Linebacker: The Untold Story of the Air Raids Over North Vietnam

Twelve days that shook the world. The beginning of the end.

In late 1972, the Vietnam peace talks were stalled, with the war at perhaps its most crucial point. The United States was searching for a way to strangle North Vietnam’s war-waging capabilities by shutting down its supply pipelines in order to force it back to the negotiating table.

The solution: Linebacker II, a massive, intricately coordinated twelve-day assault by over 700 combat aircraft against vital targets around Hanoi and Haiphong, enemy cities heavily guarded by MiGs, SAM missiles, and radar-guided anti-aircraft.

Here is an unprecedented look at one of the most critical campaigns of modern air warfare, documented in rich, fascinating detail. It is told in the vividly personal words of the pilots and crews who flew the missions — men who dramatically helped to end the American role in the Vietnam conflict and to bring the POWs home.

About the Author

Karl J. Eschmann

Karl Eschmann graduated from Texas A&M University in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, and a Master’s Degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Logistics Management in 1977.  As a Second Lieutenant in 1972-73, he was a flight line maintenance officer responsible for two squadrons of F-4E Phantom IIs during the Linebacker I & II air offensives, as well as the Cambodian and Laotian campaigns. Later he worked in the Air Logistics Centers involved in the Depot level overhauls of fighters and bombers. The rest of his active Air Force career he was in the Engineering and Program Management as part of the weapons acquisition world.  He was the senior integration engineer for the AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile which was integrated onto the B-52 and B-1 fleets. He was the Program Element Monitor at the Pentagon responsible for bringing in the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Reconnaissance System (JSTARS) in time for Desert Storm. He followed with an assignment as the Special Projects Manager in the AIM-120 AMRAAM Office responsible for the major phased upgrades and improvements to the air-to-air missile system. His last active duty assignment was as Director of International E-3 AWACS and Deputy Director for the E-3 AWACS Program. He is a Graduate of Squadron Officers School, a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, a Graduate of the Air War College, and a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval War College. He retired after 26 years of active service as a Full Colonel in 1998.


He fully retired in 2020 as an Air Force Support Contractor after 24 years. He was assigned to Hurlburt Field FL for eight years as an Operational Tester in areas related to improving the concepts and testing capabilities on airborne C2 platforms, intelligence sensors and exploitation products, and the means to counter and defeat the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which required him to deploy to Iraq numerous times. For the past nine years before retiring he was involved in testing new Network Enabled air-to-ground such as the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II weapons at Eglin AFB. He is a Military Historian who writes books about the Revolutionary and Vietnam Wars, and has published two books with Random Ballantine Books (1989) and Time-Life (1991).

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