Operation Lion's Den
Although Linebacker was largely carried out by air, naval forces were also deployed to provide counter battery fire against enemy targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other important logistical areas and in support of ground troops. One such operation was Operation Lion's Den, or "The Battle of Haiphong Harbor". On 27 August 1972. Vice Admiral James L. Holloway III took with him his ship, the heavy cruiser Newport News, the guided missile cruiser Providence, and the destroyers Robison and Rowan conducted a brief night raid against the North Vietnamese forces protecting the port of Haiphong. After the bombardment, the ships were threatened by four Russian-built torpedo boats. Joined by two aircraft from the Coral Sea, three of the four torpedo boats were sunk. It was one of the few ship-to-ship naval battles of the war.
Paris Peace Talks and conclusion
For more details on on the negotiations, see Paris Peace Talks.
The stalled offensive in the south and the devastation in North Vietnam had helped to convince Hanoi to return to the bargaining table by early August. The meetings produced new concessions from Hanoi which promised to end the deadlock that had plagued negotiations since their inception in 1968. Gone were Hanoi's demands for the ouster of South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu and his replacement by a coalition government in which the National Liberation Front would participate. The diplomatic impasse was broken and Nixon ordered a halt to all bombing above the 20th parallel on 23 October. This once again placed Hanoi and Haiphong off-limits, and halted Linebacker operations.