On March 30, 1972 some 30,000 North Vietnamese troops along with tanks and heavy artillery surged across the demilitarized zone into South Vietnam in the opening round of Hanoi's Easter Offensive. By early May South Vietnamese forces were on the ropes and faltering. Without the support of U.S. combat troops - who were in their final stage of withdrawing from the country - the Saigon government was in danger of total collapse and with it any American hope of a negotiated settlement to the war. In response, President Richard Nixon called for an aggressive, sustained bombardment of North Vietnam. Code-named Operation Linebacker I, the interdiction effort sought to stem the flow of men and material southward, as well as sever all outside supply lines in the first new bombing of the North Vietnamese heartland in nearly four years. To meet the American air armada, North Vietnamese MiG fighters took to the skies and surface-to-missiles and anti-aircraft fire filled the air from May to October over Hanoi and Haiphong.With the failure of its Easter Offensive to achieve military victory, Hanoi reluctantly returned to the negotiating table in Paris. However, as the peace talks teetered on the edge of collapse in mid-December 1972, Nixon played his trump card: Operation Linebacker II. The resulting twelve-day Christmas bombing campaign from 18-30 December unleashed the full wrath of American air power. More than 2,200 attack sorties, including 724 B-52 sorties alone, were flown by Air Force and Navy aircraft delivering 15,287 tons of bombs that laid waste to the North Vietnamese capital. Railyards, military storage depots, power stations, and bridges, as well as radar and communication sites, airfields, and anti-aircraft defenses were pummelled day and night. Linebacker II would prove to be decisive: a ceasefire agreement was signed on 23 January 1973.
At Easter 1972, North Vietnam invaded the South, and there were almost no US ground troops left to stop it. But air power reinforcements could be rushed to the theater. Operation Linebacker's objective was to destroy the invading forces from the air and cut North Vietnam's supply routes – and luckily in 1972, American air power was beginning a revolution in both technology and tactics. Most crucial was the introduction of the first effective laser-guided bombs, but the campaign also involved the fearsome AC-130 gunship and saw the debut of helicopter-mounted TOW missiles. Thanks to the new Top Gun fighter school, US naval aviators now also had a real advantage over the MiGs. This is the fascinating story of arguably the world's first “modern” air campaign. It explains how this complex operation – involving tactical aircraft, strategic bombers, close air support and airlift – defeated the invasion. It also explains the shortcomings of the campaign, the contrasting approaches of the USAF and Navy, and the impact that Linebacker had on modern air warfare.
After the failed April 1972 invasion of South Vietnam and the heavy US tactical bombing raids in the Hanoi area, the North Vietnamese agreed to return to the Paris peace talks, yet very quickly these negotiations stalled. In an attempt to end the war quickly and 'persuade' the North Vietnamese to return to the negotiating table, President Nixon ordered the Air Force to send the US' ultimate conventional weapon, the B-52 bomber, against their capital, Hanoi. Bristling with the latest Soviet air defence missiles, it was the most heavily defended target in Vietnam. Taking place in late December, this campaign was soon dubbed the 'Christmas Bombings'. Using specially commissioned artwork and maps, ex-USAF fighter colonel Marshall Michel describes Linebacker II, the climax of the air war over Vietnam, and history's only example of how America's best Cold War bombers performed against contemporary Soviet air defences.
An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam
Author: Lien-Hang T. Nguyen
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of U.S. involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the reader from the marshy swamps of the Mekong Delta to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam. Hanoi's War renders transparent the internal workings of America's most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more wide ranging than it had been previously. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of war-making and peace-making not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.
An enhanced edition of this “fascinating” collection of White House transcripts, including audio clips of some of the most newsworthy conversations (San Francisco Chronicle). This “treasure trove” of transcripts documents two years of Richard Nixon’s presidency and takes you directly inside the White House, through the famous—and infamous—Nixon White House tapes that reveal for the first time the president uncensored, unfiltered, and in his own words (TheBoston Globe). President Nixon’s voice-activated taping system captured every word spoken in the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, other key locations in the White House, and at Camp David—3,700 hours of recordings between 1971 and 1973. Yet less than five percent of those conversations have ever been transcribed and published. Now, thanks to historian Luke Nichter’s massive effort to digitize and transcribe the tapes, the world can finally read an unprecedented account of one of the most important and controversial presidencies in US history. This volume of The Nixon Tapes offers a selection of fascinating scenes from the period in which Nixon opened relations with China, negotiated the SALT I arms agreement with the Soviet Union, and won a landslide reelection victory. All the while, the growing shadow of Watergate and Nixon’s political downfall crept ever closer. The Nixon Tapes provides a never-before-seen glimpse into a flawed president’s hubris, paranoia, and political genius—“essential for students of the era and fascinating for those who lived it” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
This classic work--part of the Marine Corps reading list--makes full use of declassified U.S. documents to offer the first comprehensive study of fighter combat over North Vietnam. Marshall Michel's balanced, exhaustive coverage describes and analyzes both Air Force and Navy engagements with North Vietnamese MiGs but also includes discussions of the SAM threat and U.S. countermeasures, laser-guided bombs, and U.S. attempts to counter the MiG threat with a variety of technological equipment. Accessible yet professional, the book is filled with valuable lessons learned that are as valid today as they were in the 1960s and 1970s. Some 29 photos and 33 drawings and maps, including diagrams of both American and North Vietnamese formations and tactics, are included.