The Hunter Killers

The Hunter Killers: The Extraordinary Story of the First Wild Weasels (2015) by Dan Hampton describes operations of the US anti-SAM aircraft, the Wild Weasels and their operations in Vietnam.

Ground fire and SAMs often result in the most aircraft losses. In WWII 65% of the allied aircraft lost were lost to ground fire. SAMs make it even more dangerous. Vietnam was the first war in which SAMs were used counter tactics were developed. The F-105 Thunderchief was altered with extra electronics and an Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) was used to work out what sensors were reading.

The book mixes a description of what was added to the F-105s, mission reports and a narrative of the Vietnam war to good effect. It’s not a great book but if you’re interested in these sorts of things it’s worth a read. The mission reports are often a bit confusing, but really are quite gripping. The narrative about the Vietnam War is reasonably interesting and is needed to explain the tactics that were used.

It would have been great to have had more explanation of the sensors the Weasels flew with and a bit more of a description of their tactics, but it’s still an enjoyable read for anyone who wants to know more about the remarkable men who flew these missions and how they operated.


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