Operation Rolling Thunder was a significant air campaign conducted by the United States against enemy ground targets during the Vietnam War. Aimed to undermine the North Vietnamese government and force it to cease its support for the communist insurgency in South Vietnam, the U.S. forces launched a sustained aerial bombing campaign from 1965 to 1968. The massive airstrikes targeted military and industrial infrastructure, transportation networks, and supply lines in North Vietnam, carried out by the U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft. The objective was simple: suppress and destroy—to degrade North Vietnam’s ability to wage war and weaken its resolve.
However, Rolling Thunder didn’t really work out as planned. It faced significant challenges and ultimately did not achieve its intended objectives. The operation ended in 1968 due to increasing public criticism and a shift in U.S. strategy towards a negotiated settlement.
The article below explores the critical role of the “Wild Weasels” in countering the Soviet-built surface-to-air missile (SAM) threat from North Vietnam. These SAMs posed a significant challenge, as they were successfully downing American strike aircraft during Operation Rolling Thunder. In response, the U.S. forces were compelled to develop innovative tactics and advanced equipment to neutralize these deadly missile systems.