The United States conducted a massive bombing campaign over Southeast Asia during the Second Indochina War. The joint chiefs of staff attempted to compile comprehensive databases of all US and allied air sorties during the conflict. In this article, we show how we tested the reliability of two of the most commonly used databases and then determined what they tell us about the air war, especially in terms of the tons of ordnance expended. The database indicates tonnage figures similar to those in existing accounts of the bombing of Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia and also contains new evidence of some limited bombing of Thailand. It suggests each target country suffered markedly distinct bombing patterns that were often related inversely to each other. This supports the interpretation that the use of air power was not purely tactical but also driven by the availability of air power.
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