Operation Bullet Shot
Operation "Bullet Shot" conducted during 1972 and resulted in the North Vietnamese finally getting serious about negotiating. In February 1972, in response to the increased infiltration by the North Vietnamese into South Vietnam, SAC initiated Operation Bullet Shot. Bullet Shot resulted in the build up of B-52 forces at Andersen AFB to carry out increased bombing missions that would eventually involve every B-52D unit. By July 1972 a force of almost 50 B-52Ds, 100 B-52Gs and over 12,000 personnel were bedded down at Anderson AFB. These bombers participated in bombing raids against enemy targets all over Vietnam, including north of the demilitarized zone.
When Operation Arc Light began during the mid-1960s. B-52's from Guam, Thailand, and Okinawa would each take off at approximately the same time and rendezvous at roughly the same points using essentially the same tactics night after night. Flying at an altitude of 39,000 - 41,000 feet, the bombers would head directly to the target areas. During the early days of Bullet Shot, many B-52's were lost on the flights over North Vietnam due to the repeated use of the same tactics. When the bombers changed the day-to-day tactics, the number of lost aircraft went down significantly.
The Arc Light sortie rate had been reduced to 1,000 per month in July 1971, and was increased to 1,200 per month in February 1972. When BULLET SHOT was complete the B-52s were capable of 3,150 sorties a month, until President Richard M. Nixon ordered a cessation to the aggressive bombing efforts. President Nixon gave that order when it appeared that the Paris Peace Talks were resulting in a possible agreement. However, when the communist forces took advantage of the bombing halt by increasing their operations tempo, President Nixon gave the order to execute Linebacker II.
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