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Invasion of Laos, 1971: Lam Son 719 by Robert D. Sander

By Robert D. Sander

In 1971, whereas U.S. flooring forces have been prohibited from crossing the Laotian border, a South Vietnamese military corps, with U.S. air help, introduced the biggest airmobile operation within the heritage of war, Lam Son 719. the target: to sever the North Vietnamese Army’s major logistical artery, the Ho Chi Minh path, at its hub, Tchepone in Laos, an operation that, in keeping with common Creighton Abrams, might have been the decisive conflict of the struggle, hastening the withdrawal of U.S. forces and making sure the survival of South Vietnam. the result: defeat of the South Vietnamese military and heavy losses of U.S. helicopters and aircrews, yet a winning preemptive strike that met President Nixon’s near-term political objectives.

Author Robert Sander, a helicopter pilot in Lam Son 719, explores why an operation of such value failed. Drawing on files and interviews, and firsthand testimony and stories, Sander chronicles not just the making plans and execution of the operation but in addition the maneuvers of the bastions of political and armed forces energy through the ten-year attempt to finish Communist infiltration of South Vietnam top as much as Lam Son 719. the result's an image from disparate views: the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations; the South Vietnamese executive led by means of President Nguyen Van Thieu; and senior U.S. army commanders and military aviators.

Sander’s end is instantaneously robust and persuasively transparent. Lam Son 719 used to be doomed in either the making plans and execution—a casualty of family and foreign politics, fallacious assumptions, incompetent execution, and the unravel of the North Vietnamese military. a robust paintings of army and political background, this e-book deals eloquent testimony that “failure, like good fortune, can't be measured in absolute terms.”

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Extra info for Invasion of Laos, 1971: Lam Son 719

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But because of the immediate need for an upgraded FAC aircraft, the air force purchased an off-the-shelf aircraft, the Cessna “Super Skymaster,” as an interim solution. The modified Skymaster, designated as the O-2, was a twin-engine aircraft with the engines installed in line. The front engine powered a “puller” propeller and the rear engine powered the “pusher” propeller. The O-2 had greater mission time and airspeed and was more heavily armed than the O-1. indb 37 1/3/14 12:00 PM in va sion of l aos,  altitude made it almost impossible to stay airborne with a single engine.

He directed the United States Army, Vietnam (USARV), staff to begin work on a new plan for interdicting the Ho Chi Minh Trail with a cross-border attack. 24 While there were differences in the two plans, they both contained one of the central themes of OPLAN Full Cry: an attack westward from Khe Sanh along Route 9 to Tchepone. Col. John M. Collins served as the chief of the USARV campaign planning group. In 1997 Colonel Collins briefly described one of the versions of El Paso in an article entitled “Going to Tchepone” in the National Defense University’s publication Joint Forces Quarterly.

S. 19 The plan called for a significant increase in troop strength, and when it became apparent that President Johnson would not approve additional deployments, Westmoreland turned to two smaller, but less decisive, proposals for South Vietnamese cross-border operations during 1967. S. S. 20 The plans were rejected. A small portion of one plan survived. S. 1st Cavalry Division would be moved to Khe Sanh and conduct an airmobile attack into the enemy’s rear. ”22 The idea of an amphibious assault was quickly discarded when Secretaries Rusk and McNamara recommended against it.

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