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Thread: HAWK (missiles) in the Vietnam war

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    Default HAWK (missiles) in the Vietnam war

    The HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) anti-air or surface-to-air missile system was first introduced in South Vietnam in the year 1965 by the 1st LAAM Bn (Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battaillon) of the USMC. It was based on a plateau and some hill tops at the Hai Van Pass north of Da Nang to protect the south against possible attacks of Northvietnames aircrafts.

    On 7 February 1965, the Viet Cong (VC) attacked the U.S. compound at Pleiku in the Central Highlands, a provocation that altered the entire course of the war. In the early morning of the 7th, the Viet Cong attacking force laid down a mortar barrage on the advisors' quarters and airfield, killing 9 Americans, wounding 128 others, and damaging or destroying 122 aircraft. At the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and with the concurrence of Ambassador Taylor, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam. Addressing the nation later that day, the President announced the withdrawal of U.S. dependents from Vietnam and warned that the United States might take further actions. He declared: 'I have ordered the deployment to South Vietnam of a HAWK air defense battalion. Other reinforcements, in units and individuals, may follow.

    Source: http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/books/19....cfm?page=0004
    Following a couple of photos from a website that isn't existing anymore (at least I couldn't find it).



    Charlie Battery on Hill 268 North West.


    C Battery BCC on Hill 327.


    BCC Row behind wire hedgehog.


    HFV B Battery on Hill 327.


    C Battery Loader.


    Inspection of C Battery Launch Section West at Hill 327.


    C Battery Launcher South West on Hill 327.


    C Battery Launcher on Hill 327.


    Ground attack 27th October 1965.


    C Battery Launcher South East on Hill 327.


    C Battery Launcher.


    Hawk Missiles on Launcher.


    Hawknight...
    Unfortunately I don't have any infos of the structure of the unit but alone the chosen emplacements are interesting enough and worth to post.

    ---------------------------------

    The US Army deployed its own HAWKs at the end of 1965 with 6th Air Defense Artillery, 56th Artillery Brigade which was based at the airports of Chu Lai and Saigon (Tan Son Nhut).

    15 October 65 - Two continental United States (CONUS) Strategic Army Corps Basic HAWK battalions (eight firing batteries) were deployed, marking the first surface-to-air missile system to be placed at the front in the Vietnam War. The HAWK batteries were never fired in combat during this conflict, but their radars were used in air defense surveillance.

    Source: http://www.redstone.army.mil/history/chron4/1965.html
    You can find a couple of photos here...click.

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    Senior Member wicked_hind's Avatar
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    Were there any confirmed U.S. SAM kills in Vietnam?

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    Senior Member Elbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wicked_hind View Post
    Were there any confirmed U.S. SAM kills in Vietnam?
    Yes, but not by HAWKs IIRC. The Navy bagged three MiGs with the Talos missile. I think they also used a version of that missile against Vietnamese radars.

    [IMG]http://i50.*******.com/soyhczdotjpg[/IMG]

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    Thanks for the info.

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    As always Plage, excellent thread with nice pictures!

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    Junior Member Jerryd6818's Avatar
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    An old thread but one near and dear to my heart. I was stationed with 1st LAAM Bn from 31 August 1965 until I rotated on 22 August 1966. My MOS was 5912 Continueous Wave Radar Repairman. I maintained the [FONT=Times New Roman][*******#000000]CWAR Continuous Wave Acquisition Radar (1)[/COLOR][/FONT] and the tracking radars, the [FONT=Times New Roman][*******#000000]AN/MPQ-46 High Power Illuminators (2).

    The Battery consisted of:
    (1) BCC -- Battery Control Central (Manned by a combinatin of about six operators and officers)
    (1) IFF -- Identification Friend or Foe (same size box as the BCC. They were each about the size of a duce-and-a -half mounted reefer.)
    (1) Pulse Acquisition Radar -- Commanly referred to as the Pulse Acq (****ounced ack) it was a long range pulse radar providing range and azimuth.
    (1) Range Only Radar -- Commonally referred to as the ROR. Sucker never worked.
    (1) [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][*******#000000]Continuous Wave Acquisition Radar -- Commonally referred to as the CW Acq (ack) It only worked for short periods of time.
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT](2) Continueous Wave [FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3][*******#000000]High Power Illuminators -- Lock on and tracking radars. They provided tracking signals to the missiles.
    (6) Missile Launchers loaded with (3) three missiles each for a total of 18 missiles ready to fire at any time.
    (?) 400 Hz Diesel Generators to provide power for the firing battery.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [/COLOR][/FONT]
    T.S.C.Plage -- The pictures you posted probably came off the web site of Oliver, Willie. Willie went from 29 Palms to Viet Nam with 1st LAAM Bn and was with Charlie Battery on Hill 327. Willie was a hard core LAAM Marine and collected everything HAWK. In addition to his HAWK web site (defunct for several years) he was instrumental in getting a HAWK display set up at the museum on Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Willie lived in the San Diego area and unfortunately died several years ago ('03-'05, I don't recall exactly) from complications caused by an automobile accident.

    Taken from ehistory.com. Edited for content.
    In 1965 Battery A, 1st LAAM Battalion deployed to South Vietnam to protect the Da Nang air field. It was the first USMC ground unit to deploy to South Vietnam. North Vietnam never challenged US air superiority in the south and the LAAM units re-deployed home in 1969-70. Although USMC ground-based air defense units never fired in anger during their time in Vietnam, HAWK units did have a deterrent effect on the North Vietnamese decision not to attack the US forces in South Vietnam with their aircraft. Surface-to-air missiles did kill three North Vietnamese MIG's -- all credited to ships of the US Navy.

    Late on the evening of 7 February, Lieutenant Colonel Bertram E. Cook, Jr., the commanding officer of the 1st LAAM Battalion, which had arrived on Okinawa in December from the U. S., received orders to move one battery to Da Nang. The battalion had originally been slated to deploy to Vietnam in 1964 but the decision was deferred because of facility construction cost. Budgetary considerations on 7 February were of minor relevance; the battalion commander alerted his Battery A, commanded by Captain Leon E. Obenhaus, to prepare for an airlift to an unknown destination. The battery had just completed a firing exercise at Bolo Point, four miles northwest of Kadena, and its equipment was still emplaced there. After a rapid overnight breakdown from "the firing exercise configuration" and delays caused by the morning rush hour, the first echelons of Battery A arrived at Naha Air Force Base, 14 miles to the south of Bolo Point.4
    Through the night of the 7th and the early morning of the 8th, Lieutenant Colonel Cook had worked out with Colonel Clarence B. Slaughter, commander of the 6315th U.S. Air Force Operations Group, the complicated details of moving a HAWK battery by air from Okinawa to Da Nang.

    The first aircraft took off at 1045 on the morning of 8 February. The LAAM battalion commander planned that the battery would have a "limited" operational capability after the arrival of the 8th or 10th planeload at Da Nang. Lieutenant Colonel Cook remembered, ' "This was not to be, due to my lack of knowledge that two different models of C-130 were to be used in the airlift and Colonel Slaughter's lack of knowledge that sequential loads were of great importance to our operational readiness.'' The older C-130A models of the Lockheed Hercules transports held 1,700 fewer gallons of fuel than the newer C-130B models and therefore had to make a refueling stop in the Philippines before flying on to Da Nang. According to Cook, "our sequencing was in trouble. This caused substantial delay (several hours) in achieving both partial and full operational status." Nevertheless, Battery A was set up on the northwest side of the Da Nang Airfield runway and prepared to fire less than 12 hours after the arrival of the first aircraft.

    On 16 February, the remaining units of the battalion, with the exception of Battery C, which remained on Okinawa, arrived at Da Nang on board the attack cargo ship USS Washburn (AKA 108), and the dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 5). Because the one pier at Da Nang was shallow draft, the cargo of the two ships was lightered from the bay to the military ramp in the port. Trucks transported the Marines of the LAAM Battalion's Battery B and Headquarters and Service Battery and their equipment through the city to the airfield.

    Charlie Battery stayed on Okinawa until about June 1965.

    At first Alpha Battery (for the first year and a half) was placed just North of the old French fort on the North-West corner of the Da Nang air ***** with H&S Battery just South of them at the old French Fort and Bravo Battery along the same road just south of them. In about June of '65, once the site was prepared, Bravo Battery moved to Hill 327.

    During the next few months, the Seabees were building a road from the Air Force Long Range Radar site on Monkey mountain, a few kilometers (clicks) out to Hill 647. (All the hills in Viet Nam were numbered using their height in meters.) That entire pensulia was called Monkey Mountain.

    In about June of '65, as soon as the Seabees completed preparing Monkey Mountain, Charlie Battery moved down to Da Nang from Okinawa and took the position on Hill 327. Bravo Battery moved from Hill 327 to Monkey Mountain. In the summer of 1966, a site was prepared on Hill 724 up at the Hai Van Pass and Alpha Battery moved up there.

    In 1967, Hill 647 (Commonly refered to as Monkey Mountain when I was there) was reconfigured and MACS-4 joined Bravo Battery on the mountain.

    In June 1967, MACS-4 arrived in Vietnam, bringing with it a modern semi-automated, computer-oriented TADC which had been developed as a component of the Marine tactical data system (MTDS). MACS-4 was sited on Monkey Mountain, near Danang, a high promontory overlooking the South China Sea. More construction at the site was needed because, in addition to the radars and their antennae, room had to be made in the thick jungle for 16 helicopter- transportable huts for the TADC and for four others that comprised the tactical data communications central (TDCC). It was worth the effort, however, as the TADC gave the wing the ability to handle 250 aircraft tracks, friendly and hostile, simultaneously.

    HAWKs were not fired in anger in Viet Nam but they were fired. 2nd LAAM Bn, who was down south of Da Nang at Chu Lai fired some dated and questionable missiles during a firing exercise. Bravo Battery had two missiles fire accidentally in about April of 1966. The accidental firing was caused by an electrical storm shorting out the pre-firing selectors in one of the launchers. There was quite a bit of dust and feathers raised over that incident.

    I understand this thread/forum is intended for pictures but my little web site is currently out of commission so the few pictures I have will have to wait. Please excuse any spelling errors. Google Spell Check has become flakey on me and for some reason Word can't find the grammer and spell check DLLs. Sigh.

    Forged on the anvil of Discipline.
    The Few. The Proud.
    Jerry D.
    USMC 1962-1966
    RVN 1965-1966
    Last edited by Jerryd6818; 07-10-2013 at 04:17 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AIG's Avatar
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    [*******#333333]Yes, but not by HAWKs IIRC. The Navy bagged three MiGs with the Talos missile. I think they also used a version of that missile against Vietnamese radars.[/COLOR]
    Yes there's some great eyewitness accounts of the use of Talos missiles in Vietnam in some Talos-centric website out there (which I can't find the link to).

    The HAWK seems to be an under-valued system in historical context, even though it has achieved quite a large number of kills in combat.

    PS: Found it http://www.okieboat.com/Talos%20anti...on%20shot.html
    http://overedicated.blogspot.com/201...s-barlock.html
    Last edited by AIG; 07-10-2013 at 05:39 PM.

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