Airlift in battle of Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh – P3

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During the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French Army did not have enough air force to provide sufficient and effective supply to the French besieged. On the contrary, the US military had enough helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft available to resupply the defenders at the battle of Khe Sanh ensured timely and adequate support.

In the early days of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French Air Force had 70 C-47 Dakota airplanes for transport, resupply,  dropping parachute soldiers, etc., but the numbers were gradually reduced. French Army had to use civilian pilots and civilian planes to supply the besieged French. Civil Air Transport, Civil Air Transport, a Tiawan-based company with American aircrews, was particularly important because it had the only crews capable of flying the C-47 Dakota and C-119 Flying Boxcar transport aircraft to supply to Dien Bien Phu

Due to the heavy air defense and runway bombardment, the French were able to supply only by parachute dropping. In total, the French Air Force flew 6,700 missions, dropping from 6,410 to 6,950 tons of cargo with 4,291 dropping troops, with a daily average of 117-123 tons. In fact, the French received less than 100 tons a day as part of the cargo reached the French front

In the battle of Khe Sanh, in addition to the fixed wing aircraft, US troops also have helicopters. From January 21st to April 8th, 1968, the C-123 and C-130s flew a total of 600 flights, parachuting 8,120 tons of cargo. Statistics show that the C-123 landed at Khe Sanh 179 times, the C-130 landed 273 times and the C-7 landed eight times. This stage is also the busiest stage of the helicopter. In total, the helicopters flew 9,109 flights, transported 4,661 tons of cargo and 14,562 manned deliveries to transport, transport and transport to Khe Sanh and outposts.

The US did not have any parachute reinforcements for Khe Sanh, all the reinforcements were either landed or grounded by helicopters. The NVA mortars and mortars made the landing of the aircraft more and more dangerous and US forces used the method of dropping cargo with the technology of deceleration. Then, the goods will be placed on the pallet, the bottom attached 2 metal sliders match the cargo axle on the plane. With the old method, the aircraft must stop completely to the crane or truck unloading to unload and the time usually takes about 5-10 minutes. With the new approach, the planes are only low and surfing on the runway, the cargo will be flown out and the aircraft will immediately take off. It takes less than 30 seconds. However, the weather in Khe Sanh area is getting worse, US aircraft can no longer surf on the runway to use the slowdown method and return to the parachute drop method.

The United States Air Force dropped its parachute from January 25, and the total amount of cargo dropped by parachute accounted for two-thirds of the supply during the siege. Parachuting operations were very successful, but the biggest weakness was the inability to drop parachute with heavy cargo and the large parachute dropping area, the collection of cargo also made the US military face the risk. shelling In order to limit the parachute area, the low flying aircraft will face the air defense and bad weather. On many occasions, US troops have canceled airlift operations due to bad weather

To overcome this, US troops used a new technologies called low altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES) and a ground proximity extraction system (GPES). With these measures and equipment, the airplanes do not need to clearly see the parachute area, the ground units use LEDs to control and guide the aircraft to the area to drop. As the aircraft approaches, the automatic devices will drop the cargo parachutes. These techniques also allow the aircraft to drop heavy cargoes due to the goods being dropped from above, when approaching the ground, new parachute would open and limit the winds to blow parachutes far from the front line.

Heavy aircraft were used to supply the Khe Sanh base. The helicopters were also busy with supplies and supplies to the outposts. The dangers of helicopters are increasing and it is vital for Khe Sanh bases to receive enough supplies to survive. US soldiers organized a surrogate campaign named “Super Gaggle” with transport helicopters accompanied by escorts of armed helicopters and A-4  Skyhawk bombers to supply outposts.

See more :

Airlift in battle of Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh – P1

Airlift in battle of Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh – P3

Airlift in battle of Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh – P4

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