Vietnam's Final Air Campaign
Operation Linebacker I & II, May-December 1972
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With the failure of its Easter Offensive to achieve military victory, Hanoi reluctantly returned to the negotiating table in Paris. However, as the peace talks teetered on the edge of collapse in mid-December 1972, Nixon played his trump card: Operation Linebacker II. The resulting twelve-day Christmas bombing campaign from 18-30 December unleashed the full wrath of American air power. More than 2,200 attack sorties, including 724 B-52 sorties alone, were flown by Air Force and Navy aircraft delivering 15,287 tons of bombs that laid waste to the North Vietnamese capital. Railyards, military storage depots, power stations, and bridges, as well as radar and communication sites, airfields, and anti-aircraft defences were pummelled day and night. Linebacker II would prove to be decisive: a ceasefire agreement was signed on 23 January 1973.