661013 Collateral Damage

YANKEE AIR PIRATE AAR

The story that inspired this Yankee Air Pirate mission was recounted by a soldier who witnessed it from the ground. He was amazed at the firepower brought to bear on the village and the devastation caused by just a few old propeller airplanes.

661013 Collateral Damage (VA-176 'Thunderbolts')
Weather: - Scattered Clouds 12999 Ft VIS 30 Nm
TOT: - 1420
Aircraft: - (2) A-1H Skyraiders
Flight Time: - 40 Minutes

After Action Report:
Scrambled from the deck of the USS Intrepid at Dixie Station we are to fly cover for a convoy that is about to enter a village up the coast. I form up and follow lead for just over five minutes to the coast. Just down from the village is a small boat landing, which looks to be crawling with sampans and junks, I would not mind betting they are packing some firepower.

A major battle is going on down there, the convoy has been ambushed! Marine and Army units are fighting the VC at close quarters. Lead sweeps over the landing and into the thick of the action. I pull up short and roll in on the boats, they all open up. I pickle the cluster bombs and blast away at them with my 20mm. The boats fall silent under the barrage, but not before a bang and a great shaking of the airframe confirm that I have lost the rudder and starboard flaps.

She is still flyable, with no rudder control at all I have to compensate with power and bank, but she will fly and I still have a fair amount of ordnance to deploy. Lead is shooting up the place and is pouring it on the VC, although the village itself is really suffering too. I roll in.

The village has become a vision of hell itself. Incredibly, men are still fighting amongst the smoke and fires. The Marines are falling back to our artillery positions, which are dug in around the outskirts. There will be no escape for Charlie this time. We work hard to keep the VC penned in.

Eventually, out of ammo, we break off and head out over the beach. Have we done enough? I hope so, I know I cannot do any more. Right now I have to work out whether to land this crate or ditch, assuming I can make it to the Intrepid.

Fortunately, we have good weather today. In the fine conditions I am able to get the damaged Spad down safely. It is then I notice my own injuries.

(This mission is superb! You have to think fast and keep your head on a swivel. You must shoot straight and bomb with accuracy, a real test!)

Next up: 661121 Michelin Rubber