This silent footage shows highlights of the activities of the 366th Fighter Wing (366 FW) of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command in Vietnam. Unfortunately we do not know the date it was made or what action it covers, but most of what you will see is "gun camera" or 'bomb camera" variety. The film opens with footage of air to ground combat and close fighter support. At 1:11 onward, heavy aerial bombing of jungle targets is seen, including eerie slow-motion bomb drops. At 4:02, more cannon fire is seen directed at a jungle trail, and at 4:28 at a hamlet. At 4:40, more bomb releases are shown. At 9:30, a particularly large detonation is seen at a trail or road crossing a river.
The 366th arrived at Phan Rang Air Base in March 1966. It was an air base dating back to World War II, used by the Japanese and French. The 366th was the first permanent USAF organization to be stationed at the base. Eventually the 366th TFW moved to Da Nang AB, Republic of Vietnam and regained the 390th FS on 1 October 1966, becoming the host unit at the larger, sprawling base that accommodated Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force units.
Missions then flown by the 366th TFW consisted generally of two types—MiG-CAP patrols to protect strike aircraft from attack by marauding North Vietnamese fighters and fighter-bomber strikes carried out with iron bombs against ground targets. The MiG patrols and attacks in North Vietnam were taken over by the F-4s and F-105s based in Thailand, which could carry a larger bomb load further and faster. In addition, the F-105 was built to take the extreme structural loads of low-level, high-speed flight, whereas the F-100 was not. Consequently, the F-100D fighter bombers generally operated only in South Vietnam where the F-100 turned out to be a very effective ground support aircraft, and beat back many enemy attacks.
The mission of the 366th at Da Nang was to support Operation Rolling Thunder; the tactical bombing of enemy targets in North Vietnam by destroying any North Vietnamese Aircraft that would attack the F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers carrying out tactical bombing missions. On a typical mission over the North, the F-4Cs from the 366th would carry four AIM-7D/E Sparrows, four AIM-9B/D Sidewinders, and a load of eight 750-pound bombs for bombing operations. At first, the bombs were dropped from medium or high-altitudes, but as SAMs became more dangerous, a shift was made to lower altitudes. Unfortunately, this technique also exposed the aircraft to small-arms fire from the ground.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com