PAVN & PLAF
YOK NAM LOA MASSIF AREA
A REPORT COMPLIED BY MACV/SOG OF DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO NORTH VIENAM POLITBURO DIRECTIVE 1136/12B CAPTURED BY 4TH INFANTRY DIVISON AT CHO THAY THAN, CHOLON DISTRICT IV CORP 25TH MAY 1968
MACV-SOG INTEL REPORT
Fwd II Corps Intel,
Fwd (S2) Intelligence, 101st Division Airborne
Fwd (S2) Intelligence, 2nd Brigade Intel/Ops
INTEL PAVN & PLAF YOK NAM LOA MASSIF AREA
A REPORT COMPILED BY MACV / SOG OF DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO NORTH VIET NAM
POLITBURO DIRECTIVE 1136/12B CAPTURED BY THE 4th INFANTRY DIVISION AT CHO
THAY THAN, CHOLON DISTRICT, IV CORP, ON THE 25th MAY 1968.
Yok nam Loa Massif is situated in the Dac Lac Province, II Corp. The AO is approximately 100 miles due West of Nha Trang and 15 miles due East of the Cambodian border on Route 28 running East-South-East from Sen Mo No Rom., Mon Dun Ki Ri Province, East Cambodia.
The AO covers approximately 150-square miles. Situated north of the 13th parallel, it is low highland covered in most part by thick vegetation. On average it is 500' ASL and has an indigenous population of between 12 and 15,000. The largest group being the ede who grow rice in the well-watered valleys as well as rubber in the red basaltic soil. It is not unknown for leopards to be seen also.
The average rainfall is 2000mm, 97% of which falls between May and November, the majority in June, July and August (687mm per month). As this report will show, the area is an ideal staging point for a strike North, toward ban Me Thuot (60 miles), or East-South-East, to Da Lat (45 miles). Both these locations have been considered for a long time as 'Jugular Veins' and a strategic necessity for the NVA to capture before an assault toward the South Vietnam seaboard which would effectively cut-off Saigon and IV Corp from the rest of South Vietnam.
The area is known to the PAVN and PLAF as K14.
SOME INFORMATION TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE CONSIDERING THE IMPLICATIONS OF
DIRECTIVE 1136/12B FOR THE ALLIED FORCES SERVING IN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH
The monsoon season for the Southern Highlands is due to begin June.
The 'Tet Offensive' was NOT a military success for the North Vietnamese Army or their VC guerrilla force. None of the strategic locations have stayed in their hands and they are known to have suffered huge losses both in their front line troops and covert forces. The so-called 'Khoi Nghai' or General Uprising, did not take place as they themselves must have thought it might.
That having been said, it would seem that they are fully aware of the World Press reaction to the offensive earlier this year and of the unprecedented attention of Khe Sanh, only liberated 6th April last.
The press ban covering Tet is to be lifted by the Information Minister, Ton That Thien, on Monday 30th May.
General Westmoreland is to hand over operational command of US Forces to General Creighton Abrams on Thursday 10th June. President L B Johnson is not to stand for re-election.
Hanoi has also appeared to read a lot into Defence Secretary Cliffords speech of 22nd April, declaring that the ARVN 'Are going to take over more and more of the fighting'.
These points, together with the major NVA / VC ground attack of the Saigon and Cholon areas in early May (where directive 1136/12B came to light) are, we might assume, an indication that the regime in Hanoi intend a wide pattern of disruption and spectacular show piece attacks not only to hide their losses of the start of the year, but also to influence the Paris Peace Talks.
The information we have received from LRRP Teams and two subsequent operations by the 1st and 2nd Bn, 501st Inf (Abn), 101st Airborne Division, and the 1st Bn, 502nd Inf (Abn), 101st Airborne Division, would lead us to believe the Yok Nam Loa AO is a staging area for NVA units leaving South Vietnam to resupply and recuperate in sanctuaries in Cambodia as well as a congregation point for battalion size forces moving in from the border.
Information gleaned from the Chieu Hoi programme would indicate that an NVA battalion strength to be around the 400 men but without a logistical tail the vast majority are 'active' troops.
On the above premise it may be assumed that the following troops and equipment are in the area on any given day:
One under strength Battalion of 150 tried and tested troops moving East toward the area with perhaps 25 wounded with them. Armed with AK47s, 6 RPK machine guns (7.62mm 900yd range), 4 RPGs (85mm 500yds), 2 SVD snipers rifles (7.62mm 1 mile) and 3 Mortars (1-1500yds). They would be fairly light on ammo but would be sufficient in rice until they reached the staging camp. This battalion would be met by VC guides and lead to the rest area. Although there may be upward of 100 local VC most would be either guides, cooks, medics and labourers. Armed with rifles but not dangerous.
However, along with this group would be 20, 3 man teams of trail watchers consisting of a sniper and two 'runners' for communications.
Operating in the same province could be 3, 5 man Cadre teams made up of one Political Educator and 4 security armed with AKs and a good deal of persuasion. These would operate at night.
Coming into the area perhaps every other day is a full strength Battalion (400) of fairly green troops but lead by vets. All would have AKs, 12 RPKs, 12 RPGs, 8 Mortars plus 2 DShK M1938 heavy machine guns (12.7mm AA. 3,000ft ). These troops would also have enough rice until base was reached.
The area would contain four large rice stores (of 4,000-lbs each), four light ammo stores, three heavy ammo stores, one hospital and two kitchens.
Permanently attached to the area are the resident battalion (400 strong). Made up of four companies (each with 4 RPKs, 4 RPGs, 4 Mortars and 2 DShKs plus a small command group) and an Artillery Company attached to them for anti-aircraft duties armed with 3 SU-23-2s (twin 23mm, 1,000-rounds per minute, crew of four, range 10,00Oft) plus 4 DShKs (crew of two). This last Battalion would be in well constructed positions, communication would be by land line or by runners and a series of anti-personnel devices will pervade the area.