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Operation Rolling Thunder information


Operation Rolling Thunder
Part of the Vietnam War

Compilation of United States Air Force and United States Naval air operations throughout the Rolling Thunder campaign.
Date2 March 1965 – 2 November 1968
Location
Over North Vietnam
Result U.S. failure
Belligerents
Operation Rolling Thunder United States
Operation Rolling Thunder South Vietnam
Operation Rolling Thunder North Vietnam
Operation Rolling Thunder China[1]
Operation Rolling Thunder North Korea[2]
Commanders and leaders
United States Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Robert McNamara
United States Joseph H. Moore
United States William W. Momyer
United States George S. Brown
South Vietnam Nguyen Cao Ky
North Vietnam Phung The Tai (Air Defense)
North Vietnam Nguyen Van Tien (Air Force)
Casualties and losses

U.S.:
1,054 killed, wounded or captured[3]
922 aircraft lost[3][4]

South Vietnam: unknown

North Vietnam: 20,000 soldiers and 30,000–182,000 civilians killed[5][6][7]
120 aircraft destroyed[5] North Korea: 14 pilots killed[8]

China: 20,000 support personnel casualties[5]

Operation Rolling Thunder was a gradual and sustained aerial bombardment campaign conducted by the United States (U.S.) 2nd Air Division (later Seventh Air Force), U.S. Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), China and North Korea from 2 March 1965 until 2 November 1968, during the Vietnam War.

The four objectives of the operation (which evolved over time) were to boost the sagging morale of the Saigon regime in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam); to persuade North Vietnam to cease its support for the communist insurgency in South Vietnam without sending ground forces into communist North Vietnam; to destroy North Vietnam's transportation system, industrial base, and air defenses; and to halt the flow of men and materiel into South Vietnam. Attainment of these objectives was made difficult by both the restraints imposed upon the U.S. and its allies by Cold War exigencies, and the military aid and assistance received by North Vietnam from its communist allies, the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and North Korea.

The operation became the most intense air/ground battle waged during the Cold War period; it was the most difficult such campaign fought by the United States since the aerial bombardment of Germany during World War II. Supported by its communist allies, the Soviet Union and China, North Vietnam fielded a potent mixture of MiG fighter-interceptor jets and sophisticated air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons that created one of the most effective air defenses ever faced by American military aviators. This led to the cancellation of Operation Rolling Thunder in 1968.

  1. ^ Jian, Chen (June 1995). "China's Involvement in the Vietnam War, 1964–69" (PDF). The China Quarterly. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  2. ^ Bennett, Richard M. (18 August 2006). "Korea: Missiles and madness". Asia Times Online. Archived from the original on 23 September 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b Schlight, A War Too Long, p. 53.
  4. ^ Hobson, pp. 15–116.
  5. ^ a b c "Timeline". Battlefield Vietnam. PBS Online. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  6. ^ "LBJ approves 'Operation Rolling Thunder,' Feb. 13, 1965". Politico. 13 February 2019.
  7. ^ Tucker, Spencer, ed. (1998). Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Volume Two. Santa Barbara, CA, p. 176
  8. ^ "North Korea fought in Vietnam War". BBC News. 31 March 2000. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

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