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Anthony, Victor - Tactics and techniques of night air operations in SEA 1961-1970

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The Air Force in South East Asia

Tactics and techniques of night operations 1961-1970

By Major Victor B. Anthony, USAF

Office of Air Force History - March 1973



This historical report is the fifteenth of a series of studies dealing with Air Force plans and operations in Southeast Asia prepared by the Office of Air Force History. The author, a Master Navigator was formerly a member of the Air Force Academy history faculty. He also served a tour of duty in the Directorate of Operations, Headquarters, 7/13 Air Force, at Udorn, Thailand, and is well qualified to tell the story of nearly a decade of Air Force night operations in Southeast Asia. During the course of his research, he interviewed over a dozen pilots and crewmen who flew night missions along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and in North Vietnam. They provided him invaluable information on the problems of operating at night and the tactics they devised against an elusive enemy in a hostile, jungle environment.

In his history, the author recalls the pioneering efforts of the Farm Gate detachment and the start of night flare operations. He describes the equipment available at the time, modifications that were subsequently made to improve effectiveness, and the successes and failures, that were experienced. He discusses the introduction of new aircraft and avionics, examines the role of the slow as well as the fast movers, and also reviews the operations of the invaluable gunships. His final chapter covers night reconnaissance and Rolling Thunder operations.


280 pages – in English