facts about the Vietnam War

A series on warontherocks.com recounts the facts and figures on U.S. firepower during the Vietnam War.

During the Vietnam War the United States dropped approximately twice as many tons of bombs in Southeast Asia as the Allied forces combined used against both Germany and Japan in World War II. Between 1964 and 1973, U.S. aircraft expended over seven million tons of bombs in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, compared to 3.4 million tons dropped by the United States and its allies in all of World War II. There were restrictions on some targets, particularly in areas of North Vietnam that were close to China and where U.S. leaders were concerned that American airstrikes might provoke a Chinese response. But those do not change the fact that the American air campaign in the Vietnam war was the heaviest in the history of war, by a very large margin…

For most of the period of U.S. involvement, the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies used air and ground munitions at a rate several hundred times higher than the Communist side. Pentagon records for 1969, for example, show that U.S. forces expended nearly 130,000 tons of ammunition a month. About three-fifths of that was delivered by air and the rest in ground fire. By comparison, the highest Communist firepower expenditure of the war, not reached until 1972, was about 1,000 tons a month.

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