Aircraft for Wings at War – Thud Ridge

This post lists the aircraft that can be used when playing with the Wings at War – Thud Ridge rules. I have separated the US listing for Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Linebacker. I also distinguish between US Air Force and US Navy. US Marine Corps aircraft are not listed, as those were mostly used against tactical targets in South Vietnam.

North Vietnam

North Vietnam used the MiG-17 and MiG-21 throughout the war. During Linebacker, a few Shenyang J-6 (Chinese copy of the MiG-19) were used.

Operation Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder missions were flown from 2 March 1965 to 1 November 1968.

US Air Force

The USAF’s main fighter was the F-4 Phantom II, in C and D version. If variety is desired, a few F-102 and F-104 can be used, but they did not score any kills.
Most of the bombing was carried out by the F-105 Thunderchief. It also served as Wild Weasel.
The F-100 Super Sabre was used as FAC and Wild Weasel.
The RF-101 Voodoo and the RF-4C Phantom II were used as reconnaissance aircraft. ECM duty was performed by the EB-66 Destroyer.
For SAR, the HH-3 Sea King helicopter escorted by the A-1 Skyraider was used. The KC-135 was used as tanker.

US Navy

Both the F-4 and the F-8 Crusader were used as fighters, the F-4 also as bomber.
Early on, the A-1 Skyraider was used as bomber before being transferred to the USAF. Bombing was carried out by the A-4 Skyhawk and the A-6 Intruder. The A-7 Corsair II was used from the end of 1967 on.
Both the A-4 and A-6 served in Iron Hand roles against SAMs.
The RA-5 Vigilante and the RF-8 Crusader were used for reconnaissance. The A-3 Skywarrior was used for ECM and as tanker. As with the USAF, the SH-3 Sea King was used for SAR.

Operation Linebacker

Operation Linebacker I, from 9 May to 23 October 1972, was a reaction to the 1972 Easter Offensive. It targeted logistics systems, such as bridges and rail yards. Operation Linebacker II was conducted from 18 to 29 December 1972, and consisted mostly of B-52 strikes. As such, it is less interesting to play in Wings at War.

US Air Force

The D and E model of the F-4 was the only fighter used. Both were also extensively used as bombers. The F-4 also served as FAC and Wild Weasel. Some F-105 Wild Weasels were also still used.
Bombing was carried out by the F-111 and the B-52.  The A-7 Corsair was used during Linebacker II, and took over the “Sandy” mission of escorting SAR helicopters at the same time.
Reconnaissance was carried out by the F-4, ECM by the B-66. The HH-53 “Super Jolly Green Giant” was now used for SAR, escorted by the A-1 and later the A-7. The KC-135 was still used as tanker.

US Navy

The F-4 was the main fighters, with small numbers of the F-8 remaining in use. The F-4 was also used as bomber.
The A-4, A-6, and A-7 were used as bombers. The A-6 and A-7 were also used for Iron Hand duty.
Reconnaissance continued to be performed by the RA-5 and RF-8. The A-3 and the new EA-6B Prowler were used for ECM. Tanker duties were taken over by the A-6. The SH-3 remained in use as SAR helicopter.

So, what should I get?

For the USAF during Rolling Thunder, you need the F-4 and the F-105. A few F-100 are helpful as Wild Weasels and FACs. Since no RF-101 is available in 1/600, an F-4E with minor modifications should serve as RF-4C. If ECM is wanted, the EB-66/A-3 can be taken. The A-1 and one HH-3 are for SAR. Unfortunately, there’s no model of the KC-135 at this time.

For Linebacker, it’s plenty of F-4s, plus a few B-52s and F-111s. The F-105 can be taken as Wild Weasel. It’s still the RF-4C and the EB-66 for recon and ECM. The A-1 would now accompany the HH-53. During Linebacker II, the A-7 would take over, and can also be used as strike aircraft.

The Navy saw less change in the types of aircraft used. It’s the F-4 and F-8 as fighters, with the A-4 and A-6 as bombers and the latter as Wild Weasel. The A-7 can also be used for 1968 and later, the A-1 for 1965. Reconnaissance is performed by the RA-5 and RF-8, ECM by the A-3. The latter can be used as tanker during Rolling Thunder, while the A-6 would be used in that role for Linebacker. The EA-6B could also be used during Linebacker. The SH-3 can be used as SAR helicopter.

For North Vietnam, it’s of course the MiG-17 and the MiG-21, with a few MiG-19 for Linebacker.