In 1971, while U.S. ground forces were prohibited from crossing the Laotian border, a South Vietnamese Army corps, with U.S. air support, launched the largest airmobile operation in the history of warfare, Lam Son 719. The objective: to sever the North Vietnamese Armyas main logistical artery, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, at its hub, Tchepone in Laos, an operation that, according to General Creighton Abrams, could have been the decisive battle of the war, hastening the withdrawal of U.S. forces and ensuring the survival of South Vietnam. The outcome: defeat of the South Vietnamese Army and heavy losses of U.S. helicopters and aircrews, but a successful preemptive strike that met President Nixonas near-term political objectives. Author Robert Sander, a helicopter pilot in Lam Son 719, explores why an operation of such importance failed. Drawing on archives and interviews, and firsthand testimony and reports, Sander chronicles not only the planning and execution of the operation but also the maneuvers of the bastions of political and military power during the ten-year effort to end Communist infiltration of South Vietnam leading up to Lam Son 719. The result is a picture from disparate perspectives: the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations; the South Vietnamese government led by President Nguyen Van Thieu; and senior U.S. military commanders and army aviators. Sanderas conclusion is at once powerful and persuasively clear. Lam Son 719 was doomed in both the planning and executionaa casualty of domestic and international politics, flawed assumptions, incompetent execution, and the resolve of the North Vietnamese Army. A powerful work of military and political history, this book offers eloquent testimony that afailure, like success, cannot be measured in absolute terms.aThe engine oil cooler was external to the turbine engine and connected to the engine by oil lines. Both the oil ... VHPA KIA files, 11 February 1971. 42. CHECO ... Refer to appendix A, aThe Helicopters of Lam Son 719, a for photographs and a detailed description of all types of helicopters involved in Lam Son 719. 49. Gen.
|Title||:||Invasion of Laos, 1971|
|Author||:||Robert D. Sander|
|Publisher||:||University of Oklahoma Press - 2014-02-26|