This period was from January 31-June 28, 1966.
However intended, the 37-day bombing halt failed to prompt peace
negotiations. and on January 31. 1966. the U.S. resumed aerial attacks
against North Vietnam. USAF and U.S. Navy pilots soon brought
practically all of North Vietnam under attack. even though targets in
the restricted zones had to be approved in Washington—a procedure
that greatly limited the number of strikes near Hanoi. Haiphong. and
the Chinese border. On April 1, B-52s on their first raid over North
Vietnam dropped 600 tons of munitions on the Mu Gia Pass to inter-
dict forces and supplies on their way to the I-lo Chi Minh Trail.
North Vietnam's air defenses continued to claim U.S. aircraft, al-
though in air-to-air battles the victory-to-loss ratio favored the United
States. To counter surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). the USAF de-
ployed Wild Weasels. F-100Fs equipped with radar wanting and
homing sets to pinpoint SAM radars and mark them for F-104 IRON
limo strikes. After April 18. 1966. the Wild Weasels also carried
strike missiles that horned on radar signals to destroy the SAM sites.
Between May and July. F-105s replaced F-100s as Wild Weasel
While the air war escalated in North Vietnam. Allied ground forces
required increased air support in South Vietnam. During January and
Febnrary 1966. the U.S. Army, in cooperation with the Army of the
Republic of Vietnam and other Allied ground forces, engaged the Viet
Cong in a series of attacks designed to drive them from long-held
areas. The Allied ground forces operated in the Central Highlands
near Dak To. a village and airfleld about 280 miles northeast of
Saigon; Konturn. the provincial capital 20 miles south of Dal: To; and
Pleiku. Allied forces also conducted operations along Highway 19
between Pleiku and Qui Nhon and near Saigon and Tay Ninh. 50 miles
northwest of Saigon. These operations called for extensive airlift, aerial
resupply, and close air support from the USAF.
To control the growing. diverse air operations in South Vietnam. the
USAF on April 1. 1966. activated the Seventh Air Force in place of the
2d Air Division. Its former Commander, Lt. Gen. Joseph H. Moore.
assumed command of the Seventh. A few days later. on the 10th. USAF
C-130s flew I29 sorties to move an entire U.S. Army brigade from Bien
Hoa to Song Be, 60 miles north.173rd brigade conducted seareh and destroy
missions in the area before returning to Bien Hoa by air on April 22 and 23.
Although generally successful in search and destroy operations. the
Allies did suffer some reverses. Perhaps the most significant was the
loss of the South Vietnamese Special Forces Camp at A Shau. on the
Laotian border some 30 miles southwest of the old Vietnamese im-
perial capital of Hue. In spite of USAF close air support with
AC-47 gunships and A-1 fighters. the North Vietnamese overran the
camp on March 9-10. The enemy subsequently developed the A
Shau Valley as a major logistics base with a road network to the Ho
Chi Minh Trail.
In Laos the USAF continued to bomb the Ho Chi Minh Trail and
provide close air support for Laotian forces battling Communist
Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops. ln one
engagement. on March 4 and S. the enemy attacked Royal Laotian
forces at Attopeu in the panhandle of Laos. about 270 miles north of
Saigon. Two USAF AC-47s provided close air support to help break
the attack. The USAF also used B-52s extensively to fly more than
400 interdiction sorties over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos during
the first half of 1966.