Operation Rolling Thunder
Dates: 2MAR1965 – 31OCT1968
Area of Operations: Targets in North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam)
Allied Units: Elements of the US Air Force, US Navy, US Marine Corps
Allied Casualties: Specific numbers unavailable, but KIA, WIA, MIA, POW all number in the hundreds
Enemy Units: NVA
Enemy Casualties: Specific numbers unavailable, though number of killed estimated upwards of 52,000
Objective: To interrupt the flow of supplies from north to south; to bring the DRV (North Vietnam) to the negotiation table.
Significance/Notes: Longest bombing campaign in US history. 990 aircraft were lost during the nearly 1,000,000 sorties flown.
Largely unsuccessful due to a number of factors. The first is that civilian government officials in Washington, DC (with President Johnson at the forefront) had too much control over bombing targets and how to carry out missions. President Johnson wanted to avoid provoking Russia or China to join in the war, and so often limited actions of the military men carrying out the bombing runs. Additionally, there were many halts to the bombing meant to give the North Vietnamese a chance to come negotiate. This greatly reduced effectiveness. Second, the agrarian nature of the country made it less susceptible to the bombing of industrial centers (a tactic used with much success in WWII).
- The Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University
- The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, 2nd Edition edited by Spencer C. Tucker
- Rolling Thunder by John T. Correll (article in Air Force Magazine)
- Operation Rolling Thunder factsheet at Air Force Historical Studies Office
- North Vietnam: Rolling Thunder factsheet at National Museum of the US Air Force
- Rolling Thunder 1965-68 by Airchard P Hallion, Adam Tooby
Air War Over North Vietnam: Operation Rolling Thunder, 1965–1968by Stephen Emerson