooky Gunship Bases. 3rd and 4th AC-47D Gunship Bases in South Vietnam.
          So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

          Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)

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          • #6
            While looking for the photographs in the previous post I came across the story of A1C John Lee Levitow, the only Air Force enlisted man to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. I'll let the citation detailing the actions which resulted in his award speak for itself.

            Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, 3d Special Operations Squadron. place and date: Long Binh Army post, Republic of Vietnam, 24 February 1969. Entered service at: New Haven, Conn. Born: 1 November 1945, Hartford, Conn.

            Citation:

            For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Levitow (then A1c.), U.S. Air Force, distinguished himself by exceptional heroism while assigned as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 aircraft flying a night mission in support of Long Binh Army post. Sgt. Levitow's aircraft was struck by a hostile mortar round. The resulting explosion ripped a hole 2 feet in diameter through the wing and fragments made over 3,500 holes in the fuselage. All occupants of the cargo compartment were wounded and helplessly slammed against the floor and fuselage. The explosion tore an activated flare from the grasp of a crewmember who had been launching flares to provide illumination for Army ground troops engaged in combat. Sgt. Levitow, though stunned by the concussion of the blast and suffering from over 40 fragment wounds in the back and legs, staggered to his feet and turned to assist the man nearest to him who had been knocked down and was bleeding heavily. As he was moving his wounded comrade forward and away from the opened cargo compartment door, he saw the smoking flare ahead of him in the aisle. Realizing the danger involved and completely disregarding his own wounds, Sgt. Levitow started toward the burning flare. The aircraft was partially out of control and the flare was rolling wildly from side to side. Sgt. Levitow struggled forward despite the loss of blood from his many wounds and the partial loss of feeling in his right leg. Unable to grasp the rolling flare with his hands, he threw himself bodily upon the burning flare. Hugging the deadly device to his body, he dragged himself back to the rear of the aircraft and hurled the flare through the open cargo door. At that instant the flare separated and ignited in the air, but clear of the aircraft. Sgt. Levitow, by his selfless and heroic actions, saved the aircraft and its entire crew from certain death and destruction. Sgt. Levitow's gallantry, his profound concern for his fellowmen, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
            John Levitow passed away in 2000.

            So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

            Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)

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            • #7
              From a trivia question I asked 5 years ago.

              On April 30th, 1975 an AC-119, along with 2 A-1 Skyraiders, were defending the peremeter of Ton Son Nhut airfield. With one A-1 shot down by a SAM-7 and the other departed due to lack of fuel and no ordinance. This left the AC-119 Shadow as the sole airplane still fighting in SVN. At 7AM the AC-119's luck ran out when it was hit by a SAM-7. Three of the crew managed to bail out, but one was killed when his parachute became entangled with the flaming wreckage on the way down. These were incredibly brave airman who made many runs around Ton Son Nhut the previous day and night. Ones worth of saluting.

              That was the last operational sortie by the SVNAF during the war.

              Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

              "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

              What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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              • #8
                The curtains and cones of tracer are almost geometrically regular in shape. They are a pretty sight even though they are dealing wholesale death.
                Last edited by Kingtoad53; 07 Oct 12, 06:25.
                Mutare vel timere sperno

                Nec Aspera Terrent

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                • #9
                  I remember when I witnessed this for the first time at night, from a distance. It mesmerized me, and at the same time, I felt sorry for the enemy and like Robert, I had respect for the tenacity of our enemy. Don't know if I could have done what they did against our firepower and superior technology.

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                  • #10
                    Great thread!
                    "A common thug can kill someone, but it takes the talents of an intelligence service to make a murder appear to be a suicide or accident death." -- James Angleton, CIA, Chief of Counterintelligence.

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                    • #11
                      The whole idea of fixed-wing gunships was brilliant: using a refitted cargo transport as a ground-attack aircraft armed with various weapons that deliver a devastating volume of fire in support of ground troops was a stroke of genius. Actually, I'm surprised that they didn't refit more C-47s and C-119s as gunships and use them more often.
                      Mutare vel timere sperno

                      Nec Aspera Terrent

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kingtoad53 View Post
                        The whole idea of fixed-wing gunships was brilliant: using a refitted cargo transport as a ground-attack aircraft armed with various weapons that deliver a devastating volume of fire in support of ground troops was a stroke of genius. Actually, I'm surprised that they didn't refit more C-47s and C-119s as gunships and use them more often.
                        A lot of it was due to a lack of availability of airframes and weapons. They are removing the Bofors 40MMs from the modern AC-130s due to a lack of parts. Being replaced with twin Bushmasters.
                        Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                        "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                        What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not a 'gunship' in the usual sense, but a rare bird over Vietnam. The AP-2H Neptune by the US Navy.

                          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interesting, Richard. So the US Navy got into the act as well, if only for a comparatively short time. Vietnam was the sort of conflict where fixed-wing gunships could operate without threat of aerial attack; it was a good thing for the gunships that the US had complete air superiority--or is it air supremacy?--over South Vietnam's airspace.
                            Mutare vel timere sperno

                            Nec Aspera Terrent

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 03Fox2/1 View Post
                              It mesmerized me, and at the same time, I felt sorry for the enemy and like Robert, I had respect for the tenacity of our enemy. Don't know if I could have done what they did against our firepower and superior technology.
                              Is it any wonder the infiltrators focused their attack upon the Harrier attack planes when they recently attacked the base (Camp Bastion) in Afghanistan? I think they deliberately went after the assets they believed to be most damaging towards their cause.
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