In 1972, destroyers and cruisers raided along Tonkin Gulf in the Navy’s final sustained ship-vs.-shore gunnery duels of the 20th century.
Late in the Vietnam War, on 30 March 1972, North Vietnam attempted a transition to conventional warfare—known to Americans as the Easter Offensive, and to the North Vietnamese as the Nguyen Hue Offensive. By that stage of the war most U.S. combat troops had been withdrawn and the ground fighting largely had been left to South Vietnamese army and marine forces. The American contribution to the defense of South Vietnam remained vital, however, consisting of on-site advisers, logistics re-supply and evacuations, and massive naval gunfire and air support. While the offensive was being countered in the South, the United States revived and revised its naval and air campaign against the North.