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Encyclopedia > Operation Linebacker II
Operation Linebacker II
Part of the Vietnam War

B-52 on bomb run
Date 18 December to 29 December 1972
Location Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Result Debated
Combatants
United States (U.S.) Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV)
Commanders
John W. Vogt, jr. Dang Tinh
Casualties
43 killed in action,
49 taken prisoner
1,624 civilian,
Military casualties are unknown[1]
Vietnam War
Ap Bac – Binh Gia –Pleiku – Song Be – Dong Xoai – Ia Drang – Hastings – A Shau – Long Tan – Attleboro – Cedar Falls – Tra Binh Dong – Junction City – Hill 881 – Ong Thanh – Dak To – 1st Tet – Khe Sanh – 1st Saigon – Hue – Lang Vei – Lima Site 85 – Kham Duc – Dewey Canyon  – 2nd Tet – Hamburger Hill – Binh Ba – Cambodia – Snuol – FSB Ripcord – Lam Son 719 – Ban Dong –FSB Mary Ann – Easter '72 – 1st Quang Tri –Loc Ninh – An Loc – Kontum – 2nd Quang Tri  –Phuoc Long – Ho Chi Minh – Buon Me Thuot – Xuan Loc – Truong Sa –2nd Saigon – Rolling Thunder – Barrell Roll – Pony Express – Steel Tiger – Tiger Hound – Tailwind – Commando Hunt – Linebacker I – Linebacker II – Chenla I – Chenla II – SS Mayagüez

Operation Linebacker II was a U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 maximum effort aerial bombardment campaign, conducted against targets in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV or North Vietnam) during the final period of the American commitment to the Vietnam War. The operation, which contrasted with Operation Rolling Thunder's (1965-1968) graduated bombing, was conducted from 18 December to 29 December 1972 (hence its unofficial nickname - the "Christmas Bombings") saw the largest heavy bomber strikes launched by the U.S. Air Force since the end of the Second World War. Linebacker II was a resumption of the Operation Linebacker bombings conducted from May to October, with the emphasis of the new campaign shifted to attacks by B-52 Stratofortress bombers rather than tactical fighter aircraft. Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1095x780, 328 KB) US Air Force Photograph File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In the Gregorian Calendar, December 18 is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years), at which point there will be 13 days remaining to the end of the year. ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cộng Hòa), also known as North Vietnam, was founded by Ho Chi Minh and was recognized by China and the USSR in 1950. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_States. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_North_Vietnam. ... The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cộng Hòa), also known as North Vietnam, was founded by Ho Chi Minh and was recognized by China and the USSR in 1950. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... Combatants Viet Cong South Vietnam United States Commanders unknown battalion commander Bui Dinh Dam John Paul Vann Strength 350 1,400 Casualties 18 dead 39 wounded 83 dead 108 wounded The Battle of Ap Bac was a small-scale action early in the Vietnam War that resulted in the first... Combatants Viet Cong South Vietnam United States Commanders Gen. ... Combatants Viet Cong United States South Vietnam Casualties U.S casualties: 8 killed, 109 wounded and 20 aircraft destroyed or damaged. ... Combatants Viet Cong South Vietnam United States Casualties 85 Dead 49 ARVN dead 5 American dead The Battle of Song Be was a major action between the NLF (Viet Cong) and ARVN, the South Vietnamese army. ... Combatants Viet Cong South Vietnam United States Commanders Le Trong Tan Cao Van Vien, Charles W. Williams Strength 1,500 10,000 Casualties 700+ estimated KIA ARVN: 800+ killed U.S: 7 killed, 15 wounded and 13 missing The Battle of Dong Xoai was a battle that occurred during the... Combatants North Vietnam United States Commanders Nguyen Huu An Col. ... Operation Hastings was an American military operation in the Vietnam War. ... Combatants United States South Vietnam North Vietnam Strength 395 2,000 Casualties U.S: 8 killed, 12 wounded and 5 missing South Vietnam: 47 killed or missing Unknown (U.S estimates put the number at 800) The Battle of A Shau was waged during the Vietnam War. ... Combatants Australia New Zealand United States North Vietnam Commanders Maj Harry Smith Nguyen Thanh Hong Strength 108 (not including supporting personnel/reinforcements) 2,500 (Disputed) Casualties 18 dead 24 wounded At least 245 dead 750 wounded (Captured documents and prisoner interrogations suggest there were 500-800 dead and around 1... Combatants United States North Vietnam Viet Cong Commanders Major Guy S. Meloy Unknown Casualties 155 US killed 494 US wounded At least 1,106 killed Operation Attleboro was a search-and-destroy operation by the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. ... Operation Cedar Falls was conducted by the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War on January 8 – January 26, 1967 to rout out Viet Cong base camps in the so-called Iron Triangle. ... Combatants North Vietnam Viet Cong South Korea Commanders Unknown commander Captain Jin-Kyung Chung Strength 2,400+ 294 Casualties 200+ killed and 2 captured 15 killed and 33 wounded The Battle of Tra Binh Dong was probably the most famous battle fought by the South Korean Marines during the Vietnam... Operation Junction City was one of the largest airborne operations since Market Garden in the latter half of World War II, and one of the largest operations of the Vietnam conflict. ... Combatants NVA United States Casualties 947 killed 455 killed, 455 wounded The Battle of Hill 881 was a battle between soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army and U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War. ... Combatants United States Viet Cong Commanders Lt. ... Combatants United States Republic of Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam Commanders Maj. ... Combatants Republic of Viet Nam United States of America Republic of Korea New Zealand Australia National Front for the Liberation of South Viet Nam (Viet Cong) Democratic Republic of Viet Nam Commanders William Westmoreland Võ Nguyên Giáp Strength 50,000+ (estimate) 85,000+ (estimate) Casualties 2,788 KIA... Combatants United States, Republic of Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam Commanders Col. ... Combatants South Vietnam United States North Vietnam Viet Cong Commanders William Westmoreland Vo Nguyen Giap Strength  ? 35 Battlions Casualties  ?  ? The First Battle of Saigon fought during the Tet Offensive was the coordinated attack by the NVA and VC, by which they attacked South Vietnams Capital Saigon from all sides. ... Combatants South Vietnam United States North Vietnam Viet Cong The Battle of Hue was probably the bloodiest and the longest battle of the Vietnam War. ... Combatants North Vietnam United States Commanders Unknown Capt. ... Combatants United States Thailand Hmong guerillas North Vietnam Pathet Lao Commanders Vang Pao Vo Nguyen Giap Strength 1,300+ 3,000+ Casualties 8 Americans dead 42 Thai and Hmong Unknown The Battle of Lima Site 85 was a battle of the Vietnam War. ... Combatants North Vietnam Viet Cong United States South Vietnam Australia Strength 10,000+ 1,760+ Casualties  ??? 270+ killed or missing 9 aircraft loss The Battle of Kham Duc was the struggle for the United States Army Special Forces camp located in Quang Tin province, South Vietnam. ... Combatants United States Marine Corps North Vietnamese Army Commanders Colonel Robert H. Barrow N/A Strength 5,000+ Casualties 130 killed, 932 wounded (USMC account) 1617 killed, unknown number wounded (USMC account) Operation Dewey Canyon was the last major offensive by the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. ... Tet 1969 refers to the attacks mounted by principally North Vietnamese forces in February 1969 in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. ... Combatants United States Democratic Republic of Vietnam Commanders Melvin Zais Unknown Strength estimated at 1,800 estimated at 1,500 Casualties 70+ killed, 372 wounded 630+ dead The Battle of Hamburger Hill was one of the most controversial battles of the Vietnam War. ... Combatants Viet Cong North Vietnam Australia Casualties 91 killed 1 killed, 8 wounded The Battle of Binh Ba was a battle between soldiers of the Australian Army and NVA and VC soldiers during the Vietnam War. ... Combatants South Vietnam United States Viet Cong Commanders Do Cao Tri â€  Nguyen Van Minh Bui Thanh Danh Le Nam Phong Strength 2,000 20,000 Casualties 37 killed, 167 wounded, 74 missing Unknown (South Vietnam claimed 1,043 killed) The Battle of Snuol was a major battle of the Vietnam... Combatants North Vietnam United States Commanders Gen. ... Combatants United States South Vietnam North Vietnam Commanders Lt. ... Combatants South Vietnam United States North Vietnam Pathet Lao Commanders Lt. ... Combatants United States Viet Cong Commanders Lt. ... The Eastertide Offensive was a military campaign in the Vietnam War. ... Combatants North Vietnam Viet Cong South Vietnam Strength 30,000+ 8,000+ The First Battle of Quang Tri resulted in the first major victory for the North Vietnamese Army during the Nguyen Hue Offensive of 1972. ... Combatants South Vietnam, United States Viet Cong, North Vietnam Commanders Mark A. Smith â˜ Tran Van Tra Strength 1,000+ 40,000+ Casualties Unknown 10,000+ The Battle of Loc Ninh was a major battle fought during North Vietnams Nguyen Hue Campaign and lasted from April 4 to April 7... Combatants North Vietnam Viet Cong South Vietnam United States Commanders Gen. ... Combatants South Vietnam North Vietnam Commanders Col. ... Combatants North Vietnam Viet Cong South Vietnam The Second Battle of Quang Tri began on June 28 and lasted until September 16, 1972, when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam defeated the North Vietnamese and recaptured most of the province. ... Combatants Vietnam Peoples Army Army of the Republic of Vietnam Commanders Gen. ... Combatants Vietnam Peoples Army National Liberation Front Army of the Republic of Vietnam Commanders General Van Tien Dung President Nguyen Van Thieu (Until April 5) Strength 300,000+ (est. ... Combatants Army of the Republic of Vietnam Vietnam Peoples Army Commanders Maj. ... Combatants Vietnam Peoples Army Army of the Republic of Vietnam Commanders General Van Tien Dung General Hieu Strength 40,000 5,000 Casualties 3 Divisions destroyed 30% of total strength The Battle of Xuan Loc was the last major battle of the Vietnam War. ... Combatants North Vietnam South Vietnam The Battle of Truong Sa was a naval battle that resulted in the capture of the South Vietnamese-held Truong Sa Islands by North Vietnamese forces on April 29, 1975. ... The Fall of Saigon (in Vietnamese: 30 tháng tÆ°, or April 30th), was the capture of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon by the Vietnam Peoples Army (NVA) on April 30, 1975. ... Combatants United States (U.S.) Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) Commanders Joseph H. Moore William W. Momyer George S. Brown Phung The Tai (Air Defense) Nguyen Van Tien (Air Force) Casualties U.S. Air Force, 381 KIA or MIA/222 POWs (23 died in captivity, 1... Combatants United States (U.S.) Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Kingdom of Laos Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) Pathet Lao (PL) Casualties Unknown Unknown Operation Barrel Roll was a covert U.S. Air Force 2nd Air Division (later the Seventh Air Force) and U.S. Navy, interdiction and close air support... Operation Steel Tiger was a covert US Air Force aerial interdiction effort targeted against North Vietnamese infiltration through southeastern Laos during the Vietnam Conflict. ... Barrell Roll/Steel Tiger/Tiger Hound Areas of Operations, 1965. ... Operation Tailwind was a covert incursion into southeastern Laos by a company-size element (Hatchet Force) of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACSOG or SOG) on 11 September 1970, during the Vietnam Conflict. ... Combatants United States, Republic of Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam Operation Commando Hunt was a covert Seventh/Thirteenth United States Air Force offensive initiative that took place during the Vietnam Conflict. ... Combatants United States (U.S.) Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) Commanders John W. Vogt, Jr. ... Combatants Khmer Republic North Vietnam Commanders Brig. ... Combatants North Vietnam Khmer Republic Commanders Unknown Brigadier General Hou Hang Sin Strength VPA 9th Division 10 FANK Battalions Casualties Unknown Decimation of the FANK Battalions Operation Chenla II was launched on August 20, 1971 by the Cambodian military (or FANK) as an attempt to regain territories lost to the... Combatants United States of America Democratic Kampuchea Commanders Lt. ... The Seventh Air Force (7 AF) is a Numbered Air Force (NAF) under the Pacific Air Forces major command (MAJCOM) of the United States Air Force. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for naval operations. ... Task Force 77 is an aircraft carrier task force in the United States Navy, and was the Carrier Strike Force of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in several conflicts. ... The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese Việt Nam Dân Chủ Cộng Hòa), also known as North Vietnam, was founded by Ho Chi Minh and was recognized by China and the USSR in 1950. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... In the Gregorian Calendar, December 18 is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years), at which point there will be 13 days remaining to the end of the year. ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Seal of the Air Force. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... Combatants United States (U.S.) Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) Commanders John W. Vogt, Jr. ... The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range jet strategic bomber flown by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1954. ...

Contents

"Peace is at hand"

On 8 October 1972, U.S. National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Politburo member Le Duc Tho met in Paris. They were there to discuss new proposals by both nations, hoping to reach mutually agreeable terms for a peace settlement for the decade-old Vietnam conflict. Tho presented a new North Vietnamese plan which included proposals for a cease-fire in place, the withdrawal of American forces, and an exchange of POWs. All three Vietnamese combatant "governments" (the DRV (North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam PRG) would remain intact, as would their separate armies. Hanoi no longer demanded that South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu be removed from office, the U.S. did not have to cease its aid to the South Vietnamese government and both Washington and Hanoi would be able to resupply their allies or forces on a parity basis. No new North Vietnamese forces would be infiltrated from the north and the U.S. agreed to extend post-war reconstruction assistance to North Vietnam. The new terms on the table also included the establishment of a National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord, a loosely defined "administrative structure" which was to work toward general and local elections within South Vietnam. Political power would be shared by three groups, the Saigon government, the PRG, and a "third force" group to be mutually agreed upon by the other two parties. Since it was to work by consensus, nothing could be accomplished by the new council without the agreement of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu.[2][3] Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... The Eastertide Offensive was a military campaign in the Vietnam War. ... Combatants United States (U.S.) Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) Commanders John W. Vogt, Jr. ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (282nd in leap years). ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923 in Fürth) is a German-born American diplomat, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. ... Politburo is short for Political Bureau. ... Le Duc Tho (Lê Ðức Thọ  ) (October 14, 1911 – October 13, 1990) was a Vietnamese revolutionary, general, diplomat, and politician. ... City flag City coat of arms Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: Tossed by the waves, she does not sink) Paris Eiffel tower as seen from the esplanade du Trocadéro. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... National motto: ??? Official language Vietnamese Capital Saigon Last President Duong Van Minh Last Prime Minister Vu Van Mau Area  - Total  - % water 173,809km² N/A population  - Total  - Density 19,370,000 (1973 est. ... (Caution: Saigon was renamed Hồ Chí Minh City on May 1, 1975 after the Fall/Liberation of Saigon. ... Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Ná»™i)  , estimated population 3,058,000(2004), is the capital of Vietnam. ... President Nguyen Van Thieu Nguyen Van Thieu, (April 5, 1923 – September 29, 2001) was a former General and President of South Vietnam. ... Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành Chí Minh) is the largest city in Vietnam, located near the delta of the Mekong River. ... President Nguyen Van Thieu Nguyen Van Thieu, (April 5, 1923 – September 29, 2001) was a former General and President of South Vietnam. ...


When the two sides convened again on October 17, there were two main areas of disagreement: the periodic replacement of South Vietnam's American weaponry, and the release of political prisoners held by the Saigon government.[4] The North Vietnamese had made significant modifications to their past negotiating position and were hurrying to get the agreement signed before November, believing that President Richard M. Nixon would be more willing to make concessions before, rather than after, the upcoming presidential election.[5] Although there were still some issues to be finalized, Kissinger was generally satisfied with the new terms and so notified Nixon, who gave his approval to the settlement.[6] The finalized agreement was to be signed in Hanoi on 31 October. Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. ... Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Ná»™i)  , estimated population 3,058,000(2004), is the capital of Vietnam. ... October 31 is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 61 days remaining. ...

President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger
President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger

Kissinger then flew on to Saigon on the 18th to discuss the terms with Thieu. The South Vietnamese president was not happy with either the new agreement or with Kissinger, who he felt had betrayed him.[7] Although Kissinger knew Thieu's negotiating position, he had not informed him of the changes made in Paris nor had his approval been sought. Kissinger "had negotiated on behalf of the South Vietnamese government provisions that he, Thieu, had already rejected."[8] Thieu completely castigated the agreement and proposed 129 textual changes to the document. He went further, demanding that the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Vietnams be recognized as a true international border and not as a "provisional military demarcation line" (as had been stipulated in the Geneva Accords and that South Vietnam be recognized as a sovereign state. The supreme irony, in the words of Stanley Karnow, had now arrived - "having fought a war to defend South Vietnam's independence, the United States was now denying its legitimacy."[9] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (567x819, 206 KB) Photograph from National Archives of the United States File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (567x819, 206 KB) Photograph from National Archives of the United States File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In military terms, a demilitarized zone (DMZ) is an area, usually the frontier or boundary between two or more military powers (or alliances), where military activity is not permitted, usually by peace treaty, armistice or other bilateral or multilateral agreement. ... The Geneva Conference (April 26 - July 21, 1954) was a conference between many countries that agreed to end hostilities and restore peace in French Indochina and Korea. ...


Thieu then went one step further on 26 October and released an altered version of the text that made the South Vietnamese provisions look even worse than they actually were.[10] The North Vietnamese leadership, believing that they had been hoodwinked by Kissinger, responded by broadcasting portions of the the agreement that have the impression that the agreement conformed to Washington and Saigon's objectives.[11][12] Kissinger, hoping to both reassure the communists of America's sincerity and convince Thieu of the administration's dedication to a compromise, held a televised press conference at the White House during which he announced "We believe that peace is at hand."[13] October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 66 days remaining. ... North façade of the White House, seen from Pennsylvania Avenue. ...


On 20 November, the South Vietnamese revisions and 44 additional changes demanded by Nixon were presented to the North Vietnamese delegation by Kissinger (who personally considered them "preposterous").[14] These new demands included: That the DMZ be accepted as a true international boundary; that a token withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops take place; that the North Vietnamese guarantee an Indochina-wide cease fire and; that a strong international peace-keeping force (the ICCS) be created for supervising and enforcing the cease-fire.[15] November 20 is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Once the North Vietnamese read the new demands, they began to retract their own concessions and wanted to bargain anew, leading Kissinger (who fully understood their position) to proclaim that they were "stalling."[16] The talks, scheduled to last ten days, ended on 13 December with both parties agreeing to resume negotiations.[17] Teams of experts from each side met to discuss technicalities and protocols on December 14, during which the North Vietnamese representatives submitted a Vietnamese-language text of the protocol on prisoners containing several important changes that Hanoi had failed to gain in the main negotiating sessions. At a subsequent meeting of experts on December 16, the North Vietnamese side "stone-walled from beginning to end." The talks broke down that day, and the Hanoi negotiators refused to set a date for the resumption of negotiations.[18] Hanoi had decided to wait it out until the new Congress legislated an end to the war. December 13 is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Decisions

Nixon was now working against a January deadline. Kissinger's "peace is at hand" statement had raised expectations of a settlement among the American population. Even weightier on the president's mind was the fact that the new Ninety-third Congress would go into session on 3 January, and the president feared that the heavily Democratic legislative branch would preempt his pledge of "peace with honor" by legislating an end to the conflict.[19] January 3 is the 3rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Also prompting the president toward some form of rapid offensive action was the cost of the force mobilization that had accompanied Operation Linebacker. The additional aircraft and personnel assigned to Southeast Asia for the operation was straining the Pentagon's budget. The cost of maintaining this "augmentation force" totaled over $4 billion by mid-autumn and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird insisted that the president request a supplementary defense appropriation from Congress to pay for it.[20] Nixon and Kissinger were convinced that Congress "would seize the opportunity to simply write the United States out of the war."[21] Melvin Robert Laird (born September 1, 1922) was a Republican congressman from Wisconsin who served as Richard Nixons Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973. ...

B-52 on bomb run
B-52 on bomb run

After returning from Paris on 14 December, and after consultations with Nixon, Kissinger fired off an ultimatum to Hanoi, threatening "grave consequences" if North Vietnam did not return to the negotiating table within 72 hours.[22] On that day, Nixon ordered the reseeding of North Vietnamese ports with air-dropped naval mines and that the Joint Chiefs of Staff direct the Air Force to begin planning for a bombing campaign (a three-day "maximum effort") which was to begin within 72 hours.[23] Two days after the 16 December deadline had passed, the U.S. bombed Hanoi. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1095x984, 400 KB) From John Morocco, Rain of Fire. Boston: Bosdton Publishing Company, 1984. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1095x984, 400 KB) From John Morocco, Rain of Fire. Boston: Bosdton Publishing Company, 1984. ... December 14 is the 348th day of the year (349th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America symbol The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is a grouping comprising the Chiefs of service of each major branch of the armed services in the United States armed forces. ... December 16 is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Many historians of the Southeast Asian conflict follow the lead of President Nixon, who claimed that Hanoi's representatives had walked out of the talks, refusing to continue the negotiations.[24] Both sides had proclaimed their willingness to continue the talks; however, Hanoi's negotiators refused to set a date, preferring to wait for the incoming Congress.[25] The goal of President Nixon was not to convince Hanoi, but to convince Saigon. President Thieu had to be convinced that "whatever the formal wording of the cease-fire agreement, he could count on Nixon to come to the defense of South Vietnam if the North broke the cease-fire."[26]


Planning

In the wake of Operation Linebacker, the U.S. had a force of 207 B-52 Stratofortress bombers available for use in Southeast Asia.[27] 54 bombers (all B-52Ds) were based at U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand, while 153 were based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (55 B-52Ds and 98 B-52Gs). This deployment, however, utilized nearly half of the Air Force's manned bomber fleet and Strategic Air Command (SAC) commanders were initially reluctant to risk the highly expensive aircraft and their highly trained crews in such an operation.[28] The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range jet strategic bomber flown by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1954. ... U-Tapao (Thai: ; also spelt Utapao and U-Taphao) (IATA: UTP, ICAO: VTBU) is both an active civil airport (U-Tapao International Airport) and home of the Royal Thai Navy First Air Wing (U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield). ... A B-1B at Andersen This B-2 Spirit was photographed in 2004 at Andersen Andersen Air Force Base is a base of the United States Air Force on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. ... For the film of the same name, see Strategic Air Command (film) The Strategic Air Command (SAC) was the operational establishment of the United States Air Force in charge of Americas bomber-based and ballistic missile-based strategic nuclear arsenal from 1946 to 1992. ...


The use of large numbers of B-52s was unprecedented in the conflict and the proposed large-scale attacks on targets within 10 nautical miles of Hanoi "represented a dynamic change in the employment of air resources."[29] Many within SAC, however, welcomed the opportunity to fly into the heavily defended airspace of North Vietnam, hoping to finally prove the viability of manned bombers in a high-intensity sophisticated Soviet style air defense network of SAMs, AAA and MiG interceptors.

A-7s and F-4s refuel from a KC-135 during December 1972
A-7s and F-4s refuel from a KC-135 during December 1972

One purely local reason for utilizing the B-52s instead of tactical aircraft for the planned campaign was the September through May monsoon weather within North Vietnam, which made visual bombing operations by tactical fighter-bombers difficult. The B-52s were equipped with their own radar bomb navigation systems and supporting fighter-bombers would be able to strike targets with either newly-deployed laser-guided bombs in clear weather or by utilizing LORAN radar-guided bombing systems. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1052x756, 360 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1052x756, 360 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) is a terrestrial navigation system using low frequency radio transmitters that use the time interval between radio signals received from three or more stations to determine the position of a ship or aircraft. ...


The new operation, given the title Linebacker II, was marked by top-down planning by the SAC headquarters at Omaha, Nebraska. Due to the restrictive time frame imposed by President Nixon (only three days) and the past experience of Linebacker (in which North Vietnamese fighter aircraft had posed the highest threat to the bombers), SAC's plan called for all of the bombers to approach Hanoi at night in three distinct waves, each using identical approach paths and flying at the same altitude.[30] The aircraft themselves were to fly in three-plane formations known as "cells" for more effective electronic warfare (EW) jamming coverage Omaha is the name of some places in the United States: *Omaha, Nebraska (the most familiar one) Omaha, Georgia Omaha, Illinois Omaha, Texas It is also the name of a Native American tribe, after which the city in Nebraska is named; see Omaha (tribe). ... Official language(s) English Capital Lincoln Largest city Omaha Largest metro area Omaha Area  Ranked 16th  - Total 77,421 sq mi (200,520 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 0. ... Electronic warfare (EW) has three main components: Electronic Attack (EA) This is the active use of the electromagnetic spectrum to deny its use by an adversary. ... Electronic warfare (EW) includes, but is not limited to, the following: Electronic countermeasures (ECM) This is the active use of the electromagnetic spectrum to deny its use by an adversary. ...


Once the aircraft had dropped their bombs, they were to execute what SAC termed "post-target turns" (PTT) to the west. These turns had two unfortunate consequences for the bombers - the B-52s would be turning into a strong headwind, slowing their ground speed by 100 knots (185 km/h) and prolonging their stay in the target area and the PTT would point the emitter antennas of their EW systems away from the radars they were attempting to jam, degrading the effectiveness of the cells, as well as showing the largest radar cross-section to the missile guidance radars.[31] The aircraft employed, however, had significantly different EW capabilities; the B-52G carried fewer jammers and put out appreciably less power than the B-52Ds. Because of these factors, the campaign would be ultimately be conducted in three distinct phases as tactics and plans were altered in response to losses to SAMs.


Initial phase

North Vietnamese anti-aircraft defense weapons
North Vietnamese anti-aircraft defense weapons

The first three missions of the operation were flown as planned by SAC on three consecutive nights beginning on 18 December. On the first night 129 bombers were launched, 87 of them from Guam.[32] 39 support aircraft of the Seventh Air Force, the Navy's Task Force 77, and the Marine Corps supported the bombers by providing F-4 fighter escorts, F-105 Wild Weasel SAM-suppression missions, Air Force EB-66 and Navy EA-6 radar-jamming aircraft, chaff drops, KC-135 refueling capability, and search and rescue aircraft. V!% File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... V!% File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... In the Gregorian Calendar, December 18 is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years), at which point there will be 13 days remaining to the end of the year. ... Task Force 77 is an aircraft carrier task force in the United States Navy, and was the Carrier Strike Force of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in several conflicts. ... The F-4 Phantom II (simply F-4 Phantom after 1990) is a two-place (tandem), supersonic, long-range, all-weather fighter-bomber built by McDonnell Douglas Corporation. ... The Republic F-105 Thunderchief was a single-seat, supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. ... Wild Weasel is a semi-official nickname for aircraft of the United States Air Force tasked with the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (or SEAD) mission. ... The Douglas B-66 Destroyer was a Strategic Air Command light bomber based on the United States Navys A3D Skywarrior, and intended to replace the Douglas B-26 Invader. ... The EA-6 Prowler is the United States Navys and the United States Marine Corpss primary electronic warfare aircraft. ... The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft, first manufactured in 1956 and expected to remain in service into the 2020s. ...


The targets of the first wave of bombers were the North Vietnamese airfields at Kep, Phuc Yen, and Hoa Lac and a warehouse complex at Yen Vien while the second and third waves struck targets around Hanoi itself. Three aircraft were shot down by the estimated 220 surface-to-air missiles (SAMS) launched by North Vietnamese batteries - two B-52G's from Andersen and a B-52D from U-Tapao.[33] Two D models from Andersen with heavy battle damage managed to limp into U-Tapao for repairs.[34] Only one of the three downed crews could be rescued.[35] That same evening, an Air Force F-111 Aardvark was shot down while on a mission to bomb the broadcasting facilities of Radio Hanoi.[36] Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... A U.S. Air Force F-111 The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark (the nickname was unofficial for most of its lifespan, but it was officially named Aardvark at its retirement ceremony for the United States Air Force) is a long-range strategic bomber, reconnaissance, and tactical strike aircraft. ...


Unlike the initiation of Linebacker, which had been launched in response to a North Vietnamese offensive in South Vietnam, President Nixon did not address the nation on television to explain the escalation. Instead, Kissinger held a press conference at which he accused (at Nixon's behest) Le Duc Tho of having "backed off" on some of the October understandings.[37]


On the second night, 93 sorties were flown by the bombers. Their targets included the Kinh No Railroad and storage area, the Thai Nguyen thermal power plant, and the Yen Vien complex. Although an estimated 185 SAMs were launched and a number of the bombers were damaged, none were lost on the mission. SAC expected that the third (and supposedly last) night of the operation would proceed just as well as the previous one.


The targets of the 99 bombers sent in on 20 December included the Yen Vien Railroad yards, the Ai Mo warehouse complex, the Thai Nguyen power plant, a transhipment point at Bac Giang, the Kinh No Railroad complex, and the Hanoi petroleum products storage area - all in or near Hanoi. The combination of repetitive tactics, degraded EW systems, and limited jamming capability, however, led to dire consequences when, as the official Air Force history of the campaign has stated, "all hell broke loose."[38] December 20 is the 354th day of the year (355th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The repetitious nature of the previous evening's strike profiles had allowed the DRV air defense forces to anticipate strike patterns and to salvo over 300 missiles into the target area. Four B-52Gs and three B-52Ds were lost in the first and third waves of the mission. A fourth D model, returning to Thailand, crashed in Laos. Only two of the eight downed crews were recovered by search and rescue aircraft.[39]

Linebacker II Strike Sorties
Linebacker II Strike Sorties

The repercussions from the mission were fast and furious. SAC headquarters was under pressure from "many external sources" to "stop the carnage...it has become a blood bath."[40] Of more concern was the position taken by many senior Air Force officers "that we would lose too many bombers and that airpower doctrine would be proven fallacious...or, if the bombing were stopped, the same thing would occur."[41] Image File history File links LBSS.jpg‎ Template:PD-USGov-Mil-Air Force File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links LBSS.jpg‎ Template:PD-USGov-Mil-Air Force File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


The main problem seemed to lay within the headquarters of SAC, which had based its tactics on a MiG threat that had not materialized during the three missions. The tactics utilized (flight paths, altitudes, formations, timing, etc.) had not varied. The Air Force explanation for this course of events was that the similarity would be helpful to the B-52 crews, who were inexperienced in flying in such high-threat environments.[42] Air Force historian Earl Tilford offered a differing opinion: "Years of dropping bombs on undefended jungle and the routines of planning for nuclear war had fostered a mind-set within the SAC command that nearly led to disaster...Poor tactics and a good dose of overconfidence combined to make the first few nights of Linebacker nightmarish for the B-52 crews."[43]


Re-evaluation

It was at this point that President Nixon ordered that the effort be extended past its original three-day deadline. The first change that could be made by local Air Force commanders was divulged by a comparison of the differences between the radar jamming equipment of the B-52 models. The equipment aboard the G models was designed for utilization in the more sophisticated AAA environment of the USSR, not against the the more antiquated SAM-2 and FAN-SONG radar systems utilized by the North Vietnamese.[44] SAC headquarters in Omaha stipulated that only the aircraft stationed at U-Tapao (equipped with more powerful and sophisticated ECM gear) be allowed over the North.[45] As a result the attack waves were reduced in size, but the tactics employed, however, did not change.


On the fourth night (21 December) of the operation, 30 of the U-Tapao bombers struck the Hanoi storage area, the Van Dien storage depot, and Quang Te Airfield. Two of the Ds were lost to SAMs. On the following night, the target area shifted away from Hanoi to the port city of Haiphong and its petroleum storage areas. Once again, 30 aircraft participated in the strikes, but this time there were no losses among the bombers. An F-111, however, was shot down over the Kinh No Railroad complex.[46] December 21 is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

US Navy A-7s and F-4s on a LORAN bombing mission
US Navy A-7s and F-4s on a LORAN bombing mission

Two days before Christmas, SAC added SAM sites and airfields to the target list. Air Force F-111s were sent in before the arrival of the bombers in order strike the airfields and reduce the threat of enemy fighters. The Aardvarks proved so successful in these operations that their mission for the rest of the campaign was shifted to SAM site suppression.[47] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1020x638, 327 KB) Template:PD-US Gov-Military-Air Force File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1020x638, 327 KB) Template:PD-US Gov-Military-Air Force File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


The bomber missions of the sixth night (23 December) again avoided Hanoi and hit SAM sites northeast of the city and the Lang Dang Railroad yards. There were no losses. On the following night, the run of luck (and avoidance of Hanoi) continued. 30 bombers, supported by 69 tactical aircraft, struck the railyards at Thai Nguyen and Kep and no American aircraft were lost during the mission. December 23 is the 357th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (358th in leap years). ...


Although the Stratofortresses garnered the lion's share of the publicity during the campaign, their "little brothers", the tactical aircraft, were also hard at work. While the B-52s and F-111s attacked by night, an average of 69 tactical aircraft of the Air Force, Navy and Marines attacked by day (averaging nearly 100 sorties per day).[48] Losses for these aircraft were extremely light, with fewer than a dozen lost during the entire campaign.[49] It was not difficult for their crews to deduce why. The North Vietnamese air defense forces "simply waited for nightfall and the arrival of more lucrative targets."[50]


Final phase

The strikes of the 24th were followed by a 36-hour Christmas stand-down, during which Air Force planners went to work to revise their plans for the next phase of operations. Due to aircraft losses during the initial phase, they intended to launch an all-out attack on North Vietnam's air defenses when the operation resumed. This course was also necessary since, by Christmas, most of the strategic targets within North Vietnam were in a shambles.[51]

Linebacker II Sorties by Type
Linebacker II Sorties by Type

SAC also belatedly turned over tactical mission planning to its subordinate Eighth Air Force headquarters on Guam, which promptly revised the previously costly tactics. Instead of utilizing multiple waves, all of the bombers would be in and out of the target area within 20 minutes and they would approach from multiple directions and at different altitudes. They would exit by varying routes and the steep PTTs were eliminated.[52] Ten targets, in both the Hanoi and Haiphong areas, were to be struck by bombers approaching in seven separate streams, four of which were to come in off the Gulf of Tonkin.[53] Additional jammers were also installed in the B-52Gs, allowing them to return to the operation. Image File history File links LBSBT.jpg‎ Template:PD-USGov-Mil-Air Force File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links LBSBT.jpg‎ Template:PD-USGov-Mil-Air Force File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Eighth Air Force is a numbered air force (NAF) of the major command (MAJCOM) of Air Combat Command of the United States Air Force and it is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. ... The Gulf of Tonkin is located to the east of Vietnam. ...


On 26 December, 120 bombers lifted off to strike Thai Nguyen, the Kinh No complex, the Duc Noi, Hanoi, and Haiphong Railroads, and a vehicle storage area at Van Dien. 78 of the bombers took off from Andersen in one time block, the largest single combat launch in SAC history, while 42 others came in from Thailand.[54] The bombers were supported by 113 tactical aircraft which provided chaff corridors, escort fighters, Wild Weasel SAM suppression, and electronic countermeasures support.[55] December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... Chaff is the seed casings and other inedible plant matter harvested with cereal grains such as wheat. ... } The P-51 Mustang is one of the best-known escort fighters of World War II. The escort fighter was a World War II concept for a fighter aircraft designed to escort a bomber formation to and from its target. ... Wild Weasel is a semi-official nickname for aircraft of the United States Air Force tasked with the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (or SEAD) mission. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...


The North Vietnamese air defense system, though still capable, was overwhelmed by the number of aircraft it had to track in such a short time period and by a dense blanket of chaff laid down by the fighter-bombers.[56] Almost 950 SAMs had been fired previously, and the strain on the remaining DRV inventory showed, since only 68 were fired during the mission.[57] One B-52 was shot down near Hanoi and another damaged aircraft made it back to U-Tapao, where it crashed just short of the runway. Only two members of the crew survived.[58]

Damage assessment photos of DRV targets
Damage assessment photos of DRV targets

On the following night, 60 bombers flew the mission, with some attacking SAM sites while others struck Lang Dang, Duc Noi, the Trung Quang Railroad, and Van Dien. One B-52 was so heavily damaged that its crew ejected over Laos, where it was rescued. A second aircraft was not so lucky. It took a direct hit and went down while attacking the Trung Quang Railroad yards.[59] During the evening's operations two F-4s and an HH-53 search and rescue helicopter were also shot down.[60] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1140x984, 570 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1140x984, 570 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Sikorsky S-65 is a heavy transport helicopter originally developed for use by the United States Marine Corps, who designated it the CH-53 Sea Stallion. ...


Day ten (28 December) called for strikes by 60 B-52s - 15 Gs and 15 Ds from Andersen and 30 Ds from U-Tapao, The aircraft formed six waves attacking five targets. Four of the waves struck targets in the Hanoi area (including SAM Support Facility #58), while the fifth hit the Lang Dang Railroad yards southwest of Lang Son, a major chokepoint on the supply route from Red China. No aircraft were lost on the mission.[61] December 28 is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 3 days remaining. ...


By the eleventh and final mission (29 December), there were few strategic targets worthy of mention left within North Vietnam. There were, however, two SAM storage areas at Phuc Yen and the Lang Dang yards that could be profitably attacked. A total of 60 aircraft again made the trip north, but the mix was altered. U-Tapao again provided 30 D models, but the Andersen force was varied, putting 12 G models and 18 Ds over the North. Total bombing was rounded out by sending 30 G models on Arclight missions in the southern North Vietnam and in South Vietnam.[62] Once again, there were no aircraft losses to AAA fire, MiGs, or missiles.


Back to the negotiating table

On 26 December, Hanoi notified Washington that it was willing to return to the talks. "To impress upon Nixon that the bombing was not the reason for this decision, the VWP Politburo told Nixon that halting the bombing was not a precondition for further talks."[63] Nixon replied that he wanted the technical discussions to resume on 2 January and that he would halt the bombing if Hanoi agreed. They did so and Nixon suspended aerial operations north of the 20th parallel on 29 December. He then informed Kissinger to accept the terms offered in October, if that was what it took to get the agreement signed.[64] Senator Henry Jackson (D, Wash.), tried to persuade Nixon to make a televised address in order to explain to the American people that "we bombed them in order to get them back to the table."[65] It would, however, have been extremely difficult to get informed observers in the U.S. to believe that he "had bombed Hanoi in order to force North Vietnamese acceptance of terms they had already agreed to."[66] December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, 361st in leap years. ... January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... Several notable persons have been named Henry Jackson: Henry Bradwardine Jackson, British First Sea Lord in World War I Henry M. Jackson, US Senator Henry R. Jackson, US general in 19th century See also: William Henry Jackson, Henry Jackson van Dyke, Henry Jackson Hunt This is a disambiguation page &#8212... Official language(s) None Capital Olympia Largest city Seattle Area  Ranked 18th  - Total 71,342 sq mi (184,827 km²)  - Width 240 miles (385 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 6. ...

Le Duc Tho and Dr. Henry Kissinger (fourth and fifth from the left respectively)
Le Duc Tho and Dr. Henry Kissinger (fourth and fifth from the left respectively)

Now the only stumbling block on the road to an agreement was President Thieu. Nixon tried to placate him by writing on 5 January that "you have my assurance of continued assistance in the post-settlement period and that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam."[67] By this time, however, (due to congressional opposition) Nixon was in no position to make such a promise, since the possibility of obtaining the requisite congressional appropriations was nil.[68] The South Vietnamese president, however, still refused to agree. On the 14th Nixon made his most serious threat: "I have therefore irrevocably decided to proceed to initial the Agreement on January 23, 1973...I will do so, if necessary, alone.[69] One day before the deadline, Thieu bowed to the inevitable and consented to the agreement. Image File history File links KDT.jpg‎ US Army Photograph File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links KDT.jpg‎ US Army Photograph File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... January 5 is the 5th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...


On 9 January Kissinger and Le Duc Tho returned to Paris. The agreement struck between the U.S. and the DRV was basically the same one that had been reached in October. The additional demands that had been made made by the U.S. in December were generally discarded or went against the U.S. John Negroponte, one of Kissinger's aides during the negotiations, was more caustic: "We bombed the North Vietnamese into accepting our concessions."[70] The DMZ was defined as provided for in the Geneva Accords of 1954, and would in no way be recognized as an international boundary. The demanded withdrawal of PAVN troops from South Vietnam was not mentioned at all in the text of the agreement. Kissinger did, however, obtain a "verbal agreement" from Tho for a token withdrawal of 30,000 North Vietnamese troops.[71] January 9 is the 9th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the proposal for peace between Israel and Palestine. ...


The demand for an inclusive, Indochina-wide cease-fire was simply discarded in the written agreement. Once again, Kissinger had to be satisfied with a "verbal understanding" that a cease-fire would be instituted in Laos simultaneous with, or shortly following, that in South Vietnam.[72] An agreement on Cambodia (where the North Vietnamese had no influence whatsoever over the Khmer Rouge) was out of the question. The size of the ICCS was finally decided by splitting the difference in the number demanded by both parties at 1,160 personnel.[73] The Paris Peace Accords were signed at the Majestic Hotel in Paris on 27 January 1973. The Khmer Rouge (Khmer: ) was the extremist Communist party that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. ... Signing the peace accords. ... January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ...


Conclusion

During operation Linebacker II a total of 741 B-52s had been dispatched to bomb the DRV and 729 had actually completed their missions.[74] 15,237 tons of ordnance were dropped on 18 industrial and 14 military targets (including eight SAM sites) while fighter-bombers added another 5,000 tons of bombs to the tally.[75] 212 additional B-52 missions were flown within South Vietnam in support of ground operations during the same time period.[76] Ten B-52s had been shot down over the DRV and five others had been damaged and crashed in Laos or Thailand. 33 B-52 crew members were killed or missing in action, another 33 became prisoners of war, and 26 more were rescued.[77] North Vietnamese air defense forces claimed that 34 B-52s and four F-111s had been shot down during the campaign.[78]


769 additional sorties were flown by the Air Force and 505 by the Navy and Marine Corps in support of the bombers.[79] 12 of these aircraft were lost on the missions (two F-111s, three F-4s, two A-7s, two A-6s, an EB-66, an HH-53 rescue helicopter, and an RA-5C).[80] During these operations, ten Americans were killed, eight captured, and 11 aircrew members were rescued.[81] The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II was a carrier-based subsonic light attack aircraft design that was introduced to replace the A-4 Skyhawk in US Naval service and based on the successful supersonic F-8 Crusader aircraft produced by Chance Vought. ... The A-6 Intruder is a twin-engine, mid-wing attack aircraft built by Grumman Aerospace. ... The North American A3J/A-5 Vigilante was a powerful, highly advanced carrier-based supersonic bomber designed for the US Navy. ...


Damage to the DRV's infrastructure was severe. The Air Force estimated 500 rail interdictions had taken place, 372 pieces of rollng stock and three million gallons of petroleum products were destroyed, and 80 percent of the DRV's electrical power production capability had been eliminated. Logistical inputs into North Vietnam were assessed by U.S. intelligence at 160,000 tons per month when the operation began. By January 1973, those imports had dropped to 30,000 tons per month.[82] Although the Hanoi government claimed that U.S. aircraft had "carpet-bombed hospitals, schools, and crowded residential areas, committing barbarous crimes against our people," civilian casualties were comparatively low. The DRV government itself only claimed that 1,624 civilians had been killed by the bombing.[83]


U.S. air order of battle

  • Task Force 77
USS America (CVA-66), Carrier Air Wing 8 (F-4), (A-6), (A-7)
USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), Carrier Air Wing 14 (F-4, (A-6), (A-7)
USS Midway (CVA-41), Carrier Air Wing 5 (F-4, (A-7)
USS Oriskany (CVA-34), Carrier Air Wing 19 (F-8), (A-7)
USS Ranger (CVA-61), Carrier Air Wing 2 (F-4, (A-6), A-7)
USS Saratoga (CVA-60), Carrier Air Wing 3 (F-4, (A-6), A-7)
  • Seventh Air Force
8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon RTAFB, Thailand (F-4)
+two squadrons from 4th TFW, Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina
+one squadron from 33rd TFW, Eglin AFB, Florida
354th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat RTAFB, Thailand (A-7)
388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat RTAFB, Thailand (F-4), (F-105G)
432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Udon RTAFB, Thailand (F-4), (RF-4)
+two squadrons from 366th TFW after its departure from Da Nang AB, RVN
474th Tactical Fighter Wing, Takhli RTAFB, Thailand (F-111)
43d Strategic Wing, Andersen AFB, Guam (B-52D)
72d Strategic Wing (Provisional), Andersen AFB, Guam (B-52G)
307th Strategic Wing, U Tapao RTAFB, Thailand (B-52D)

The third USS America (CV-66), originally CVA-66, was a supercarrier of the United States Navy that served from 1965 to 1996. ... The eighth USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the worlds first nuclear supercarrier, powered by eight A2W reactors. ... The third USS Midway (CVB-41), later CVA-41 and CV-41, was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II. Active in the Vietnam War, as of 2004 she is... USS Oriskany (CV-34) (also CVA-34) was a United States Navy aircraft carrier. ... The seventh USS Ranger (CVA-61) (later CV-61) was a United States Navy Forrestal-class supercarrier. ... USS Saratoga (CV-60), the fifth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the American Revolutionary War Battle of Saratoga, was a Forrestal-class supercarrier. ... Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base near Goldsboro, North Carolina. ... Eglin Air Force Base is a base of the United States Air Force that belongs to the Air Force Materiel Command; the Air Armament Center is the host unit. ... Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base is a base of the Royal Thai Air Force. ... Udon Thani International Airport (IATA: UTP, ICAO: VTUD) is an airport located near the city of Udon Thani (อุดรธานี, also Udorn Thanee) in Eastern Thailand in Udon Thani province. ... Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base is a Royal Thai Air Force facility and is the home of the RTAF Wing 4, 401, 402, 403 squadrons. ...

Notes

  1. ^ John Morocco, Rain of Fire. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985, p. 150.
  2. ^ Samuel Lipsman, Stephen Weiss, et al, The False Peace. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985, p. 12.
  3. ^ Pierre Asselin, A Bitter Peace, pp. 79-87.
  4. ^ Asselin, A Bitter Peace, p. 88
  5. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 10.
  6. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 13.
  7. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 14.
  8. ^ Lippsman & Weiss, p. 14.
  9. ^ Stanley Karnow, Vietnam, New York: Viking Press, 1983, p. 650.
  10. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 17. Thieu alleged, for instance, that the U.S. would cease all aid to South Vietnam and that, according to the clauses of the agreement, all members of the southern government would have to resign.
  11. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 17-18.
  12. ^ Asselin, A Bitter Peace, p. 101
  13. ^ Karnow, p. 651.
  14. ^ Karnow, p. 651. See also Lipsman & Weiss, p. 21.
  15. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 21.
  16. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 22.
  17. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 22.
  18. ^ Asselin, A Bitter Peace, p. 139.
  19. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 24.
  20. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 24.
  21. ^ Earl H. Tilford, Setup. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1991, p. 253.
  22. ^ Michael Casey, Clark Dougan, Samuel Lipsman, Jack Sweetman, Stephen Weiss, et al, Flags into Battle. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1987, p. 40. See also Lipsman & Weiss, pps. 24-25.
  23. ^ Tilford, p. 254.
  24. ^ These include Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History, p. 652, Marc Leepson, Dictionary of the Vietnam War p. 228, John Morocco, Rain of Fire p. 146, and Harry Summers, The Vietnam Almanac, p. 228, and four of the authors of the U.S. military quoted in this article, Gilster, McCarthy & Allison, and Tilford.
  25. ^ Asselin, A Bitter Peace, p. 139.
  26. ^ Stephen Ambrose, The Christmas Bombings, New York: Random House, 2005, p. 403.
  27. ^ Tilford, p. 224.
  28. ^ Within the administration itself, the operation was opposed by Secretary of Defense Laird, his deputy, and the Chaiman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Thomas Moorer. Ambrose, p. 403.
  29. ^ Herman L. Gilster, The Air War in Southeast Asia. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1993, p. 75.
  30. ^ Linebacker II, p. 41. During Linebacker, 14 American aircraft were lost to SAMs, three were lost to AAA fire, and MiGs shot down 27. Tilford, p. 241.
  31. ^ Brig. Gen. James R. McCarthy and LtCol George B. Allison, Linebacker II, Maxwell Air Force base AL: Air War College, 1979, p. 121.
  32. ^ Morocco, p. 148.
  33. ^ Morocco, p. 150.
  34. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 65.
  35. ^ Morocco, p. 150.
  36. ^ Walter J. Boyne, Linebacker II. Air Force Magazine, May 1997, Vol. 80, Number 11.
  37. ^ Ambrose, p. 405.
  38. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 83.
  39. ^ Morocco, p. 150.
  40. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 85.
  41. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 85.
  42. ^ Gilster, p. 112.
  43. ^ Tilford, p. 255-256.
  44. ^ Tilford, p. 256.
  45. ^ Tilford, p. 257.
  46. ^ Boyne, Linebacker II.
  47. ^ Morocco, p. 154.
  48. ^ Morocco, p. 154.
  49. ^ Boyne, Linebacker II.
  50. ^ Morocco, p. 154.
  51. ^ Tilford, p. 259.
  52. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 121, 122.
  53. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 121.
  54. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 129.
  55. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 124.
  56. ^ Morocco, pps. 154-156.
  57. ^ The claim made by both general and Air Force historians was that the DRV's SAM inventory was eventually depleted during the campaign. Historian Herman Gilster, however, disagreed with this assessment. "The number of SAMs sighted per B-52 sortie increased from 1.2 during the first phase of the campaign to 1.9 during the last phase. A more reasonable answer to the decline in attrition would be the change in U.S. tactics after the third night." Gilster, p. 112.
  58. ^ Tilford, p. 262.
  59. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 152.
  60. ^ Boyne, Linebacker II.
  61. ^ Tilford, p. 262.
  62. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 163.
  63. ^ Asselin, A Bitter Peace, p. 150
  64. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 29.
  65. ^ Ambrose, p. 411.
  66. ^ Ambrose, p. 411.
  67. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 28. See also Karnow, p. 654.
  68. ^ Ambrose, p. 406.
  69. ^ Ambrose, p. 413. See also Lipsman & Weiss, p. 32.
  70. ^ Ambrose, p. 413
  71. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 29-30.
  72. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, p. 30.
  73. ^ Lipsman & Weiss, pps. 22, 30.
  74. ^ Tilford, p. 263.
  75. ^ Tilford, p. 263.
  76. ^ Bernard C. Nalty, Air War Over South Vietnam. Washington DC: Center of Air Force History, 1995, p. 178.
  77. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 173.
  78. ^ Victory in Vietnam, p. 327.
  79. ^ Tilford, p. 263.
  80. ^ Boyne, Linebacker II.
  81. ^ Nalty, p. 182.
  82. ^ McCarthy & Allison, p. 171.
  83. ^ Victory in Vietnam, p. 319.

References

Published Government Documents

  • LINEBACKER II, Boyne, Walter J. Linebacker II, Air Force Magazine, Vol. 80, Number 11, May, 1997.
  • Gilster, Herman L. The Air War in Southeast Asia: Case Studies of Selected Campaigns. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1993.
  • Head, William P. War from Above the Clouds: B-52 Operations During the Second Indochina War and the Effects of the Air War on Theory and Doctrine. Maxwell AFB AL: Air University Press, 2002.
  • McCarthy, Brig. Gen. James R. and LtCol. George B. Allison, Linebacker II: A View from the Rock. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1979.
  • Nalty, Bernard C. Air War Over South Vietnam: 1969–1975. Washington DC: Center of Air Force History, 1995.
  • Schlight, John, A War Too Long. Washington DC: Center of Air Force History, 1993.
  • Tilford, Earl H. Setup: What the Air Force Did in Vietnam and Why. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1991.
  • Thompson, Wayne, To Hanoi and Back: The U.S. Air Force and North Vietnam, 1966-1973. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute Press, 2002.

Secondary Sources

  • Asselin, Pierre, A Bitter Peace: Washington, Hanoi and the Making of the Paris Agreement, Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2002.
  • Ambrose, Stephen E., The Christmas Bombing in Robert Cowley, ed. The Cold War: A Military History, New York: Random House, 2005.
  • Casey, Michael, Clark Dougan, Samuel Lipsman, Jack Sweetman, Stephen Weiss, et al, Flags Into Battle. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1987.
  • Drendel, Lou, Air War over Southeast Asia: Vol. 3, 1971–1975. Carrollton TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1984.
  • Karnow, Stanley, Vietnam: A History. New York: Viking Books, 1983.
  • Lippsman, Samuel, Stephen Weiss, et al, The False Peace: 1972-74. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985.
  • Littauer, Raphael and Norman Uphoff, The Air War in Indochina. Boston: Beacon Press, 1972.
  • Morocco, John, Rain of Fire: Air War, 1969–1973. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985.
  • Linebacker II Day by Day
  • Hobson, Chris, "Vietnam Air Losses USAF/NAVY/MARINE, Fixed-wing aircraft losses Southeast Asia 1961-1973. 2001. ISBN 1-8578-1156

[Category:Vietnam War]]


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Operation Linebacker II (1028 words)
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