Post by Deleted on Feb 10, 2020 7:39:56 GMT -5
I found interesting informations in “The Airman”, the official journal of the Air Force, about following MATS operation in 1962:
Military Air Transport Service MATS demonstrated a new high in coordinated performance during a massive and significant deployment of troops earlier 1962. In this operation, the initial phase of NATO Exercise Long Thrust II, MATS transports airlifted some 5,200 battle-ready troops of the U. S. 4th Infantry Division from the west coast of the United States to central Europe at a pace unprecedented in military history.
Long Thrust II | was launched in mid-January with 100 MATS aircraft of various types participating in the airlift of troops and equipment. Starting point for the operation was Mc Chord AFB, Wash., located conveniently adjacent to Fort Lewis, home station for the 4th Infantry. As the armada of aircraft converged on McChord, a 73-man advance party of infantry troops took off from the base aboard a MATS C-135 transport to inaugurate the first airlift of combat troops by jet aircraft. The C-135 flew nonstop across Greenland over the polar route direct to Rhein Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany.
In the days following the arrival of the first jets at Rhein Main, the tempo of the airlift mounted. When the traffic reached its peak, transports were landing as frequently as one every hour, and in regular sequence bodies of troops wearing the four-cluster ivy shoulder patch debarked from the aircraft and moved out from the base to their assembly area.
In addition to the 10 jet transports, MATS employed C-121 Constellations, C-133 Cargomasters, and C-118 Liftmasters as troop carriers. This fleet of about 90 piston-type aircraft also included eight C-97s was considerably greater than for the jets. No aircraft in the MATS fleet, except for the C-135, is capable of the 5,000-mile nonstop performance, and the base-hop ping necessitated by the refueling requirements added appreciably to the overall mileage covered.
The C-118s, for example, flew from McChord AFB to McGuire, and from there to Ernest Harmon AFB in Newfound land; then to Prestwick, Scotland, and on to Rhein Main for a total distance of 6,318 miles. Longest route in air miles was covered by the C-121s which proceeded from McChord to Charleston, S. C., then to Kindley Air Base, Bermuda, Lajes Field in the Azores, and on to Rhein Main to complete a hop of 7,220 miles. Longest flight time recorded for the operation was about 32 hours. Altogether the movement of more than 5,000 men was completed in less than five days.
Promptly upon landing at Rhein Main, the battle groups moved to the assembly area, picked up pre positioned vehicles and equipment, and joined with other NATO forces to engage in night operations against a simulated aggressor.
Exercise Long Thrust II proved some points, provided valuable training, and produced some statistics. It demonstrated to the people of Europe that the U.S. is capable of fulfilling the obligation it has assumed to share in the defense of Western Europe and the Free World. Most of all the exercise provided another illustration of the high degree of professionalism that is characteristic of the Air Force. As the aircrews and maintenance men, the refueling crews and the load masters, the freight specialists and traffic controllers, and all the others along the line contribute their skill, the great global machine of strategic airlift functions with a smooth efficiency bordering on perfection.
So far what was stated in the said journal. I created more or less some these flights with just a couple of aircraft.
Boarding of the troops at McChord AFB
A C-97 approaching Harmon AFB / Stephenville, Newfoundland
and take off a C-118 on the way to Prestwick, UK
Stopover of a C-121 at Kindley AFB, Bermuda using the southern route
Landing of the C-118 some hours later at Prestwick Airport, UK
After the non-stop flight from McChord AFB this C-135 flies over the river Rhein and approaches Frankfurt Rhein-Main AB
Troops disembarking at Frankfurt Rhein-Main AB, tacking possession of pre-positioned equipment and moving out to Mannheim an then to field training in Bavaria..
Some few hours later the C-135 takes off again from Frankfurt Rhein-Main AB for return flight to McChord AB
A C-118 approaching McGuire AFB for stopover at early morning
This C-131 approaches Dover AFB while flying over Delaware Bay
and taxi in behind a couple of older MATS aircraft
A C-121 taking off at Charleston AFB for its last leg to McChord AFB
Finally it might also be interesting what then it could be red about Exercise Long Thrust II in aviation magazine "Interavia”. Not exactly the same enthusiastic conclusion as done in “The Airman”:
Even if NATO and USAF did not use the "Long Thrust II" exercise to carry heavy weapons, ammunition and vehicles by air across the Atlantic, but only 6000 men without any equipment, this limited undertaking does not seem to have been a complete success. Including an eight-day combat exercise in Bavaria, three American combat groups were brought in and one combat group was transported back to the United States over three weeks. There can hardly be any talk of an excessively rapid relocation of the relatively small bandages.
In the end, the question arises whether such a screening of small troop reserves across the Atlantic is worthwhile in endangered positions, or whether the Americans would do better to maintain sufficient garrisons and magazines in all vulnerable points overseas until further notice. At least until the mid-sixties, when the C-130E and C-141 commissioned by MATS will be ready for use.
In this context, certain American critics refer to State Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who is said to have even expressed doubts to the Senate Defense Committee as to whether "provisional modernization of the transport fleet by ordering additional C-135s would appear feasible". Of course, such a statement would not change the fact that for the first time the MATS in the form of the C-135 would have a fast jet transporter of considerable capacity.
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A particular and for me so far unknown episode anyway.
PS: Thanks again to all which contributed to have all these nice planes and sceneries, which finally make such a story possible and keep classic FS9 still alive.