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Dragon's Jaw: An Epic Story of Courage and Tenacity in Vietnam Hardcover – May 14, 2019
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"Master military storytellers Coonts and Tillman have impressively combined their literary firepower to craft a detailed and eminently readable tale about the long sought take-down of the notorious Thanh Hoa Bridge. Dragon'sJaw reads like the powerful thriller that it is--but it's no fiction!"―Christina Olds, coauthor of Fighter Pilot
About the Author
Stephen Coonts is the author of sixteen New York Times bestsellers, the first of which was the classic aviation fiction thriller Flight of the Intruder. He earned the Navy's Distinguished Flying Cross medal for his naval air service during the Vietnam War. A former lawyer, he lives and writes full time in Colorado Springs.
- Publisher : Da Capo Press; 1st Edition (May 14, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0306903474
- ISBN-13 : 978-0306903472
- Item Weight : 1.19 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.35 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #72,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This book details the USAF & USN attacks during the Vietnam War on a single bridge in North Vietnam over the Song Ma river, the bridge at Thanh Hoa. The Thanh Hoa bridge was one of the most difficult targets the US attacked during the war, and due to the numerous attacks on it which failed to yield tangible results, the Vietnamese called it the 'Ham Rong', or "Dragon's Jaw". The beginning of the war (1965-68) saw attacks by mainly USAF F-105s, F-4s and other fighter-bombers, but in 1968 thru 1972, the USN took over the majority of attacks on the bridge, using A-4s, A-6s and A-7s. The authors detail the attacks, the aircraft, the ordinance and the tactics used by the US to try and destroy the target, and also relate some very good and heroic tales of pilots and aircrew who attacked the bridge, in some cases becoming POWs or getting killed in action. The authors take great pains to emphasize the strategic importance of the bridge, the spiritual/mythical importance of the bridge and the longevity/endurance of the bridge. It culminates in the eventual destruction of the bridge in 1972 after the US began using smart bombs instead of dumb, iron bombs----bombs that were actually laser-guided to pin-point accuracy on the bridge supports and spans. They discuss the evolution of ordinance from late 1950's to early 1970's technology and the significance of Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) in great detail. They also discuss the pilots & aircrew that attacked, survived, became casualties or became prisoners during the years of multiple attacks on the "Dragon's Jaw". It is truly an outstanding book/audiobook.
If you've read any other books on US Naval aviation during the Vietnam years---- "On Yankee Station", "Over the Beach", "US Naval Air War in Vietnam" or "Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club", you'd recognize the "Thanh Hoa" bridge from those titles as a strategic target attacked numerous times by US naval carrier-borne aircraft.This book details those attacks and the men who undertook them, not to mention the incredible Vietnamese resolve in repairing the bridge and it's extensive anti-aircraft capability that surrounded it.