A stele was set up in Hoc Mang village, Long Tan commune, the southern province of Binh Duong, to mark the first attack by the US’s long-range B-52 bombers during the Vietnam war.

The stele, made by sculptors Le Lang Bien and Nguyen Hoai Huyen Vu, was inaugurated on April 28, in celebration of the 36 th anniversary of Liberation of the South (Vietnam).

On June 18, 1965, the US launched 27 sorties of B-52 Stratofortress bombers to carpet bomb Hoc Mang village, formerly known as Trang Lon village of Long Nguyen commune, Ben Cat district, targeting the provincial revolutionary base.

This was the first air combat mission the US had used B-52 bombers during its aggression war in Vietnam, paving the way for the mass deployment of the Stratofortress in military operation service.

The US’ first long-range, swept-wing heavy bomber, however, first encountered combat in the skies while on a raid over Vinh city in Vietnam’s central region on November 22, 1972.

One hundred ninety-three B-52s were later used in the US’ Operation Linebacker II, the so-called “Christmas bombings”, which lasted 12 days and nights over Hanoi and Hai Phong port city in December, 1972, nearly half of those in the US Air Force at the time, and more than 1,000 tactical F-111 fighter-bombers and various tactical planes.

During the operation, deadly planes dropped 40,000 tonnes of bombs destroying 5,480 houses, factories, schools, hospitals, railway stations and residential quarters in Hanoi and Hai Phong. The fighting took the lives of 2,368 civilians and injured 1,355.

A fierce counterattack from North Vietnam’s anti-aircraft defence system, consisting of surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, the Air Force and a network of reconnaissance radar, shot down 81 of the raiding F-111 aircraft, including 34 of the giant B-52s./.