Operation Linebacker was the title of a U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial interdiction campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 9 May to 23 October 1972, during the Vietnam War.
Its purpose was to halt or slow the transportation of supplies and materials for the Nguyen Hue Offensive (known in the West as the Easter Offensive), an invasion of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), by forces of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), that had been launched on 30 March. Linebacker was the first continuous bombing effort conducted against North Vietnam since the bombing halt instituted by President Lyndon B. Johnson in November 1968.
By the spring of 1972, North Vietnam had assembled a force of about 200,000 men, along with a substantial amount of ammunition and supplies, for a last attempt at invading the South. On 23 March 1972 the US canceled further peace negotiations in Paris because of a lack of progress in the talks. This was followed by the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam. On March 29, 1972, enemy forces rolled directly across the demilitarized zone into South Vietnam while others penetrated via Laos. The South Vietnamese army, plagued by poor leadership and morale, was forced to retreat. This "Easter or Spring Offensive" was the result of the long buildup and infiltration of NVN forces during previous months and presaged some of the most intense fighting of the entire war.