Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report. Air Operations in Northern Laos, 1 November 1969 - 1 April 1970
PACIFIC AIR FORCES HICKAM AFB HI CHECO DIV
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This CHECO report, like its predecessor, is a continuing case study of a unique use of tactical air power in support of guerrilla forces in northern Laos. The problems of targeting, command and control, operations during poor weather, and force allocation, and the lessons learned, have relevance for future operations. This report covers a period during which air power was able to sustain a small group of Mea guerrillas within the shadow of the North Vietnam border, under mounting pressure from regular enemy forces. Although the air operations were constantly restricted by poor weather that limited reconnaissance and attacks to six hours or less per day, the net result of the combined tactical air and friendly guerrilla operations was a three and a half month delay of the enemys dry season offensive. The enemy had lost the Plain of Jars at high cost, and he reoccupied it at high cost. The cost would have been even higher had the guerrilla forces stood and fought in a delaying action-thus forcing the enemy to mass and present targets for air attack. The enemy recovered a depopulated PDJ devoid of crops and supply caches and he owned it only at night and during bad weather. His situation in April 1970 was markedly different and worse than in June 1969 when he last held the same territory.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics