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Operation Rolling Thunder - why was it a failure and what can we learn from it?

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posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 05:10 AM
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Operation Rolling Thunder (1965 - 1968), conducted
by the USA as part of the war in Asia, was considered a "failure".

Why? And what can we hope to learn from it?




posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 05:39 AM
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It was a failure because the U.S. underestimated the "enemy".

Most of those killed during the bombings were civilians, which only inspired more North Vietnamese to fight. Most of our planes never got too close to major military targets because the North had a lot of AA weaponry courtesy of China and the Soviet union.

The north would often just wait out the bombardments in shelters during daytime, then go out and repair necessary things (radio/bridges/etc.) at night.

What can we learn? Don't go sh** in someone's yard. They know the area better than you and have neighbors that look out for them.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 06:00 AM
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originally posted by: TheRepublicOfCanada
Operation Rolling Thunder (1965 - 1968), conducted
by the USA as part of the war in Asia, was considered a "failure".

Why? And what can we hope to learn from it?


As the OP, that's your job to tell us...

First, what exactly was Operation Rolling Thunder:

Operation Rolling Thunder was the codename for an American bombing campaign during the Vietnam War. U.S. military aircraft attacked targets throughout North Vietnam from March 1965 to October 1968. This massive bombardment was intended to put military pressure on North Vietnam’s communist leaders and reduce their capacity to wage war against the U.S.-supported government of South Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder marked the first sustained American assault on North Vietnamese territory and represented a major expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Why did it fail?

Although North Vietnam did not have much of an air force, its leaders managed to mount an effective defense against the bombing raids. With assistance from China and the Soviet Union, the North Vietnamese constructed a sophisticated air-defense system.

Using surface-to-air missiles and radar-controlled anti-aircraft artillery, the North Vietnamese shot down hundreds of American planes over the course of the bombing campaign. As a result, pilots and aircraft weapon systems operators accounted for the majority of the American prisoners of war who were captured and held by North Vietnam.

Apparently, it wasn't so much what went wrong as what went right... for the Vietnamese.

So what exactly are you asking? And what are your thoughts?
edit on 23-9-2019 by Boadicea because: Added source link



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 06:10 AM
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What we can learn is that Russia helped North Vietnam. So the US helped Bin Laden beat the Russians in Afghanistan as payback. Then the Russians did something somewhere as payback...........and so on and so forth.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 06:18 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea

First, what exactly was Operation Rolling Thunder:

That was dumping all the stockpiled bombs and get the weapon industry going...making money. Losing/ winning the war was never really that important. Just keep the war going until the citizens of the US say...now we have lost enough family members and it is useless to spent our money on a war we can not win.

I am waiting for the moment the US citizens tell government to stop the war on terror and give them their own freedoms back. It is just crazy that the government is holding its own people hostage...and taking their money....and they don't see it....yet.

Sorry...all speculation and based on nothing really.








posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 06:50 AM
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a reply to: zatara


That was dumping all the stockpiled bombs and get the weapon industry going...making money. Losing/ winning the war was never really that important.


Wow. That's pretty much what my dad said (ranted) at the time. He was furious about the war. Not so much that we were at war, but how it was being conducted. He served in the Navy during Korea. But he lost his only cousin in Vietnam. So it was personal to him.

He was furious that it was being run by Congress critters from the Capitol and not by the generals on the ground, and said the only reason for that -- their true purpose -- was to keep the war going as long as possible without winning or losing... He very much felt that our boys were being sacrificed for greed and avarice and power, and that they deserved a helluvalot better than that.

Sorry to digress. Memories, ya know?



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 08:57 AM
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We wont learn anything from it because we as a people were not involved nor told the truth about any of these operations.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 08:58 AM
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One reason for the failure of both Operation Rolling Thunder and the Vietnam War was the refusal of American leaders to bomb the US-owned oil refinery near Hanoi and the dredge keeping Haiphong harbour open. They were obvious targets from a military perspective, but as other posters have stated, and I agree with them, the war was to make money, not defeat "Godless Communism."



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 11:16 AM
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Well, the first reason it failed was it was implemented in a war to prop up a corrupt and unpopular government that had very little support outside of the few rural areas.
The second reason it failed is the North was primarily an agrarian society with a small industrial base which would make a strategic campaign difficult.
A third reason is the campaign had no firmly defined goal or objectives. Objectives were extremely vague.


The primary reason it failed to achieve much, however, was the restrictions placed on planners:
A no-target zone 30-mile radius around Hanoi
10-mile radius around Haiphong
Wide buffer zone along Chinese border
Even North Vietnamese air bases were off limits
SAM sites could not be targeted unless aircraft were fired upon first

Once target lists were made, the White House reviewed and debated all of them and hand-picked targets from the list. This essentially meant most strategic targets were off limits, and the Byzantine targeting approval process was too slow to effectively prosecute tactical targets.


Contrast that with Linebacker II which was an intense campaign hitting high-value targets which took only eleven days to bring the North back to the table at Paris.



posted on Sep, 23 2019 @ 11:31 AM
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Why? Simple...

"War" with more than one rule is not winnable.

There is only one rule in war...WIN.

When politicians start adding rules, warriors start dying for no reason.

Queue: Korea, Viet Nam (Laos, Cambodia), Bosnia, Iraq, Asscrackistan, Africa, and how many more we don't even know about. About the only modern day military success you can point to is Desert Storm, which just further illustrates the point; level everything to ashes, decimate anything that moves and continue to lay absolute waste to your opponent until they UNCONDITIONALLY surrender...and even then, keep blasting their ever-loving S# loose and blowing up all their stuff! And yes, leave a mark...a serious scar to remember things by.

In other words...

One rule, and one rule only...WIN!



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 12:19 PM
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a reply to: seaswine

I think the general historical consensus is the same as the revolutionary war..

The colonialists and the Vietnamese won because of a lack of political will on the part of the invading force..


The revolutionary war it was a change up in the British government and those who took power wanted to scale back the expansionism..

The revolutionaries only fought the pinkie finger of the British empire , only a fraction of their military..

If the king still held total power there is no America..



With Vietnam it is TV that is credited and the government letting reporters embed on front line actions.. that allowed American families to see the true horror of war in relative real time... and they didn’t dig it ...



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 12:20 PM
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a reply to: TheRepublicOfCanada

Oh.. that said vietnam had zero chance of beating America if the population kept supporting the war.



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: seaswine

But here is the thing..

The US was still causing mass casualties and that is unsustainable long term period..

The US could have easily won the war.. it just
Might take killing 80% of the population.



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 12:23 PM
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originally posted by: Lazarus Short
One reason for the failure of both Operation Rolling Thunder and the Vietnam War was the refusal of American leaders to bomb the US-owned oil refinery near Hanoi and the dredge keeping Haiphong harbour open. They were obvious targets from a military perspective, but as other posters have stated, and I agree with them, the war was to make money, not defeat "Godless Communism."


US was never going to win Vietnam first place unlike Korea. All the viets were on the other side. They don't have the support of any Vietnamese. The entire Americans forces were just down right invaders. US can only win by going mass genocide side mode like what happened to Native Americans. China and Soviet sees it as a massive threat. Many Americans see it as wrong. Repeat of colonization of America. WW3 will basically start if US goes the genocidal mode which Viet will have to call in Chinese to help and Soviet army will step in instantly.
edit on 24-9-2019 by makemap because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 12:27 PM
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originally posted by: JustJohnny
a reply to: seaswine

But here is the thing..

The US was still causing mass casualties and that is unsustainable long term period..

The US could have easily won the war.. it just
Might take killing 80% of the population.


No cause Cambodia was waiting with the Chinese to step in. USSR will support China and instant WW3 green light. The Vietnamese will invite them in to help just like NK.
edit on 24-9-2019 by makemap because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 01:00 PM
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originally posted by: RadioRobert

The primary reason it failed to achieve much, however, was the restrictions placed on planners:
A no-target zone 30-mile radius around Hanoi
10-mile radius around Haiphong
Wide buffer zone along Chinese border
Even North Vietnamese air bases were off limits
SAM sites could not be targeted unless aircraft were fired upon first

Once target lists were made, the White House reviewed and debated all of them and hand-picked targets from the list. This essentially meant most strategic targets were off limits, and the Byzantine targeting approval process was too slow to effectively prosecute tactical targets.


THAT is the correct answer. Ask any pilots who flew during the war and they will tell you the same thing. The US leaders were not in it to win it. They were in it to make money.



posted on Sep, 24 2019 @ 02:01 PM
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One big issue was that they were using B-52s on a tactical level, while F-4s and F-105s that were designed for that, were going North to hit strategic targets. The pilots used to say that by the time you got to 66 missions, of the 100 in a tour of duty, you would have been shot down twice and picked up once.



posted on Oct, 8 2019 @ 04:25 PM
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It failed for a number of reasons:

1) As Zaphod pointed out above
2) As RadioRobert pointed out, the narrow window of targets which was a political decision

3) Airpower is essential to winning a conventional war but only when combined with an effective ground strategy. Look at Afghanistan or better yet how are the Saudi's doing in yemen?

And lastly, as was true in the American Revolution as it was in Vietnam, you cannot defeat an enemy that is willing to die for his/her cause and country.




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