Nam Bak R1c

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Nam Bak is a small quiet administrative centre that you pass through on the way to / from Nong Khiew north-east of Luang Prabang

    Nam Bak admin centre
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    Entering Nam Bak from the Nong Khiew side
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    Its a ratty grubby looking town that you just hurry on through
    the main street
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    the market place
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    the north Pak Mong side of town
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    & a pig of a road in places
    .

    more to come.
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    In the early stages of the war Nam Bak was the scene of a major battle between the communist forces & the Royalists.

    In 1961 Royalist forces moved out of the Nam Bak valley & returned to Luang Prabang.
    The communists moved in & held control of the area for awhile, but in 1966 The Royalist Forces moved to regain control & stop the communists down from Vietnam & attacking Luang Prabang.

    On 18 July 1966, Royal Lao Army troops were helilifted into the Nam Bac area, and found only light resistance.
    The nearly bloodless overrunning of the Nam Bac Valley was hailed as a great victory for the RLA.
    The North Vietnamese response was to truck troops to the end of Route 19 and march them in from there. The invaders infiltrated into the hills surrounding the Nam Bac Valley and began to dig fortifications. The siege of Nam Bak had begun.

    The base was supplied by air & an airstrip was built. The air strip was in the valley surrounded by low hills suitable for artillery, but these were at first protected by Royalist forces & elite Lao paratroops were flown in to provide more man power.
    The Vietnamese built up more troops, skirmishes started, & the royalists called for back up.
    Lined up on the Royalist side were 7,500 soldiers & on the Vietnamese side 4,100.
    The battles continued & in a misunderstanding in communications on the royalist side their own forces were bombed.
    They retreated to the base perimeter.

    On 13 January 1968 the North Vietnamese launched a multi-division attack on the Royal Lao Army at Nam Bak
    Out powered & in disarray the government troops began withdrawing from the valley.
    A third of defenders had retreated, the final assault on the Royalist garrison came out of a heavy mist and hit the Royalist command post.
    Its communications with the defenders was cut; the rout was on.
    Fleeing soldiers were plucked from jungle by helicopter.
    Another defense line was attempted closer to Luang Prabang.
    2,400 RLA prisoners were marched off to the Vietnamese border to build seven prison camps 2 kilometres (Nam Et) from one another.
    Some 600 of these prisoners would switch sides rather than return to RLA combat service, and serve as porters and road builders for the communists.
    By February only 1,400 had survived the rout.

    The defeat shattered the Royal Lao Army's morale; & its annihilation of the Royal Lao Army tipped the balance of power in Laos towards the Vietnamese communists.
    The Royalists never recovered.

    Nam Bak was the scene of a great battle victory in the war.

    Somewhere in Nam Bak there must be a war memorial to that battle.
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