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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Joint vs Airman’s View | History—Ancient Era | History—Napoleonic Era | History—19th Century | History—20th Century | History—Current Era | The Principles | Objective | Offensive | Mass | Economy of Force | Maneuver | Unity of Command | Security | Surprise | Simplicity | Historical Applications—Introduction | Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO) | CBO—Fighter Escorts | CBO—Security | Vietnam—Rolling Thunder | Vietnam—Command and Control | Vietnam—Linebacker II | Desert Storm | Stealth and Precision | Space Assets | Summary | Quiz ]

Title: Vietnam—Rolling Thunder

Action: In the background is a collage of images representing the Vietnam War.

Text 1

Text 2

Airpower Misapplied:

Text 3

Vietnam—Misapplied Principles:

Voice: The Vietnam War contained many examples of the proper application of airpower, and a few of its misapplications.

Action: Periodically, graphics are added to screen right, one after the other, to support the narration. The bullet points of text 1 are shown as mentioned in the narration.

Voice: In 1965, Operation Rolling Thunder was one of the prime examples of the misapplication of air power. This campaign was an attempt to stabilize the situation in Southeast Asia. Using progressive air strikes against carefully selected and controlled targets, the objective was to persuade the North Vietnamese government that it could not win the war. The results of the offensive actions had just the opposite effect. These actions caused a hardening of enemy defenses, rhetoric and attitudes against U.S. involvement in the war. When the interim results were analyzed in the spring of 1965, the U.S. strategy was modified to gradually increase the tempo of attacks. The North Vietnamese responded with a complementary escalation in their offensive activity.

Action: Text 1 is removed and the header and first bullet point of text 2 is shown in its place. The rest of text 2 is shown when mentioned in the narration. The picture on the right continues to change to support the narration.

Voice: The misapplication of air power centered on the improper choice of interdiction targets and the inability to deliver the decisive blows required to achieve the desired operational and strategic effects. The restrictive planning and close control exercised by the administration were also detrimental to U.S. morale and spirit which only intensified the sentiments of the North.

Action: Text 2 is removed and text 3 is shown in its place.

Voice: Offensive and objective were two of the principles misapplied during the ROLLING THUNDER campaign.

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