184. Message From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer) to the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Gayler) and the Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command (Meyer)1

5384. Deliver upon receipt. Subj: Linebacker II Operations (U). Refs: A. JCS 2498/110339Z Nov 72. B. JCS 9222/261749Z Nov 72. C. JCS 3348/150147Z Dec 72.

Reference (A) addresses the current restrictions and priorities concerning the conduct of air and NGF operations in NVN. Reference (B) limited the number of ordnance delivery sorties attacking NVN. Reference (C) is the Linebacker II alerting message. References (A) and (B) are hereby cancelled.
This is an execute message.
You are directed to commence at approximately 1200Z, 18 December 1972 a three-day maximum effort, repeat maximum effort, of B52/Tacair strikes in the Hanoi/Haiphong areas against the targets contained in Reference (C). Object is maximum destruction of selected military targets in the vicinity of Hanoi/Haiphong. Be prepared to extend operations past three days, if directed.
Following instructions apply:
Utilize visual as well as allweather capabilities.
Utilize all resources which can be spared without critical detriment to operations in RVN and support of emergency situations in Laos and Cambodia.
Utilize restrikes on authorized targets, as necessary. North Vietnamese air order of battle, airfields, and active surface-to-air missile sites may be struck as tactical situation dictates to improve effectiveness of attack forces and minimize losses.
You are authorized to reduce B52 operations required during the 24 hour period prior to the initiation of these operations in order to apply maximum effort against scheduled targets.
All B52 aircraft will carry maximum ordnance load.
Exercise precaution to minimize risk of civilian casualties utilizing LGB weapons against designated targets. Avoid damage to third country shipping.
Naval gunfire operations are authorized along the NVN coast north of twenty degrees latitude to complement the air strike effort. Do not preposition NGF ships in order to preserve maximum surprise for conduct of air strikes.
Operating authorities. Current Linebacker operating authorities apply.
Public affairs guidance will be provided by separate message.
Warm regards.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 71, Linebacker II Messages, December 1972. Top Secret; Immediate; Specat; Exclusive. Repeated to Commander in Chief, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam; Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet; Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces; Commander, 7th Air Force; Commander, 8th Air Force; Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces; Commander, Seventh Fleet; and Commander, Carrier Task Force 77.