On Nov. 1, 1964, a Viet Cong mortar assault on Bien Hoa Air Base close to Saigon destroyed 5 B-57B Canberra bombers and two helicopters, whereas damaging 13 extra B-57B plane. That assault largely mirrored Canberra losses in the course of the warfare—most occurred on or near the bottom. For instance, 4 of the bombers that arrived on Aug. 5, 1964, the primary deployment of U.S. fight jets to South Vietnam, had been misplaced in poor climate.
Initially meant as a nuclear-strike platform, the B-57’s excellent ordnance load and talent to loiter over targets made it the best airplane for floor assist and interdiction efforts in the course of the warfare’s early years.
The U.S. Air Power determined in 1951 so as to add the British-made English Electrical Canberra B.2 to its bomber fleet and chosen Glenn Martin Co. to fabricate it beneath license. Martin’s model, the B-57A Canberra, diminished the crew from three to 2 whereas including wingtip gasoline tanks and a low-drag revolving bomb bay door that enabled the plane to hold quite a lot of ordnance. The primary planes left the manufacturing facility in 1953. Solely eight B-57As had been produced.
The B-model had a redesigned tandem cockpit for the 2 crewmen, a gun sight, wing ordnance laborious factors, wing-mounted weapons and hydraulic air brakes. The B-57B might carry as much as 16 bombs of 100 or 250 kilos in its bomb bay and three,300 kilos of ordnance—bombs or rocket pods—on the wings.
The Canberra was the primary American plane to bomb the Viet Cong and strike the Ho Chi Minh Path. The airplane’s practically 60-minute loiter time and gun armament made it a very in style choice not just for the path but additionally for bigger targets in southern Laos.
The Air Power misplaced 51 Canberras to fight in Vietnam—15 destroyed on the bottom and 26 downed by groundfire, principally over South Vietnam. By 1969, solely 9 B-57Bs had been nonetheless operational. They had been withdrawn that 12 months, changed by closely modified and rebuilt B-57Gs, optimized for low-level, all-weather missions. The Air Power retired the final B-57 in 1983.