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This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. Will usually ship within 2 business days of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. We do ask that you please understand that shipping fees will not be refunded, including return shipping. While we were in Nong Khiaw in northern Laos, we walked a few kilometers out of town, looking for a cave that had once been the central bank of the Communist Pathet Lao, who were fighting the US and their allies in Laos during the Vietnam War. During the War, the US-backed (official) Laotian government ran their northern operations out of the magnificent Royal city of Luang Prabang, while the Communists were buried deep in  this cave complex in the same region, running a central bank and printing money from the bowels of the earth. We set off walking through some magnificent limestone mountain scenery that had seen much bombing during the war.
The mountain hosting the bank cave had been carefully chosen, as it was protected from direct attack by US planes by this mountain right in front of it. We then set off uphill, finally arrived at the bank cave, having had a steep climb along an ill-defined path through the jungle. The first thing I noticed was scorch marks around the cave mouth and inside the cave from direct hits of napalm or other incendiary ordnance from US planes, even with the protection of the mountain. Then we headed into a claustrophobic, hot, narrow passage that led steeply down into the cave.
Travelling further into the mountain, and by squeezing through very tight passageways, we finally arrived at the bank managers cave. I was, as usual, slightly disappointed by the lack of care and management of this historically important cave. No, I dont think they were aware of the scale of the weapons shipments at all, especially early in the war.
Yeah the American PsyOps dropped shitloads of those listening devices that ingeniously resemble shrubs, up and down the trail. There was a lot of great information and sources from this thread that I used in a recent article on this topic which was finally published. Pecahead wrote:There was a lot of great information and sources from this thread that I used in a recent article on this topic which was finally published.
I have a big problem with the CRNP because they are simplistic,lazy racist pricks who appeal to the lowest common denominator.

As research for my backpacker novel, BACK, I recently took a scenic boat trip from Nong Kheaw to Muong Noi, a tiny, road-less village in remote northern Laos, up the Pak Ou river. Many years ago, Muong Noi was a haven for Opium-loving backpackers, who’d hole up there and trip out for a dollar a day, unimpeded by the short arms of Laotian law enforcement. Nowadays, little-visited Muang Noi is so quiet, so tranquil, and incredibly beautiful, surrounded by soaring jungle-clad karst mountains, with the Pak Ou river flowing in front of the hamlet. I’d also come to Muang Noi to visit a cave which had some interesting Secret War artefacts in it, but upon arrival we enjoyed just sitting in a restaurant, listening to the silence and looking out over the lazy river and the majestic mountains reflected in it. Saigon And The Vietnam War: US Infiltration of Snooty French Club Le Cercle Sportif Blocked. Nicknamed ‘Wille Pete” in Vietnam, white phosphorous was mostly used to mark targets, as it created brilliant white smoke that could be seen from a long way off. Gunners would use white phosphorous shells as an artillery marking round to find the correct range on a target, after which the real high explosive shells would be fired.
During the war the US began mixing white phosphorous with napalm to make the napalm burn more fiercely.
An air-to-air right side view of an OV-10 Bronco aircraft firing a white phosphorous smoke rocket to mark a ground target. Many non-combatants, enemy and US troops were badly burned by white phosphorous during the war, and it still claims victims in the jungles of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, in the form of UXO, or unexploded ordnance, which figures in my novel BACK as one of the dangers the modern-day trekkers from NYU encounter in the tri-border jungle, as they head to the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
I couldn’t make out exactly what the ordnance was (pictured above), but the guy showing me was very apprehensive around it, so the UXO teams must have great experience of the instability and danger of this particular item of unexploded weaponry, whatever it is. Imagine my surprise, after I’d finished taking some photos, when the guy showing me accidentally dropped the heavy sandbag right down on top of it. Mystery Photo: Rare colour photo of Enslaved Cambodians working on a construction project under the Khmer Rouge. If you'd like to get the additional items you've selected to qualify for this offer, close this window and add these items to your cart.
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You will be able to change your password and other profile details once you have logged in. The bamboo supports were for sandbags which protected the cave against blast damage from US air strikes. No attempt has been made to preserve the contents, which were lying strewn around in various nooks and crannies. I have never heard of the Sihanouk trail before and I must have read nearly every book about this period.

You see recovered examples in just about every little museum in Vietnam, from the delta to the DMZ. Thanks to all who contributed, some of the posters here are invaluable and why I always come back to this forum. That’s all changed now, but it had resonance for some of the modern-day backpacker drug issues in the plot of BACK. It’s easy to imagine the place back in the day, full of chilled-out travellers tripping on opium, watching the days slip by. Air Force Cessna O-2A Super Skymaster fires a white phosphorus rocket (just to the right of the gunsight’s crosshairs) to mark a target for strike aircraft, Vietnam, 1969. The difference was napalm burned skin, but white phosphorous burned to the bone, and couldn’t be washed off. In the jungle we came across a UXO team who said they’d discovered a “phosphorous bomb” and gingerly lifted a sandbag off a hole where they’d stored it, in order to show me. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
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This was because Cambodia’s ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, had agreed to allow China and North Vietnam to use the port of Sihanoukville for the delivery of military supplies to the NVA base camps in the jungle on the Vietnamese border. We know now that most munitions for the war in the south were imported from China through the port and trucked to Komong Speu for distribution. The majority of pages are undamaged with minimal creasing or tearing, minimal pencil underlining of text, no highlighting of text, no writing in margins. He had also agreed that the NVA could set up and use these jungle bases without interference, to help their war effort in South Vietnam''''These supplies were loaded onto trucks in Sihanoukville and then driven to the eastern jungle and the base camps of the NVA, before onward transmission down the Sihanouk Trail into South Vietnam.There were two particularly dangerous points on the Sihanouk Trail for the US in South Vietnam, places known as the Fishhook and the Parrot’s Beak, in slivers of Cambodian territory thrusting deep into South Vietnam (see map).
They certainly caused so many refugees to flood into the capital and helped destabilise the regime.Khmers are of course ignorant of their country's history and Sihanouk's role in their downfall. From here the NVA poured weapons, soldiers and supplies into South Vietnam to fight the US and the South Vietnamese armies, and then to attack Saigon.The US was unhappy. I despised the vain little man and his double dealing that led to disaster, he was certainly ill equipped for his role in the power politics of the cold war. It was nervous about invading Cambodia as that would herald a serious escalation in the war, but it was becoming apparent that Cambodia, Prince Sihanouk and especially the NVA base camps, rest areas and arms caches along the Sihanouk Trail and the supplies coming through Sihanoukville port needed to be dealt with.They, and other SOG commando teams, were dropped by helicopter inside the Cambodian jungle, far behind enemy lines, and then made their way to the Sihanouk Trail to report back on what they saw.

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