F-105 Wild Weasel vs SA-2 ‘Guideline’ SAM: Vietnam 1965–73
By Peter E. Davies, illustrated by Jim Laurier and Gareth Hector
Osprey Duel Series Book 35
Paperback, 80 pages, illustrated, indexed
Published by Osprey Publishing May 2011
Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.2 x 9.6 inches
I found this book at an IPMS show along with a few other Osprey titles. Osprey books, while short, are an excellent introduction to their topics and are well illustrated being chock full of photographs, maps, and useful illustrations specially commissioned for the series. This title is what you would expect from this publisher and does not disappoint.
The Duel series pits competing weapons systems against each other comparing the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. In this case the weapons are asymmetric, meaning this is not a case of two versions of the same platform (think tank versus tank), but a dissimilar example of aircraft versus surface to air missile. In this instance the aircraft is the USAF F-105 F/G Thunderchief “Wild Weasel” SAM suppression attack aircraft pitted against the North Vietnamese SA-2 “Guideline” surface to air missile system. Neither system operated alone, the Weasels being supported by jamming aircraft and strike aircraft tasked with bombing the missile sites, the North Vietnamese utilizing AAA and MiG interceptors to complicate matters for the F-105s.
The author describes the move and counter-move nature of the struggle between two technologically advanced systems. The F-105’s Shrikes could home in on the SA-2’s “Fan Song” radar; the radar could be turned off to make the Shrike miss; the Weasels could jam the SA-2 guidance link but the missile could be guided optically for much of its flight, and so on. For every new tactic or innovation by either side a counter measure was soon introduced which limited the advantage.
I found this book to be interesting and informative, just right for an evening read with a cat on your lap. Recommended.