The build-up for the South Vietnamese thrust into Laos is continuing near the border. At?
The build-up for the South Vietnamese thrust into Laos is continuing near the border. At the former special forces camp at Lang Vei, trucks roll in by the hour with fresh supplies. Helicopters come in with casualties of the strike against the Communist supply route complex known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The South Vietnamese say that 300 of their troops have been killed during the 10 days of the operation, but the Communists claim they have inflicted far heavier casualties than this. The South Vietnamese say they have uncovered several big supply caches in Laos. They have put on display captured weapons, ammunition and foodstuffs.
The commander of the South Vietnamese operation, Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Lam, claims his forces have stopped the movement of Communist troops and supplies along the trail.
Bad weather has been affecting the operation in the past few days with monsoonal fog and rain sweeping Quang Tri, South Vietnam's northernmost province and the springboard of the thrust into Laos.
Meanwhile, a Laotian military spokesman said on Wednesday (February the 17th) that 16 North Vietnamese battalions were reported to be pushing towards the strategic town of Pakse in the far south of Laos. It was not clear whether this was reaction to the South Vietnamese operation.