The World: Indochina: Tough Days on the Trail

WHEN Lam Son 719, the invasion of Laos, began early last month, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird predicted that there would be "some tough days ahead." Last week the Communists made good on that prediction—with a vengeance.

The main South Vietnamese force of 10,000 troops and 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers sat immobile barely 15 miles inside Laos on jungle-bordered Route 9. Out on the flanks, where elite airborne and ranger units clung to rugged hilltop fire bases, Communist toops launched a series of furious assaults. First blood was drawn at an outpost...

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