Talk:Operation Rolling Thunder

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Article milestones
February 4, 2007WikiProject A-class reviewApproved
October 30, 2015WikiProject A-class reviewKept
On this day...Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on March 2, 2014, and March 2, 2015.

Reverting of copyrighted material[edit]

I reverted the new addition because it is taken from [1] (at least partly). To whomever added it, any copyrighted material that you wish to release under the GFDL is more than welcomed, but something more than a comment on the summary is needed as anyone could have claimed that. Please, put a note on the site that claims copyright saying that the information is under the GFDL, or write some more specific information here on the talk page (i.e. who you are, which information is under the GFDL, and from which site it comes) so that Wikipedia has some sort of record. thank you, Dori 17:47, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

Statement regarding copyright of text[edit]

My name is Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. I am the copyright holder of the material posted at and I can be contacted by e-mail at: if confirmation of my identity is required. I am happy to make the information on the page above available under the terms of the GFDL.

I shall restore the page with the material I posted. Thank you.

-Lee Brimmicombe-Wood 20:31, Nov 29, 2003 (GMT)

Thank you for posting the message and for providing the text for the article. Dori | Talk 21:02, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)

I have added a link from the original page [2].

-Lee Brimmicombe-Wood


Aren't any figures concerning casualties (in air-planes, civilian lives, ...) available? --Malbi 19:11, 21 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]

DONE.--Buckboard 11:31, 27 March 2006 (UTC)


I possess 8 x 20 minutes of Operation Rolling Thunder (ORT) "Combat Audio Recordings" appropriate as links from Rolling Thunder, F-105, Wild Weasel but likely would require an extensive description of the jargon used, and the actions taking place.

I have little skill in the functioning of these pages, so cannot personally create the insertions.

As a veteran of ORT I believe that Dori's contribution (above) is functionally accurate. With a single exception, I have seen no detailed military records of aircraft lost, bombs dropped, military or civilians killed on either side. It is possible that these estimates were intentionally suppressed. (I believe 334 F-105 lost in combat to be an logical figure.) User:Spoongap

Losses were NOT "intentionally suppressed, as anyone who lived during the war will remember. The news reported every loss in painful detail just as they do today in Iraq ("the 594th aircraft lost in North Vietnam"). The figures are available on this site, under the "list of aircraft losses" shown near the bottom of the main article. There is a dearth of information regarding casualties on the ground, but tonnages, aircraft losses, personnel losses--all of that is "out there" in many places. I too am a USAF Vietnam vet. --Buckboard 09:23, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

More figures[edit]

Can someone add details on pilots KIA, MIA, captured and so forth? Are there any official number of MiGs shot down? Aircraft losses by type and year? If someone can just point to the information elsewhere I'd be happy to add it in. Wsacul 06:47, 27 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Wsacul, I am unable to locate the figures you cite for civilian or military casualties, which you wrote came from a CIA "Appraisal of the Bombing of North Vietnam" for January 1, 1968. There is no document with exactly this name at the Texas Tech Virtual Vietnam Archive. The closest document is "An Appraisal of the Bombing of North Vietnam (through December 31, 1967)", but this document is only 21 pages long, so there is no P.32, and it does not contain any casualty assessments. Further, it estimates material damage at $414 million, not the $370 million you cite. Another document, "An Appraisal of the Bombing of North Vietnam (1 Jan - 31 Mar 1968), also gives no casualty estimates, and has an even higher damage estimate. Can you explain what document you are actually citing for the figures of 90,000 overall deaths and 72,000 civilians through Jan 1 1968? Brooksfoe (talk) 08:05, 6 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I too searched the Texas Tech Virtual Vietnam Archive. I can't find this alleged document with its casualty estimates either.
Therefore I've deleted the "source" and associated text. Before restoring it, will someone please provide evidence that this document actually exists. Thanks.
Know08 (talk) 19:53, 29 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Wsacul's figures are simply incorrect mathematically. It is stated that 1000 were killed per week over 44 months. This adds up to about 176,000 casualties whereas, in the same sentence, it states total casualties to be 90,000. Furthermore, how can this alleged document give figures for the full 44 months of Rolling Thunder when it is stated that the document only covered up to the end of 1967? Ivan Coates —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:58, 17 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Online External Links and Citations[edit]

I like the recent addition of a lot of citations to books, but aren't there more online resources to link to? If someone were to read some of the declassified CIA docs and so forth with info on Rolling Thunder and link directly to those that would be great, instead of relying all on inaccessible books. Wsacul 18:04, 11 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • You are absolutely right. So why not add them? RM Gillespie 18:23, 11 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

All the government documents are online, so I linked to them. Some of the links are into big databases and may become unreliable- I'm not sure if wikipedia wants a bunch of bloated 20 MB pdfs uploaded but that would be the ideal solution. Also is it possible to cite directly to some spot in a pdf? Wsacul 21:52, 11 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • I remember reading somewhere that it was not possible (at present) to go directly to a specific spot within a PDF. Since the PDFs follow the same pagination format as the printed originals, quotations are not a problem. RM Gillespie 15:57, 12 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

What's the point of listing your thesis as a source if it can't be bought or downloaded? Do you not have permission to put it online? Can one even theoretically check it out from the library of your school? Wsacul 06:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • Theoretically speaking, yes, all thesis and doctoral dissertations are (and have been since at least the middle of the 20th century) available through yer local library (interlibrary loans). That's why they are often quoted in many historical works. RM Gillespie 09:50, 23 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Policy or military failure?[edit]

Let me see if I remember correctly, Lyndon Johnson was president, which means that he was the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces. The policies that you refer to were military decisions. Those decisions were wrong and the campaign failed. Thats not a defeat? The Joint Chiefs, the president's chief military advisors, agreed with the president (although they may have held differing opinions among themselves). The problem with assigning blame only to the political decisionmaking process during the conflict is that it is incorrect. The chiefs were responsible for the decisions that they made - or endorsed. And they endorsed every decision that Johnson made. I do not remember the chiefs lining up to resign their positions in protest over the administration's decisions. This problem with the U.S. military high command has not gone away with time, unfortunately. RM Gillespie 02:55, 1 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]

It is amazing how the military powers-that-be have still largely avoided taking their share of the blame for such policy failures during the war. It's always nice to be able to blame someone else, I guess, even for policies that you generally supported.-- (talk) 04:35, 17 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Two images[edit]

Images Image:RT6.jpg and Image:RTSAM.jpg were uploaded by User:RM Gillespie here on en in January 2007. These were moved to commons in November 2007 because they were marked public domain. However, they were deleted from commons in March 2008, from what I can tell because the specific source was unknown. (Image:AAAA.jpg, on the contrary, includes a specific source, but has not yet been moved to commons.) RT6.jpg included the caption "Hanoi petroleum storage site, 30 June 1966." and RTSAM.jpg included "RF-4C Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft catches fire after SA-2 Guideline detonation." I've left a note for RMG. If anyone else knows where the RT6 or RTSAM images came from originally, they can be restored here and/or at commons. Gimmetrow 05:57, 11 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Contradiction in aircrafts lost 1967?[edit]

Under SAMs and Wild Weasels it says: "During 1967 U.S. losses totaled 248 aircraft (145 Air Force, 102 Navy, and one Marine Corps).[77]" and later: "During 1967, the second full year of Rolling Thunder operations, 362 U.S. aircraft had been lost over North Vietnam. (208 Air Force, 142 Navy, and 12 Marine Corps).[82]"

That's quite a difference and confusing since both figures are stated within the same section only paragraphs away without pointing out the discrepancies (different sources with differing counting systems?) Is the year correct?

Holger Göbber (talk) 19:03, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Just a guess, but the latter figure sounds like a cumulative total perhaps misinterpreted during compilation into this article. Can someone check the references? Thewellman (talk) 19:36, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

American Bombs don't kill innocents.[edit]

American bombs don't kill innocent people, those people were liberated and deserved it. Heck they're grateful for the blessed motherland to liberating their savage asses. American bombs are designed only to kill evil people, so if you died, you were evil. Get it.

Now let me state this, right, them here. This article is a sham. A bloody outrage to the soldiers who served in this fine defense forces, and you should be ashamed of writing such nonsense. This is a commie, liberal lie that is being spread and I for one won't stand for it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:46, 28 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Rules of Engagement by LBJ[edit]

Something is wrong with this article. I distinctly remember reading (earlier 2009) in this article details about how the Rules of Engagement (ROE) imposed by then-president Lyndon B. Johnson change the targets and plans of the airstrike in the beginning. Did someone delete this?-- (talk) 07:08, 5 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Well, things were certainly micromanaged quite a bit, but it wouldn't have made much difference in the end, regardless of how resentful many military men became of their civilian bosses meddling.-- (talk) 04:38, 17 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Title photograph text has been vandalized?[edit]

As the heading states, I think the word 'ballsack' as it appears under the picture of the F105s was placed there mischievously. (talk) 05:21, 8 December 2011 (UTC)Student preparing for finals[reply]

Problems with the Opposition section[edit]

The section on "opposition" to Rolling Thunder contains far too many self-serving arguments from Johnson Adminstration officials. It also attempts to shift responsibility and blame totally to the military. Worse yet, the stories as told seem to inevitably trace back excOr lusively to the politicians themselves as the only sources. Robert McNamara's idea that he could simultaniously create Rolling Thunder, run Rolling Thunder and be a man of peace opposed to Rolling Thunder deserves to be questioned. Or at least attributed directly to him as the only source.

I think the section should really be rewritten to focus on actual opposition to the Operation rather than the supposed covert opposition of people to the war at the top of the Johnson Administration. (talk) 02:51, 23 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Operation's result[edit]

Per request at WP:RFPP, I have protected this page from editing (only semi-protection at this point as only IP users have been participating in the edit-war). Parties to the edit war are requested to discuss their edits and attempt to reach consensus. Reminder: arguments should be based on what reliable sources state, and original research is unacceptable. Rami R 08:08, 21 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]


Your photo on opening page of F-105s dropping 3000 lb bombs through overcast on signal from B-66 seems inappropriate for a 3.5 year campaign of VISUAL DAYLIGHT DIVE BOMBING by F-105s in trail one after another releasing six 750 or five 1000lb bombs rippled to visually hit some heavily defended designated target. (talk) 22:11, 5 July 2014 (UTC) plumalley <been there; done that>[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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I find it very unlikely that only 30,000 casualties arose from this bombing campaign. Can someone look into this please?

On the Vietnam War page, it says North Vietnam/Vietcong had over 800,000 military casualties and some ~100,000 civilian casualties. I find it very hard to believe that only 30,000 between those two figures came from aerial bombardment. (talk) 20:44, 10 June 2020 (UTC)[reply]

You are welcome to look into it yourself and if you find RS for different figures you can add those in. Mztourist (talk) 05:30, 19 June 2020 (UTC)[reply]