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Downtown (GMT) HFC Report #1

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 6, 2010

Game: Downtown (GMT)
HFC Report # DT 01
Scenario: AUG 1967 FROM TF 77, YANKEE STATION
Game Type: FTF
Reporter: Andy Fairnie
Date: unknown

AUG 1967 FROM TF 77, YANKEE STATION

Radio Transcription of Alpha Strike Launched 1310 local from CVA-43 Coral Sea
Target Hai Duong Railroad viaduct between Hanoi and Haiphong N.Vietnam
Weather Clear, wind calm

Strike Composition:-
2 x 2 ship F4B MigCap Showtime, Old Nick (CAG) flights
2 x 2 ship F4B Armed Escort Tempest, Killer flights
2 x 2 ship A4E Iron Hand Silverfox, Clansman flights
4 x 4 ship A4E Main Strike Force Bulldog, Diamond, Dogear, Redcock flights
2 x 2 ship F4B TarCap/Escort Switchbox, Taproom flights

NVA initial forces and setup and USN flight plan all as briefed in Downtown Scenario Book Example of Play. USN Strike Rally Point Grid Ref 3217.

MAIN STRIKE FORCE TIME ON TARGET 14.39 LOCAL TIME


TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO NINE MINUTES

Showtime and Old Nick flights report feet dry grid ref 3011 heading 315 true followed in line astern by Tempest and Killer all medium altitude.
Red Crown reports MiG activity warnings: Bullseye (Hanoi) and Kep.
Old Nick lead (CAG) orders Showtime to provide TarCAP between Kep and target area
Old Nick lead (CAG) reports heading 270 to counter Hanoi area MiG threat.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO EIGHT MINUTES

Showtime proceeding 340 true reports Fan Songs on the air at 8 miles on the 270 and 285 radials from Haiphong.
Old Nick (CAG) relays Fan Song mud spike at grid ref 2918.
Tempest declares Iron Hand strike and flight breaks left to line up on SAM site at grid ref 2918.
Killer flight declares ordnance hot and lines up for Iron Hand attack run on SAM site on the 270 radial from Haiphong.
Killer lead reports Gun Dish mud spike’s in his SAM target area.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO SEVEN MINUTES

Silverfox and Clansman report feet dry low at grid ref 3112.
Red Crown reports bogey’s high at 33 miles on the 060 Bullseye (Hanoi) radial.
Red Crown reports bogey’s medium at 10 miles on the 160 Bullseye (Hanoi) radial.
Disco confirms both contacts.
Tempest01 Tempest02 report CBU’s hot in dive attack onto SAM site grid ref 2918. Tempest01 reports secondary explosions in target area and termination of Fan Song emissions.
Tempest02 reports slight AAA damage coming off bomb run.
Showtime lead reports visual tally on one, repeat one, attacking MiG17 medium altitude at 33 miles on the 060 radial. Showtime01 declares Fox 2 and engages attacking MiG17 with short range missiles.
Killer lead rolls into dive attack using CBU’s on SAM site target.
Killer flight reports heavy AAA in target area.
Old Nick01 (CAG) high at 33 miles on the Bullseye135 radial reports Fan Song signals in the Hung Yen river bend area.
Showtime01 reports Mig Kill, repeat Mig Kill, at 33 miles on the Bullseye 060 radial. Showtime02 confirms Mig down, to sidewinder.
Disco confirms radar contact lost on MiG.
Killer01 reports Fan Song off the air at SAM site in his target area. Killer02 reports Fan Song lock from site at 8 miles on the 285 Haiphong radial.
Red Crown advises MiG activity SE of Hanoi.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO SIX MINUTES

Showtime flight declares Winchester heading 090 8 miles SW of Phantom Ridge.
Showtime flight advises of multiple Fan Song spike’s his 12 o’ clock..
Showtime lead reports multiple Fan Songs on the air NNW Haiphong.
Red Crown broadcasts MiG alert, repeat MiG alert, low heading due East at 22 miles on the 225 Haiphong radial.
Tempest lead reports Bandits, repeat 2 Frescos attacking from the deck his 12 o’clock.
Tempest01 declares emergency and requests immediate assistance location grid ref 2817.
Silverfox and Clansman flights drop to deck level in bound, target at 18 miles their 290..
Killer flight reports Fan Song spike’s at 15 and 35 miles on the Bullseye 075 radial.
Old Nick (CAG) reports Fan Songs on the air at 10 miles on the 110 and 170 Bullseye radials.
Killer flight advises of Fan Song locks.
Old Nick (CAG) advises Tempest flight to displace to Rally Point.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO FIVE MINUTES

Silverfox lead reports triple A ambush grid ref 2915.
Silverfox02 declares emergency, taking AAA hits, grid ref 2915 Ejecting, ejecting.
Red Crown reports tracking 2 MiG -17s on the deck heading due East at 20 miles on the 215 Haiphong radial.
Showtime flight instigates anti-radar evasive action 5 miles SW Phantom Ridge.
Showtime reports tally on multiple incoming SAMs from sites south of Phantom Ridge.
Killer flight instigates anti-radar evasive action.
Killer01 reports valid SAM launch grid ref 2008
Silverfox01 reports one good chute, repeat, one good chute grid ref 2915.
Red Crown acknowledges chute grid ref 2915, will request CSAR.
Bulldog and Diamond flights report feet dry on the deck grid ref 3112.
Taproom lead requests vector to Bandits predicting feet dry grid 3313 in 01 mikes.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO FOUR MINUTES

Showtime reports on the deck position uncertain requests immediate vector to Rally Point.
Red Crown advises Showtime flight RTB the carrier, steer immediately south east.
Killer02 reports valid SAM launch, SAM SAM at 35 miles on the 075 Bullseye radial.
Killer lead reports wingman hit by SAM, wingman going in.
Disco broadcasts Mayday Relay friendly down grid ref 1917. Please advise any chutes sighted.
Killer lead confirms 1 good chute repeat one good chute.
Disco acknowledges 1 good chute grid ref 1917, will request CSAR.
Tempest01 reports SAM, SAM at Rally Point SAM launched from Hung Yen area.
Switchbox flight reports in position top cover Bulldog and Diamond flights
Clansman02 reports MiGs, MiGs in his 6, Clansman01 orders jettison ordnance and evade.
Dogear01 orders jettison and evade MiGs. Dogear02 and 03 report having no joy on the MiGs, still inbound over open ocean repeat no joy on MiGs. Dogear01 orders jettison and avoid MiGs.
Old Nick lead (CAG) advises all bomber flights do not repeat do not jettison ordnance unless visual on MiGs.
Bulldog, Diamond and Redcock flights acknowledge CAG.
Old Nick lead (CAG) requests Dogear flight status.
Dogear flight reports mission aborted, repeat mission aborted, will RTB the carrier.
Clansman01 reports mission aborted turning south east approximately 5 miles to feet wet.
Bulldog and Diamond flights report on the deck in bound the target 14 miles out.
Taproom flight repeats request for bogey dope on trade south of Haiphong.
Red Crown reports Fan Song emissions in the proximity of Gia Lam and Phuc Yen.
Old Nick (CAG) requests Clansman and Dogear flights leave the strike frequency.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO THREE MINUTES

Red Crown advises Taproom trade for you on the deck grid ref 3015.
Redcock lead reports feet dry grid ref 3313.
Bulldog and Diamond flights report on the deck in bound the target estimating IP in 03 mikes.
Silverfox advises intermittent mud spike’s in the target area.
Silverfox reports visual on SAM site 3 miles South West of target, going green.
Killer01 reports on the deck, heading 225 position 12 miles North of IP.
Killer01 reports SAM SAM grid ref 1922
Old Nick instigates radar avoidance, position grid ref 2523 now heading 095 degrees on the deck.
Taproom lead declares tally on 2 MiG-17’s proceeding to engage at grid ref 3015. Fox 2.
Taproom lead reports in pursuit of bandits on the deck heading east.
Showtime01 reports heading East on the deck 7 miles North West of Haiphong, will RTB
Tempest 01 reports position on the deck at Rally Point.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO TWO MINUTES

Old Nick 02 reports I-band spike his six o’clock.
Old Nick 02 advises Old Nick 01 break, break, bandit your 6 o’clock
Old Nick01 (CAG) advises Fishbed egressing on the deck grid ref 2721.
Red Crown issues Blue Bandits warning west of Hai Duong.
Silverfox lead confirms Mark-82’s hot making dive attack on SAM site grid ref 2319.
Silverfox confirms off his target safe, large secondary observed in target area.
Taproom lead reports closing on two Mig17’s on the deck grid ref 2819.
Taproom02 reports Mig Kill, Fox 2 kill on Mig at grid ref 2813.
Taproom lead reports Mig Kill, Mig Kill, 2 Mig17’s both going in grid ref 2813.
Bulldog lead reports Bulldog flight going green, one minute to IP.
Diamond flight reports going green, IP in one minute, mud spike two miles abeam grid ref 2416. Visual on the target.
Red Crown advises of valid SAM launch the Hung Yen river bend.
Redcock lead reports dropping to deck level in bound the target at grid ref 2716
Showtime flight confirms feet wet, on the deck grid ref 2609, proceeding to the carrier.
Killer01 declares bingo fuel, position 10 miles south of target intend RTB.
Tempest lead advises Tempest flight regrouped climbing to altitude 3 miles west of Rally Point.
Silverfox lead reports mud spike 4 miles north east the target.

TIME ON TARGET MINUS ZERO ONE MINUTE

Old Nick reports no joy on Fishbed, requests Red Crown bogey dope.
Red Crown confirms contact lost with blue bandit.
Tempest lead reports Tempest flight on TarCAP 15 miles south east the target.
Taproom lead reports Taproom flight on TarCAP 18 miles south east the target, approaching bingo.
Silverfox reports climbing to engage Gun Dish 4 miles north east the target, shrike hot.
Silverfox taking damage, from 57 and 100 mike mike from east and north of the target.
Silverfox reports the Gun Dish is off the air.
Silverfox reports SAM SAM, SAM in the air ten o’clock
Killer01 confirms on egress, predicting feet wet 02 mikes, bingo fuel. Leaving strike frequency.
Showtime confirms 10 miles south east Do Son leaving strike frequency.
Bulldog flight reports visual on the target, rolling in on the deck, IP in 30 secs.
Diamond flight reports on the IP rolling in on the deck, solid triple A from the target.
Redcock flight reports visual on the target, IP 2 miles, going green.

TIME ON TARGET – THIRTY NINE MINUTES PAST THE HOUR

Silverfox reports Gun Dish back on the air locked up dead ahead 3 miles.
Silverfox reports Gun Dish off the air.
Red Crown reports no bogey tracks at this time
Diamond lead reports converging triple A over the target. Diamond lead bombs gone.
Diamond 02 reports bombs gone, Diamond 03 reports bombs gone, Diamond 04 reports bombs gone.
Diamond 01 reports off safe, Diamond 02 off safe, Diamond 03 exclaims oh-emergency. Diamond 04 reports Diamond 03 on fire.
Bulldog 01 reports 10 seconds to target, Scooter down, Scooter impact 2 miles south east of target.
Bulldog 02 reports hit, GSW, aborting bomb run.
Bulldog 01 reports bombs gone, Bulldog 02 reports Diamond03 down, Bulldog 03 reports bombs gone, Bulldog 04 reports bombs gone.
Red Crown broadcasts Mayday relay, Mayday relay, Scooter down grid ref 2317.
Redcock 01 reports Redcock flight 10 seconds to target.
Redcock 01 reports smoke in target area, flak. Redcock 03 reports triple A damage to wing leading edge.
Redcock 01 reports bombs gone, Redcock 02 reports bombs gone, Redcock 04 reports bombs gone.
Red Crown requests any visual on chute in target area.
Switchbox lead reports no joy on chutes, repeat no chutes visible in target area at this time.
Tempest lead repeats no joy on chutes in the target area.
Old Nick lead (CAG) advises all flights RTB the carrier.

The following ADDITIONAL information was provided at the NAVY BOARD OF ENQUIRY into the results of RAID D:7-8/67-TF77. CAPT. FARLEIGH COPELAND presiding.

Of the 46 Air crew dispatched 5 did not return directly from the mission. Pilot & Navigator Killer02 both MIA. Pilot Diamond03 presumed KIA. Pilot Silverfox02 later rescued by CSAR flight. Pilot Bulldog02 recovered from ocean unable to land on due to wounds received.

Of the 32 aircraft directly involved in combat (i.e. excluding AEW, ECM, CSAR, AR etc.) the statistics are as follows:-

A/C lost to enemy action: 4
Call sign Killer02, 1 x F4B confirmed by SAM.
Call sign Diamond03 1 x A4E presumed lost to AAA in target area.
Call sign Silverfox02 1 x A4E confirmed lost to unmapped NVA ground fire on ingress.
Call sign Bulldog02 1 x A4E confirmed jettisoned by pilot in carrier traffic pattern.
(1 further a/c Redcock03 was later written off through structural damage).

Enemy aircraft losses confirmed were 2 x MiG 17PF and 1 x MiG 21PF.

BDA assessment (courtesy RVAH-5) confirmed heavy damage to target. It was noted from participant interviews that whilst Bulldog and Diamond flights had accurate BDA’s the slightly later Redcock flight encountered zero visibility in the target area resulting in a very poor BDA. It was noted also from participant interviews that an exceptional amount of AAA was fielded by the NVA in close proximity to the target.

The Board of Enquiry’s findings on the outcome of the raid are, that although the target will not require restrike, the USN losses incurred outweigh the value of destruction caused to the target.

The Boards recommendations based on the above findings are primarily that future raids place more emphasis on Iron Hand tactics to counter the in country SAM threat (a total of between 29 and 31 SAM’s are known to have been launched at the strike). Furthermore the suppression of AAA in the immediate target vicinity prior to the main strike TOT should also be given a higher priority. In consideration of the above findings, and the post strike BDA, the Board concludes, on the CAG’s responsibility of pre-raid briefing, that the 4 ship A4E flights tasked with bombing, should have received more implicit instructions as to their liberty of judgement as clearly defined under the BOMBING rules in the TASKS section of 8.2 of the Downtown code of conduct.

The Board supports the CAG’s submission for the Navy Cross to the pilot commanding Silverfox01. Silverfox01 remained in the target area despite intensive enemy fire thus keeping at least one Fire Can installation off the air during the main strike.

The accusation of dereliction of duty brought by Old Nick01 (CAG) against commander Dogear flight for the premature abort command, given whilst still feet wet on ingress, has been evaluated. The Boards findings are that whilst the event did not impact on the raids outcome, a deliberate act of dereliction did in fact take place. The officer in question is now transferred to NAS Diego Garcia pending the processing of his resignation.

These proceedings are closed.

♦♦♦

This report was written by Andy Fairnie, published with kind permission from the author!

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