THE JOINT CHIEFS OF
15 May 1969
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Subject: TALOS Contingency Plan (FRACTURE PINE) (U)
1. (TS) Reference is made to a message from CINCPAC, 260612Z April 1969 (JCS IN 53420), which provided a plan for the employment of TALOS missile ships against North Korean military aircraft.
2. (TS) The surprise destruction of one or more North Korean military aircraft operating from or between Wonsan and/or Sondong-Ni airfields in retaliation for future illegal actions by the North Koreans offers a measured response to their provocations and one which could result in limited unfavorable worldwide reaction. In view of the success of TALOS against North Vietnamese MIG aircraft (two MIGs destroyed in six firing engagements), use of this missive off North Korea is considered to offer a reasonable chance of success. It permits a military response subject to minimal political considerations. The degree of risk to US Forces participating in the operation is considered to be low.
3. (TS) The CINCPAC proposed plan, nicknamed FRACTURE PINE, provides for the stationing of two TALOS ships off the North Korean east coast to shoot down any North Korean military aircraft operating from or between Wonsan and Sondong-Ni airfields. Both TALOS cruisers and their supporting destroyers would be detached from the main task force during the hours of darkness in time to make a high-speed run to their stations approximately 60 miles east of Wonsan Harbor. Because most of the observed air activity is during daylight hours, the plan recommends a nighttime approach to the missile stations to permit an early daylight firing. A daylight, 4-hour, on-station period is recommended. Carrier task groups would provide force protection with combat air patrol, antisubmarine warfare units, and surface-to-air missiles. Only military aircraft would be taken under fire, a difficult but not impossible constraint since there are no known commercial/civil, regularly scheduled flights into Wonsan or Sondong-Ni airfields. The plan is based on the assumption that the Soviets will not intervene.
4. (S) The specific rules of engagement required for the execution of this plan would give the TALOS ships authority to fire surface-to-air missiles at North Korean military aircraft operating from or proceeding between Wonsan and Sondong-Ni airfields and satisfying any one. of the following conditions:
a. Those showing hostile intent towards the task force.
b. Those which are positively identified as North Korean military aircraft by visual, electronic countermeasures, or special intelligence means, as discussed in the Appendix (available through SSO channel's). (Since there is a risk, although low, of engaging a third-country aircraft, firing authority, with the exception of subparagraph 4a, above, will be withheld until a target is positively identified as a North Korean military aircraft.)
c. Those which show a North Korean SRO-1 identification friend or foe (IFF) response and also fulfill conditions 4a or 4b, above. Some North Korean commercial aircraft are configured with SRO-1 IFF equipment, and an SRO-1 IFF response alone would not provide positive identification that the aircraft was in fact military (Soviet-type IFF equipment).
5. (S) Since redeployment of forces from Southeast Asia would be necessary to execute FRACTURE PINE, a minimum of 72-96 hours would be required for force generation.
6. (TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that use of TALOS as outlined in the CINCPAC plan, offers a response to further North Korean provocation which involves a low degree of risk to the naval task force. However, they consider that there is a substantial risk of retaliatory action by the North Koreans against US/ROK Forces not part of the participating force.
7. (TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that the use of TALOS as outlined above be considered as a military option in response to possible future North Korean actions.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
EARLE G. WHEELER
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