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This paper studies the lines of communications (the Ho Chi Minh Trail) which went from North to South Vietnam, through Laos, during the Second Indochina War. The purpose of this paper is to study the proposal that the United States, during the Vietnam War, should have used ground forces in Laos to block these routes.
In providing background information, this study examines the nature of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, political and strategic considerations, and US military actions which were applied against the trail network.
Studying the military feasibility of an interdiction effort on the ground, this study finds that the US was physically capable of mounting an operation into Laos to block the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The finding of this study is, however, that such a move would not by itself have provided a winning solution to the war. Additionally, such an attack into Laos would have had serious adverse consequences for that country and US desires for the region.
The conclusion of this study is that in this case (the Second Indochina War) a ground interdiction of enemy LOCs would not have been a productive course of action.