LAM SON 719
by Maj. Gen. Nguyen Duy Hinh
Published by U.S. Army Center Of Military History
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LAM SON 719
For several years, the eastern part of the Laotian panhandle was used by North Vietnam as a corridor for the infiltration of personnel and materiels required to sustain its war efforts in South Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition to the Ho chi Minh Trail, the eastern panhandle contained many logistic installations and base areas. After the 18 March 1970 change of government in Cambodia which closed the port of Sihanoukville to the enemy, this trail-base area complex in lower Laos became even more important to North Vietnam in its prosecution of the war in the South. The real hub of this entire complex, where transportation and storage activities were coordinated, was Base Area 604 located west of the Demilitarized Zone and surrounding the district town of Tchepone.
To disrupt the flow of enemy personnel and supplies into South Vietnam, a ground attack was launched across the Laotian border against this enemy hub of activity on 8 February 1971. Operation LAM SON 719 was conducted by I Corps with substantial U.S. support in firepower and helilift but without the participation of U.S. advisers with those ARVN units fighting in Laos. As a test of Vietnamization, this operation was to demonstrate also the progress achieved in combat effectiveness by the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces. Further, LAM SON 719 achieved the objective of forestalling a Communist offensive in the spring of 1971.
This monograph will present a critical analysis of all aspects of LAM SON 719 from the planning stage to the withdrawal from lower Laos. In its preparation, I have drawn primarily from my own experience as an ARVN infantry division commander and from interviews with Vietnamese unit commanders and staff officers who participated in the operation. My work would not have been complete without the valuable contributions of several associates to whom I owe a special debt of gratitude.
General Cao Van Vien, Chairman of the Joint General Staff, RVNAF, has provided me with a unique insight into LAM SON 719 from the highest level of our armed forces. Lieutenant General Dong Van Khuyen, who was Commander of the Central Logistics Command, RVAAF at the time, has contributed his account of combined logistic support for the operation. Lieutenant General Ngo Quang Truong, Commander of IV Corps and later I Corps, under whose command and leadership I had served for several years, has enlightened me with his highly professional and analytical comments on tactical problems concerning the ARVN and especially the 1st Infantry Division. Brigadier General Tran Dinh Tho, Assistant Chief of Staff J-3, JGS, has briefed me in detail concerning his personal involvement in the early planning stage of the operation. Colonel Hoang Ngoc Lung, Assistant Chief of Staff J-2, JGS, has been of great assistance with his intimate knowledge of NVA forces, their activities on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the enemy logistic structure in the area of operation.
Finally, I am particularly indebted to Lieutenant Colonel Chu Xuan Vien and Ms. Pham Thi Bong. Lt. Colonel Vien, the last Army Attaché serving at the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C., has done a highly professional job of translating and editing that helps impart unity and cohesiveness to the manuscript. Ms. Bong, a former Captain in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces and also a former member of the Vietnamese Embassy staff, spent long hours typing, editing and in the administrative preparation of my manuscript in final form.
McLean, Virginia Nguyen Duy Hinh 31 July 1977 Major General, ARVN
|1||GVN Released Results for LAM SON 719||128|
|2||LAM SON 719 Cumulative Casualties||129|
|3||Major Items of Equipment Lost or Destroyed||130|
|4||Enemy Casualties, LAM SON 719||131|
|5||Enemy Equipment Losses||132|
|6||LAM SON 719: U.S. Army Aviation Support Sorties||134|
|7||U.S. Army Aircraft Damaged and Destroyed||135|
|8||U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Support||135|
|9||Bomb Damage Assessment, U.S. Tactical Air||136|
|10||B-52 "Arc Light" Operation Summary, LAM SON 719||137|
|11||BDA Results on 55 Arc Light Targets||138|
|12||U.S. and ARVN Artillery Support||139|
|1||Task Organization, LAM SON 719, Early February 1971||41|
|2||U.S. Army Aviation Task Organization||46|
|1||The Ho Chi Minh Trail||11|
|2||The Trail System, Lower Laos, 1970||13|
|3||The Border Area, Military Regions 1 & 2||14|
|4||The Logistical Area of Tchepone||17|
|5||Enemy Deployment, Northern MR 1||20|
|6||Laos and North Vietnam||22|
|7||Enemy Disposition, Early February 1971||23|
|8||The Area of Operation||26|
|9||The Main Trail System and Base Areas||29|
|10||Operation Plan, Phase I (Dewey Canyon II)||37|
|11||Operation Plan, Phase II||38|
|12||U.S. Army Logistics Plan, LAM SON 719||49|
|13||ARVN Logistics Plan, LAM SON 719||50|
|14||Integrated Transportation System, LAM SON 719||52|
|15||The Attack Toward Khe Sanh||59|
|16||Consolidation of the Assembly Area||62|
|17||The Advance to Ban Dong||66|
|18||Enemy Situation, Last Week of February 1971||78|
|19||Attack of FSB 31||83|
|20||The Attack Toward Tchepone||94|
|21||Friendly Operations, Early March 1971||105|
|22||Enemy Situation, Late March 1971||112|
|23||Raids Across The Border||123|
Note about page numbers: Page numbers are provided the same way as in the original book to facilitate the citing of the document in the same fashion as one might have done from the original book.
Some of the page numbers skip because of the maps and pictures in the original book. However the book in this electronic form is complete.