South Viet Nam: The Quiet Escalation

It was late in the morning, and the Communist antiaircraft crews guarding the bridge on Route 7, ten miles from the Laotian village of Ban Ban, were probably not hankering for extra work. Suddenly they had their hands—and gun sights—full. Screaming in low from surrounding hills was a long, swift file of supersonic U.S. Air Force jet fighters, which loosed a blizzard of bombs on the bridge, blowing it to bits.

Most of the planes got through unscathed, but by the time the last jets had reached the target, the excited Reds got...

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