Operation Rolling Thunder (1965 - 68) | Summary and Q&A

1.7M views
May 6, 2019
by
Simple History
YouTube video player
Operation Rolling Thunder (1965 - 68)

TL;DR

Operation Rolling Thunder was a three-year aerial campaign in the Vietnam War aimed at pressuring the North Vietnamese government, but it ultimately failed due to gradualism and restrictive controls.

Install to Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Transcripts

Key Insights

  • 🚡 Operation Rolling Thunder was one of the most intense aerial campaigns in U.S. history and the largest U.S. Air Force operation in the Vietnam War.
  • 🛄 The campaign was initiated by President Johnson and aimed to apply pressure against the North Vietnamese government and support the South Vietnamese.
  • 🥺 Gradualism and restrictive controls imposed by the civilian administration hindered the campaign's effectiveness and led to its failure.
  • 😒 The use of aerial bombings instead of a land invasion was chosen to avoid high American casualties and potential involvement from China and the Soviet Union.
  • ❓ The U.S. Air Force primarily used F-105 Thunderchief aircraft, while the Navy relied on A-1 Skyraiders, A-4 Skyhawks, and A-6A Intruders.
  • 👱 Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) posed a significant threat to U.S. aircraft, but countermeasures such as electronic jamming devices and "Wild Weasel" aircraft diminished their effectiveness.
  • ✈️ North Vietnamese air defenses, including MiG-17 and MiG-21 aircraft, also posed a threat to American planes.

Transcript

Thank you to the realistic free-to-play online game, War Thunder, for sponsoring this Simple History episode. Operation Rolling Thunder, March 2nd, 1965 through November 2nd 1968 - The Vietnam War Operation Rolling Thunder was one of the most intense aerial campaigns in U.S. history. As the largest U.S. Air force operation of the Vietnam War, it la... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the main objective of Operation Rolling Thunder?

The main objectives were to boost the morale of South Vietnam, persuade the North Vietnamese to stop supporting insurgents, destroy their infrastructure, and prevent the influx of soldiers from the North.

Q: Why did President Johnson's administration choose aerial bombing instead of a land invasion?

The fear of high American casualties and the potential involvement of China and the Soviet Union in the conflict led to the decision to use aerial bombing instead of a land invasion.

Q: How did the U.S. Air Force and Navy operate during Operation Rolling Thunder?

The U.S. Air Force conducted strikes from bases in Thailand, while the Navy used aircraft carriers from the 7th Fleet in the Gulf of Tonkin. However, their different operational principles often led to interference in the air over North Vietnam.

Q: What were the main threats faced by U.S. aircraft during the campaign?

The main threats were Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), North Vietnamese air defenses, and anti-aircraft guns. SAMs were particularly dangerous, but the U.S. countered them with electronic jamming devices and "Wild Weasel" aircraft.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Operation Rolling Thunder was initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara as a way to apply pressure against the North Vietnamese government.

  • The campaign aimed to boost morale in South Vietnam, persuade the North Vietnamese to stop supporting insurgents, destroy the North Vietnamese infrastructure, and prevent the influx of soldiers from the North.

  • It was carried out by the U.S. Air Force and Navy, but due to gradualism and restrictive controls imposed by the civilian administration, it failed to achieve its political or military goals.

Share This Summary 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on:

Explore More Summaries from Simple History 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on: