Part 41: Sub-Season 6A. Rolling Thunder (F-105D Thunderchief (66))Sub-Season 6A. Rolling Thunder - Bait and Switch (F-105D Thunderchief (66))
When I landed my previous plane, I crashed into a farmer's house, broke his glasses and ran over his favourite dog. As luck would have it, I looked just like the dog, so the farmer kept feeding me yummy sausages for a few weeks! Then the guys from my squadron picked me up, after spotting my abandoned plane from above, even though I discreetly covered it with a twig. The farmer thought, it was a milk tanker.
To encourage me to lose weight, they've decided to put me into something, that could both carry me, and give me "a workout of a lifetime".
Hugs and sloppy kisses,
Come 1966, all Thuds finally wear camo, and a few months later...
Gradually it gets more stuff to carry.
Who thought, that calling a jammer pod AN/AL-anything was a good idea? Especially with that shape.
Also, observe the AIM-9E (arrives in '67) and the lack of AIM-9D. Between AIM-9B and AIM-9L the Sidewinder development was split into two quite separate and incompatible branches, serving Navy and Air Force. We'll see more of them later.
I grabbed some maps and tried to find the fabled Thud Ridge. Thud Ridge is the nickname of the mountain area to the north-west of Hanoi, which let pilots reach their targets running a lower risk of getting perforated by SAMs. It wasn't entirely safe, but the alternative was approaching Hanoi in view of the most experienced SAM operators on the planet.
So, I took this height map of Thud Ridge, took the flat physical map of Vietnam, and arrived at this conclusion:
Which, by the way, has a much better contrast than the blob on the Wikipedia page.
Let's look at that area on the game map. Most of the time it's covered by NVAF squadron icons, so I went back to 1965.
Oh... there's no "ridge" to speak of, just an elevated bump on the map. And the map is downscaled, so flying over there has no real purpose, since you're in every SAM's range, before you even approach it.
Still, I want a course, that takes us through some mountains, and I shall have it.
I knew it! I'm surrounded by assholes!
In which YGBSM is the word of the day