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In terms of food, some 1,550 short tons (primarily of rice)
A related form of supply loss is increased consumption. Deployment of additional enemy troops to resist allied interdiction activity resulted in greatly increased food requirements and ammo expenditures by VC and NVA units comiiited to the area. These losses while considerable, do not clearly reveal the extent to which Lamson 719 has disrupied the enemy's logistical campaign. Even more serious for the enemy is the reduction of his capability to move supplies through the Tschpone and Ban Dong area and southward along Rouie 92, which has been interdicted by friendly forces, No traffic has been noted on Route 92 through Ban Dong, since 10 Eebruary.
The enemy has tried to compensate by using Route 14 and 920, but he has periodically encountired interference here as well, both from ARVN forces and allied interdiction. Traffic on this bypass road has continued at a reduced rate. The enemy has diverted some trucks to Route 23. This road, however, is not developed, passes through more open terrain and would require deployment or additional forces for adequate protectior. for convoys and installations,
Another significant long-term effect of the ongoing operation involves enemy casualties among experienced personnel in units that have been operating those logistical systems in previous years. Loss of trained rear service personnel will further degrade the enemy's capability to move supplies through the Lao Panhandle, Current anaiysis indicates that operation Lamson 719 has seriously disrupted enemy supplies. Throughput for RVN and Cambodia is quite low, only 1/5 of the throughput achieved at this time last year. With the dry season, well over half gone, the enemy will probably experience considerable difficulty in meeting his current logistical goals. To the South, in Cambodia, ARVN forces initiated Operation Thoan
on 4 February. The operation encompasses three principal areas in Chup/Dambe, Snuol and the Parrots Beak area. Prior to the initiation of the operation the Chup/Dambe and Snuol areas comprised the southern terminus of the enemy's Mekong supply corridor. This complex served as a transshipment point for movement of supplies west and south in Cambodia, and east into the COS VN portion of Vietnam. In addition, the area straddled known enemy infiltration routes into South Vietnam.
In January, enemy forces deployed in base areas along the border had the mission of interdicting LOCS which supported ARVN operations in Cambodia and of conducting harrassment attacks in western MR 3, RVN, in an effort to discourage the ARVN from exparding ground operations into Carnbodia. The enemy's reaction to Thoan Thang on indicates the seriousness with which
he viewed the operation. In recent months he avoided significant contacts
y reaction was
In the Chup/Dambe area the level of combat was relatively high in
It is too soon to accurately assess the impact of OP Lamson and Thoan
Operation Lamson has caused the enemy to divert supplies intended for
In Cambodia, Operation Thoan Thang 041 caused the enemy to shift
In conclusion, by seizing the initiative in the Lao Panhandle and Cambodia, ARVN has disrupted enemy logistical operations during the current dry season and preempted enemy plans for the winter/ spring campaign. Disruption of
enemy logistical activities and erosion of his combat strength in his base
will materially affect the eneny's future capabilities to conduct offensive operations in both Cambodian and the RVN. While at the same time enhancing the Vietnamization program providing additional time for the development and improvement oi FANK forces and permitting continued withdrawal of American forces from the RVI.
(End of J-2 Briefing).
J-3 Assessment: The purpose of this briefing is to describe some of the key aspects of the current operation and situation. Highlights will be the interdiction program; Operation Lamson 719; Operation Thoan Thang 01; the Mekong River Convoys, and helicopter support.
Interdiction Program: An extremely effective interdiction cainpaign has been under way to isolate enemy forces in the RVN from outside support. This campaign is being waged by air force conducting strikes in Laos, Cambodian and the border regions of Vietnam; naval forces in coastal waters, including border areas, and ARVN ground forces conducting cross border operations in Cambodia and most recently in Laos.
The Naval interdiction campaign and the denial of the port of Kompong Som to the enemy on 18 March 1970, has made the enemy totally dependent on the overland lines of communication through Laos. After an intensive terrain study, four choke points in the Laos lines of communications were selected as the most difficult to by-pass. Heavy concentration of both 6-52 and TAC air sorties have been placed in these choke points, resulting in considerable reduction in the amount of supplies being shuttied into the RVN and Cambodia. As an example of the effect of the interdiction program, nearly 14,000 trucks have been destroyed or damaged since October of last year.
There have been three major operations since last July Operation Cuu Long 4402, Lamson 719, and Thoan Thang on. The Cuu Long Operation was terminated 25 February. The latter two operations Lamson 719 and Thoan Thang ori are still in progress. Lamson has been one of the three major RVNAF cross border operations and has been a milestone in the development of the RVNAF. For the first time he conducted a multi-division operation against a strong and determined enemy and is an indication of the SVN's concern over the enemy's use of border sanctuaries of the Laos operation. He has maintained a daily average of 22 maneuver battalions in Laos to insure disruption of the enemy's base system.
The enemy's massive use of AAA and artillery has been a significant factor of the operation, of great significance also in the operation is that the RVNAF is penetrating an area which had been controlled for years by the enemy. There has been significant gains from this operation. The RVNAF, without U. S. advisors, faced their sternest test to date and acquitted them
selves against an aggressive enemy.
The estimates of enemy killed exceed 11,000. Large amounts of supplies have been destroyed or captured, major damage has been inflicted on his LOC and his timetable for offensive operations has been set back for a considerable period. Collaterally, the RVNAF success has had impact on the NVA by effectively demonstrating that the RVNAF is capable of enounting a multidivision operation, attacking the enemy in strongly held positions and destroying a considerable portion of his caches in the area.
Inso far as the Vietnamization program is concerned, Lamson has enhanced security, provided a greater chance for rural development and community defense to succeed, and has improved the environment for orderly Vietnamization and continued U.S. troops withdrawals.
The objective of Operation Thoan Thang 0821 in Cambodia is the destruction of enemy forces primarily in the Chup Plantation area which is known to be a base area for a large number of enemy troops. It is near the southern terminus of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and is used for storage areas and distribution points for supplies going into the Coswn area and (inaudible) area of Cambodia. This operation is a logical followon to Thoan Thang 70/2 which was conducted from July 1970 to February of this year. This kept Route 1 open between Vietnam and Leak Nuong, disrupted the free flow of enemy personnel and supplies bound from the plantation area, north of Route 7 and resulted in over 2,000 enemy being killed in the 6-1/2 months operation. Thoan Thang 0171 is characterized by heavy fighting and heavy casualties particularly in the Chup/ Dambe area, The operation is progressing generally according to plan. Although, the U. S. is supporting the operation with air assets, a larger share is being carried by RVNAF. For example, the VNAF has flown considerably more TAC air sorties and helo sorties than has the U.S.
In the sixth weeks of current operations, Route 7 has been open from the Vietnam border west to Tong Le Bet and is being secured with FANK assistance. The enemy's traditional como liaison route, traffic to Kratie, Chhlong, Komgang Trabek, has been severely disrupted. The enemy has been forced to retain major elements of two divisions north of Route 7, thus reducing the threatto Kompang Chamand other areas west of the Mekong and MR 3 and MR 4. Most significantly, heavy casualties have been inflicted on the enemy. As the J-2 has pointed out, the numbers of 4, 400 enemy killed in action, while the ARVN has sustained less than 400 KIA and 2,000 WLA.
In regard to Mekong river convoys, to maintain supplies in Phnom Penh and to thwart the enemy's desire to cut off this city, a joint combined Mekong River Convoy operation is being carried out by Cambodian and Vietnamese Naval and ground forces, supported by U.S. and Vietnamese air forces. Since its inception 17 January, there have been 10 convoys. Although the enemy bas attempted to halt the operation only one vessel of the 44 cargo ships has been sunk. The convoys have successfully supplied Phnom Penh with 2,800 long of military equipment and 15,000 tons POL. It is planned to increase the convo; rate shortly to low ibi sivecpiling.
Helo operations in Laos have provided the mobility necessary for success while facing exceptionally concentrated AAA weapons. One example of successful large scale air mobile operation took place on 7 March 1971, when 2 battalions were inserted into a LZ in 37 minute period by a total of over 150 lift helos and gunship escorts, with only one held receiving damage from enemy fire. Units engaged in supporting Lamson 719 have flown 57,900 hours and 145,700 sorties during the period 29 January to 11 March. A total of 135,200 passengers and 26,200 tons of cargo were carried and gunships were credited with 1, 500 (KBA) killed by air.
During this operation it's been our experience that 67% of the damaged helos are returned to service within 48 hours; 17% are expected to be operational within 30 days and 12% are expected to take more than 30 days to repair. The status of additional 4% has not been determined.
In summary, the interdiction campaigr., Operation Lamson, Operation Thoan Thang, The Mekong River Convoys, and helo support, are rujur elements of the current combined efforts to produce a more secure environment for Vietnamization and for orderly redeployment oi U.S. forces.
(End J-3 Assessment)
.J - 3 Briefer: To report on the operation as it looks right now, I would like to show you a few slides, here.
This shows the U.S. troop disposition. As you know, these troops have been deployed in the Quang Tri Province for the purpose of providing the rear area support that was the basis for the ARVN cross border cperation (inaudible). We have approximately 21 battalions of all types assisting the ARVN. By way of orientation, Dong Ha, up in the upper right hand corner, Route 9 is the heavy black line cutting across to the southwest (inaudible). Khe Sanh is very faintly seen down below and just to the right of the range portion of the border. We have infantry units, engineering units, artillery units in support. Notice the artillery units at the extreme western end of Route 9 that are within our authority to provide artillery support into Laos. These are assembled at the black dot. (inaudible). This particular portion of the operation we feel is vital one that has been characterized by small yet sharp (inaudible) contact. It seems to be aimed at cutting Route 9 with the LOCS up to Khe Sanh and farther along the border. There has been significant attacks by fire also as you know against a few support area (inaudible) and Khe Sanh.
Insofar as the RVNAF side of the operation is concerned. We are now in Laos, Route 9 again moving across the center from east to west. Sepone on the left on this chart:
Hoft.it and the airborne division and elements of the various armored task force operating just to the north of the First Division area. These are the battalions that were in there yesterday. Since that time there has been several battalions withdrawn the 1st of the 3rd, and the regimental headquarters that is associated with that, 2nd regimental headquarters, have both been withdrawn as of today. One battalion of the airborne, plus a brigade headquarters of the airborne has been withdrawn to Khe Sanh as of today. Remaining in Laos we have 16 battalions as of now, that includes 4 armored battalions; 4 airborne battalions; 2 infantry battalions and 6 Vietnamese Marine battalions.
The contacts in this area are characterized I would say as larger than they are within RVN. Our spot reports that are coming in from the field indicate large casualty figures on both the enemy side and reasonably heavy casualties on the ARVN side. The weapons count that we are picking up are proportionately indicative of the fact that the body count is reasonably accurate in so far as the enemy is concerned. The enemy is obviously closing with the ARVN units that are on fire support bases, a favorite tactic of his, heavy attacks by fire, mortar and artillery, and the ARVN are using their own weapons, their own artillery and our air to return the fire.
Currently, the units that are being withdrawn from Laos are moving to Khe Sanh for refitting and rehabilitation. The first one has been moved farther on to the east. Some of you may have seen them at Dong Ha, possibly at Quang Tri, and areas northeast in Quang Tri province.