Dreadful Lady over the Mekong Delta looks at the men of No 2 Squadron and the operations they flew in the Vietnam War in their Canberra bombers. From April 1967, the squadron spent four years attacking enemy targets, many of them in the Mekong Delta region, and contending with the politics, weather, and ‘fog’ of war. The riverine operations supported by No 2 Squadron were but a small part of an allied effort to disrupt the enemy’s movement of troops and supplies to locations in South Vietnam. It was, according to one commentator, ‘a kind of guerrilla warfare conducted in a navy environment’. Bob Howe arrived in Vietnam in 1969 as a youthful Canberra navigator/bomb-aimer, but much of his time was spent as a specialist in bombing operations. His time there provided him with the firsthand experience and detailed information to write this book. This book in its original format was first published in 2016 by the RAAF’s Air Power Development Centre, filling a gap in the recording of the RAAF’s operations in Vietnam. It also describes how crews overcame the difficulties of operating in an intense Asian war in an aircraft that was designed for a completely different environment. This new edition is intended to bring the experiences and exploits of Bob Howe, No 2 Squadron and its Canberra bomber aircraft to life for a new generation of reader.
Bob Howe has a long association with the Royal Australian Air Force and Defense. Growing up in Canberra in the 1950s, Bob heard stories from his uncle Max who was a RAAF pilot during the Second World War. After several years as a cadet in the Air Training Corps, Bob joined the RAAF and trained as a navigator, going on to fly Lincoln, Neptune, Canberra and Phantom aircraft. During his operational tour in Vietnam, he flew over 260 missions as navigator/bomb-aimer on the Canberra aircraft, and held the position of Bombing Leader. After leaving the RAAF, Bob worked in the Defense industry as well as being an executive on a number of Defense-related fora and associations.