Tour of the Vietnam War Vietnamese Air Force Hanoi Museum (2018)
Part 1 of 3 - From the Hanoi Air Force Museum
Having accidentally found myself in Hanoi with a spare morning, a trip to a military museum was required. Originally intending to go to the supposedly disapointing Vietnam War Museum, my driver ended up dropping me off instead at the Air Force Museum...which doesn't appear all that prominently in the normal guidebooks but as you will see is still pretty good, especially for a wargamer!
The museum has a large static park containing and (admittedly) limited range of aircraft and AA guns as used by the Vietnamese Air Force during the Vietnam war and immediately afterwards in some other conflicts (which don't really seem to get much of a look-in). You can walk around the grounds and climb all over the kit if you wish, so its very much a hands-on experience.
It was a fairly decent and bright day without being overly sunny, so I managed to get a good number of pretty clear photos using my iPhone 6S camera
Hand-cranked 14.5mm quad AA gun - one of a number of bits of ex-WW2 vintage kit used at the start of the Vietnam war
100mm Russian-built AA piece. The plate suggests this may have shot down both the 1st and the 100th US aircraft in the war.
The same piece, but from the rear. Given its outside in a pretty damp climate, the museum had kept it in good order (maybe in case its ever needed again!). The wheels will even spin around if you try to move them
Air war in Vietnam - documentary
Another WW2 era Russian AA piece, a BTR-40 with a 14.5mm AA gun ( could be a 23mm) mounted on an armoured truck
A really unusual story on this one, supplied by the US to the Russians under Lend-Lease in WW2 this 90mm AA gun was shipped east to use against the Japanese in Manchuria and then passed onto the Chinese, and ultimately the Vietnamese to use against the Americans in the Vietnam war.
As I said... an American gun that by its 4th owner was shooting down American aircraft on the other side of the world.
This was another really interesting piece with a similiarly eclectic history - a German "85mm" (according to the caption.. which may mean "88mm" then, but more likley means an actual Russian 85 mm air defense gun M1939 (52-K) ?) which had been captured by the Red Army (difficult if it was theres to start with!) and found its way to Vietnam where it (possibly "again") came up against the Americans too.
The classic road wheel & mantlet configuration of the 88mm was duplicated on the Russian 85mm
Still in very good nick again.
German engineering. Or Soviet, Who knows..
A baby Shilka, mounting quad 14.5mm MG's
This was a copy missile, probably provided for scale or maybe used in a parade sometime.
As appears to be traditional at Vietnamese museums, a pile of rusting bits of US airforce planes. As well as the F4 there are supposedly bits of a B52 in here, and the Cessna Bird Dog rece plane on the right.
As someone who knew very little about the Vietnam war, I was amazed to read just how many F4's were downed in the conflict - in recent years we have gotten used to a concept of small numbers of modern fighter aircraft being essentially invulnerable to ground-based "2nd or 3rd rate" AA defences, but as recently as the 1970's that clearly wasn't the case
Air war in Vietnam - footage
The engines of the F4 have been removed
During the Vietnam War, thousands of U.S. aircraft were lost to antiaircraft artillery (AAA), surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and fighter interceptors (MiG)s. The great majority of U.S. combat losses in all areas of Southeast Asia were to AAA. The Royal Australian Air Force also flew combat and airlift missions in South Vietnam, as did the Republic of Vietnam. Among fixed-wing aircraft, more F-4 Phantoms were lost than any other type in service with any nation.
Rivet counter expertise is needed to identify these engines I feel!
AA missile battery. The captions did not use the NATO designations so I'm unsure what type of "SA" missile these were
I'm guessing from the paint scheme that this may have been a USN Phanton F4?
F-4 Phantom II : 445 total losses, of which 382 were in combat. First loss: operational (non-combat), F-4C 64-0674 (45TH TFS, 15th TFW) which ran out of fuel after strike in SVN on 9 June 1965; first combat loss F-4C 64-0685 (45th TFS, 15th TFW) shot down Ta Chan, NW NVN on 20 June 1965. 9 of the losses were parked aircraft struck by rockets. Final loss: F-4D 66-8747 (432d TRW) on 29 June 1973.
More shots of the AA and rather large radar setups.
AA missiles from the rear
These had Russian writing all over them - the shopping centre in the background is an interesting juxtaposition in regard to the ultimate victory of capitalism I guess...
Another, bigger missile again with lots of Cyrillic - and this one appeared to be a 2-stage rocket as well.
The radar arrays that support these missiles were substantial - dwarfing the trucks they were mounted on
AA guns in Vietnam - footage
Like, just wow. No high speed cornering in this baby..
Next up, some captured US kit and some Russian build helicopters! Click here to read on for more stuff on page 2 of this museum report!