Laos: Rout in the Jungle

Just north of the opium trading center of Nam Tha lies a wood that local Khalom tribesmen believe is inhabited by the spirit of the sacred princess. The wood last week was inhabited by more than spirits. Out of its leafy shadows poured battalions of Communist Pathet Lao troops, stiffened by regulars from Red North Viet Nam and supported by a withering barrage from two dozen 105-mm. howitzers. The sudden attack not only decimated the Royal Laotian Army; it also allowed the Reds to reach the banks of the strategic Mekong River...

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