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40 years on Vietnam marks "The Christmas Bombings"

23 December 2012

Vietnam is commemorating the 40th anniversary of “Operation Linebacker II” the biggest ariel blitz of the Vietnam War. US President Nixon ordered the 1972 carpet bombing of Hanoi and the northern port city of Hai Phong in an attack that lasted from the 18th to the 29th of December. During the operation 741 B-52’s were dispatched over North Vietnam dropping 15,000 tons of ordnance. More than 1,600 Vietnamese civilians died. For the survivors painful memories remain: “There was a shelter right here, when I jumped in it collapsed. When I was pulled out I told them that my grandfather, my brother and sisters were over there with my aunt. They dug them out, but no one was alive”. North Vietnamese air defences downed ten B-52’s and five others crashed over Laos and Thailand. Nixon launched the raids, also dubbed the “The Christmas Bombings,” after the 1972 Paris peace talks stalled. The US stopped the bombing after Hanoi agreed to return to the negotiating table on January 2nd, 1973.