• Short Summary

    As communist forces sweep on with ever-increasing military success towards South Vietnam's capital, Saigon, many observers have wondered at the apparent lack of air support given to President Thieu's ground forces by the country's airforce.

  • Description

    As communist forces sweep on with ever-increasing military success towards South Vietnam's capital, Saigon, many observers have wondered at the apparent lack of air support given to President Thieu's ground forces by the country's airforce.

    The reasons for South Vietnam's lack of air offence and defence are necessarily unclear. But military experts have pinpointed two possible explanations: a lack of spare parts and skilled maintenance technicians, and insufficient target information.

    Saigon's air force is, with the exception of Israel's, the most combat-experienced in the world, and was very good at its job. But it is probably now at less than half its strength of 509 combat aircraft, wit even fewer of its 700 helicopters still serviceable.

    For many months the supply of spare pars for South Vietnam's American 'planes was non-existent. So, mechanics had to "cannibalise" -- take serviceable parts from one damaged 'plane to repair another: As a result of this situation hundreds of aircraft were grounded. It may have been the cause of the abandonment, at one stage of the battle, of some 200 combat aircraft behind communist lines.

    Strategically, South Vietnam's airforce was unused to fighting the kind of support role for troops in retreat from North Vietnam's heavily-armed and dedicated army.

    It has for years concentrated on search-and-destroy missions of small pockets of Viet Cong infiltrators. So, it had little experience in supporting its own ground forces against armoured and concentrated infantry heavily protected by mobile anti-aircraft guns and missiles specially designed to combat low-flying aircraft. It is for this reason that the air force's target information may have been faulty.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA5BO0NG0CMSI4IW5OXFR5DPIRK
    Media URN:
    VLVA5BO0NG0CMSI4IW5OXFR5DPIRK
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/04/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:01:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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