MEMO 2/11/66 POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF VARIOUS PROGRAMS OF AIR ATTACKS AGAINST THE DR

Created: 2/11/1966

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IIIEILIOIBCH AOEBGT

OTPICSATIONAL ESTIMATES

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SITDJECT, PoMlblt Effect* or Varlou* Programs of Airtha

1. Id toll aeiiorandua vt examine the advantages and dlaa advantages of four different prograas against tha WW. Va vtlgh thatt proareas againit tvoUJ Interdicting the

of mo and material to South Viettuu, and induelog the

DRV to take* to halt tha support for the insurgency lo SVH.

In addition, vt faavtasked toth* effect*

program only in the aborteek* ora -

xamined th* questions in the li&ht of preteat 09

capabilities In the area.

Th* four aiBumed program*

rogram along the line* of the pre-paus* patternrogram concentrating oo LOCa in th* southern

(HI) imilar program, but with th* addition of POL etcrefi* fbeiliti**

<rv)ochrogrsa, exempting only populationtod sources of food supplies.

Ceocrtl.

ith re.pect to tho first USv* dothat arao th* moat extensive ot th* above program of airvould pr*vant th* movement of men andto

South lo quantities *ufflol*nt ton orncraaac th* Bcal* of VC/prWB activity.-OurJudgmenthat aa average f about LBlya required by tha VC/PAYH froaaourcaa ovar th* paatn if tbaaa requirement* grow, th* total amount* art likely tovtU below tb*of the supply linea under tbe kind of boohing program la Ih* principal effect of tb* different boobirg levels probably should o* measured lo Uraa or iloving oovo th* *upply tfforti disrupting schedule*perational planning, raising th* cost to, andelling oa futureof th* aupply"ritical to th* slgnlflcanc* of any celling established on LHV caoablUtla* vould b* tb* rat* of conauaptloa of aen and esteriel vhlch GVIi/elUednpoaa oa tb* VC/PAVM forces.

k. with reapeet to th* accord IB objective, vhlcb tun on th* DRV'* vlll toth*th* various US progrsa* night havely differentTh*a* difference*cv. But vt feel it ahould h* atrongly cernhaslud that all these progrsna vould b* Id* Important lo th* DHV'a cal-eulatlon* than th* result* of ceebat la South Vittnaa.

Coarse X. ould be roughly th*atterai arsedlua strikestarecta throughout th* DRV, hut not locludicg the

lnduatrial complex, POVW pbpulation-eeriUra. Karolacvould remain and ther* vould

imit co attacks closer thanm from th*. .

order.

" 'Ibe record of th* last year offer* little prospectat* course vouldUS objectivea.5iriTtb* US conducted aboutortlea against target* lo tb* CRY, hut Infiltration Mens nevertheless to have increased, and tb*

ICW rtaoUon to the last pauseontinuing deUrninaUoo,

oot to make any concession* to bait bombings. It can barhat tb* effect* of *ir*tt*elurar*-ca*wlatlv* and that only tb*

phase beginning last October represent** tvXXof this

pattern. But ve think it highly doubtful that th*a*

pattern vould move the US much closer to itsand certainly

not vitbln ton veaka.

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Is likely that the drv sod CUMil esp.ittoo extensive program from th* US. Id rejectingverture a, the drv has almost certainly decided th*t

It could absorb an enlarged prograa vblco would include targets vlthln th*phoog "sanctuary". Uniting th* bombing* in thl* fashion, therefore, would relieve Hanoi's lamed late apprehensions and encourage th* drv.to pcrslit along preitnt lines of policy. The chances of thi* program leading to anof tha varthus quit* avail. The Soviet* too ara probably prepared to cope vita tho political ana allitary problem* steaming from at least the pre-pausi pattern of bombing. They too are likely to be acnewhat relieved and would avoid any radical new atapa because of thlo US courte. Thus, th* US probably would not be Incurring any new rlsksr"

program would hav* the advantage of damagingnetwork supporting th* infiltration trail* and thainto the DRV. But th* OS effort would be dispersed over

a vide area-and notarget complex would feel the maximum weightustained US iitteckV Moreover, the northern target* and particularly th* tolphong-Hanol rail lin* ara heavily defended. There wouldisk of chance engageaeritj with Chineseecause of the location of aom* of th* northern target*an air

var vita tb* DRV night develop. Therefore the question nightof whether to attack DRV air fiald* end BAM sites near to Hanoi or lUiphong, eves if tha original program had not Includedarget*.

orld oplBlcn would again be dleturbed and vaxioue preaauroa

for another pause would grow. Tbe US political position night ha

damaged if UK consideration vera atlll pending.

Couraa IX* This programoocentrat* tha attacks on lOCa and other military targata in the area of theth ofh ptrallel. It uouU callustained stuck Including night booblng. It Is further assumed that the exist-

ing progrsma la Laos and against coaetal shipping vould bt COQ-

9. In contrast to tha previous U3 bocblng effort, thia program vould focuaingle Urget ccopltk directly and InoedWtelya ted to the war InLOCa in Military Region XV of the.. -DRV. This ana la the narrowest and therefor* th* moat critical juncture of th* supply routes coning novo Intob* DRV nov use*0 men in Military Begloo IV to maintain tb* supply effort througho sustain this fore* require* tonnages far In erece* of the amount ultUatsly aeat Into South Vietnam. Therevldenc* that th* total requirement* for tbl* southern avea ar* growing, and nay b* at0 ton* overyOdey period

uium that tbe forces presently availablecapability for eiooetraed reconnaissance

the Mia oortb-iouth tad literal roads as vailsupplyad nllltary lnsUllatlorui bttvieo the DVZ aod VIoh. Io practice, however, effectiveness would ba limited by such operational factor* as weather, darkness, and the characteristics and capabilities of th* aircraft. Tha results would ba further degraded byand active counter-measures by tha forth Vletaaateae, Including the use of secondary roads and trails, camouflage, aad theof coaTantloaal anti-aircraft artillery along tha main Oa the basis of tbe MY'* perfOrmaac* towe believe that they would be abla to continue supplying the essential materiel* to Military Region XV and that thty would even ba able to increase tha shipment of supplies to South Vietnam If necessary,

concentrated air attack of tbe typealling oo future rates of delivery to South Vletoam.true of all progran* assumed la this asswrsodum, but veia tb* Inorfr run, the on* considered here probablyower celling than would the other programs,also lay the greater stral* on the effort to supportforees. Of course, this would only bold true If at tha

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time th.wrt prevented from expending direct chlpmeat* to South Vietnam by or by ho to Ceobcdl*them into South Viet mm*.

18. SoC/PAVS requirements remained below tbl* celling, the main effect of th* program would b* to *low down and disrupt supplies sad increase tb*rain upoo th* DRV, Considering to* VC/PAVM penchant for long sod detailed planning of offensive operations, th* Irregularityiv*riee and doubt si to tb* reliability of re supply Bight lead to th* poatpooement or cancellation of major offenalv* operations. Tbte* effects vould be felt Bor* Is-acdlatcly under this program than under alterhich vera directed against tb* overall DRVo support th* war.*

13. Tbl* court, of action Involves th* least risk of escalation la terns of poislbl* DRV,r Soviet response*.

* Tbl*ot mean that th* vc/pavhould be* *oon a* th* program commenced. Our Intelligence onIn Lao* and Couth Vietnam land thenine lag In confirming th* preieoce of additional pavii units. Thus, th* forces and equipment could already beosition to launch large acal* operation* which were planned aoa* tin* back.

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defease In this area is conventional AAA, *ad It is _lkely that the regime would be willing to reposition iti United 8AH system to defend tbi* area, or rlik It* fighter fore* thl* far outh. Hanoi could never be tur* whether US bombings would again be extended to the northern areas.

Ifc. Another political advantage night he tba affect of thl* mora limited program oo world opinion. It could bevlnclnglyi directly supporting th* war effort lo South Vietnam. The US probably ha* gained in world opinion froa tbe pause] thedissipates son* of thl*Aa it becai lear that th* US had not resumed In order to

strike at ffoonomle and civilian targets, It might be

to retain much of thisa limited program wouldeaser comaltaent of prestige and wouldeasier to terminate or Interrupt should the occasion artser"

he major disadvantage* of'tbl* course would be the grant of lmunlty to the northern area of the DRV. Import* of all material, port ioiiarly"euchcriticals POL, could he atepped upj stockpiles could be created and dlapersal of key items could proceedTbus tba DRV could without nuch coat iocreas* th* rata of supplies funneled southward to Military

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Region IV, end perhaps acre Uu off tet air/ reductions censed by tbe concentratedlr attacks. be aac* tire, thejr couldthe further development of their elr force and air defease aysteaa. Unless adequate reconnaissance coverage vara maintained, tbey could conceivably develop undetected saa* Modlssll* strike capability.

o off act these disedvanteges this program could bafay oceaalocal atte?ka upce, tha northern port of thef tbeae vara raatrictadcale andvbicb detracted only marginally from tba weight of attack below tba COtb parallel,Irregular attacks would not have tba full effect* of Course IV, but they would aerva certain importantbey would

prevent tba DRV from concentrating it* anti-aircraft artillery lo tha southern part of the country. Attack* of tbla kind on rail lines and roads would recoire the north Vletnineee to remaintate of alert and to limit daylight operatlcoe.

It. In tarns of tha eeccod US objective, affecting theill to perelet, tbl* coura* of action would have llttU tffect. Tba fact that tba US badnited program might ba interpretedymptom of weakness, reflecting either fear of Chinese intervention or pressure frcn domestic and world opinio*, anoooala life la meat of tba DRV would ba unaffected and tha political leaders would have leaa concern about morale.

Courte III. Tbl* vould be tha aaa* program aa thaone, but with tb* addition of attack* oa major POL bulb atoeage rocllitlea tbrougiout Bbrth Vietnam.

18. Tble courte vould offer tb* advantagea and dlsadvantagea of Courte IX already mentioned. But bylaulUaaoo* atUek oa tb*POL bulksystem, son* lamodiat*vould bo caused, thereby adding to any effect* ofHiiiury Region XV, Compered vitb other posaibl* aoononto targets, auch aa powr plant* or factories, POL is nor* directly routed to th* support of_the VC/PAVK ia South Vietnam and to th* maintenance of the DRV'a military eaUblishneot.

19. However, we have eat luted that tb* DRV could cuabloa th* impact of POL losses from supplies already concealed orThis aaount may b* lees than on* month's normalv*rag*. Moreover, it would quickly take step* to overcome its losses. And v* estimate that eventually Hanoi could cope with tn* new difficulties and maintain tb* neceaaery SOL for operating tba supply system for VC/PAW forces. To offset this vould probably call for continued tB attack* on LOC* ia heavily defended areas. Armed reconnaissance and photoould probably be necessary to locate andtorage faculties. If aa effort were than aad* to seek out

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and Attack th* disponed KL storage and diitrlbutloo facilities la to* northern DRV, Itucb acre lntcealvc pro-area thaa Initially intended.

course vould add soaevrtst to tha risk* of Moat of the POL is located lo sensitive, veilnot yst. near Haiphong and Hanoi. Theat Pbuo Yen vould almost certainly call for defense byat th* airfield. If raid* against POL facilitiessuppression of SAM or fighter coses night b* necessary.

Course IV.-'TM* progrsa vould attack alltargets except population center* and food auppltea. include power plants, POL storage facilities, andtransportation targets, mainly around Hanoi, Haiphong andtb* rail lines to Chin*. -

with respect to th* objective of interdiction, vc doubt that thl* program would b* any aor* effective In therug thaa the ocas outlined IB Course II or III. Xany of tb* added targets. power plants) are only Indirectly Involved la th* loglatie support of Communist forces In BVN.

VIth respect to the DRV'* resolve, thla program would confront tb* Hanoi regime with auch greater problems and danger*

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tbtA th* other Course*. It would probably lead th* DOT leader* to giv* greater weight to th*ubstqueoth*ould go even. attack* onnvasion,of ooelear vtepoca. f vt continue to assume do major change in th*prospect* within Southn our Judgment Hanoi vould not rtipood by offering eoocttslons; aire it certainly it would not do to within th* first ten week* or

"hl* program, hovtvtr, would involve considerable risk of further Since elaoat sU Important targets would con* under attack, the DRV would probably ceaaalt It*be Rortb Tiitoaatti ltadera eight call oo Chin* for air support. Th* pressures oa th* USSR to become aore directly Involved would alio crow. World opinion voold almost certainly ba highly alarmed, and there vould elmoet etrtelnly be heavy pressure oo the US from third parties to stop th* bombing*.

2b. Another die advantage would bt that auitalncd bombinghis level voold greatly narrow future US optiooa. If vt are comet la believing that, at least In tbe abortea Stive

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response from Hanoihighly unlikely, then ft further set of decisions vculd be required. InUrnatlouel tensions vould be hich,vould tbe pressures for another pause. But If the protract vera Interrupted, tbe DRV vould utilise the pause tomm of tha damage. Thereafter, tba OS would be confronted vith tba qui it Ion of rciaaptloo and, alnce the Coum XT program, had proved unavailing, of resumption atigher leval, auch a atUcka oa population center!. Atxtreme lull, tha rlaka of Chinese or avaa Soviet intervention would be saich higher, and world reaction would almost certainly ba totally boatile.

23. On balance, tha Course II progrea of concentrating oo

the DcW'a southern provinces, in conjunction with occasional attacks further north and tha prograa of boohing lo Laos, offers the so it immediate chance, althoughery great one, of Melting andrupting lupport to tha VC/PAVa* at tba lowest risk. Itch of tha political credit built up by the pause. It would not visit upon the DRV tha kind of destruction which stlght possibly Isad Hanoi to que it loo the wiadon or continuing tha conflict. But it would be tha tail*it from which to advance to higher levels gradually or to Interrupt without much eost should .

tbe cccoatoneavy ottoe* on WL atorogn vould probably end to tho unut of thl* prcgrsa In too ehort ten, though there vouldreater chance of *dwld reaction and of escalation.

rat TUB oOASDTIOHU. ESTIMATES;

SHSKaK Km Cbalrnen

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