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Report on Operation Rolling Thunder


Task: Provide an overview of the operation rolling thunder by providing a short report on it.


In the Vietnam War, it was the Marine Corps and navy force of the U.S that has played a major role in deriving the result of it. The communal forces in Laos and the forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam were encountered by the Aviation and Marine Corps forces of the United States. It was under President Lyndon B. Johnson that the bombing campaign against North Vietnam was launched under the name if operation rolling thunder. The move was taken to suppress the movement of the Hanoi regime to bring down the Republic of Vietnam. In simple terms, the series of attacks done by the air division and navy division of the US forces with the help of the air force of the Republic of Vietnam against the regime of North Vietnam could be termed as Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation has started in the year 1965 and lasted up to the November month of the year 1968. This was all part of the Vietnam War. The action behind the operation rolling thunder had led to the death of several people. The local economy has to face a major setback because of the mass destruction of public and private property. The motion was later termed in the media as Seventh Air Force. In the global scenario, America was strongly supporting capitalism and hence stood against frivolously and fervently to the ideology of communism. Which had led to the cold ward with the Soviet Union that has adopted and portrayed itself as the epitome of communism and socialism? Contrary to the ideology of capitalism, South china had tried to imply communism which was against the will of the US president Johnson. A high degree of financial and medical aid was made available to the Vietnam country by the governments of China republic and the United States of America. The major motive behind the implication of Operation rolling thunder by the US states was to keep South Vietnam aloof from North Vietnam which was influencing the South to adopt the communist ideology.

It could also be said that the operation rolling thunder was implied by the US to compensate for the setback they had to face from the failure in persuading North Vietnam to adopt the non-communist ideology as a part of the cold war. Apart from it, North Vietnam was supporting the communists in South Vietnam which were truly against the interest of the US government. As per the US, the growth of communism could only be contained by taking strict actions against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The major Operandi of the US to achieve this motive was by destroying the transportation system and network in the region of North Vietnam that would cease the help to the communists in South Vietnam. It does not need to be specifically mentioned that the motive behind the attack was also to diminish the defense system and weaponry of North Vietnam.

Factors related to the Strategic and Tactical decisions
A specific style of combat was being implied against the army of the US by the Vietnamese communist who was known as Vietcong. The Vietcong belonged to the military division of the National Liberation Front are supported by the communist cause of the country. This method was known to be guerrilla warfare. Since they were well aware of the physical features of the geography and the local landscape t have been easy for the Vietcong to attack the US army and other enemies. By the guerrilla warfare method from the behalf of enemies, the US army had to face a lot of damage and death toll. For the National Liberation Front, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was considered to be a strategic point since most of the ammunition and warfare requirements were being supplied from the Cambodian border via this trail. All these strategies and tactics were resulting to be a very heavy move against the US army and were providing them with unexpected setbacks.

The Vietcong has given its army with training for guerrilla warfare, which has helped them to sustain much longer against the immense army of the US. The Vietcong had even updated themselves with most modern warfare weaponry like AK 47 submachine guns and other short arms by the time of the 1960s. Though the direct encounter with the army of the US was neglected by the Vietcong army since the US army is much massive as compared to them. For avoiding the risk of being outnumbered, the National Liberation Army had adopted the strategy of hiding in the jungle and attacking the small and isolated troupes. The approach turned out to be very productive and had laid much more damage to the US army. The knowledge regarding warfare was acquired by the Vietnamese army was from China in the previous war. In the previous period, numerous hiding bases were constructed in the soil of Vietnam. Multiple hiding tunnels were constructed under the guidance of the National Liberation Army so that they would hide them under the enemy attack. They were also utilized as attack bases to commit surprise attacks. All the strategic decisions were drafted and planned in the hidden bases by the leaders.

To make any operation a successful one, the effective measure of strategic planning should be invested in the effort. Only if the effective measures are derived out from the strategic meetings the active members would get satisfaction for the effort. The tool of the cold war was in response used against Vietnam by the United States and its allies. The supply of emergency materials or moral support was ceased by the many countries for Vietnam and it was isolated on the global platform. The major fear of the US was that North Vietnam would attack South Vietnam to expand the ideology of communism. South Vietnam possessed immense ammunition and war bases which were a serious headache for the government of the United States. It was after the murder of the political head of South Vietnam that the whole responsibility came to their hand. It was after the political instability because of the assassination of the political leader of South Vietnam that the USA has taken control of the scenario. The act was done because the USA feared that Northern Vietnam would force South Vietnam to adopt the communist ideology. It is the major reason that the US was motivated to take the act of operation rolling thunder.

It was with the help of southern Vietnam that the US army had sustained the fight for around two years. The politician who was assassinated in South Vietnam was Ngo Dinh. The gorilla warfare by the Vietcong was majorly aiming at the elimination of the higher officers indulged in the warfare. The buffer area between South Vietnam and North Vietnam where the military was not present were bombarded. This was done to put the pressure on the militants from North Vietnam. The intent of making pressure on North Vietnam was to coerce them in entering a negotiation with the US government. The act of operation rolling thunder was given sanction on the date of the 24th of February in 1965 by the executives to conserve the interest of the US in the soil of Vietnam. The major instinct behind this was the attack on the US naval vessel by the force of North Vietnam. The forces have arrived on patrol boats and the act has infuriated the US government. It was under the instruction of Xom Bang that the attack on the US vessels was carried out. Though the Us government had not intended to bomb the premises much longer than the period of eight weeks. The strong counter-attack of Vietnam had though forced the US to continue the bombing attack for around three years.

It should be noted that the bombing process led by the country of the US was in a mediocre way so that the governments of China and the Soviet Union should not get offended and enter into the scenario. The concern of the USA was that these countries would enter into a secret alliance with North Vietnam and its militants. If that would happen then the whole effort behind the operation rolling thunder would get sabotaged. The task force envisaged for this operation by the US was well versed and experienced one with the most modern warfare techniques. It was from the experience of world war 1 and world war 2 that the country has developed such techniques and strategies.

In this time the force of the US has much upper hand because of their magnitude and level of technology possessed by them. The opponents were much small in number and had less access to warfare technologies. It was by the extraordinary knowledge of physical geography that the army of Vietcong has successfully retaliated against the enemies. The hidden war bunkers have caused a lot of problems for the US army and caused a lot of damage to their troops. It was in this altercation that guerrilla warfare was introduced to the world.

The meetings and other measures of negotiation seemed to be failing in this instance and thus the military exercise was the only required move from both parties. The situation has aggravated so much that there was no other feasible measure than the military attack. Another motive of America and its president Johnson was to showcase its military power on a global platform so that the Soviet Union and China should move back from its aggressive and expansive policies. The U.S has also anticipated that the Vietcong would surrender easily and further negotiations should be done peacefully.

As mentioned in the earlier section of this report on operation rolling thunder the army of US retained much more knowledge about the warfare because of its previous indulgence in world wars. Not only just taking part in the world wars they have defeated massive armies of Germany and Japan. If said roughly, they were much superior to any other country at that time and no country could have taken their military force lightly or frivolously. The technology pf bombarding a specific area using the aircraft was well mastered by the air force of the US and has given it cutting edge against its enemies.

As mentioned in the earlier section of this report on operation rolling thunder, the Us army's major intention was to destroy the transportation infrastructure of North Vietnam by bombing the critical areas like bridges, docks, supply dumps, warehouses, rail yards, army barracks, etc. The aim was to choke out the army from army supplies and other help from countries like China and the Soviet Union. Let s discuss what were the major motives and objectives behind the implementation of Operation Rolling Thunder.

Objectives and Motives
When the political scenario of South Vietnam was destabilized by the murder of President Ngo Dinh Diem, the government of North Vietnam started to infuse the communist ideology on the soil of South Vietnam. This was totally against the interest of the government of the US and wanted to keep South Vietnam away from the Communist ideology. The primary aim of the government of the US was to remain the sole center of power by avoiding any emergence of new power though the major risks are powerful countries like China and Russia. Till the time, it was only the country of the USA which has maintained both the political and economic supremacy over the world. The country of America had feared that the Government of Vietnam would create nuclear weapons and would target it towards the soil of America. If that happen, the situations would lead to the start of the third world war. The whole world has witnessed the perils and the impact of nuclear weapons in the instance of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Still, a significant section of the population and its coming generation is experiencing the drawbacks of the nuclear attack. It is the responsibility of the U.S to avoid any sort of nuclear attack since it is the country of America itself that has to introduce the peril of nuclear weapons in the world.

The ideas and lessons to be adopted from the operation rolling thunder
By the official reports, it could be confirmed that thousand of people were injured by the commencement of the operation rolling thunder. The bombing and by the impact of the weaponry, both of the economies had to face a lot of setbacks in the magnitude of millions. A large community of people have been affected by it and had to face abject poverty and hunger. The magnitude of refuge migration also got worsened in the country of Vietnam which was increasing the level of instability in the political scenario. From the instance of the operation rolling thunder, the political leaders all around the world should understand that though the military action seems to be a very valid and easy action it could not be deemed as the only best option. The act has almost negated any chance of negotiation between the United States of America and North Vietnam. The aggressive political movement by the president of America, Johnson had cost numerous life and heavy loss of infrastructure that caused a major setback to the local respective economies.

Both the parties have lacked the feature of patience, that would have avoided such mass destruction. To arrive at a better decision, it is required to invest a lot of effort and time. Just attacking the opposite just because you have the military and political advantage is just an instance of hastiness. The hatred towards the ideology of communism in between the US government was such that they have taken immediate action even when there was a small influence on South Vietnam by the Vietcong community. The only ideology that the US wanted to prevail in the world was the capitalistic one. The government was very impatient when it came to the matter of capitalistic ideologies and often tended to take short cuts rather than pondering on it and take a relevant decision. It is utter foolishness to destroy a whole region or country to sustain your interest or upkeep your ideology. Because of this arrogance in the move of operation rolling thunder, a lot of innocent lives were destroyed that had made a black mark on the history and image of America. The same attitude of America could be observed in the country of Iraq by America in assistance with Great Britain. The result was huge destruction of the public wealth and eventually the downfall of a country. This much huge destruction could not be justified on any ground.

Hence it could be observed the variation in the ideology adopted by the countries has a massive potential to generate altercation in between them. It should be by the peaceful method that the government heads of these nations should find a legible solution for the generated altercation or issue rather than just initiating a military action onto them. By declaring not only you are closing all the doors for any possible and reliable solution but also increasing the magnitude of damage on both parties. The same situation had been in aggregated magnitude in the world at the contemporary period of the cold war between the USA and the USSR. There was very little scope of development for other countries because the area of trade and global support was deteriorating because of the cold war. The population in a certain area even feared to migrate or travel to even the mildly affected area. It was because of the high tension between the countries involved in the cold war that made fear among the population that even a small incident would lead to another world war. You could relate the instance of the cold war to like that of the situation of a dormant volcano. The actual danger could only be perceived when it erupts. For the peaceful approach and o explore the alternative measures for the generated issue, all the nations should employ an advisory board for their government. The leader should refer to these advisory bodies before taking any such critical decision.

The government leader should have a higher level of coordination with their officials and other executive components so that the effective orders should be given to the military officials. This would help the involved companies maturely and peacefully dealing with the situation.

Failure of operation thunder
As per our perspective, the act of operation rolling thunder was a failure though the side of America was very powerful which retained massive force and most modern weaponry. Apart from the evident support, the army of America also had hidden support from various allies. North Vietnam was not also alone and had considerable support from China and the Soviet Union. The impact of the bombardment via airstrike was not anticipated by the president of America Johnson and has led the way to the failure of whole operation rolling thunder. The president should have understood that the major motive of the army forces in any nation is to protect its boundary and citizens from any sort of danger rather than attacking a foreign country to sustain the interest of political leaders. America has also suffered a lot of loss because their aircraft were destroyed on a large number and has fumbled to continue with the airstrike. The mass murder of the American soldiers has created a lot of criticism among the local American community.

The deeds done under the operation rolling thunder were not following the opinion of the mass population of America and the criticism had even worsened when the operation control thunder had failed to arrive at the desired results. If the government would have relied on a much more peaceful approach then the probability of solving the new north Vietnam issue would have been much higher. The whole point of war and aggression would have been avoided and thus the negotiations would have been done peacefully.

Taking the operation rolling thunder on an economic basis, it was the country of America that has to face much more loss. The number of aircraft that the USA has lost is very huge along with the death tolls it had to suffer. If taken the statistics of Vietnam, just less than 200 aircraft were taken down in the operation rolling thunder.

We have observed that the operation rolling thunder was not to follow the country policy but was to satisfy the personal interest of the president. The overview of the future by the USA government was too widespread the ideology of capitalism all around the world most importantly the emerging Asian power centers. It could be observed that communist ideology is widespread in the Asian continent. The original intent of implementing the operating rolling thunder was not completed and hence all the government’s efforts were all in vain.

It could be hence concluded in this report on operation ruling thunder that the ideology of a country could not be changed by military exercises or war. Hence America should leave the intention to spread capitalism, especially in Asian countries by the method of force. If the country would envisage the use of military powers without even thinking, then all the engaged parties would have to face heavy destruction, mortal rate, pain, economic setbacks and hence could cause the economic destruction. It was evident that the main intention or objective of implementing the operation rolling thunder is not served and hence the mission could be identified as an utter failure. The leaders of the nations should understand that military operation is not the sole solution for all issues. Hence these measures should be made aware to both the political and military leaders. If the point of success is being targeted by the engaged parties, then the path of pace should be selected.

No country should be allowed to take military action to imply their ideologies on others. A certain set of measures or parameters should be laid down so that a congruity should be maintained in all the similar instances. The US Airforce has employed an advisory body in the soil of South Vietnam in 1961, which has strongly advised avoiding any sort of attack or military action. It was by the attack from the side of Vietnam in 1964 on the place of Tonkin Gulf which has coerced the US government to take military action. It was in the year 1965 that they have started the airstrike on a wide basis.

If the happenings in the operation rolling thunder could be perceived, it could be observed that the US had tried its best to avoid any influence or aid of China or Russia in the Vietnamese soil. Though it should be considered as a tough move since North Vietnam had the support of both China and the USSR which were strong power centers in the Asian continent. They followed the similar ideology of communism which was truly unacceptable by the US government. The military of the US has limited the airstrike on a very limited level so that any external interference from behalf of USSR or China could be avoided in the scenario. The confidence of the US army was shaken when their F-4 Phantom aircraft was shot down in July in 1965. In the below section of this operation rolling thunder report, the major intentions behind the action are listed down. Let us have a thorough outlook on them.

  • Making a total control over the efforts of North Vietnam to spread communism over the soil of South Vietnam.
  • Avoid the generation of nuclear weapons so that the instance or emergence of the instance of another world war. The world has seen the perils of world war two and it was haunting as a nightmare for all the countries. The major disastrous overview could be observed in the instance of a nuclear attack of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The US was held the major culprit behind that action and it never wanted another occurrence of the nuclear attack in the world again.
  • The total annihilation of the infrastructure related to the transport so that the help for Vietcong should be ceased from the behalf of China and the USSR. To weaken the strength of the Vietnam army, the operation has also targeted the air defense system and other bases of industries. Attacking them could be seen as attacking the spine of North Vietnam.
  • By conducting all the above provided, the government of the US has also aimed to strengthen the foundation of the Saigon regime in South Vietnam.

Though in reality it has been observed that accomplishing the above targets by the means of operation rolling thunder was not an easy piece of cake for the American government. This was because North Vietnam was not as much weak as America has expected. North Vietnam had significant support from the governments of China and the USSR.

The operation rolling thunder had cost a lot of resources on both sides. The forces of the USA were much seasoned and knowledgeable in warfare because of the previous participation in world wars. In the process of the operation rolling thunder, the Vietnamese civilians were forced to join as militants and to defend the aggression from the USA. In the process of operation rolling thunder, a lot of Vietnamese innocent people had lost their lives.

Below are listed down some of the negative outcomes which happened due to the implication of operation rolling thunder.

  • The economy of Vietnam was destroyed because of the attack conducted by America. It would take a lot of time for Vietnam to gain back its balance and sustain the economic security of its citizens. The operation rolling thunder had destroyed all the transport infrastructures along with the major industrial sectors. Though the move was to limit the supply from the communist countries, it has affected the country to the base level and the foundation of the country was uprooted.
  • As mentioned in the previous section of this report a lot of innocent people were killed in the operation rolling thunder.
  • America has also suffered a lot of loss and which was inflicted on the number of aircrafts the Vietcong has shot down. There was a heavy death toll on both sides, which was exhaustive for both the governments.
  • The act of operation rolling thunder has worsened the relation of the USA with the Asian countries. The condition of the cold war has intensified between America and Asian countries. Because of the fear of attack from the behalf of Asian countries, the government has to envisage much of the military resources against these countries. The coming resultant incidence was the intense level of the cold war between the USSR and the USA, and the attack on Iraq by the USA by the support of Britain.

We strongly recommended that the crucial decision should be taken hastily and should be pondered upon by the specialized and eligible people to arrive at a reliant and peaceful measure.

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