A North Vietnamese MiG-21, NATO codename “Fishbed”, at the military museum in Hanoi, Vietnam. Dave Baranek was a Grumman F-14 Tomcat RIO and Topgun instructor. Most of the fighter pilots who flew into North Vietnam never engaged a MiG. The MiGs, try as they might and despite occasional periods of success—could not stop them. Recommended reading: MiG Killers of Yankee Station, by Michael O’Connor, and US Navy F-4 Phantom II Units of the Viet­nam War 1964-68 and USN F-4 Phantom II vs VPAF MiG-17/19: Vietnam 1965-73, both by Peter E. Davies. U.S. Air Force pilots encountered four primary Soviet combat aircraft over North Vietnam: the MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19, and MiG-21. The principal MiG base at Phuc Yen was not struck until 1967, and Gia Lam was never struck. (U.S. Navy vis Batson). Flying from smaller Essex-class carriers, the F-8 was used in fewer numbers than the larger F-4 Phantom II. James Mills. (j.g.) From left: Batson, Page, Doremus and J.C. Smith recount details of the mission for an intelligence officer. The North Vietnamese air defense system had more than 200 radar facilities that provided warning and guidance for the MiGs, SAMs, and guns. Dave Batson then enjoyed a long and successful career as an engineer with Western Electric. The pilot squeezed the trigger, and for the first time in his life a missile roared off his fighter. On the left wing were two Sidewinders. Their wingman did not see any parachutes and no beepers were heard (ejection seats have small radios that transmit upon ejection), so the pair was declared killed in action. Air Force Projects Halted by Continuing Resolution Now Move Forward, Next F-35 Contracts Under Negotiation, Deal Expected by Late September, New Paint Job for Air Force One Not on Biden’s To-Do List, Yet, COVID-19 Delays Pentagon’s New Joint Warfighting Plan, Austin Becomes 1st Black Defense Secretary, DARPA Changing Directors Again in Third Recent Shuffle, Thousands of Guardsmen Remain in Capital Region After Inauguration. Inspired by a Navy ROTC instructor, he was soon hooked and longed to fly the Navy jets he saw at airshows and in magazines. Rule number two was that you had to have visual identification [VID].”, These two requirements, while prudent in light of multiservice air operations and the command-and-control situation, nullified several of the Phan­tom’s strengths. (USN Photo) June 20, 1965 ~ A-1 Skyraider MiG Killers . Navy leaders had been seduced by the promise of “pushbutton combat,” with missiles scoring kills and eliminating the need for close-in maneuvering. U.S. officials say they lost 245 aircraft in air-to-air combat during the war. His years of naval service with talented teammates, not to mention his MiG kill, gave him the best story around the coffee pot. The most surprising victories were by Navy propeller-driven A-1H Skyraiders, which shot down two MiG-17s with their 20 mm cannons. Batson was ready. 20, 1965, when A-1Hs (call sign “Canasta”), flown by Lt. Cmdr. As explained by Wayne Mutza in his book The A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam, the first Spad-MiG encounter occurred on Jun. However, this kill is still a probable kill, likely of a Chinese MIG, which is why the caption says (probably) Ian Bevan April 10, 2019 at 7:48 am - Reply. Mig Killers. L-r: Capt. On their MiG-killing mission of Jun. “There he was, right above me. “The underlying assumption was that nuclear weapons would make conventional wars obsolete and that as a result, air combat maneuvering (ACM) was dead, overtaken by the interception mission, which required supersonic speed, high technology sensors, and missile weaponry.”. The MiG-21s at Phuc Yen were deceived and rose up to meet them. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The engagement then became a short-range maneuvering encounter, which further compounded the problem of accurate missile launch.”, Col. Robin Olds (third from left) celebrates completing the famous MiG sweep, Operation Bolo, with airmen at Ubon AB, Thailand. The 26-year-old Batson found himself flying combat missions about once a day. The single-engine MiGs were half the size of the F-4 and more agile. A few days later, on June 20, Navy Douglas A-1H Skyraiders—ground-attack aircraft—claimed a gun kill on a MiG-17. Seldom emphasized about the second Skyraider-MiG encounter of the Vietnam War is the probability that three MiGs were destroyed by Spads. Soviet-designed aircraft were generally technologically equal to their American counterparts. Along the way, the F-4 lost its gun. Navy airmen, flying off carriers in the Tonkin Gulf, entered Vietnam with their backs to the sea and the MiG threat in front of them. He was a navigator, flying as a weapons system officer, in the back seat of the F-4. Whether airborne or on alert, Rob Doremus was in his backseat almost every time. The Royal Australian Air Force also flew combat and airlift missions in South Vietnam, as did the Republic of Vietnam. The MiG-17, an advanced version of the Korean War MiG-15, was no longer top of the line, but it performed well as an interceptor. The naval aviators were acutely aware that most of the airplanes flying over North Vietnam were American, and they needed to adhere to the VID requirement before shooting. Batson also stood alerts, ready to respond in the event MiGs tried to attack the ships on Yankee Station. Such engagements required more frequent employment of short range weapons, and since the Navy F-4s had no guns, the Sidewinder missile was their primary weapon.”. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Gen. John W. Vogt Jr., commander of 7th Air Force from 1972-1973 described Teaball as “by far the most effective instrument in the battle with the MiGs.” Some disagreed with that assessment, regarding Red Crown and other intelligence sources as more important. Aboard Midway aircrews briefed for an alpha strike on the Thanh Hoa Bridge and nearby targets. His most recent article, “From Out of the Shadows,” appeared in the September issue. The MiG-19, manufactured in China, did not appear until the last part of the war. Don Kilgus aboard F-100D 55-2894. Charles B. DeBellevue with six victory credits. A number of Air Force aircrews credited Red Crown with vital assistance to them as well. Batson and Doremus turned out to be a good match: The pilot said he still talks to his former RIO every week, 55 years after their aerial showdown. The Vietnamese Peoples’ Air Force—as it was officially called—sent pilots to the Soviet Union and China for training in MiG fighters but had no jet aircraft of its own until February 1964, when the Soviets donated 36 MiG-15s and -17s to the VPAF. He thought it was a miss…until the MiG’s right wing came off. Batson and Doremus were assigned a MiGCAP, flying Phantom NE102, which had Page’s and Smith’s names on the canopy rails. The two Phantoms pressed north to establish their station. Overall, Momyer said, “most of our kills were made with missiles, and in fact, 57.5 percent were made with Sparrows. The Phantom crews were greeted by cheers as they walked to their ready room, and Page was diverted to the flag bridge (a level in the ship’s island where an admiral and other VIPs could observe ops). This mission is of special interest as it was the first confirmed MiG kill of the Vietnam War. On April 4, in the first confirmed aerial victories for either side, MiG-17s shot down two US Air Force F-105s that were attacking the “Dragon’s Jaw” bridge at Thanh Hoa. An Air Force report from the period noted that “on several occasions US fighters found that by the time visual identification of the MiG had been made they were no longer in the prescribed missile launch or range envelopes. When the air war resumed in 1972 after the bombing halt, the VPAF MiG total was up to 206, an all-time high. Gunfight: The B-52 MiG Kills of Linebacker II. On May 19 Midway sailed from the Philip­pines and was soon on Yankee Station for the second line period of the deployment. In broad context, the US fighters in Vietnam succeeded in their air-to-air objectives, and the MiGs did not. During the next three months, the score was 20 MiGs down at a cost of only four F-4s,” raising the exchange ratio to 5-to-1 in the USAF’s favor. The Bolo Operation, the last six months of US involvement in Vietnam as type... Near the coast and did not have anything comparable until its Red Flag began..., French impressionist painter best known for Luncheon in the last part of the F-4 developed! Fly together, honing their crew coordination while building flight time and experience in the War Linebacker! Smith recount details of the F-4 was developed by the Navy and entered service in 1962 the! Is the official publication of the Navy had scored the first confirmed MiG kills there bright! And Smith were with MiG-21s, about half of the Vietnam War F-100D... 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