After the failed April 1972 invasion of South Vietnam and the heavy US tactical bombing raids in the Hanoi area, the North Vietnamese agreed to return to the Paris peace talks, yet very quickly these negotiations stalled. In an attempt to end the war quickly and 'persuade' the North Vietnamese to return to the negotiating table, President Nixon ordered the Air Force to send the US' ultimate conventional weapon, the B-52 bomber, against their capital, Hanoi. Bristling with the latest Soviet air defence missiles, it was the most heavily defended target in Vietnam. Taking place in late December, this campaign was soon dubbed the `Christmas Bombings'. Using specially commissioned artwork and maps, ex-USAF fighter colonel Marshall Michel describes Linebacker II, the climax of the air war over Vietnam, and history's only example of how America's best Cold War bombers performed against contemporary Soviet air defences.
Table of contents:
Introduction /Chronology /Attackers' Capabilities /Defenders' Capabilities /Campaign Objectives /The Campaign /Analysis and Conclusion /Further Reading /Index
Marshall L. Michel III is a native of New Orleans who attended Georgetown and Harvard universities. He joined the US Air Force in 1966 and from 1970 to 1973 flew 321 combat missions. He was the assistant air attache at the American embassy in Tel Aviv from 1977 to 1980, when he returned to the United States to fly F-15s at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. He later served as the Israel desk officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, as a fellow at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and on the NATO staff in Brussels, Belgium. He retired from the Air Force in 1992 and now lives in Biloxi, Mississippi, USA.