Laos: Battle for the Plain

For the forlorn little Laotian government garrison defending the key Xieng Khouang airstrip on the strategic Plain of Jars, the end came at 3 a.m. Two hours earlier, an estimated six North Vietnamese battalions supported by outmoded but still effective Soviet PT-76 tanks had begun their final attack, smashing through the camp's barbed-wire perimeter and crushing all resistance. In his last message, a wounded Laotian radio operator called in air strikes on his own position. The surviving defenders fled west, but were unable to regroup. By noon, the entire plain and its...

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