Military Review

Different facets of the “Linebacker-2” operation

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The “Christmas bombing” of 1972 in Vietnam was practically not reflected in the work of Russian military analysts.


A special place in the American-Vietnamese war of 1964-1973 is occupied by the aerial operation, codenamed Linebacker-18, carried out from December 30 to 1972, 2. To participate in it were involved 188 strategic B-52 bombers, 48 ​​tactical fighter-bombers F-111A and more than 800 other types of aircraft, that is, the entire group of strategic, tactical and aircraft carrier aviation USA based on this theater of operations. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the operation by the parties to the conflict is diametrically opposite.

The air operation lasted 12 days. During this time, 33 carried out massive strikes: 17 - strategic aviation, 16 - tactical and aircraft carrier, 2814 made sorties, including 594 - strategic bombers (we note right away and will not return to this issue anymore - all of our and all American figures are insignificant diverge). Since the end of the Second World War and to this day, US strategic aviation has never been used as extensively as in December 1972, and therefore the lessons of those fierce and unprecedented bombings will not lose their relevance for a long time. In the United States, the operation “Linebacker-2” is reflected in the pages of dozens of books, monographs and studies. We have probably got only one analytical material, prepared by a group of generals and officers of the General Staff of the Air Defense Forces.

Political inconsistencies

The difference in approaches to the operation is striking from the assessment of the overall military-political situation.

According to the opinion of domestic experts, in early October 1972, the delegation of the DRV and RSU at the talks in Paris with the representatives of the United States and the Saigon regime presented for discussion a draft Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. In this project, the DRV and RSU proposed to end the war throughout Vietnam and all US military participation in South Vietnam, completely withdraw US troops and their allies from South Vietnam and return all persons captured and imprisoned. However, the United States allegedly renounced its consent and postponed the initialing period to October 24, and the signing to October 31. By showing goodwill, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam agreed with these changes, but warned the American side that the issue could not drag on indefinitely. However, the United States again demanded a postponement of the signing. These actions of the American side, according to estimates of domestic experts, have threatened the breakdown of the signing of the agreement. In the course of negotiations that lasted from 20 November to 13 in December 1972, the American side in every possible way delayed the signing of the agreement, continuously proposing amendments and clarifications to the texts of the agreement and its protocols. On December 13, the negotiations were interrupted, and the US military-political circles, trying to force the Vietnamese side to force their agreement on signing the agreement, resumed air strikes against the DRV targets. The sharp condemnation of US foreign policy in the countries of Southeast Asia by the Soviet Union and other countries of the socialist camp, their military, economic, diplomatic and political assistance, resilience and courage of the Vietnamese people, which gave a fitting rebuff to the air pirates, forced the US government to 30 December 1972 years to stop the bombing of the DRV north of the 20 parallel. A new phase of negotiations on Vietnam began on January 8, 1973, in Paris. On January 27, it ended with the signing of the Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam.

This, we emphasize, the judgments and conclusions of the Soviet side (the style is preserved).

A completely opposite approach in assessing the situation is demonstrated by the United States. According to American researchers, the main task of Operation LineBacker-2 was to set the unyielding DRV leadership at the peace table (they had been in Paris since 1968), which North Vietnamese representatives refused to continue. For Washington in December 1972, the situation was frankly grim. The process of "Vietnamization" and the reduction of the US military presence reduced the number of US forces in South Vietnam to 26 thousand people. This was completely insufficient for victory in the war, but it was quite enough for its inglorious completion. Meanwhile, in 1972, the White House was subjected to unprecedented pressure by both the international and its own American public, demanding the speedy conclusion of the conflict. Therefore, in Washington, American experts emphasize, they considered it necessary to inflict losses and destructions on North Vietnam in a fairly short time that would affect the position of official Hanoi. US President Richard Nixon called on the air force to save the situation. And between 18 and 29 December 1972, the DRV was subjected to heavy bombing. Moreover, in the course of this “eleven-day war” (some researchers called it “Linebacker-2”), unlike Operation “Linebacker-1”, which took place shortly before it began, not all of sufficiently extensive territory of North Vietnam was attacked. This time, the main efforts of strategic aviation were supposed to be directed exclusively against the capital region, a kind of military-industrial center of the DRV.

All-weather B-52 was to become the main aircraft for the upcoming operation. This choice of command of the US Air Force for two reasons. Firstly, the monsoon season in Vietnam falls on December, therefore, adverse weather conditions had a great influence on the planning of strikes. Secondly, Stratoforthress was the cornerstone of America’s nuclear triad and was considered particularly valuable. weapons. According to national security adviser Henry Kissinger, this bomber was able to "shake up the imagination and undermine the spirit." In short, B-52 was considered in the White House the most appropriate means to force the DRV leadership to resume negotiations in Paris.

Different facets of the “Linebacker-2” operationAs soon as Hanoi signaled his desire to resume peace negotiations, Operation LineBacker-2 was immediately discontinued. Some officers and generals of the US Armed Forces still consider this a mistake. They are convinced that if the United States continued strikes with the same scope and power, North Vietnam could capitulate and recognize military defeat. Instead, Hanoi secured a political victory at the negotiating table in Paris. Subsequently, it was transformed into a full-scale military conquest of South Vietnam.

Let us pay attention once again to the Soviet assessment: “A sharp condemnation of US foreign policy in the countries of Southeast Asia by the Soviet Union and other countries of the socialist camp, their military, economic, diplomatic and political assistance, resilience and courage of the Vietnamese people, who gave a fitting rebuff to air the pirates were forced by the US government to stop the bombing of the DRV north of the 30 parallel from 1972 in December 20. ” American: "As soon as Hanoi signaled his desire to resume peace negotiations, Operation Linebaker-2 was immediately discontinued."

There is an impression that we are talking about different events and different operations. Moreover, in the texts of some of our political advisers there were such assessments: “On December 18 on 1972, the Americans launched a powerful air offensive operation in order to force the enemy to sign the world on their own terms. From 18 to 30 December, the 81 American plane was destroyed and the raids stopped. Most of the machines shot down anti-aircraft missile systems, and they decided the outcome of the war. The world was signed on the terms of North Vietnam. “Bondarenko signed the world with his missiles,” so said the political riders (for reference: Lieutenant General of Artillery Fedor Mikhailovich Bondarenko, commander of the country's air defense missile defense system in 1968 – 1973 years).

In a word, in our military minds even today there is no clarity even about who sat down at the negotiating table and who. The domestic and American versions diverge by 180 degrees. And this is already a matter of principle - this refers to the general results of the operation “Linebacker-2”.

What is famous for our militaryhistorical works and official military analytics, so this is a complete lack of consistency and logic of presentation. In particular, there is no detailed description of the procedure for conducting the Linebacker-2 operation in domestic sources. There are some episodes, moments, touches, but the whole picture, unfortunately, is missing. Therefore, it makes sense to remind readers how the Linebacker-2 operation took place.

Many of the military in the United States believed that Richard Nixon’s decision lagged behind the real situation by at least seven years, since an operation of such power and magnitude had to start in the 1965 year, when North Vietnam was practically unprotected from air strikes. By December, the 1972-th situation has become qualitatively different - now the path to the DRV objects was blocked by the most powerful air defense system in Southeast Asia, created with the help of the USSR and China. Its capabilities were highly valued at the Pentagon, in particular, some American generals and officers expressed concerns about whether the B-52 strategic bomber — the main striking force of the strategic aviation command of the United States Air Force — could cope with its tasks.

According to American data, the combat composition of the North Vietnamese air defense grouping included 145 fighter-interceptor MiG-21, 26 antiaircraft missile divisions CA-75М (of which 21 in the Hanoi / Haiphong region), numerous units of the barrel anti-aircraft artillery. The firing means used in their work data from an extensive radar reconnaissance system. Sustainable control of air defense forces and weapons was provided by a network of command posts.

Course of operation


As the American researchers emphasize, the US Air Force Operator Officers formed a list of targets on the territory of North Vietnam for which air strikes were to be inflicted, taking into account two circumstances: it was necessary to avoid significant casualties among civilians whenever possible (so as not to cause a new surge of violent protests around the world , including in the United States themselves) and not to bomb the camp of American prisoners of war. In the headquarters, at air bases, warehouses of aviation weapons of destruction and fuel and lubricants of the US armed forces, scattered in the vast spaces of the Pacific theater, recall the participants of the event, work has begun to boil. All objects of the military infrastructure of the Air Force at that time looked like a tattered anthill.

It was planned to carry out raids of "Stratofortress" on the DRV from the Andersen airbases (Pacific island of Guam, there were 99 B-52G and 53 B-52D) and "U-Tapao" (Thailand, 54 B-52D). The departure from Guam took 12 – 14 hours and required refueling in flight. From Thailand to strike facilities in North Vietnam could have been flown in three to four hours.

All B-52D were equipped with the latest modifications of EW equipment. However, EW B-52G funds were inferior in efficiency to B-52D. This difference in the equipment of the bombers had the most fatal effect on the fate of some crews, since the unfinished versions of the B-52G turned out to be most vulnerable to the SA-75M air defense missile system.

When planning an operation, the “Linebacker-2” had to carefully calculate the routes of the B-52 raids, determine the most optimal intervals between the “Stratofortress” and flight altitudes, bomb loads. Thus, when laying the routes, intelligence data on the detected positions of the SA-75М air defense system, the proximity of the Chinese border and the strength of the prevailing winds were taken into account.

The most appropriate for the prevailing conditions of the situation was recognized battle order of the groups (formations). Each included three bombers, separated by 500 feet in height and one mile in range. Such a construction in the air contributed to the effective counteraction of the air defense system of the air defense missile system using the E-B-52. However, this was possible only if the formation retained its integrity, and therefore any commander of the ship who deliberately violated the battle formation was threatened by a military tribunal. The SAK headquarters obliged the pilots not to evade the route, even if the plane could have been fired by anti-aircraft missiles or attacked by interceptor fighters, right up until the bombs dropped. The speed and direction of the rotation of the cars after that were such that the B-52 left the zone of fire of the air defense system as soon as possible.

17 December 1972 of the Year The Headquarters Committee sent the order to the commanders of the US armed forces in the Pacific and to the leadership of the strategic aviation command (as well as to the operational agencies subordinate to them) “You are ordered to start the operation on December 12.00 on 18 December 1972. During the first three days - the maximum efforts of the strategic bombers B-52 and tactical aviation in strikes against targets in the area of ​​Hanoi / Haiphong (a list of targets is attached). The task is maximum destruction of selected military targets near Hanoi / Haiphong. After the first three days, be prepared to continue the operation upon receipt of the appropriate instructions.

In this case, follow the following requirements:

1. To strike at any weather conditions.

2. When operating over the territory of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, use all means available as appropriate without prejudice to the operation. In emergency situations with airplanes use the territory of Laos and Cambodia.

3. If the situation, in order to increase the effectiveness of actions and minimize its own losses, again requires hitting the North Vietnamese airbases and the positions of anti-aircraft missile forces, deliver (if necessary) repeated targets to the planned targets.

4. Minimize civilian casualties. Do not allow strikes against civilian marine vessels of third countries during the bombing of the port of Haiphong. ”

The last point requires special explanation.

Anti-missile and anti-aircraft maneuvers were forbidden for B-52 crews, not only because they led to the destruction of formations of three aircraft and reduced the effectiveness of EW. Such an evolution would lead to errors in bombing, since when planning targets for destruction, it was assumed that the bombs would be dropped at a precisely set height, with a certain location of the aircraft. If the coordinates of the discharge point had changed even slightly, the bombs could have fallen on civilian objects and the houses of civilians.

According to American sources, B-52 was ordered to return to the departure aerodrome without being bombed out if the radar navigators lacked 100% certainty that they were above their intended target. In addition, the crews were required to constantly clarify the flight route, to be absolutely convinced that the planes were moving towards the designated targets, not to maneuver on the combat course in order to avoid defeat of the missile defense and interceptor fighters for about four minutes to the point of bomb dropping. It was during this time interval that the probability of the death of bombers increased to the maximum.

Such restrictions, determined by military and political installations for the operation, led to the fact that 1318 civilians were killed during the December air strikes in Hanoi, and 306 in Haiphong. Undoubtedly, the statistics is still tragic. However, it must be remembered that the Americans dropped 20 thousand tons of aerial bombs on these cities. Whereas, for nine days, less than 1944 thousands of tons of bombs fell on Hamburg in 10 year, which destroyed the lives of 30 thousands of Germans. That is why the Pentagon still considers the allegations of “indiscriminate bombing” of 1972 in December unfounded.

First two days


18 December 1972 of the year was the first day of the operation "Linebaker-2". Around local time at 14.40, the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam Island began to fly into the air with B-52. The launch of the 87 bombers, taking off in three waves, lasted for almost two hours. Stratofortress was accompanied by KC-135 refueling aircraft, and later F-4 and F-105 fighter-bombers attached to them (they were intended to attack ZRK positions at the Wild Weasel program), EB-66 jammers, and editors passive jamming F-4, airplanes and helicopters of search and rescue teams.

Later, the 42 B-52 bomber from the Thai U-Tapao airfield joined the Guam "armada". Never before, since the Second World War, the American experts emphasize, an air squadron of similar strength did not go against the US enemy.

The objectives of B-52 on the first day were the Kep, Hoa Lac and Fuk Kinh airbases, the Kienh Ho car repair plant, the Yen Vien railway station, the Hanoi railway repair station and the main radio station. Nine other targets were destined for F-111 fighter-bombers.

In North Vietnam, they knew about the upcoming American strikes and expected them. However, according to US researchers, the initial shock of the scale of 18 bombing on December 1972 turned out to be very strong for the enemy. True, despite this, on the very first day of the operation, the effective use of the SA-75M air defense system was recorded.

Vietnamese air defense missile attackers hit the Stratoforthress mainly on a post-target reversal. The reason for this was the following factors. At the turning point, a formation of three B-52 possessed the greatest radar visibility for the CHR-75 missile guidance station. It was here that the effectiveness of the EW B-52 equipment on the air defense radar decreased. In addition, the tailwind at the speed of 180 kilometers per hour changed to a headwind, and this significantly impeded the flight of the aircraft with such geometrical dimensions as that of the “Stressoforthress”.

On the first day of the operation, the “Linebacker-2”, according to the estimates of the American crews, the anti-aircraft missile defense system VNA launched more than 200 B-750 missiles. At some points, pilots said, the night sky over Hanoi was literally riddled with tracks from more than 40 simultaneously flying missiles. On this night, the US Air Force lost three B-52 strategic bomber: two from the Andersen airbase and one from U-Tapao. Yet 94 percent bombs, according to US experts, managed to drop on the planned targets.

The loss of three cars made a heavy impression on the command and crews of the B-52, although the damage was less than expected. He has not yet been considered unacceptably tall. Looking ahead, it should be said that during all the eleven days of Operation Lynbecker-2, according to American researchers, the pilots of strategic bombers "supported the glorious military traditions of the US Air Force — never refuse to perform a combat task, regardless it was not strong. ” It was noted that during the 18 raid in December, Sergeant Samuel Turner, the tail gunner on B-52 "Brown 03", shot down the North Vietnamese MIH-21 - for the first time in the combat biography of "Stratofortress".

On the second day of the operation, the tactics did not actually change. This is not surprising: when after the completion of the combat mission, the last bombers that started from Andersen airbase on December 18 afternoon, after the 12 – 14 flight hours only landed on Guam, in accordance with the flight schedule of the second day, the operations took off and headed towards the strike targets other B-52. This circumstance prevented a full compilation of the experience of the first bombardments and a detailed analysis, bringing to the crew the existing shortcomings and mistakes.

Nevertheless, although the routes remained the same, the flight altitude of the formation of the three bombers dropped to 34,5 – 35 thousands of feet. This was done in order to more reliably “cover” the B-52 within the passive jamming corridors that were previously deployed by F-4 Phantom II aircraft. The time distribution between formations of three aircraft and the so-called time over target (Time over target) was increased to four minutes. The crews of Stratoforress were allowed to make evasion of missiles and interceptors both on the approach to the targets and after dropping bombs.

During the second night of the 93 operation, the B-52 bombers that took part in the strike launched (according to American pilots) approximately 180 B-750 missiles, but this time the strategic aviation avoided losses. But it was difficult to say whether this was a consequence of the corrective amendments made to the actions of Strathoforress or the North Vietnamese people were truly shaken by the strength and scope of the first raid.

The third day of the operation turned out to be a real tragedy for the USAF. Formations B-52, approaching Hanoi, were timely detected by the air defense missile defense submarine VNA and MiG-21 pilots. The latter informed ground posts about the peculiarities of the battle formation of “Stress-Fortress”, their height and speed. The combat operation of the SA-75M and anti-aircraft artillery, according to US experts, brought the United States strategic aviation with the worst results: six B-52, each costing eight million dollars (in 1972 prices of the year), were destroyed.

The blame for this largely falls on the American command. Waves of the bombers stretched for 113 kilometers in length and received the nickname “Elephant Walk” from the pilots. Such lines of combat vehicles were slow, predictable and represented a relatively easy target. Pre-set "corridors" of passive jamming showed where the "Stress Fortress" will subsequently fly by. This was, according to pilots of the US Air Force, like a yellow brick road created for combat crews SA-75M.

Strikes and counterstrikes


The 90 of the X-NUMX scheduled B-99 sorties turned out to be 52 December 20, but two B-1972G and one B-52D were lost in the first wave and as many were affected by the missile defense in the third. Three Vietnamese vehicles hit before dropping bombs and three later. Four B-52 fell near Hanoi, two - outside North Vietnam. None of the lost B-52Gs were equipped with EW AN / ALT-52ECM equipment.

“The most powerful air defense system in Southeast Asia, not yet having suffered losses, could not prevent damage to the defended objects”
Of the nine B-52 operations that were shot down during the first three days, five bombers were hit after completing the combat mission at the moment of their turnout from the target. Of the six B-52Gs destroyed by the North Vietnamese air defense, only one had a new EW equipment.

In other words, the damage amounted to seven percent of the total number of machines involved in the “Linebacker-2”, which, in accordance with existing regulations, was considered by the strategic aviation command of the US Air Force as an unacceptably high number. In this situation, the commander-in-chief of the SAC, General John C. Meyer, takes more effective measures to fire the suppression of the firing and technical positions of the anti-aircraft missile defense system VNA. The CA-75 anti-aircraft missile divisions were a major threat to the Flying Fortresses, and therefore, Meier’s decision, according to American researchers, was correct: Vietnamese air defense suffered sensitive losses, and the Zour expenditure increased without significantly increasing the effectiveness of shooting.

In addition, they again made adjustments to the tactics of combat use of bombers. The time intervals between three B-52 formations were shortened and the time they spent above targets decreased (to 90 and 120 seconds, respectively). The height intervals between the B-52 triples increased, the routes of their departure from the impact objects changed. Some groups of Strathoforces were allowed to go directly to the Gulf of Tonkin. EW-Air Force officers were instructed to retrofit ALT-28ESM equipment with bombers, which significantly complicated the detection and sustained tracking of enemy vehicles for SNR-75.

On the fourth day of the “Linebacker-2” operation, only 30 strategic bombers took part in the strike, and only modifications of B-52D and only from the U-Tapao airbase (Thailand). They were accompanied by 75 tactical aircraft. This time, during the raid on the air base of the air force VNA “Bac Mai”, the SA-75M air defense system was shot down by only two Stratoforthress.

Over the next three days of the Operation “Linebacker-2” (5, 6 and 7), the USAF did not lose a single B-52. These strikes usually involved 30 bombers. They raided sites outside the Hanoi / Haiphong metropolitan area to disorient the North Vietnamese air defense calculations.

24 December, on the seventh day of the air campaign, Albert Moore, air gunner, on B-52 "Ruby 03" shot down the North Vietnamese fighter-interceptor MiG-21.

25 December 1972 was a one-day break due to Christmas bombing. Crews of the B-52 received some rest, and in the headquarters of strategic aviation, planning further strikes, sought to more fully take into account the mistakes made earlier.

After christmas


From a political point of view, the daily break of December 25 is regarded by researchers in the US as a kind of signal to Hanoi - to think again and sit down at the negotiating table. However, according to US intelligence, in North Vietnam, this delay was interpreted as a sign of the enemy’s weakness and tried to use the break provided to restore damaged equipment and to replenish missile stocks at launch points.

After Christmas, the bombing resumed. Now the main objects of the B-52 are the airfields of the VNA Air Force, the firing and technical positions of the SA-75М SAM. Knock-down of air defense contributed to the reduction of losses. December 26 was the day when a new tactic was applied in practice. Crews could now make anti-missile maneuvers with the exception of the section of the route on which the aiming and dropping of bombs were carried out. Sharp posttarget turns were replaced by smooth, less angular. And what is especially important is that instead of the “elephant walks” mentioned above, the crews were given the opportunity to more flexibly change the routes to the objects of impact. Corridors of dipole reflectors turned into clouds - passive interference was dumped in areas where the targets were found in large volumes, which made the work of the CA-75М air defense system operators extremely difficult.

On the night of 26 in December, 78 “Stratoforthress” attacked Hanoi simultaneously from four different directions, and 42 attacked Haiphong, the sea gate of Vietnam, from where military supplies from the Soviet Union and China entered the DRV.

The impact force of the strategic bombers was complemented by the actions of 114 tactical aircraft. The US Universal Air Force F-4 Phantom II was used to intercept MiG-21 and passive interference, which effectively protected the B-52 from detection and tracking of CHP-75. In addition, "Phantoms" and F-105 "Thunderchief" (within the framework of the already mentioned program "Wild Weasel") carried out fire suppression of the positions of the air defense missile system VRV.

According to American experts, the use of already aging EB-66 airplanes outside the defeat zones of the SA-75-SAM system helped to effectively suppress the air defense missile system of North Vietnam. F-111 fighter-bombers and A-7 attack aircraft continually attacked North Vietnam air bases. The KC-135 tankers supplied all types of aircraft with fuel, often moving to the combat area.

It is necessary to pay special attention to the fact that the “Linebacker-2” operation was accompanied by active actions of the C-130 aircraft and the HH-53 helicopters to search and rescue the pilots of the downed vehicles. The operation of this complex mechanism was coordinated by the EU-121 air command centers. Nevertheless, on the eighth day of the operation, the Vietnamese SA-75M air defense system "flooded" two more strategic bombers B-52.

But on 9, 10 and 11, the day the US Air Force operations were already fully dominant in the sky of North Vietnam. In each of the last three nights of the “Linebacker-2”, 60 “Stratofortress” took part in the blows. True, December 27 in the North Vietnamese sky were hit by two strategic bomber. One B-52 fell on the territory of the DRV, the second reached Thailand, where the crew left the car with parachutes.

On the final day of the campaign, December 29, strategic bombers and tactical aircraft, according to American researchers of Operation Linebacker-2, were "at the peak of their form." The combat capabilities of the forces and equipment of the air defense of North Vietnam are estimated on this day quite low.

The pilots of the TA bombers and aircraft recorded only 23 single hasty launch of anti-aircraft missiles, which, of course, could not be compared with the “fireworks” of the first days of the air offensive. The American planes (pilots estimate) that day were outside the defeat zones of the SA-75М, the MiG-21 air force VNA for the most part had already been shot down, the RTV positions and lines of communication were destroyed. Nothing prevented, the American experts are convinced that the United States aviation should perform combat missions, but under the curtain of the “Linebacker-2”, it faced a problem that was very uncharacteristic of an armed confrontation - the lack of suitable targets.

US totals


According to American sources, December 1972 of the year showed that the B-52 strategic bombers, in cooperation with tactical aircraft, are an effective force that can influence the outcome of the entire campaign. Researchers in the United States operation “Linebacker-2” clearly interpreted as a military victory: after all, North Vietnam returned to the negotiating table in Paris, where 27 signed peace agreements on January 1973. Over the next 60 days, the 591 American POW was released and returned to the United States.

During the air operation, B-52 carried out 729 combat missions (from the planned 741) and dropped thousands of tons of bombs on the objects of North Vietnam 15. According to American estimates, the anti-aircraft missile defense missile systems of VNA launched approximately 1240 anti-aircraft missiles. The US Air Force lost 15 "Stratoforress" (less than 2% of combat strength). From 92, crews of downed 25 strategic bombers were found and selected by the search and rescue service, 26 returned to their homeland after the end of hostilities, the rest died or were missing.

According to a number of American commanders, start bombing such power in 1965, the United States would not have known the Vietnamese shame. However, not all experts agree with this statement in America. Some of them believe that if the bombardment had already taken place since the 1965, the scale of the operation “Linebacker-2”, the position of the USSR and China in this case would be frankly unpredictable. It is possible that the US-Vietnamese war could escalate into a nuclear conflict between superpowers.

Our findings


The Soviet military experts on the results of the operation "Linebacker-2" made the following conclusions.

1. Fighting US aircraft in December 1972, the year was carried out with extremely decisive goals - to break the morale of the Vietnamese people and force the DRV government to sign an agreement to end the war on favorable terms for the United States.

2. One of the characteristic features of the air operation was that when attacking vital objects of the DRV, fire suppression of the positions of the ZRV, RTV and airdromes of the air defense and air forces of the VNA was also planned at the unprecedented scale, radio electronic suppression of the ZRV, RTV and communications.

3. Tactical and carrier-based aviation was used both for independent strikes and for support of strategic aviation operations (up to 45% of forces). It operated both massively and in small groups: tactical mainly during the day and throughout the entire territory of the DRV, aircraft carrier mainly at night in coastal areas.

4. The air defense and air forces of the VNA, despite the dominance of American aviation in the air, the use of modern aircraft and electronic warfare by it, together with the air defense forces of the national militia, forced the United States to abandon the continuation of the air operation. Her goals were not achieved.

5. The combat operations of the Air Defense Forces and the Air Forces of the VNA with US aircraft showed that the organization of air defense, command and control of troops, their combat readiness, and operational and combat training, adopted in Vietnam on the recommendations of Soviet military experts, justified themselves. The air defense of the DRV had a powerful resistance to US aggression. In many ways, this was predetermined by the fact that the fully modern anti-aircraft defense created in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems, fighter aircraft and Soviet-made electronic equipment, and its personnel was trained by Soviet military experts. The anti-aircraft missile, airborne and radar equipment for the Air Defense Forces and the Air Force VNA, supplied from the USSR, showed high combat qualities and operational reliability in the fight against modern aircraft and the use by the enemy of all air defense suppression means. The command of the Air Defense Forces and the Air Force of the VNA and the personnel highly appreciate the fighting qualities of Soviet equipment.

6. The main role in disrupting the strikes of American aviation was played by the VNA anti-aircraft missile forces.

7. The principles of organizing the cover of the most important administrative-political and industrial centers, education and training of anti-aircraft missile units and subunits adopted by the Air Defense Forces and the Air Forces of the VNA have proved their viability and rather high efficiency. The requirements for the location of anti-aircraft missile battalions at intervals ensuring their mutual cover in a single fire system were also confirmed. At the same time, the combat capabilities of the anti-aircraft missile forces in the December battles were not fully utilized due to shortcomings in combat control, poor missile support, and insufficient preparedness of combat crews of some units and subunits of the ZRV. Recommendations of the Rules for Shooting ZRV were not always respected.

8. At the heart of the combat use of the IA VNA clearly demonstrated the provisions of the military doctrine of the people's war - to win with small forces. Based on this principle, the command of the air defense and air forces of the VNA did not take effective measures to fully utilize the combat capabilities of the AA and use it with decisive goals. As a result, the Americans managed to relatively easily disable the main airfields based on the IA and reduce the quantitative composition of support groups. In spite of the fact that the actions of the VNA fighter aviation were limited, they contributed to the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to the air defense forces and the VNA air force.

9. In the December battles with American aircraft, pilots took part mainly in MiG-21 fighters. Air battles showed the high combat qualities of the MiG-21 aircraft, its ability to successfully fight with modern means of air attack.

10. RTV, equipped with radar weapons mainly Soviet-made, ensured the performance of combat missions by air defense forces and air forces VNA. We confirmed the correctness of our views on the integrated use of radars of various frequency ranges in the composition of battalions and RTV companies, which, in general, ensured the stability of the radar system when the enemy used strong combined interference. At the same time, combat experience has shown that the P-12 and P-35 radars have poor noise immunity, and their use in the conditions of strong combined interference is ineffective.

11. In the conditions of modern warfare, when the administration, the positions of ZRV and RTV, as well as airfields are subjected to massive strikes by enemy aircraft, measures to ensure high survivability of the troops take on special significance. The expediency of the distribution of aviation, the construction of reinforced concrete shelters for aircraft, engineering equipment in the main positions of anti-aircraft missile divisions and radar units, masking the creation of a system of spare and false positions, the organization of anti-aircraft and ground defense command posts, positions, airfields was confirmed.

12. The experience of combat actions showed that in order to restore equipment damaged in battle, it is necessary to create in the army a stock of the most vulnerable elements of anti-aircraft missile systems, radar stations and aircraft equipment. At the airfields, it is necessary to have a supply of building materials and teams to rebuild destroyed airfields.

13. Stocks of missiles, ammunition, fuel and other means of logistics at the launch sites of divisions and airfields should be created in sufficient quantities, taking into account the expected intensity of hostilities.

14. The recommendations of the Soviet military specialists in the combat work of the anti-aircraft missile defense and anti-tank warfare in the conditions of the use of strong combined interference and Shrike anti-radar missiles by the enemy fully justified themselves.

Let's sum up. Conclusion number 4 seems to be exactly the case when the desired result is clearly given for achievement. And in all other provisions of the report of the Soviet military specialists, orchestral copper is heard and punches to the chest are all good, and sometimes even fine, the weapons and military equipment have fully justified themselves, only high combat qualities are demonstrated, the enemy, if not in knockout, so in a knockout for sure.

But the correctness of such assessments prevents only one fact. It is believed that by December 1972, the road to the DRV facilities was blocked by the most powerful air defense system in Southeast Asia, created with the help of the USSR and China. However, on the very first day of the operation, “Linebacker-2” from 129 B-52 bombers, precisely on the designated targets, 127 machines were bombed out. Two bomber did not complete the job only because of navigation errors. That is, the most powerful air defense system in Southeast Asia (not yet suffering losses) could not prevent damage to the defended objects. There is clearly something to think about. And this, we emphasize, on the first day of the operation.

One of the conclusions of the Soviet military experts says: "Radar P-12 and P-35 have a low noise immunity, and their use in conditions of strong combined interference is ineffective." The Russian language is great and powerful - the same can be stated in a different way: “The P-12 radar has long been in the museum of radar weapons and military equipment, and the P-35 radar is suitable for radar flight support of aviation exclusively in peacetime.”

Unfortunately, nothing our experts in their findings did not say about the compliance of the performance characteristics of the SA-75М with the requirements of the time. Unfortunately, by December 1972, the complex created on the ideas of the end of 40 - the beginning of 50 - was already outdated (both morally and physically) and did not constitute a formidable fighting force. It was possible to achieve success in anti-aircraft combat with his participation only thanks to the skill of combat crews, and not to the high performance characteristics of the anti-aircraft missile system. The air defense system and numerous “poultices” helped a little - repeated refinements on one list or another.

But in general, it is very difficult to get rid of the impression that the emerging trends in this field of warfare were not our specialists in December 1972, which were fully understood and duly evaluated. Otherwise, how can we justify our subsequent air defense setbacks: the defeat of air defense weapons in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon in 1982 (Operation “World of Galilee”), a major defeat in 1986 in Libya (Operation “Fire in the Prairie”), a real pogrom of Air Defense of Saddam Hussein in 1991 (Operation Desert Storm) and the next defeat of Iraq’s air defenses and air forces in 1998 (Operation Desert Fox)?

In general, this topic is not closed and is still waiting for its objective researchers.
Author:
Originator:
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/25669
14 comments
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  1. avt
    avt 27 June 2015 06: 47
    +10
    The fourth point of the Soviet conclusions was clearly written by the political deputy and squeezed into the report. I had a chance to talk in my life with a lieutenant colonel, who was an adviser there and actually a participant in the events and was wounded after one raid. The Americans fiercely and competently bombed according to his memoirs. Very qualitatively, after the first losses, they approached the tactical use of aviation in the presence of an air defense system in the strike zone - they worked in several groups with the involvement of electronic warfare and "Shriks" armed strike groups. It was extremely difficult. Well, the obvious superiority of forces was on the side of the US. But he noted the courage of the Vietnamese - when they saw the planes, they fired from everything.
  2. timyr
    timyr 27 June 2015 07: 09
    +3
    Why were the conclusions made? This was shown by the war of 1973 when Egyptian and Syrian air defense completely knocked out Israeli aviation. About 1982, the Israelis won the first round, then our calculations of air defense and pilots were transferred and the case ended in a draw.
    1. avt
      avt 27 June 2015 07: 19
      +3
      Quote: timyr
      This was shown by the war of 1973 when the air defense of Egypt and Syria completely knocked out Israeli aviation.

      wassat Yeah!? But they took it straight and knocked ALL out ??? laughing Not - of course, especially where ours normally kept the calculations in check - what successes have been achieved. But you, the smaller Egyptian governor, hear about victories in wars with Israel.
  3. D-Master
    D-Master 27 June 2015 07: 29
    +3
    Great article. The analysis was perfectly done, the conclusions in my opinion are more than true. To justify our part, we can only note that we were obviously not ready for such a massive use of US strategic aviation. Vietnam’s air defense system did an excellent job with US tactical aircraft and small air groups. The same thing that happened in December 1972 - hardly anyone expected. It should be borne in mind that almost all strategic aviation was used against the peripheral enemy. Meanwhile, for a complete victory, a ground operation is needed further, which simply could not have happened due to the weak positions of the USA and South Vietnam. Coercion to negotiate is just a minuscule. I am sure that if, after 5-6 months, the Americans tried to conduct something similar again, the success would have been much less, if the M-200 and SU -25 air defense fighters were pulled up, for example, the alignment would be clearly different
    1. 222222
      222222 27 June 2015 10: 33
      +1
      D-Master (2) RU Today, 07:29. "We were clearly not ready for such a massive use of US strategic aviation"
      .that is not necessary ...
      1.firstly -know about raids about raids
      2. secondly-shot down.
      3.and changed the tactics of air defense ...
  4. Ajent cho
    Ajent cho 27 June 2015 08: 33
    +2
    You're burning, author! It is immediately clear that the main data was taken from Western (i.e. enemy) sources. Well, the name of our S-75 "Dvina" ("Neva", etc.) in the American manner of the SA-XX generally finishes. What is really there, I would write right away like this: SAM.
    In short, as they say, sit down, two.
    1. Bongo
      Bongo 27 June 2015 12: 45
      +5
      Quote: Ajent Cho
      Burning, author! It is immediately clear that the main data was taken from Western (i.e. enemy) sources. Well, the name of our S-75 "Dvina" ("Neva", etc.) in the American manner of the SA-XX generally finishes.

      Apparently, you are too ideologized and at the same time not too educated. request SAM CA-75M - this export option working in 10 cm frequency range. It was he who was delivered to the DRV.
      Serial variants of the S-75 family of air defense systems:
      - SA-75 "Dvina" with V-750 missiles, the first serial complex operating in the 10 cm range (1957);
      - CA-75М "Dvina" with ZUR B-750В, В-750ВМ, В-750ВК (1957);
      - CA-75МК "Dvina" with ZUR V-750В - export version CA-75М (1960)
      - С-75 "Desna" with ZUR V-750BN - with 6 electrovacuum equipment cm range (1959 g);
      - С-75М "Volkhov" with З-В-755 (product 20Д), В-755У (product XNUMХДУ) - a complex with an increased zone of destruction of targets (20);
      - С-75М "Volkhov" with З-В-760 (product 15Д) - a complex with a missile with a special warhead (1964);
      - С-75D "Desna" with ZUR B-755 and B-755U (1969);
      - С-75М "Desna" with З-Z-B-755 - export version (1965);
      - С-75М1 "Volkhov" (1965);
      - С-75М2 "Volkhov" with З-В-759 (product 5Я23) (1971);
      - С-75М3 "Volkhov" with the B-760В missile (product 5В29) - a complex with a missile with a special warhead (1975 g.);
      - С-75М4 "Volkhov" with a television optical viewfinder and simulator СНР (1978)
  5. vladimir_krm
    vladimir_krm 27 June 2015 09: 03
    +15
    It is commendable, of course, that the author has brought "orchestral brass and punching in the chest" (c) on both sides. But for some reason he only criticizes our version ... Ah, yes, I almost forgot, Americans never lie. This is ms. Psaki will confirm if that.

    In essence, the article: from the very beginning, the Vietnamese demanded from the United States that they

    1) stopped bombing them, and

    2) troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam.

    As a result, under the terms of the Paris Peace (January 1973), the Americans fulfilled both of these points without reservation. You are half-no-li. True, they later declared it their victory - on the grounds that a month before that they had bombed Hanoi and "showed these narrow-eyed people." The logic is strange, but it was announced that way - okay, for the first time, or what? The fact that the author of the article defends this particular, American version, characterizes him perfectly.

    I want to expand a little the main message of his "evidence":

    "The most powerful air defense system in Southeast Asia, having not yet suffered losses, could not prevent damage to defended objects."

    That is, the most powerful air defense among the small backward countries, when the air forces of the most powerful industrial power of that time, the most numerous on the planet Earth, attacked it, COULD NOT bring down everything that flew in its direction. I read quite a lot about how our specialists had to work there and fight, so in their place I would simply spit in the face of the authors of such passages at a meeting. The men did everything they could, and even a little more. Given the enormous inequality of power - they worked just brilliantly. And according to the results of their work, we still got away from all over Indochina, even not only from Vietnam. Let them consider it their victory as much as they like - and the former Saigon to this day is called Ho Chi Minh.
    1. viktmell
      viktmell 27 June 2015 16: 18
      +4
      The Ho Chi Minh trail was bombed, burned out, hounded ... And then in 11 days they won ... Like us, on ... << For a misyats fighting with separam - three wounded. > ... Go ahead for the bucks ...
    2. Scraptor
      Scraptor 27 June 2015 17: 13
      +6
      At the end of Linebaker-2, MANPADS and shrapnel mines were massively used, which led to the defeat of several American tactical groups during their low-altitude breakthrough, and Amerka left the war in disgrace. To brighten up this "pill", the politicians agreed that the Viennese people "phoned first."

      The same MANPADS (and at the same time) stopped flights of the Iraqi aviation through the Suez Canal - it began to fly around it and work not in the front-line zone, but on rear civilian targets.

      Instead of publishing the truth about the reasons for the defeat in the Vietnam War, pro-Americans are annoying everyone with articles like this one, where the word "MANPADS" is never mentioned (well, is it possible to hit the B-52 from MANPADS?), And epic stories about their "Stingers" in Afghanistan, who shot down during all the years of the war less than the Vietnamese sometimes shot down American planes in two days.
      Although the work of the Strela MANPADS can be found among the Egyptians ...

      The usual propaganda "take away" move ... and this is the whole of America - they do it all the time, misinterpreting the opposite. 10 years later, all Moscow spy 007KAL were composted after the crash of which not a single body was found (the grief was portrayed by the Shoko Asahara sect, also a CIA project). At the same time, Iran Air 655 was shot down in neutral waters over the Persian Gulf, and almost all of the bodies were found. The captain and gunner received ... awards!
      I wonder if the APU pilot received an award for the MH-17?

      62g ago, a Soviet unarmed passenger plane was shot down over China, and on this (!) Site yesterday, on the next anniversary of this event, they tried to color the incident with the color shots of their first spy plane shooting down over Soviet waters.
      Pictures of the downing of IL-12 were in b / w, the American - in color (artist impression) and went ahead of the Soviet. It remains only to count how many times the American flag flashed in the frame ...

      This Il-12, which was mainly women and children (medical workers and families of pilots returning home from the war), shot down over China (!), After the ceasefire took effect at 12:00 (!), Is considered the last official (!) The victory of the US Air Force in the Korean War.

      As a counter-measure of this, they propagandize that the MiGs, they say, were constantly hiding from the Sabers in the "safe" Chinese airspace, although the "preacher" was made for the Sabers over the sea - to chase the coastline or to the South, they were forbidden - so this American shot back gone.
  6. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 27 June 2015 09: 20
    +5
    As a result of this operation, the mattresses LOSED the Vietnam War. And they did not draw the right conclusions from this. And the main conclusion is this. Whatever advantage you have in the air, you cannot win a war from the air! Have to fight face to face, and on the ground.
    And further. The author did not cite the loss of tactical aviation. Is two percent of STRATEGIC bombers small? Almost with complete dominance in the air. In general, they could do what they could. And honor to them, our and Vietnamese anti-aircraft gunners.
  7. timyr
    timyr 27 June 2015 09: 45
    +2
    Quote: avt
    Quote: timyr
    This was shown by the war of 1973 when the air defense of Egypt and Syria completely knocked out Israeli aviation.

    wassat Yeah!? But they took it straight and knocked ALL out ??? laughing Not - of course, especially where ours normally kept the calculations in check - what successes have been achieved. But you, the smaller Egyptian governor, hear about victories in wars with Israel.
    The Egyptians won the first stage, but then they played such an impression of giveaways. The Israelis defeated the air defense with tanks and ensured the work of aviation. Israel prepared to use atomic weapons and the United States provided military assistance. About the losses of Israel read
  8. sivuch
    sivuch 27 June 2015 10: 55
    +3
    According to American data, the combat structure of the North Vietnam air defense group included 145 MiG-21 fighter interceptors,
    -------------------------------
    Was there a total of 145 fighter jets, or exactly Mig-21? Nyaz, the only 21 regiments -2 and 921 flew on the Mig-923 (as far as I remember)
    Well, actually, with the technique that the Vietnamese had, it was impossible to achieve more.
  9. Free wind
    Free wind 27 June 2015 11: 23
    0
    Conclusions 11, 12, 13, With some variations, are derived from 1937, after the war in Spain. and in 1972, almost the same conclusions.
  10. 0255
    0255 27 June 2015 11: 38
    +4
    Another delirium on the topic "stupid scoops / Russians purely accidentally achieved success, due to minor miscalculations of smart Yankees" negative Enough about the Second World War, we are told that we only showered the Germans with corpses and did not know how to fight, now we have already "lost" Vietnam.
    If the Americans were so tough, why did they leave Vietnam in disgrace in 1972? Why did a united Vietnam become communist and pro-Soviet rather than pro-American? The Americans were forcibly driven out of Vietnam, but the United States turns out to be the "winners." Their "victory" in Vietnam reminds of the APU's "peremogues" at the Donetsk airport and Debaltseve, when they were also forced out, and UkroSMI declares that their "cyborgs" were victoriously destroyed by 100500 FSB agents, GRU, paratroopers, contract soldiers, conscripts, Kadyrovtsy before the defeat. and they still control the Donetsk airport, since the Ukrainian Armed Forces have the ability to shoot at the airport with cannons.
    4. The air defense and air forces of the VNA, despite the dominance of American aviation in the air, the use of modern aircraft and electronic warfare by it, together with the air defense forces of the national militia, forced the United States to abandon the continuation of the air operation. Her goals were not achieved.
    Conclusion No. 4 seems nevertheless to be precisely the case when the desired result is clearly presented as achieved. And in all other provisions of the report of the Soviet military experts, orchestral copper is heard and punches in the chest are all good, and sometimes even fine

    The Americans on their Phantoms could not fight the then ancient MiG-17s and the newest MiG-21s, they lost 50% of the aircraft produced from the S-75 air defense systems, MiGs and small arms with a numerical superiority. Is this also a "victory" for the US Air Force? American pilots who passed Vietnam remember how they were afraid of MiGs. How do you want their versatile F-35 to repeat the fate of the versatile Phantoms in Vietnam.
  11. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 27 June 2015 11: 48
    +4
    Regarding the losses of American aircraft in Operation Linebacker 2, I have the following information:
    The Vietnamese air defense forces destroyed 12 aircraft in 81 days of the operation (including bombers: B-52 - 34, F-111 - 3), while anti-aircraft missiles (S-75 air defense missile systems) shot down 54 aircraft or 67% of all losses of the US Air Force (including B-52 - 31 or 91% of losses). Anti-aircraft artillery shot down 20 aircraft (24%), (including B-52 - 1, F-111 - 3), SRV fighter aircraft shot down 7 aircraft (9%), incl. 2 - B-52. These are Vietnamese data, which are mainly repeated by Soviet sources. The USA has traditionally different data: Operation Leinbacker II is over. In the US, it is considered almost a classic, in Vietnam it is called "airy Dien Bien Phu". During the December air raids, the US SAC lost 15 B-52 bombers (4 more aircraft were left by their crews outside North Vietnam, and 9 were damaged, but were repaired after returning to bases), the Americans, in addition, did not include in the list of combat losses 4 planes that the crews left because of the received damage over Thailand and Laos, 27 people from the crews of these bombers were rescued. In general, the SAC's human losses amounted to 29 killed, four died in the B-52 crash at U-Tapao (by the way, this is also a "non-combat" loss, although it is not difficult to guess the cause of the crash - damage from air defense fire), 33 crew members The B-52 was captured after they left the wrecked vehicles in the sky of Vietnam.
    In eleven nights, B-52 bombers flew 729 sorties against 34 targets, dropping a total of about 85 bombs with a total mass of about 000 tons. About a third of all US SAC bombers took part in the operation. It was not for nothing that American "strategists" called "Leinbacker II" "the eleven-day war." Civilian casualties are estimated at 20 people killed and 000 wounded, 1318 structures were damaged, oil storage facilities with a total capacity of 1260 million liters, ten airfields and 1600% of power plants in the DRV were put out of action.
    From 1965 to 1972, 95 S-75 SAMs and 7568 missiles were delivered to Vietnam from the USSR to Vietnam. By January 1973 (i.e., towards the end of the war), 6806 missiles were consumed. By the end of the Vietnam War, 39 S-75 combat-ready systems remained.
    1. sivuch
      sivuch 27 June 2015 14: 43
      0
      You didn’t take it from here?
      http://nosikot.livejournal.com/1873369.html?view=34613209#t34613209
      BMPD delivered 82 SA-75 divisions
      1. Aleksandr72
        Aleksandr72 27 June 2015 17: 42
        +1
        No. I took data from different sources. This: Handbook of an air defense officer. M. Military Publishing. 1987, anti-aircraft missile shooting. M. Military Publishing. 1991, data from the airwar.ru resource.
  12. fomkin
    fomkin 27 June 2015 12: 57
    +6
    The article under the guise of objectivity is clearly rotten and from a strange voice. The general losses of state aviation and the ratio of combat losses of aircraft in air battles at different periods are modestly silent. Correctly, the author is not profitable. When the 94 series of MIGs went, the phantoms felt extremely uncomfortable. In general, the people of Vietnam won, that’s it. And lovers of poking around in sores divorced unreasonably. Take an example from the same favorite Americans. About myself only positive facts, negative ones are hushed up. Probably watch their fucking TV on computers as they bring down our planes.
  13. Andrey VOV
    Andrey VOV 27 June 2015 14: 21
    +1
    I can’t understand one thing .. and where does the defeat of the air defense forces of Saddam and Libya ?? here the question is not in technology, but in specialists, our equipment was wonderful, but in whose hands .. as the army and soldiers and officers of the Arabs never distinguished by perseverance, strength of mind and difficult to learn to use modern weapons
  14. timyr
    timyr 27 June 2015 15: 00
    0
    The Americans invented fantastic ways to steal from 75. They came up with a helicopter with a hook that was supposed to pull the rig away. And the Israelis simply bought from the Arabs right at the port and then transferred all the data to the Americans.
    1. viktmell
      viktmell 27 June 2015 16: 30
      +1
      Yeah ... w and d s - they ... I don’t like, but ... respect - right now the whole world has been raked for themselves ... Even those who cut and hated them (not to be confused with Ukrainians) - Bandera, and they buried those for themselves ... They don’t belong to the Jews - normal people, they only bring their meat to nature - and we drink and eat the same way. And w and they - they also ... swagger.
  15. skeptic31
    skeptic31 28 June 2015 00: 51
    0
    At first, the author tries to portray something like objectivity by making references to our and ov's statements. But this is solely for the entourage, since then it completely switches exclusively to information, or rather to its likeness, taken from American sources. At the same time, in order to give her at least some appearance of objectivity, for no reason he refers to the fact that some of our guys agree with her with some kind of pantalik. Meanwhile, it is by no means a secret that in their reports they never showed their real losses. So it was in any wars with their participation. And the wars in Korea and Vietnam in this sense are most revealing. In this case, the real losses in the December raids of 1972 on Vietnam were underestimated by them more than 3 times. And if the author turned to any sources other than ovskie, then everything fell into place. But in this case, the American conclusion about the consequences of these raids was covered with a copper basin. And they were so catastrophic for them that, ultimately, forced them to sign an agreement on extremely unfavorable conditions. As a result, the shameful flight from South Vietnam and the end of the war. But as for the P-12 and P-35, I completely agree with the author. By this moment, they were really morally obsolete (there were even lamp complexes there), as, among other things, was the 75th complex itself. But is everything so clean with their application. The terrible loss of the Americans in two weeks of fighting (33 downed B-52). Before that, they simply did not have such losses. Something is wrong here.
    1. Scraptor
      Scraptor 28 June 2015 01: 18
      +2
      What's so terrible about 33 Downed B-52s? Each of them had more than a dozen American tactical aircraft ... bully
      Another thing the SAC purged was that such losses of a quarter of the strategist fleet on the theater of war put the question of the possibility of a further nuclear war with China and the Soviet Union at risk (it would be trivial to have the strength to cover all even the primary goals).