Battle of Đồng Hới

The Battle of Đồng Hới was a clash between United States Navy warships and Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) MiG-17F fighter bombers, several torpedo boats and shore batteries on April 19, 1972 during the Vietnam War. This was the first time U.S. warships faced an air raid since the end of World War II.

The Battle for Đồng Hới Gulf involved fierce firefights when Navy ships attempted to stop North Vietnamese troops and supplies transiting the coast highway in North Vietnam from reaching the battle front in Quảng Trị Province. The air raid described here marked the end of daylight raids by the Navy. Within a few weeks, however, all North Vietnamese resistance at Đồng Hới was suppressed.

Battle of Đồng Hới
Part of the Vietnam War
MIG17 so 2047

MiG-17F (No. 2047) manned by pilot Nguyen Van Bay "B", one of the VPAF's aircraft participating in the Battle of Đồng Hới
DateApril 19, 1972
Location
Result North Vietnamese victory[1]
Belligerents
 North Vietnam  United States
Strength
~2 torpedo boats
2–3 aircraft
1 cruiser
2 destroyers
1 frigate
Casualties and losses
Unknown
U.S claimed:
2 torpedo boats
1 MiG-17
4 wounded
1 destroyer damaged
1 cruiser damaged

Battle

The U.S. warships involved were the 7th Fleet flagship, guided missile cruiser USS Oklahoma City, the guided missile frigate USS Sterett, and destroyers USS Lloyd Thomas and USS Higbee.[2]

The American warships operating in the Gulf of Tonkin were shelling North Vietnamese coastal targets around Đồng Hới, Quảng Bình Province, North Central Coast region near the DMZ along the 17th parallel, the provisional borderline between South Vietnam and North Vietnam when they were attacked by VPAF MiGs in the first air attack on U.S. naval forces in the Vietnam War.

At approximately 17:00, USS Sterett detected three hostile aircraft approaching the navy ships. One of the MiG-17Fs scored a direct hit on USS Higbee with a BETAB-250 (250 kg, 550 lb) bomb, after failing to hit its target twice on two previous attack runs. The explosion destroyed the aft 5-inch (127 mm) gun mount which was empty, as the 12-man crew having been evacuated following a "hang fire" (a round stuck in one of the barrels).[2] Another MiG-17 simultaneously aimed its bombs at USS Oklahoma City but missed the target.[3] According to U.S. claims, one of the MiGs was shot down by a Terrier surface-to-air missile from USS Sterett. One more MiG disappeared from Sterett's radar along with a Terrier missile fired at it from the frigate, indicating a probable kill.[2] A North Vietnamese Styx anti-ship missile was alleged to have been fired and intercepted, but this was not confirmed by official documentation.[4]

At approximately 18:00 as the US ships withdrew to the northeast, USS Sterett detected two surface targets shadowing the US ships, after 30 minutes, Sterett opened fire on the targets with its 5-inch guns destroying the two suspected North Vietnamese P 6-class torpedo boats.[2]

Aftermath

Aft view of USS Higbee (DD-806), circa in 1970
USS Higbee showing the aft 5"/38 gun mount bombed during the battle of Đồng Hới

The North Vietnamese claimed the sortie involved two MiG-17s piloted by Lê Xuân Dị and Nguyễn Văn Bảy "B", of which all returned safely to their base,[5] and that the North Vietnamese navy had not participated in any engagement until August 27. The attack crippled Higbee's 5-inch gun turret, impaired its steering and propulsion, and wounded 4 sailors on deck.[3] Oklahoma City only sustained minor damage on its stern. The U.S. later responded by bombardment against Vinh and Đồng Hới on April 19 and 20, and an air strike by 33 aircraft on April 22 at the Gát airfield, from which the attacking MiG-17s had taken off, destroying one MiG and damaging another on the ground.[1]

Although the losses inflicted were superficial, the North Vietnamese attack had forced the Americans to employ more of their strength to prevent future incidents against the background of downscaling U.S. military activities in the area.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Boniface 2008, p. 85.
  2. ^ a b c d Sherwood 2009, p. 37.
  3. ^ a b Gutzman 2010, p. 34.
  4. ^ Gutzman 2010, p. 35.
  5. ^ Toperczer 2001.

References

  • Boniface, Roger (2008). MIGs Over North Vietnam: The Vietnam People's Air Force in Combat, 1965-75. Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811706964.
  • Gutzman, Philip (2010). Vietnam: Naval and Riverine Weapons. ISBN 9780557177431.
  • Sherwood, John (2009). Nixon's Trident: Naval Power in Southeast Asia, 1968–72. Naval History & Heritage Command. ISBN 9780945274582.
  • Toperczer, Itsván (2001). MiG-17 and MiG-19 Units of the Vietnam War. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781841761626.

External links

Coordinates: 17°28′59″N 106°35′59″E / 17.48306°N 106.59972°E

1972 in the Vietnam War

1972 in the Vietnam War saw foreign involvement in South Vietnam slowly declining. Two allies, New Zealand and Thailand, which had contributed a small military contingent, left South Vietnam this year. The United States continued to participate in combat, primarily with air power to assist the South Vietnamese army, while negotiators in Paris tried to hammer out a peace agreement and withdrawal strategy for the United States. One American operation that was declassified years after the war was Operation Thunderhead, a secret mission that attempted to rescue POWs.

Dong Hoi Airport

Dong Hoi Airport (IATA: VDH, ICAO: VVDH) (Vietnamese: Cảng hàng không Đồng Hới or Sân bay Đồng Hới) is an airport located in Loc Ninh commune, 6 km north of Đồng Hới city, capital of Quảng Bình Province, in North Central Coast of Vietnam, about 500 km South-east of Hanoi by road. The facilities cover 173 ha, on a sandy area, by the coast of South China Sea. The runway approaches near the seashore and nearly parallel to the Highway 1A. The airport, like all civil airports in Vietnam, is owned and operated by Airports Corporation of Vietnam, a state-owned company under the Ministry of Transport of Vietnam that was founded when three companies operating airports in the north, the middle and the south of Vietnam were merged on February 28, 2012The airstrip was built unpaved by French colonists in 1930s to serve First Indochina War and was upgraded by North Vietnam as an airbase for Vietnam War. On 30 August 2004, the renovation (actually reconstruction) of this airport began and was scheduled to be completed in 2006 but not until May 2008 was it inaugurated. On May 18, 2008, the airport was officially put into operation with the first commercial flight from Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport.As of March 2015, this is one of 4 commercial airports in North Central Coast, the others are Phu Bai International Airport (90 miles (172 km, 107 mi) south of Dong Hoi Airport) in Huế) and Vinh Airport (121 miles (197 km) north of Dong Hoi Airport) in Nghệ An Province, and Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hóa Province.

This airport handled 500,000 passengers in 2017, to its full designed capacity. The airport is estimated to handle 700,000 passengers in 2018. An expansion project is planned to start in the Q4 2018, with the extension of the runway to 3600 m (category runway 4E) along with one parallel taxiway, capable of serving large aircraft like A350, B787, with two separate international and domestic terminals, with a combined designed capacity of 10 million passengers per annum.

Flying ace

A flying ace, fighter ace or air ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an ace has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more.

The concept of the "ace" emerged in 1915 during World War I, at the same time as aerial dogfighting. It was a propaganda term intended to provide the home front with a cult of the hero in what was otherwise a war of attrition. The individual actions of aces were widely reported and the image was disseminated of the ace as a chivalrous knight reminiscent of a bygone era. For a brief early period when air-to-air combat was just being invented, the exceptionally skilled pilot could shape the battle in the skies. For most of the war, however, the image of the ace had little to do with the reality of air warfare, in which fighters fought in formation and air superiority depended heavily on the relative availability of resources.

Use of the term ace to describe these pilots began in World War I, when French newspapers described Adolphe Pégoud, as l'As (the ace) after he became the first pilot to down five German aircraft. The British initially used the term "star-turns" (a show business term), while the Germans described their elite fighter pilots as Überkanonen (which roughly translates to "top guns").

The successes of such German ace pilots as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke were much publicized, for the benefit of civilian morale, and the Pour le Mérite, Prussia's highest award for gallantry, became part of the uniform of a leading German ace. In the Luftstreitkräfte, the Pour le Mérite was nicknamed Der blaue Max/The Blue Max, after Max Immelmann, who was the first pilot to receive this award. Initially, German aviators had to destroy eight Allied aircraft to receive this medal. As the war progressed, the qualifications for Pour le Mérite were raised, but successful German fighter pilots continued to be hailed as national heroes for the remainder of the war.

The few aces among combat aviators have historically accounted for the majority of air-to-air victories in military history.

List of naval battles

This list of naval battles is a chronological list delineating important naval fleet battles.

Note

If a battle's name isn't known it's just referred to as "Action of (date)".

Nguyễn Văn Bảy

Nguyễn Văn Bảy (Born in Lai Vung, 1936) was a jet fighter ace for the Vietnam People's Air Force (North Vietnamese Air Force) during the Vietnam War. Piloting a MiG-17F while assigned to the 923rd Fighter Regiment, Bay claimed 7 aerial combat victories while engaged against aircraft of the USAF and USN: 2 F-8s, 1 F-4B, 1 A-4C and 1 F-105D. Of the 7 claimed kills, 5 are acknowledged by the United States Air Force. Of 16 VPAF (North Vietnamese) Aces during Vietnam War, only Bay, Luu Huy Chao, and Le Hai solely flew MiG-17s.

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park

Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng (Vietnamese: Vườn quốc gia Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng) is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Bố Trạch and Minh Hóa districts of central Quảng Bình Province in the North Central Coast region of Vietnam, about 500 km south of Hanoi. The park borders the Hin Namno Nature Reserve in Khammouane Province, Laos to the west and 42 km east of the South China Sea from its borderline point. Phong Nha–Kẻ Bàng National Park is situated in a limestone zone of 2,000 km2 in Vietnamese territory and borders another limestone zone of 2,000 km2 of Hin Namno in Laotian territory. The core zone of this national park covers 857.54 km2 and a buffer zone of 1,954 km2.The park was created to protect one of the world's two largest karst regions with 300 caves and grottoes and also protects the ecosystem of limestone forest of the Annamite Range region in North Central Coast of Vietnam.Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng is noted for its cave and grotto systems as it is composed of 300 caves and grottos. A 2009 survey brought the total discovered length of the cave system to about 126 km, with many areas still not well explored. The Sơn Đoòng Cave, which was discovered in the 2009 survey by British and Vietnamese explorers, is considered the largest cave in the world. Even before this discovery, Phong Nha held several world cave records, including the longest river as well as the largest combined caverns and passageways.The park derives its name from Phong Nha Cave, containing many fascinating rock formations, and Kẻ Bàng forest. The plateau on which the park is situated is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in Southeast Asia. This national park was listed in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2003 for its geological values as defined in its criteria viii. In April 2009, the world's largest cave, was re-discovered by a team of British cave explorers of the British Caving Association led by a local farmer named Ho Khanh.

USS Hanson (DD-832)

USS Hanson (DD/DDR-832) was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson, United States Marine Corps of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Fifteen, a quintuple ace who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

USS Lloyd Thomas (DD-764)

The third USS Lloyd Thomas (DD/DDE-764) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. She was named for Lieutenant (j.g.) Lloyd Thomas (1912–1942), who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in the Battle of Midway.

Lloyd Thomas was laid down by Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Shipbuilding Division, San Francisco, California, 26 March 1944; launched 5 October 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Lloyd Thomas, widow of Lt(jg.) Thomas; and commissioned 21 March 1947, Commander J. I. Cone in command.

USS Long Beach (CGN-9)

USS Long Beach (CLGN-160/CGN-160/CGN-9) was a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser in the United States Navy and the world's first nuclear-powered surface combatant. She was the third Navy ship named after the city of Long Beach, California.

She was the sole member of the Long Beach-class, and the last cruiser built for the United States Navy to a cruiser design; all subsequent cruiser classes were built on scaled-up destroyer hulls (and originally classified as destroyer leaders) or, in the case of the Albany-class, converted from already existing cruisers.Long Beach was laid down 2 December 1957, launched 14 July 1959 and commissioned 9 September 1961 under the command of Eugene Parks Wilkinson, who previously served as the first commanding officer of the world's first nuclear-powered vessel, the submarine USS Nautilus (SSN-571). She deployed to Vietnam during the war and served numerous times in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. By the 1990s, nuclear power was deemed too expensive to use on surface ships smaller than an aircraft carrier, while there were defense budget cutbacks after the end of the Cold War. Long Beach was decommissioned on 1 May 1995 instead of receiving her third nuclear refueling and proposed upgrade. What remained of the hull, after the superstructure had been removed and the ship defueled, was sold for scrap in 2012 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

USS Stark incident

The USS Stark incident occurred during the Iran–Iraq War on 17 May 1987, when an Iraqi jet aircraft fired missiles at the American frigate USS Stark. Thirty-seven United States Navy personnel were killed and 21 were injured.

Vietnam People's Navy

The Vietnam People's Navy (Vietnamese: Hải quân nhân dân Việt Nam), commonly known as the Vietnamese navy or the Vietnamese People's Navy, is the naval branch of the Vietnam People's Army and is responsible for the protection of the country's national waters, islands, and interests of the maritime economy, as well as for the co-ordination of maritime police, customs service and the border defence force.

Đồng Hới

Đồng Hới (listen) is the capital city of Quảng Bình Province in the north central coast of Vietnam. The city's area is 155.71 km2 (60.12 sq mi). Population as per the 2013 census was 160,000. It is served by National Highway 1A, the Đồng Hới Railway Station, and airport. By road, Đồng Hới is 486 kilometres (302 mi) south of Hanoi, 195 kilometres (121 mi) south of Vinh, 160 kilometres (99 mi) north of Huế and 1,204 kilometres (748 mi) north of Hồ Chí Minh City. It borders Quảng Ninh District on the west and south, the South China Sea on the east, Bố Trạch District on the north.Đồng Hới has a 12-km-long coastline with white sand beaches. It is the closest city to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, UNESCO's World Natural Heritage Site, 50 km north.

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