700320 The Rescue of Wolf 06 Part Four
YANKEE AIR PIRATE - AAR
Buick - (2) F-105D Thunderchief
TOT: - 1245
Flight Time: - 50 Minutes"Yankee Air Pirate is all about young men in fast machines. Wanna shoot up some pure adrenalin? This is a tough ride with a lot going on. The difficulty of your task and urgency to succeed is increasing exponentially; the pressure is pumped up higher than ever."
As our two-ship flight (Buick) approaches the rescue site we are informed that the NVA have wheeled out yet more big guns. The AAA they now have in place will make the Jolly ingress impossible at this stage. We each have four CBU-24s and our 20mm, although strafing around the high-sided pass at low-level in a heavily defended environment is not going to be easy! Ordnance is tight; I set the Cluster-Bombs to drop singly.
This zone is getting busy, there are Skyraiders in orbit (Ramrod) and US Navy Corsairs (Trout) are also inbound. As we hit the IP I drop tanks and start the music (QRC-160-1 ECM pods). At the same time we hear the beeper, a Skyraider has been hit by the AAA, streaming a blazing trail across the face of the pass. It is doubtful the pilot survived such a catastrophe at this low altitude.
We trim up, check the weapons again and head on in to take out that gun, a big 37mm mount set in a flat section of the pass halfway up the valley slopes. Lead has circled around again, but seeing the flaming Skyraider go down, I reckon I have a bead on the 37mm position. I break formation...
I set up for a strafing run but I'm too fast and too nervous! I narrowly miss and break off, cutting a tight arc on the climb out. Fortunately, Lead has followed me in! The 37mm goes up in smoke as he lays 'em in right on target.
Time for congratulations later, I climb the valley slopes straight over more AA Artillery, mentally fixing their location. This time I roll in and wipe out the position with a pair of Cluster-bombs, one each so far.
Taking a second to climb out, exchanging speed for altitude and potential energy, I level off and throttle back, checking the fuel load. We are all trying to fix the location of a third heavy gun."If you set up for low, slow, level target-runs around Mu Gia Pass, you will join the casualty list. In this situation the Thunderchief has to be flown at speed, keep your energy up and be smooth. Don't get low and slow among these hills, the after-burner will not get you out of trouble. The downside is it makes aiming difficult, and I do not fly with icons!"
It is impossible to convey the rush, the fear, constantly craning around to spot some puff of smoke or tracer indicating the deadly AAA. Turning as tightly as you dare, the stick starts to shake, the Thud brushes the vegetation at 300Knots! I fly the Thunderchief like a dive-bomber, pickling and strafing at a steep angle and pulling out with my ass in the grass. You must keep your head...
Nailing the last gun, we climb out as the Corsairs move onto station. The Sandys are still there, orbiting forever. A glance at the fuel gauge reminds me that I cannot linger and should be heading back to Korat. Lead does not form up; he wants to stay for a while.
I fly back to Korat, realising that this is probably the best opportunity to make a grab for the pilots, now. There are still many NVA troops on the ground, we are going to need a smoke-bird..."Now over to Zerocinco for the crucial Smoke-Bird mission..."