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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
...but it probably is time to retire the ol' BUFF.

When I was humping them (being assigned Close-In Sentry duty to alert BUFF's was called "humping" or "being on the hump") back in the mid 70's, son's were flying the same planes their dad's flew. Now it's grandsons. The youngest B-52 in service is over 50 years old. That's a lotta years for an airplane.

Hell, that's a lotta years for anything mechanical.

I remember watching with pride as those great old war dogs were used to "break the morale" of Saddam's Republican Guard during the first Gulf War. And there is nothing like being on the receiving end of saturation bombing to break one's morale. :D

https://screen.yahoo.com/popular/america-afford-nuclear-bomber-003902806.html?vp=1
 

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I remember having the privilege, when I was a young Air Force pilot, of hearing a talk by one of the returned POW's of the Vietnam war. He told a story about the BUFF that I'll never forget.

As Christmas '72 approached, things were pretty miserable in the Hanoi Hilton. The beatings, torture, and deprivations were daily facts of life, and there seemed to be no end in sight. One of the prison routines was the air raid protocol. If an attack was anticipated, the sirens would go off and the guards would enter each cell and chain the prisoners, then force them to huddle under their bunks. This ensured that if the prison was hit, they wouldn't be able to escape in the ensuing confusion. Sometimes there was a strike, and sometimes not; if there was, it usually consisted of a faraway attack by Thuds or Intruders, and the few dozen bombs that were dropped sounded like distant artillery. At the all clear, the guards would return to unchain the POW's, sometimes roughing them up in the process.

One night in December that all changed. The sirens sounded, and the guards dutifully chained the prisoners and retired to their shelters. All of a sudden, what sounded like a distant earthquake started. Instead of dozens of bombs, it was thousands, and the distant rumble got louder and louder as the strings approached the Hilton. At the peak, when the strings were landing the closest, the noise became deafening, plaster was falling from the walls, and the dim light bulbs were dancing on their slender cords. Everyone thought that they would surely be hit. It sounded like the end of the world.

Gradually, the impacts moved away from the prison, and faded off into the distance. There was dead silence for a long time, then the guards slowly returned to the cellblocks. This time, though, their attitude was much different. They unchained the prisoners, picked them up and dusted them off, and asked them if they were OK. The next morning, months worth of mail and Red Cross packages were distributed.

Linebacker II convinced a lot of folks in the North that they weren't going to win the war, and the treatment of the POW's showed a marked improvement. Every man in the Hilton thanked God for the B-52's.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A great example of the kinds of lessons that aren't in the history books.
 

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CaptainGyro,

GREAT STORY!!!!!

I've said since 1974 that the RVN War COULD HAVE BEEN WON, if the [email protected]#$%^&! politicians would have "turned us LOOSE". = That definitely includes the USAF.

yours, sw
 

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I remember a feature story in the late, lamented Washington Star newspaper in the late '70s about BUFFs and the men who flew them, and the airplane was considered "ancient" even then. :shock:
 

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I had heard part of the story but you got it from the horse's mouth... many thanks

I have a good friend who was a Marine aviator in F-4s out of Da Nang. He tells the story of riding along looking for something to blast when the sky in front of them was full of falling objects. Someone had forgotten to tell the Marines about an Arc Light strike in the neighborhood.

The response was to pull hard, light the burners and go the other way. He said that there would have been no way to fly through what amounted to a wall of ordnance...

I guess the USAF still thinks they need a heavy bomber and the 52 still works.
 

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Yeah, with Putin's BS it's time to update the design some and order another few hundred...

The BUFF may be old, but one of its biggest virtues is an unbelievable amount of room to install new gear, where most newer aircraft are packed from one skin panel to the other, along with having a reputation of frightful effectiveness money can't buy--I daresay it's the only weapon those Commie bastards in the Kremlin respect other than the ICBM and missile-sub forces.
 

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The B52 can still be quite effective in areas with poor air defense, where we own the sky. It has the longest range and loiter time of any of our bombers and can deliver pretty much any sort of weapon that can be carried. Iron bombs, standoff weapons, cruise missiles, or just reconnaissance. There were nearly 800 built and less than 100 are still flying, but they are slated to keep flying until 2045.
 

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And many of the ones cut up were done so prematurely--the biggest difference between the 193 -G's that were cut up under Clinton and the 80-odd H's today is the engines, and the G's could quite quickly and easily have been rebuilt up to H standard. Actually, the H testbed WAS just a re-engined G... and with the tail guns removed the other major difference goes away too. (Aside, that's the reason the C-141 fleet was cut up, to cannibalize their engines to keep the H's flying since the stupid bastards in the Pentagon Pointynose Mafia were too short-sighted to see the value of upgrading to more efficient engines with better maintenance costs.)

And with some gear changes and adding defensive AAM's and ARM's, I'd bet they could probably handle a higher-threat environment too--maybe not Going Downtown into Red Square, but still having a credible penetration capability. (They damn well BETTER, since the Bones got de-nuclearized...)
 

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I recall reading that they tested a version of the BUFF that would hold 8 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Now imagine what a flight of B52's with 8 Harpoons each could do to an enemy flotilla!!!
 

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Navies have missiles of their own these days. :shock:
 

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Another BUFF story from Vietnam, related to me by the aircraft commander:

B-52's carried over 100 bombs on raids into Vietnam, and it was not uncommon for a few to hang in the bomb bay. After egressing the target area, it was the Radar Nav's job to crawl through the forward gear bay into the bomb bays and pin the hangers.

On one of his first missions, this particular AC had hung bombs, and, after going feet wet, told the Nav over the intercom that he was cleared to go back and pin them.

"I don't do that", came the reply.

Incredulous, the AC turned to the copilot to see if he had heard correctly.

"Oh yeah," said the copilot, "I forgot to tell you, he doesn't do that", whereupon he related the following story to the AC:

On one of his first missions, this particular Nav was on a crew whose pilots delayed the order to pin hung bombs until they were approaching Guam. He began his crawl back through the tunnel and was in the forward gear bay when the flight was told by ATC to make an "expedited" descent. The copilot, who was flying at the time, needed more drag than the spoilers could provide, and, without thinking about the Nav, threw the gear handle down.

Now, the poor Nav was standing on one of the gear doors when it suddenly opened, exposing him to a 300 knot slip stream and a view of the Pacific thirty thousand feet below. As the big main wheels initiated their convoluted rotating extension he started climbing furiously to stay on top of them and out of that breeze passing inches below his feet. Meanwhile, up in the cockpit, the AC suddenly realized what was happening, screamed "NO!!!" and slammed the gear handle back up.

Our poor hero back in the forward gear bay was just starting to think he might survive when the big gear reversed itself and started retracting, threatening to crush him against the top of the compartment. He quickly reversed his scramble, now climbing downward as fast as he could, hoping the doors closed in time to give him something to stand on. They did. He immediately returned to the forward crew compartments, feeling somewhat -- shall we say -- aggrieved.

Upon hearing this story, the AC prevailed upon the other Nav to pin the hung bombs, and never again asked the Radar Nav to go back there.
 

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I recall seeing footage back when of the results of an arc light strike. A staggered row of holes (slightly left and right of center) about 1/2 mile long appeared in the greenage below showing clear space about 200 meters side to side. Kinda like God did a buzz cut to the earth. Being older and more cynical, I expect they took the footage because for once, everything worked like it was supposed to.

I used to be good friends with a former Buff crew chief. One of his stories was from when the gunner was still isolated in the tail. On a cross country flight, the gunner lost comms with the folks on the flight deck, which apparently wasn't all that unusual. However, in this case, they hit rough weather and the guy decided for some reason that the plane was going down and bailed out. The folks up front allegedly didn't discover this until landing.

I recall being at an air show at Andrews where they ran a B-52 cell past at a comparatively low altitude. The ground shook before they came into view.
 

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Possibly the only thing better than cop stories are pilot stories...
 

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WaltGraham,

Other than OCONUS "war stories" you are EXACTLY correct.

Fwiw, I know of exactly ONE "war story" from RVN that is demonstrably true: I really SAW the tigress pelt with a signed/witnessed statement by the "ambush participants" (at the "exhibition area" at Building 1, USAIS in Dec '73) that was shot to pieces by M60s, after she tried to "take an 11B30 home to dinner". - In that era, "every living GI" had heard THAT particular "tiger-tale".

The BEST efforts of a taxidermist couldn't "fix" all those .30 calibur holes!
(The back side of the skin looked like "the world's biggest shotgun" had used her for target practice at about 30-50M.- Must have been over 100 "repaired" holes.)

yours, sw
 

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I recall reading that they tested a version of the BUFF that would hold 8 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Now imagine what a flight of B52's with 8 Harpoons each could do to an enemy flotilla!!!
8 Harpoons is the standard maritime-strike load. Four each wing, fuel tanks in the bay.

Another BUFF story from Vietnam, related to me by the aircraft commander:

B-52's carried over 100 bombs on raids into Vietnam, and it was not uncommon for a few to hang in the bomb bay. After egressing the target area, it was the Radar Nav's job to crawl through the forward gear bay into the bomb bays and pin the hangers.
Six clips of 14 each in the bay for Mk 82 500#ers, a dozen more on each wing. Loading old M117 750# bombs cut the bay capacity in half, but for short range hops they'd load M117s on the wing and Mk 82's on the belly. THIRTY TONS of hurt falling from each aircraft...

I recall seeing footage back when of the results of an arc light strike. A staggered row of holes (slightly left and right of center) about 1/2 mile long appeared in the greenage below showing clear space about 200 meters side to side. Kinda like God did a buzz cut to the earth. Being older and more cynical, I expect they took the footage because for once, everything worked like it was supposed to.
The map I saw of a six-plane Arc Light strike showed it covering a space equivalent of the National Mall in DC end to end including all the museums and such on both sides.

Possibly the only thing better than cop stories are pilot stories...
Indeed.
 

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To All,

As some of you know, my father was "in B17s" during WWII. - He always told the unique story about a bombardier who fell out of the bomb-bay doors TWICE (while trying to dislodge bombs, that were "hung up"), landing in deep snow the first time and in a lake the second time.
(The first time, he was "dug out of the snow & returned to US control" by the Resistance. The second time, he was captured by the German army, treated for his severe injuries & interred in a POW camp until shortly before VE Day.)

T-Sgt Jimmy Musgrove, late of the USAAF, died of old age on the family farm near Lufkin, Texas in the late 1980s. - His rather amazing story was published separately from his obituary in THE LUFKIN DAILY NEWS & in THE ANGELINA COUNTY GAZETTE.

A couple of years before his passing, the former SGT was asked by a reporter from the ANGELINA COUNTY GAZETTE to tell his story. - Mr. Musgrove reportedly said, "That's not something that I choose to discuss.".

yours, sw
 
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