December and unforgettable memory of “Hanoi—Dien Bien Phu in the air”

(VOVWORLD) - The “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory following 12 days and nights of bombing in December, 1972, was a victory of the Vietnamese people, and especially the people and soldiers of Hanoi, Haiphong, and neighboring localities.  It was an unforgettable moment of their lives. Let’s return to those momentous days through this report by Le Phuong. 

During the 12-day-and-night campaign, codenamed Operation Linebacker II, which began on December 18, the US Air Force and Navy dispatched 729 B-52 sorties and nearly 4000 tactical aircraft sorties to drop 80,000 tonnes of bombs on military and industrial targets in North Vietnam, mostly in Hanoi and Haiphong.

After hearing the alarming words: “Airplanes are coming!” everybody rushed down into a shelter. Mr Nguyen Van Hau, head of the civil defense group in Phuong Liet Street, recalled those frightening days: “Everybody was going about their daily errands when we heard the alarm that meant airplanes were coming. We were ready with our weapons and shot back at the US planes.”

Phuong Liet Street was near Bach Mai airport and hospital, two areas heavily bombed by the B52s. Communal houses, schools, and private homes were destroyed but the people there bravely fought back. Mr Ha again: “When Bach Mai airport was bombed, many houses in our village were also destroyed, but we encouraged each other to stay and fight back. We went to Kham Thien Street and Bach Mai airport to help others.”

December and unforgettable memory of “Hanoi—Dien Bien Phu in the air”  - ảnh 1

Many residential areas in Kham Thien, An Duong, Gia Lam, Dong Anh, and Giap Bat, as well as Bach Mai hospital and the Me Tri radio transmitter station were heavily damaged. More than 2380 people were killed and more than 1350 others were wounded, mostly of them women, elderly and children. Mr Tran Ngoc Lam was an artillery soldier stationed at Me Tri: “We had shot down an F4 plane earlier. In December, 1972, the US planes bombed us four times. Six of our comrades were killed.”

During those twelve days, the people of Hanoi, Haiphong, and Thai Nguyen bravely fought back. 45 later Mrs Tran Thi Thanh Tho, 88, who was head of the Haiphong Women’s Association, still remembers clearly everything about that December: “US planes conducted intensive bombing throughout the. I could feel the ground tremble violently. It broke all those glass in my windows. The cement factory continued operating despite the bombing.”

The “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory was a victory of the Vietnamese people’s wisdom and staunch spirit. It was a product of Vietnamese military tactics as well as Vietnamese intelligence and courage.