BBC: North Vietnam, 1972: The Christmas bombing of Hanoi
The biggest ever bombing campaign by US B-52 bombers took place over Christmas 40 years ago, when the US dropped 20,000 tonnes of explosives on North Vietnam. More than 1,000 Vietnamese died, but the assault may have helped bring about the peace deal signed a month later.
Operation Linebacker II was President Richard Nixon's attempt to hasten the end of the Vietnam War, as the growing strength of the Viet Cong caused heavy casualties among US ground troops.
The capture and torture of downed airmen in the north, regularly paraded on television, was also an embarrassment for Washington. Nixon was under pressure to bring the troops home.
At the same time, long-running negotiations in Paris between the warring parties had broken down.
3. I was in Thailand during that period. Watching the planes take off to deliver bombs.
I remember when Tricky Dick said, that's it, let's bomb them back to the bargaining table. I looked up and saw over 30 B52s headed to N. Vietnam. I know the Air Force put up over 100 F4s where I was at. I worked communications intel and we had lots of activity. We were worried about getting paid because Tricky Dick had used up funds to try to get the NVA back at the table. Personally, I believe if Tricky Dick had his way, we'd still be fighting there.