Hanoi B52 Lake
In the residential Ba Dinh district, there is a sobering reminder of the human cost of the Vietnam War called wreckage of a B-52 bomber which was shot down shortly before the war ended.
Operation Linebacker II was known globally as the Christmas Bombing. It was a bombing campaign of 3000 sorties which carried out by American forces between December 18th and 29th in 1972. Intended to compel the North Vietnamese leaders to sign a provisional peace agreement, Linebacker II wanted military installations in the heavily populated region between Hanoi and Haiphong. Despite the intended targets and the evacuation of nearly a half million civilians from those cities, 1318 people were killed in the bombing, arousing international condemnation. North Vietnamese military forces launched more than 1,200 missiles to retaliate and then shot down 15 B-52 bombers, capturing 31 crewmen and killing much more.
An artefact from this last paroxysm of violence in the American portion of the war remains out in the open in the quiet neighbourhood of Ngoc Ha. Tires bleached bone, white by the green water of Huu Tiep Lake, the undercarriage and rear landing gear of an American B-52 bomber rests in which it fell after being shot down on December 27th, 1972. A nearby plaque described this event in typically florid language: “the battalion No72 used the air defence missile of regiment No285 to shut down on the spot a B52G of the US imperialist violating Hanoi airspace. It created a significant change that led the anti-US resistance of Vietnamese people for our salvation to the total victory”. The well-kept houses reflected in the water surrounding the twisted remnants offer a sharp contrast between the modern life of Hanoi and the horrors still in living memory of its inhabitants.
When American forces had been bombing the North of Vietnam for 8 years, it was thought that the Christmas Bombing could force them to sue for peace more acceptable to the USA and South Vietnam. The peace terms which were signed in January of 1973 differed only slightly from the terms proposed by North Vietnam before the bombing.
Things you should know before you go
Huu Tiep Lake is a twenty-minute walk to the West of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in the Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, just west of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. You should pay attention because if you walk west on Hoang Hoa Tham Avenue meeting Ngoc Ha Avenue, you would see a sign directing you to the memorial down a narrow street