Friday, April 06, 2007

Fullbore Friday

A timely Fullbore Friday concerning one of my favorite subjects - the Spring Offensive in '72 where the South Vietnamese with US Navy and Air Force cover defeated the North Vietnamese Army. The next time they invaded in '75, the Democrat Congress took away all funding and support - and we know how that ended. Anyway, here is the USS Buchanan (DDG-14) (the second time a USS Buchanan made Fullbore Friday) doing what she was made to do. Thanks to Eagle1 for the inspiration.
USS BUCHANAN first line period in 1972 consisted of 63 continuous days of operation in combat zone off Vietnam

On station off the DMZ March 30, 1972 she was one of the first gunline ships to fire against the North Vietnamese invading force. During those first days of April, BUCHANAN provided gunfire support for evacuation of U.S. Marines at the forward ground observer post, Alpha Two, the defense of Dong Ha and the evacuation of the Vietnamese Naval Base.

On the Cua Viet River on numerous occasions, BUCHANAN took enemy troops and tanks under direct fire and has been credited with the destruction of four enemy tanks at the DMZ and numerous enemy troops killed in action at the approaches to the Dong Ha bridge.

On April 5, with Commodore T.R. Johnson, ComDesRon 31 embarked, BUCHANAN led an operation against North Vietnam. On the afternoon she fired the first rounds into North Vietnam since "Sea Dragon" operations creased in 1968.

On April 10 BUCHANAN was directed to proceed to Danang Harbor for regunning alongside the tender USS Samuel Gompers. This marked the first time that a US Navy ship was assigned tender availability in a forward combat area during the Vietnam conflict.

Regunning completed, BUCHANAN once again put to sea and continued operations off the coast of North Vietnam, Several times a day her guns hammered supply routes, SAM sites, enemy troop concentrations and coastal defense sites.

On April 16, she led the first strike against the Do Son Peninsula off Haiphong Harbor in company with the Seventh Fleet command ship, USS Oklahoma City, USS Richard B. Anderson and USS Hamner.

On the following day, while engaged in a sharp exchange of gunfire with hostile shore batteries, one enemy artillery shell found its mark. The shell penetrated the superstructure and exploded, killing one man and slightly wounding seven others. Material damage was quickly isolated and three hours later BUCHANAN was again striking enemy targets. On April 18, BUCHANAN retired to Danang for battle damage repair.

On April 19 the Task Force BUCHANAN had just left was attacked by MIG's. The USS Higbee DD 806 was severely damaged by direct hit to after Mount. She joined BUCHANAN at Destroyer Tender in Da Nang to undergo repairs. During the battle two MIG's were shot down by USS Steret

After a brief four-day period as plane guard for the attack aircraft carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, BUCHANAN returned to the gunline.

BUCHANAN once again headed for the northern reaches of the Gulf of Tonkin on May 8 and participated in operations in the vicinity of the Do Son Peninsula.

One operation involved suppression of hostile shore batteries while enabling other U.S. Navy Forces to mine the Haiphong Harbor entrance, On the night of May 10, BUCHANAN in company with USS Newport News, USS Providence, USS Oklahoma City and USS Hanson once again returned to the Do Son Peninsula to participate in operations involving the most formidable cruiser-destroyer strike group assembled in the Western Pacific since World War II.

Striking against military targets in the Haiphong area, BUCHANAN is the only U.S. Navy ship to have participated in every surface strike operation off Haiphong Harbor since operations were initiated of April 5.

In 63 days, BUCHANAN had struck North Vietnamese military targets 49 times and also delivered over 7700 rounds against enemy emplacements while receiving hostile fire on almost every mission. She was the first U.S. Navy vessel to engage the enemy as the North Vietnamese forced their way across the DMZ and is now the last of the "Charter members" in combat action to return to port.

And no; you couldn't do that with a LCS. NetFires can't keep going. 57mm don't cut it - and a LCS will not take a 105mm, 152mm, or 155mm hit and keep going. Don't be sad at these pictures - she served until RIMPAC 2000.

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