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A Chronology of Events

1945 – Laos occupied by Japan. (Mach 10)
-- Pathet Lao formed "resistance government." French chased the Pathet Laos to Thailand.


1949 – Laos recognized as independent state within the French Union (July 19)

1950 – United States signed mutual defense agreement with France, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia

1950 --The Royal Lao Army was established. (March 23)

1953 – President Eisenhower approved $385 million in military aid to France in Indochina (September)
--Vietnamese communists (Vietminh) into Laos to help the Lao communists.


1953 – Laos was granted full independence (October)

1954 – French defeated at Muang Teang, city of Laos, now known as Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam (May)

1954 – Geneva – Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Laos (July)

1954 – The Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (September)

1957 -- First coalition government formed.

1959 -- American special teams of 6 men were deployed at each Lao Army battalion to train Lao soldiers.

1960 -- Coup d’etat by Capt Kong Le, Second Airborne Battalion in Vientiane (August 8)
-- Pathet Lao, Lao soldiers, were in Vientiane to help out Kong Le.
-- Soviet Union began airlift to Kong Le and Pathet Lao (December)
-- Rightist troops from Savannakhet, chased Kong Le out of Vientiane.
-- Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese attacked Xiengkhouang but was repelled. (December 16)
-- North Vietnamese troops attacked Phonhong, a city located 50 Kilometers West of Vientiane.


1961 – Bill Lair first contacted with Vang Pao on January 3rd. United States CIA began the recruitment of Hmong; U.S. collaborated with Hmong on January 10th, Irregular forces in Military Region II was organized. The Special Guerrilla Units were formed by the United States CIA in Padong.

-- Pathet Lao and NVA seized Xiengkhouang.

-- Padong Falled to Nort Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao

-- John Little, United States CIA began to recruit the hill tribes.
1962 -- First North Vietnamese troops launched its first offensive operation to Luang Namtha, northern part of Laos.


-- NVA attacked GM 11, GM 15th, GM 18th , BV 14 in Luangnamtha Province, northern part of Laos. (May)

-- The Royal Lao Armed Forces lost more than 1,500 KIA or WIA. 1,527 Lao soldiers were captured by the North Vietnamese Army.

– President Kennedy sent US troops to Thailand because of communist offensive activities in Laos (May), and 2 U.S. Special Forces battalions were sent to Houy Xay, Military Region IV, Southern Laos.

– Geneva – Declaration on the Neutrality of Laos (July 23)

-- CIA supported Kong Le troops to in order to bring his troops to side the Royal Lao Armed Forces.(November)

-- U.S. Air America assigned to Laos.

-- Vang Pao and U.S. CIA established a secret airbase at Long Cheng.
1964 – US bombing campaign ‘Operation Barrel Roll’ in support of RLA forces (June)


– Gulf of Tonkin Incident (August)

-- RLA GM 13 and GM 17 and Kong Le troops attacked Xieng khouang.
1965 – US bombing campaign ‘Operation Steel Tiger’ begins interdiction efforts on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos (April)


– B-52 Arc Light campaign is extended into Laos (December)
1967 -- Savannakhet Special Guerrilla Units were organized.
1968 -- North Vietnamese troops attacked NamBack, Northern part of Laos. The position was defended by the Royal Lao Armed Forces, mostly the paratroopers from Military Region III. Casualty estimated 2,000 KIA, MIA, or captured.


-- U.S. Radar Station at Phou Pha Thi guarded by Special Guerrilla Units was overun by the North Vietnamese (October 10)
1969 -- North Vietnamese blew up ammunition depot at Kilometer 21 near Vientiane, the
Capital of Laos. (Jan 4)


-- North Vietnamese blew up T 28 and aircrafts at Luangprabang Airport. (March 11)

-- Creation of Special Guerrilla Units in Military Region IV and Military Region I

-- Muang Suy seized by North Vietnamese/Pathet Lao (June 26).

-- Big offensive named, KouKiet, “Save Face” to retake Plain of Jars in Xieng
Khouang Province. Troops deployed consisted of S.G.U. and Volunteer Battalions from MR II, S.G.U. battalion and Airborne battalions form MR III, S.G.U battalion from MR IV.


-- Thai volunteer troops lost their defensive position at Phouteung in Xiengkouang
Province to the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao. One thousand Thai volunteer troops, killed or taken as prisoners.


-- Thai troops were deployed in Parkse, Southern Part of Laos.

-- General Vang Pao contacted senior Pathet Lao that the Hmong abstain from further fighting if the communists allowed them to control Xiengkhouang Province as a semiautonomous state.
1970 - North Vietnamese attacked Samthong, MRII. (March 7)


-- Savannakhet Special Guerrilla Unit and Battalion Volunteers attacked Muang Palane and MuangPhine. (June)
1970 --Thai troops attacked SiphanDone in Pakse, Military Region IV. (June)
1971 – 20,000 South Vietnamese troops backed by U.S. Air Power entered Laos to cut off the Hochiminh Trail in ‘Operation Lam Son 719’ to disrupt HCM Trail near Tchephone. One Savannakhet regiment from the West joined the operation. 5,000 South Vietnamese KIA, 176 U.S. soldiers and 500 Lao soldiers KIA. More than 100 U.S. helicopters shot down.(Feb)
1972 -- Big fight happened in Xingkhouang to retake PDJ with the reinforcement of 2 Special Guerrilla Unit Regiments from Savannakhet, Military Region III; 1 Special Guerrilla Unit regiment from Pakse, Military Region IV,and 1 Special Guerrilla Unit regiment from Namgnou, MR I. Two Airborne battalions were also deployed along with 2 Volunteer battalion of MR II and 4 Special Guerrilla Unit regiments of Military Region II. Thai volunteer troops were also deployed.


-- 2 North Vietnamese regiments, the 19th and the 39th regiment captured Khongsedone, a city located on route number 9 in Saravanh Province. 2 Special Guerrilla Unit regiments from Savannakhet, Military Region III, were called to retake the city. 750 Savannakhet troops were killed and 1,500 were wounded.
1972 --North Vietnamese Army seized Samthong, Military Region II. (Feb 19)


-- Kengkok a hometown of Deputy Prime Minister Leum Insixiengmay was captured by the North Vietnamese Army .(October 12)

-- Major Khai Kittavong, Special Guerrilla Unit Regimental Commander Number 32 of Military Region III, died during the North Vietnamese attacked near Phouteung Military Region II. 500 of the regiment killed, wounded or taken as prisoners. (October 25-26)
1973 – Vientiane Agreement, a cease fire agreement was signed (February)


-- Pathet Lao Troops, Lao communists, entered Vientiane the Capital of Laos. (December 10)

– Declassified Department of Defense documents reveal that 2.1 million tons of bombs dropped on Laos in seven years (about six times the amount dropped on North Vietnam)

1974 – Third coalition government formed from the Royal Lao Government and the Pathet Lao.

1975 – General Vang Pao, his family and is close military leaders left Laos. (May 15)

--The people of NongBok, Khammouane province revolted against the Royal Lao Government. (June)

– Fighting resumes; some senior officials and soldiers left for Thailand; ‘seminar camps’ established. 46,000 Lao soldiers were sent to seminars, Prisoner of War camp.

– Lao People’s Democratic Republic proclaimed; King Savang Vatthana abdicated; Souphanouvang becomes first president. December 12) Lao troops engaged in the war.


Lao Low Land 150,000 KIA 50,000 WIA? POW 50,000
Hmong 10,000 KIA 5,000 WIA?
Thai troops 20,000 KIA 2,000 WIA?
Vietnamese 20,000 KIA 5,000 WIA?
US ground forces 2,000 KIA 200
US Air Forces in Thailand 40,000 KIA more than 600 MIA or KIA
U.S. Air Forces in Vietnam ?
Air America KIA 100
CIA KIA 100-200


Lao The Rough Guide, Cranmer J. & Martin S. (1999) Rough Guides. London
Interdiction in Southern Laos 1960-1968, Staaveren J.V. (1993) Center for AirForce H.
Washington D.C
Tragic Mountain, Jean Hamilton-Merriton
Rebellion in Laos, Geoffrey c. Gunn
The War in Laos, kenneth Conboy
The CIA’s Secret War in Laos, Kenneth Conboy with James Morrison
Synboles and Traditions, J. Meyniel, in French
Cambodge Laos 1999, Annaliese Wulf, in French
Laos, Grant Evans
A history of Laos, Martin Sturart-Fox
The History of Laos, Sila Viravong, in Lao language
Chao Phetsarath, Sila Viravong, in Lao languageLost Over Laos, Richard Pyle and Horst FAAS
The History of the Lao People’s Army at Plain of Jars (1945-1975) Lao People’Army, in Lao language

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