680122 Khe Sanh Intruders 1
Weather: - Broken Cloud 9000 Ft VIS 30 Nm
TOT: - 1130
Aircraft: - (2) A-6A (VMA (AW)-533 'Hawks'), DaNang
Flight Time: - 45 MinutesHaving already flown and reported 'The Mining of Song Ma', and accompanied A-6 Intruders on many other missions, we return for some more Intruder missions that stretched this sim-pilot's ability, and nerves.After Action Report;
We have good weather today, visibility is fine. The broken cloud puffs are fairly small and easily cleared, although they do tend to cling to the hillsides. We shall treat them with respect, but they are hardly fog banks...
Approaching Khe Sanh, we are loaded with 24 Mk82s, one hell of an ordnance load that some poor sods are going to have to swallow. We have to hit the NVA guns, positioned in the hills around the American outpost. This situation is shaping up to be a disaster for us. Let's see if we can tip the balance by taking out the enemy's heavy artillery.On the way in we watch the artillery duel. Flying this mission (the first time was many months ago) was actually the first time that I saw some of the amazing new objects and figures that we now take in our stride. Never forget the masterpiece scenery-building the YAP Team have achieved, I get to appreciate it again...
The 'Gunslingers' are also here, four Phantoms of the 390th TFS are already on station ahead of us. The more powerful and agile aircraft are concentrating on attacking AAA type threats. The Phantoms make a series of steep, twisting dives, swooping on their targets like birds of prey. Well, we are the Hawks, and the 533rd is about to go hunting!
OK, we are coming into the combat zone, let's start the music, set the ground-radar to short range, drop the tank, set the pickle-release for single pairs, check the chaff dispenser. We are going to be getting down 'n' dirty with these guys so our best defence will be to keep our speed up and fly an un-predictable flight path, sort of swoop like the Phantoms are doing.
I am leading this two-ship flight, so we have a wingman, let's give him his chance to make a name for himself and be a bit of use to us all. My BN spots a big NVA artillery piece, describing its position to our wingman, who I send after it. He's good, dropping his tank and smoothly diving toward the hillside, he nails that piece a few seconds later. I have another one targeted further along the hill, so I follow on and dive in, putting a couple of Mk82s right on it, one each.
We do have to keep our speed up though. A large AAA gun on a hilltop blazes away and small arms fire is considerable. I leave it alone; it's only one isolated gun we can easily avoid, our priority is the heavy artillery. I try to use my wingman wisely, making sweeping passes and re-forming away from the small arms fire, trying to keep him out of un-necessary trouble.
During several passes we take out more guns and some enemy troops (they were just unlucky). The cratered hillside opposite Khe Sanh smokes like the landscape of hell. Spidery black fingers reach through the clouds; we have done what we can here, both of us are now Winchester and un-damaged, not a scratch on us!
I reform the flight and lead us south down the coast back to DaNang. Recovery on this long strip of concrete is quite a luxury to Marine pilots! Wow, Khe Sanh! Once again Yankee Air Pirate holds open the door of history and kicks your ass through it! Wonderful stuff and I do love the Intruder. I wonder if I will still love it after the next mission...
Which of course turned out to be 'Delta Sierra'.