“The Vietnam War; perhaps summed up most commonly by exciting new aircraft like Phantoms, Skyhawks, Super Sabres, or the terrifying giant B-52, was also the last outing for a slew of World War II-era designs that suddenly found themselves thrown back into the rainy, humid, mud-spattered fray. Models like the A-1 Skyraider, a late war design  intended to be both a dive-bomber and strike aircraft was a perfect fit for the ‘Sandy’ (SAR) missions, that became a harrowing and regular part of the Vietnam air war. But the best example of this however, was the re-duxing of the A-26 (which some call a B-26 due to utterly confusing US Military penickityness). A late World War II light-bomber, the A/B-26 was initially stripped of its gun turrets and pressed into attack roles in the murky early 60s era of  ‘not quite admitting we are fighting in Vietnam’, having already flown in Korea. In time the chunky, but somehow rather graceful, machine was upgraded to specialise in attacking the Ho Chi Minh trail. Wing tip tanks upped loiter time, eight guns clustered in the nose, and the ability to carry large amounts of external arms ranging from napalm, to rockets, to conventional and cluster bombs, made the Invader to top scoring traffic destroyer in Vietnam. Sometimes it’s good to be slow and old.”

By Bruno Bayley, Managing editor of Vice Magazine



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