Both sides utilized air power during the Vietnam War, but the United States ruled the skies. The American pilots often were the major factors that turned the fortune of battles by interrupting enemy supply lines and communications, as well as gathering reconnaissance information for the ground troops. They strafed and bombed enemy troops in the heat of the ground war. Despite the overwhelming success, it did not produce victory. Vietnam air tactics broke the prior mold. Added to their duties were close air support for American ground forces, jungle defoliation, elimination of crops, side gun operation, air lifting the wounded from the battlefield, rescue of downed pilots and front line observation for the artillery.