Operation Rolling Thunder was one of the longest sustained air bombing campaigns in history, starting in March 1965 and running until November 1968. The key aim of the campaign was to stop North Vietnamese aid reaching the Communist revolutionaries in South Vietnam. This was to be achieved by destroying the transport system, destroying the arms industry and making the effort so expensive for the North that it would give up. Although the American politicians were desperate to defeat the North, they were even more worried about involving the Chinese or Russians, and so imposed restrictive rules of engagement that hampered their own forces. This combined with increasingly effective North Vietnamese defences made Rolling Thunder one of the toughest air campaigns ever fought by the USA.
Copyright © 2012 Andrew May