Operations Linebacker I and II:  Air Strategy

Operations Linebacker I and II were aerial bombing campaigns conducted in 1972 against targets in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) during the final period of the Vietnam War.

September 2010
Compiled Bibliography Branch
Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center
Maxwell AFB, AL


The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Air Force of this Web site or the information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation sites, the U.S. Air Force does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD Web site. 

Some materials listed below require access to subscription databases.  If you cannot gain access, contact your local library for availability.  AU students and faculty can contact the Center's Web Maintainer for a password.

All sites last accessed September 20, 2010.

Internet Resources

GlobalSecurity.org:  Operation Linebacker II.
Available online at:  http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/linebacker-2.htm

Hemingway, Al.  Into the Teeth of the Tiger.  VFW  85:26-29  December 1997.
Available online at:  http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=23629235&sid=1&Fmt=4&clientId=417&RQT=309&VName=PQD
Hemingway describes Operation Linebacker II, the largest bombing raid in the Vietnam War that resulted from the collapse of the Paris peace talks.  The operation made use of the B-52 as a strategic bomber for the first time.

Operation Linebacker I.  Air Force History Support Office,
Available online at:  http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/PopTopics/linebacker1.htm

Phan, Trong Q.  An Analysis of Linebacker II Air Campaign:  The Exceptional Application of US Air Coercion Strategy.  Lubbock, TX, Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University, 2002.  22 p.
Available online at:  http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/events/2002_Symposium/2002Papers_files/linebacker.htm

U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission:  Linebacker II Bombing Raids.
Available online at:  http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Air_Power/Linebacker/AP41.htm


Clodfelter, Mark.  The Limits of Air Power:  The American Bombing of North Vietnam.  New York, Free Press, 1989.  297 p.
Book call no.:  959.704348  C643L

Eschmann, Karl J.  Linebacker:  The Untold Story of the Air Raids over North Vietnam.  New York, Ivy Books, 1989.  273 p.
Book call no.:  959.704348  E74L

Gilster, Herman L.  The Air War in Southeast Asia:  Case Studies of Selected Campaigns.  Maxwell AFB, AL, Air University Press, 1993.  138 p.
See Chapter Five.
Book call no.:  959.704348  G489a

Head, William P.  War from above the Clouds:  B-52 Operations During the Second Indochina War and the Effects of the Air War on Theory and Doctrine.  Maxwell AFB, AL, Air University Press, 2002.  138 p. (Fairchild paper).
Book call no.:  959.704348  H324w

Herz, Martin F.  The Prestige Press and the Christmas Bombing, 1972; Images and Reality in Vietnam.  Washington, Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1980.  103 p.
Book call no.:  959.70438  H582p

McCarthy, James R. and Allison, George B.  Linebacker II:  A View from the Rock.  Maxwell AFB, AL, Airpower Research Institute, Air War College, 1979.  208 p.  (USAF Southeast Asia monograph series, vol. 6, no. 8)
Book call no.:  959  A2981u  v.6, no.8

McCarthy, James R. and Rayfield, Robert E.  B-52s over Hanoi:  A Linebacker II Story.  Fullerton, CA, California State Fullerton Press, 1996.  163 p.
Book call no.:  959.704348 M123b

Michel, Marshall L., III.  Clashes:  Air Combat over North Vietnam, 1965-1972.  Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press, 1997.  340 p.
Book call no.:  959.704348  M621c

Michel, Marshall L., III.  The Eleven Days of Christmas:  America's Last Vietnam Battle.  San Francisco, Encounter Books, 2002.  325 p.
Book call no.:  959.704348  M623e

Momyer, William W.  Airpower in Three Wars.  Washington, Dept. of the Air Force, 1978.  358 p.
Book call no.:  358.4  M733a

Nordeen, Lon O.  Air Warfare in the Missile Age.  2nd ed.  Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.  337 p.
Linebacker and Linebacker II, pp 39-960.
Book call no.:  358.400904  N828a  2002

Sharp, Ulysses S. Grant.  Strategy for Defeat:  Vietnam in Retrospect.  San Rafael, CA, Presidio Press, 1978.  324 p.
See pp 245-258.
Book call no.:  959.7  S531s

Summers, Harry G.  On Strategy:  A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War.  Novato, CA, Presidio Press, 1995.  225 p.
Book call no.:  959.7  S955o  1995

The Tale of Two Bridges and The Battle for the Skies over North Vietnam, edited by A.J.C. Lavalle.  Washington, Dept. of the Air Force, 1976.  193 p.  (USAF Southeast Asia monograph series, v. 1, no. 1-2).
Also published in:  Air War--Vietnam, with introduction by Drew Middleton.  Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1978,  361 p. (see pp 249-290). (AUL Book call no.: 959.7  A2982).
Book call no.:  959 A2981u  v. 1, no. 1-2

Thompson, Wayne.  To Hanoi and Back:  The U.S. Air Force and North Vietnam, 1966-1973.  Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000.  416 p.
See pp 219-280.
Book call no.:  959.704348  T478t

United States.  Congress.  House.  Committee on Appropriations.  Department of Defense Appropriations:  Briefings on Bombings of North Vieetnam; Reprogrammings, Department of the Navy.  Hearings before the Subcommittees on Department of Defense and Military Construction, 93rd Cong, 1st sess.  Washington, GPO, 1973.  130 p.
Book call no.:  353.6  C7491dh

War in the Third Dimension:  Essays in Contemporary Air Power, edited by R. A. Mason.  New York, Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1986.  228 p.
The Air War in Vietnam, 1961-73, by A. L. Gropman, pp 33-58.
Book call no.:  358.403  W253


United States.  Air Force.  Pacific Air Forces.  Directorate of Operations Analysis.  CHECO/Corona Harvest Division.  Linebacker:  Oveview of the First 120 Days.  S.l., s.n., 1973.  83 p.
Doc. call no.: M-U 38245-221

United States.  Air Force.  Pacific Air Forces.  Office of History.  Linebacker Operations:  September-December 1972.  Hickam AFB, HI, 1978. 106 p.
Doc. call no.: M-U 38245-279

Documents (Student Research)

Clark, Gregory S.  Linebacker II:  Achieving Strategic Surprise.  Newport, RI, Naval War College, 2002.  20 p.
Also available online at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA401178
Doc. call no.: M-U 41662 C593L

Clodfelter, R. Mark A.  Air Power and Limited War:  An Analysis of the Air Campaigns Against North Vietnam as Instruments of National Policy.  Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina, 1987.  304 p.  (Doctoral Thesis)
A Clausewitzian evaluation of the three American air campaigns against North Vietnam (Rolling Thunder March 1965--October 1986; Linebacker I, May-- October 1972; and Linebacker II, December 1972) reveals that they differed significantly in their effectiveness as political instruments.
Also available online at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA187025
Doc. call no.: M-U 43567-280

Harris, Warren L. The Linebacker Campaigns:  An Analysis.  Maxwell AFB, Al, Air War College, 1987.  30 p.
This report provides a general description of some of the key events which preceded the execution of the Linebacker bombing campaigns in the Vietnam War.  The report analyzes the policy options available to President Nixon in his attempt to conclude the war.  Further, the report assesses the two Linebacker operations from a political and military view, including their planning, execution, and impact on the North Vietnamese government.
Also available online at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA186661
Doc. call no.: M-U 43117 H317L

Littrell, Dennis R.  Linebacker II, the December 1972 Vietnam War Air Campaign.  Carlisle Barracks, PA, U.S. Army War College, 1999.  43 p.
This paper is an objective evaluation of the December 1972 Vietnam War air campaign, Linebacker II.  It describes the evolution of the strategy, examines the campaign itself, and evaluates the results.
Also available online at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA363835
Doc. call no.: M-U 39080-537 L782L

Michael, Philip S.  The Strategic Significance of Linebacker II:  Political, Military and Beyond.  Carlisle Barracks, PA, U.S. Army War College, April 2003.  24 p. (USAWC strategy research project)
Conducted 30 years ago, Linebacker II offers an excellent case study on how the Air Force incorporates historical experience into its air power doctrine.  Two opposing interpretations of the success of Linebacker II have influenced Air Force Doctrine.
Also available online at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA414163
Doc. call no.: M-U 39080-537 M621s

Teixeira, Leonard D. G.  Linebacker II:  A Strategic and Tactical Case Study.  Maxwell AFB, AL, April 1990.  32 p.
Also available online at:  http://www.au.af.mil/au/aul/srp/linebacker%20II.pdf
Doc. call no.:  M-U 43117 T266L

Williams, Gary H.  Operation Linebacker II:  An Analysis in Operational Design.  Newport, RI, Naval War College, 1997.  21 p.
Although Linebacker 2 is universally considered to have been a successful operation, this case study highlights the problems associated when operational planners failed to adequately apply proper operational design.
Also available online at: http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA325082
Doc. call no.: M-U 41662 W7231o



Allison, George B.  The Bombers Go to Bullseye.  Aerospace Historian  29:227-238  December 1982.

Ball, George W.  Top Secret: The Prophecy the President Rejected:  How Valid Are the Assumptions Underlying Our Viet-Nam Policies?  Atlantic  230:36-49  July 1972.

Boyne, Walter J.  Linebacker II.  Air Force Magazine  80:50-57  November 1997.
Also available online at:  http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/1997/November%201997/1197linebacker.aspx

Brownlow, Cecil.  North Viet Bombing Held Critical.  Aviation Week & Space Technology  98:12-13  March 5, 1973.
Testimony of Admiral Moorer before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Burdick, Frank A.  The Christmas Bombing of North Vietnam:  The Limitations of Force.  Journal of Political & Military Sociology  12:213-228  Fall 1984.

Drenkowski, Dana.  Operation Linebacker II.  Soldiers of Fortune 1977.
Part 1 -- 2:32-37+  September 1977.
Part 2 -- 2:48-59  November 1977.

Drenkowski, Dana.  The Tragedy of Linebacker II.  Armed Forces Journal International  114:24-27  July 1977.
See also: Tragedy of Linebacker II: The USAF ResponseArmed Forces Journal International  114:24-25 August 1977.

Drenkowski, Dana and Lester W. Grau.  Patterns and Predictability:  The Soviet Evaluation of Operation Linebacker II.  Journal of Slavic Military Studies  20:559-607  December 2007.
Also available online at:  http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoah&AN=13369735&site=ehost-live

Effects of the Bombing.  Time  99:31  June 26, 1972.
Also available online at:  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,906079,00.html

Ellis, Richard H. and Horton, Frank B., III.  Flexibility -- A State of Mind.  Strategic Review  4:26-36  Winter 1976.

Ginsburgh, Robert N.  North Vietnam -- Air Power.  Vital Speeches of the Day  38:732-735  September 15, 1972.
Also available online at:  http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9876072&site=ehost-live&custid=airuniv

Ginsburgh, Robert N.  Strategy and Airpower:  The Lessons of Southeast Asia.  Strategic Review  1:18-24 Summer 1973.

Hopkins, Charles K.  Linebacker II:  A Firsthand View.  Aerospace Historian  23:128-135  September 1976.

Kamps, Charles Tustin.  Operation Linebacker II.  Air and Space Power Journal  17:72  Fall 2003.
Also available online at:  http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=11164470&site=ehost-live

Leonard, Raymond W.  Learning from History:  Linebacker II and U.S. Air Force Doctrine.  Journal of Military History  58:267-303  April 1994.
Also available online at:  http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=7268832&sid=2&Fmt=3&clientId=417&RQT=309&VName=PQD

The Lessons of Vietnam; Exclusive Interview with Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, USA (Ret), Adviser to Three Presidents.  U.S. News and World Report  73:22-26  November 27, 1972.

Nixon's Blitz Leads Back to the Table.  Time  101:9-14  January 8, 1973.
Also available online at:  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,910498,00.html

Nostrand, Michael and others.  Lessons Learned from Linebacker II.  Vietnam  13:38-46  October 2000.
Operation Linebacker II was one of the most concentrated bombing campaigns in history and was carried out against military targets in Hanoi and Haiphong in North Vietnam.  This article examines the basic air power doctrine of the campaign and the U.S. Air Force's interpretation of this campaign as successful.
Also available online at:  http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=000000057578584&Fmt=4&clientId=417&RQT=309&VName=PQD

Pape, Robert A.  Coercive Air Power in the Vietnam War.  International Security  15:103-146  Fall 1990.

Parks, W. Hays.  Linebacker and the Law of War.  Air University Review  34:2-30  January-February 1983.
Also available online at:  http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1983/jan-feb/parks.html

Werrell, Kenneth P.  Linebacker II:  The Decisive Use of Air Power?  Air University Review  38:48-61 January-March 1987.
Also available online at:  http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1987/werrell.html

What the Christmas Bombing Did to North Vietnam.  U.S. News and World Report  74:18  February 5, 1973.

Wolff, Robert E.  Linebacker II:  A Pilot's Perspective.  Air Force Magazine  62:86-92  September 1979.

Yudkin, Richard A.  Vietnam: Policy, Strategy, and Airpower.  Air Force Magazine  56:31-33  February 1973.

This page was last updated on 02/21/2014 04:16 PM

Back Arrow Return to Bibliography List

Back Arrow
Return to the Fairchild Research Information Center Homepage