The August 5th strike on the North Vietnamese PT Boat facilities by the United States was part of
Operation Pierce Arrow
, which was the response to the attacks on the
in the Gulf of Tonkin Incident
This operation consisted of 64 strike sorties from the Ticonderoga
aircraft carriers against
P-4 Torpedo Boats
at the Hon Gai, Loc Chao, Quang Khe, and Ben Thuy bases, as well as
an oil storage depot at Vinh.
The United States lost two aircraft to enemy fire, producing the war's first prisoner of war,
Ensign Everett Alvarez Jr.
, while killing the other pilot. 90% of the oil storage depot at
Vinh was destroyed, while 25 P-4 Torpedo Boats were also destroyed.
The attack left the North Vietnamese unable to generate much naval activity, so they resorted to coming up with countermeasures to prevent another
attack like the August 5th attack.
The messages that were deciphered were limited to the Northern Fleet at Port Wallut. The Southern Fleet at Ben Thuy was left out of the messages and
countermeasures. The messages indicated that the Northern Fleet was dispersed, changing anchorage positions, and camouflaged, which shows more of a
defensive strategy than offensive.
"Organize for victory and destroy the enemy", as the report and frozen_snowman said, do seem to resemble a form of propaganda to boost morale
amongst the North Vietnamese military. The defensive measures show that the North Vietnamese were in no position to defeat anyone, and were merely
waiting for an opportunity to strike and do damage. So this would support the assertion that it was just to boost morale.
Recognition signals and DRV aircraft markings were given to naval units after a suspected friendly fire attack on it's own aircraft on August 5th.
[edit on 3/19/08 by NovusOrdoMundi]