War Over Vietnam Operation Rolling Thunder V

Bien Hoa, Republic of Vietnam March 2, 1965: This scenario covers the first mission of Rolling Thunder, an air operation orchestrated from Washington, DC by a White House that micro-managed the air campaign right down to selecting targets, ordnance and attack routes. In keeping with the doctrine of “gradualism”, certain obvious targets (such as North Vietnamese airfields) were kept off limits in order to threaten “future” destruction.

The scenario begins with several flights en route to one of two prepositioned ingress points: the South Ingress point which services the route packages of both the Bien Hoa and Korat flights, and the East Ingress point which services the route package of six flights (18 total aircraft) of A-1E strike packages coming from Bien Hoa.

The total air operation consists of 104 US Air Force B-57's, F-100's, and F-105's and 19 South Vietnamese Skyraiders that are targeting the Xom Bang ammunition depot just north of the DMZ and the Quang Khe naval base. Once in the target area, there will be SAM sites that will also need to be dealt with by additional forces that I am pulling from Da Nang, four flights of F-100D’s (16 total aircraft) if needed.

Four flights approaching from three directions: The F-105D’s coming from Korat in the west, the A-1E’s from Bien Hoa coming in from the east over the Gulf of Tonkin, the F-100D’s also from Bien Hoa coming from the southeast as well as the B-57B’s.

Strike Aircraft

F-100D (8 Mk-82 SE (MD) each)

F-105D (32 Mk-117 each)

B-57B (36 Mk-82 (M) each)

A-1E (6 LAU-3 FFAR (V), 6 LAU-68, 6 LAU-10 Zuni and 18 CBU-25)

The first pass on the Xom Bang ammunition depot leaves it at 67%, while the A-1E’s begin their run on the Quang Khe naval base. The SAM site has been identified and I peel off a flight of F-104C’s to perform a strafing run against it.

The B-57B’s have completed their run and are re-tasked to turn south then back north to strike both the naval base (currently at 29%) and the SAM site. The ammo depot has been completely destroyed.

The final strike package from Korat, a flight of F-105D’s approaches their assigned target, however all objectives have been completed (the destruction of the two targets plus the reconnaissance flights). The victory balance meter in the bottom right is not full due to American aircraft losses.

With both targets destroyed and 35 minutes left to go in the scenario, I elect to have the flights RTB instead of hunting some MiG’s: I already have lost three aircraft to SAM fire and do not wish to stumble into a hornets nest, especially one outside of the Oval Offices approved flying zones.

After-action Report

I am confused by the scoring in this scenario in that had I not lost the three aircraft, that would have given me only 3,927 points, 773 points less than required to achieve an American Major Victory outcome. I am not sure if there were additional SAM sites, however none were visually detected by my flights and the strike packages flown completely destroyed the assigned objectives.

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