Vietnam War Dictionary
Conducted between 2nd March 1965 and 31st October 1968, Operation Rolling Thunder was a U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Undertaken to convince the North Vietnamese to cease their support of the insurgency in South Vietnam, the aerial bombardment was initially restricted to targets south of the 19th parallel. After the air strikes failed to produce early results U.S officials opted to commit ground forces rather than increasing the scale of the bombing because of the risk of inviting Chinese intervention. Rolling Thunder operations were gradually allowed further north but strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong harbor were prohibited, which enabled the North Vietnamese to continue receiving supplies from their Communist allies.