Vietnam War - Rolling Thunder
Rolling Thunder - The first air war in Vietnam
Rolling Thunder was the first of four district phases of the air wars in Vietnam and was the first sustained bombing of the United States bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Rolling Thunder began on 2 March 1965 and ended on 1 November 1968. Immediately after Rolling Thunder followed the bombing halt' (1968 - 1972) ; the Linebacker Campaign (May - October 1972) and finally the eleven-day war' known as Linebacker II (17-29 December 1972).
What was Rolling Thunder
Rolling Thunder had three objectives; reduce the infiltration; boost South Vietnamese morale and to inform Hanoi of the ever increasing expense of a continued insurgence in the South.
In Hanoi, Rolling Thunder was seen as another obstacle to overcome in the struggle to unite the North and the South under the Vietnamese rule of Ho Chi Minh followers. They would find a way to withstand the American air assault, making it too expensive for Washington to maintain.
On 2 March 1965, the United States Air Force participated in Rolling Thunder for the first time,and inflicted heavy damage by large numbers of aircrafts, available at Thai bases, that accompanied B-57s to an ammunition depot Xom Bong. Two F-100D Super Sabres and three F-105D Thunderchiefs were destroyed.
Rolling Thunder - Was it all that Thunderous
Rolling Thunder was criticized from the start that it was not too thunderous. The planning of air strikes was complex. Decisions, including low level choices, were taken thousands of miles from the fighting in the Situation Room in Washington. There President Johnson could retain firm control over what attacks should be made. Lt Gen. Joseph Moore at USAF headquarters in Saigon continually recommended targets, only to find that the targets that Washington chose were seemingly random.
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