The American version of Guy Gibson's Dambusters.

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The Ringo Kid
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The American version of Guy Gibson's Dambusters.

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Post by The Ringo Kid » Sun May 06, 2018 10:28 pm

This came about as a necessity due to General Matthew B. Ridgeway's (who replaced MacArthur) advance on April 1, 1951, having become concerned that the Chinese might attempt to open the floodgates of the Hwachon Dam, 50 miles nor-east of Seoul) in North Korea and flood the Han River-which could have a major impact on UN forces ability to advance. On April 9, the Chinese did open the spillway gates, which raised the level of the Han River 4 feet and damaged two UN bridges.

On April 10, the 2nd Btn, 7th Cav, attacked toward the dam but was stopped half a mile from the objective. On April 11, Item Company and the 4th Ranger Company attacked but were stopped by the Chinese and the attack was called off at dark.. As the PVA (Peoples Volunteer Army [ the Chinese] advanced in late April in their spring offensive, in commanders became concerned they would lose the Hwachom Dam and lower the river level which could aid in their advance. It became imperative to prevent any use of the dam as the battle raged.

The USAF flew an unsuccessful mission against the dam with B-29s on April 20. On April 29, the Navy was ordered to attack the dam. VA-195 aboard the USS Princeton (CV-37) was given the mission. The first raid was on April 30, with eight AD-4 Skyraiders carrying two 2,000 pound bombs each to divebomb the spillway gates, was unsuccessful. The Princeton happened to have eight WWII vintage MK-13 torpedoes in her magazine. Air group commander CDR Dick Merrick decided to use them against the spillway gates. Only a few pilots under his command had had training in using torpedoes including Lt,jg Ed Phillips, who recalled, "We had to modify the airplanes so that the lower dive break would not deploy, due to the lengt of the torpedoes we could carry on the centerline rack." On May 1st, CDR Merrickled five Skyraiders of VA-195 and three AD-4N Skyraiders of VC-35, with 12 F4U-4 Corsairs of VF-194 for flak suppression, against the dam. Phillips remembered: "We couldn't pull any Gs during the attack or we would damage the torpedoes when we dropped them. The Corsairs went in ahead of us and rocketed the flak positions, knocking out some of them, them we attacked from an altitude of 75 feet and a speed of 150 knots, which felt like we were standing still with all the flak bursting around us. At a distance of 1000 yards, we dropped to 50 feet and released the torpedoes, then executed a well-known naval maneuver, getting the hell out of there."

One torpedo was a dud and one sank when dropped. The other six ran straight and true. The spillway gates were jammed partially open by the explosions, which allowed a minor release of water from the dam, but damaged the gates in a way that they could not be opened or closed. The threat the dam posed to the in forces was removed. The mission marked the last time aerial torpedoes would be used by the US Navy. VA-195 became known ever after as "The Dambusters." :thumpsup: :thumpsup:
"Where Liberty Dwells, Is My Country" Ben Franklin.


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