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Vietnam war carrier battle groups


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#1 CV32

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 06:25 PM

I'm looking for authoritative sources on the composition of various US Navy carrier battle groups during the war in Vietnam.

The carriers and their air wings are themselves generally easy enough to find, but I'm also looking for escort ships, support vessels, submarines, etc.

Specifically for 1972, but if we can fill out the whole period, that'd be awesome.

Thanks in advance. B)

#2 TeTeT

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 04:17 AM

...
The carriers and their air wings are themselves generally easy enough to find, but I'm also looking for escort ships, support vessels, submarines, etc.
...


Not sure if you can call it 'authoritative', but here are some links I've collected when doing my Vietnam scenarios. The first two should contain pointers on what you're looking for, I add the others as I found them useful when developing scenarios:


In the books I've read I haven't seen a list of escorts and support ships, the only list was on carrier deployments in 'On Yankee Station'.

I can't provide a source right now for the following, it's from memory: Usually two carriers were deployed on Yankee and Dixie Station. The carriers worked in 12 hour shifts, while one was conducting operations, the other would stand done be rearmed and refueled. During Rolling Thunder (65-68) Operations would either be constantly ongoing for interdiction strikes, or a complete carriers strike force would be launched for 'Alpha Strikes'. I've read that Russian spy ships (fish trawlers packed with elint) would observe the fleets action and interfere with them, by clinging to their nautical right of way.

The air operations themselves can be grouped 4 campaigns, to the best of my knowledge:
  • Rolling Thunder - bombing campaign on the North from 65 to 68, a gradual escalation campaign
  • Steel Tiger - bombing campaign on Laos, 64 to 7x, covert campaign and often served as diversionary target if clouds would block North Vietnam during Monsoon
  • Linebacker I - resuming of bombing of North Vietnam in 1972
  • Linebacker II - all out aerial campaign against North Vietnam in December 1972

I have a couple of books on the Vietnam War, but none is specific to naval operations. If wanted I can list them here in another post.

On other games that might contain pointers, the flight sim 'Wings over Vietnam' / 'Strike Fighter 2: Vietnam' from Thirdwire comes to mind. It covers the deployment of a lot of squadrons in the ini files, though there are in general no support vessels. The best game on the subject is IMO the boardgame Downtown, published by GMT but out of print. The rules and scenario books are available for free on the developers homepage and I used the included bib as a buying reference.

I found some challenges to simulate the Vietnam war with Harpoon, but this should go in a different thread, not the military history one.

#3 CV32

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 09:56 AM

in progress

Maybe we can flesh out the carrier battle groups if we build the skeleton first ...

USS Constellation (CV-64)

June to August 1964
May to December 1966
April to December 1967
May 1968 to January 1969
August 1969 (then to Defender Station in Sea of Japan)
On Yankee Station from November 1969 to May 1970
October 1971 to July 1972
January to October 1973

USS Enterprise (CVN-65)

Six six combat deployments to Southeast Asia from 1965-75
Return to Southeast Asia in Spring 1971
On Yankee Station from August–November 1971
On Yankee Station from October-December 1972
January 1973 - strikes on targets in Laos
April 1975 - Operation Frequent Wind

USS Hancock (CV-19)

On Yankee Station, November 1964 to Spring 1965
December 1965 to August 1966
Early 1967 to July 1967
November 1970 to May 1971
March 1972 to ??

USS Oriskany (CV-34)

May to December 1965
On Dixie Station 27 June 1966
On Yankee Station 8 July to October 1966
On Yankee Station July 1967 to January 1968
Return April 1969?

USS Ranger (CV-61)

Joined TF 77 in October 1964, till April 1965
January to August 1966
On Yankee Station, December 1967 to April 1968
Return to Yankee Station 11 April to 5 May 1968
October 1968 to May 1969
October 1969 to May 1970
October 1970 to March 1971
December 1972 to August 1973

USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)

August 1964
On Dixie (later Yankee also) Station November 1964 to March/April 1965
November 1966 to April 1967
January to July 1968
March to April 1969
On Yankee Station May to August 1969

#4 TEPonta

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:22 PM

This is from Wikipedia, if it helps any.

Hancock reached Japan on 19 November and soon was on patrol at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. She remained active in Vietnamese waters until heading for home early in the spring of 1965.

November found the carrier steaming back to the war zone. She was on patrol off Vietnam on 16 December; and, but for brief respites at Hong Kong, the Philippines, or Japan, Hancock remained on station launching her planes for strikes at enemy positions ashore until returning to Alameda on 1 August 1966. Her outstanding record during this combat tour won her the Navy Unit Commendation.


Flight deck operations off Vietnam, 1972.Following operations off the West Coast, Hancock returned to Vietnam early in 1967 and resumed her strikes against Communist positions. After fighting during most of the first half of 1967, she returned to Alameda on 22 July and promptly began preparations for returning to battle.

In the summer of 1969 she was back in Alameda preparing for yet another deployment to southeast Asia. In July, while in pre-deployment night landing exercises, an F-8 came in too low and crashed into the round-down splitting the aircraft into two pieces which hurtled down the deck and erupted in a massive fuel fed fire. While no lives were lost, damage to the flight deck was extensive, resulting in a frenetic 24 x 7 repair effort to be ready by the deployment date.

Aircraft from Hancock, along with those from Ranger and Oriskany, joined with other planes for air strikes against North Vietnamese missile and antiaircraft sites south of the 19th parallel in response to attacks on unarmed U.S. reconnaissance aircraft on 21–22 November 1970 (Operation Freedom Bait). Hancock alternated with Ranger and Kitty Hawk on Yankee Station until 10 May 1971, when she was relieved by Midway.

Hancock, along with Coral Sea, was back on Yankee Station by 30 March 1972 when North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. In response to the invasion, Naval aircraft from Hancock and other carriers flew tactical sorties during Operation Freedom Train against military and logistics targets in the southern part of North Vietnam. By the end of April, the strikes covered more areas in North Vietnam throughout the area below 20°25′ N. From 25–30 April, aircraft from Hancock's VA-55, VA-164, and VA-212 struck enemy-held territory around Kontum and Pleiku.

On 17 March 1975 Hancock was ordered to offload its air wing and proceed to Pearl Harbor.[3] On 26 March, Marine Heavy Lift Helicopter Squadron HMH-463 comprising 25 CH-53, CH-46, AH-1J and UH-1E helicopters embarked on the Hancock and it proceeded to Subic Bay.[4] After taking on more helicopters at Subic Bay, Hancock was temporarily assigned to Amphibious Ready Group Bravo, standing by off Vung Tau, South Vietnam, but on 11 April she joined Amphibious Ready Group Alpha in the Gulf of Thailand.[5] Hancock then took part in Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of Phnom Penh on 12 April 1975 and Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon on 29–30 April 1975.[6] From 12–14 May, she was alerted, although not utilized, for the recovery of SS Mayagüez, a US merchantman with 39 crew, seized in international waters on 12 May by the Communist Khmer Rouge.

I remember operating with Hancock, Oriskany, Coral Sea, and Midway at various times in the early '70s in the Tonkin Gulf, but the details escape me.

Buddha

#5 broncepulido

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:41 PM

Another link, but without details:
http://www.eleven-br...ttle/USNPub.pdf

USS Midway link: http://www.midwaysai.../cruises04.html

Another curiosity (Perhaps perousing on that site ..... but I doubt it):
http://www.vietnam.t...2391212004A.pdf
http://www.vietnam.t...ve/index.htm#in

#6 broncepulido

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:35 AM

Another previously unreported source, with CVW and a small glipse of CVBG in some of the carriers deployments:
http://www.uscarrier.../cv64deploy.htm
http://www.uscarrier...cvn65deploy.htm
http://www.uscarrier.../cv19deploy.htm
http://www.uscarrier.../cv34deploy.htm
http://www.uscarrier.../cv61deploy.htm
http://www.uscarrier.../cv14deploy.htm

#7 broncepulido

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:53 AM

We known previously this splendid japanese site (in English!!!), but it's ever worth of mention, rigurous carrier deployment and carrier air wing composition, but not escorts :huh: :
http://gonavy.jp/CVf.html

#8 TEPonta

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 04:42 PM

We known previously this splendid japanese site (in English!!!), but it's ever worth of mention, rigurous carrier deployment and carrier air wing composition, but not escorts :huh: :
http://gonavy.jp/CVf.html


Excellent site, and most interesting to this USS Midway vet.

Thanx,

Buddha

#9 Warhorse64

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 08:17 PM

Yeah, great site, thank you for the link! B)

#10 broncepulido

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 05:44 PM

A little glipse of carrier escorts and/or cruiser deployments in Vietnam in the fabulous Phillip R. Hays' Okieboat web site (about the CG-5 USS Oklahoma City and her Talos missile system):
http://www.okieboat.com/Ship's%20history.html

Also here, idea for a small scenario ...

On 10 May, 1972, Oklahoma City joined the cruisers USS Newport News (CG-148), USS Providence (CLG-6) and destroyers USS Hanson (DD-832), USS Myles C. Fox (DD-829) and USS Buchannan (DDG-14), and shelled the Cat Bai military airfield on the Do Son peninsula at the mouth of Haiphong Harbor, North Vietnam.



#11 broncepulido

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 12:08 PM

Another hint about this neverending issue:
http://commons.wikim...a_Sea,_1965.jpg
The photo caption reads:

Task Force 77 operating in the South China Sea, March 1965. It had recently launched strikes against North Vietnam. Carriers present are (clockwise from bottom): Ranger (CVA-61), Yorktown (CVS-10), Coral Sea (CVA-43) and Hancock (CVA-19). The guided missile cruiser Canberra (CAG-2) is in the center of the formation. The destroyer screen includes: England (DLG-22), Gurke (DD-783), Rogers (DD-876), Walker (DD-517), O'Bannon (DD-450), Somers (DD-947), Jenkins (DD-447), John A. Bole (DD-755), Higbee (DD-806), Buck (DD-761), Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) and Ernest G. Small (DD-838). This photograph was specially posed, and does not represent a normal operating formation.






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