The War: Off at the Elbow

Unlike World War II and Korea, when enemy airmen aggressively contested its control of the skies, the U.S. has found the air over North Viet Nam relatively empty of challenge. Most of the American planes shot down have fallen to antiaircraft fire and SAM missiles. Indeed, until last week the entire 23 months of the air war had produced only 37 air-to-air "kills"—27 of them against the enemy. Uninterested in dogfighting, the North Vietnamese prefer to harass U.S. fighter-bombers on their runs over the North, attempting by feints, forays and cannon fire...

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