On February 7th 1965 the US launched Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation involved bombing military and industrial sites in North Vietnam. It was the beginning of an air offensive which was to last until 1972. The list of targets was expanded to towns and cities in North and South Vietnam and included sites in Laos and Cambodia a long the Chi Minh Trail. More bombs were dropped on North Vietnam then were dropped in WW2 against Germany and Japan. To some extent the bombing was effective:
- It enabled the US to strike at communist forces even when it was reducing US ground forces in Vietnam in 1969
- From 1970 to 1972 intense bombing campaigns against Hanoi and the port of Haiphong forced North Vietnamese to the negotiating table.
However US air power could not defeat the communist it could only slow them down. The Viet Cong continued to operate its supply lines. Even after major air raids on North Vietnam in 1972 the ccommunists were still able…