The Laotian Civil War was a military conflict that pitted the guerrilla forces of the Marxist-oriented Pathet Lao against the armed and security forces of the Kingdom of Laos (French: Royaume du Laos), led by the conservative Royal Lao Government, between 1960 and 1975. Main combatants comprised:
To meet the threat represented by the Pathet Lao insurgency, the Laotian Armed Forces depended on a small French military training mission (French: Mission Militaire Française près du Gouvernment Royale du Laos – MMFI-GRL), headed by a general officer, an exceptional arrangement permitted under the 1955 Geneva Accords, as well as covert assistance from the United States in the form of the Programs Evaluation Office (PEO), established on 15 December 1955, replaced in 1961 by the Military Assistance Advisory Group (Laos), which was later changed in September 1962 into the Requirements Office. Between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. provided Laos with direct military assistance, but not including the cost of equipping and training irregular and paramilitary forces by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In addition to U.S. covert support, the FAR received further military assistance from the United Kingdom, Thailand, Burma, the Philippines, the Republic of China (Taiwan), South Vietnam, Indonesia, and Australia;
An eclectic variety of weapons was used by all sides in the Laotian Civil War. Laotian regular FAR and FAN and irregular SGUs weaponry in the early days of the war was a hodgepodge, with most of their combat units equipped in a haphazard way with an array of French, American, Australian, British, and German weapon systems, mostly of WWII-vintage, either drawn from First Indochina War stocks handed down by the French or secretly provided by the Americans. After 1955 however, the FAR began the process of standardisation on U.S. equipment, with its airborne and infantry units first taking delivery of semi-automatic and automatic small-arms of WWII/Korean War-vintage in late 1959, followed by the delivery between 1963 and 1971 of more modern military equipments, which included aircraft, armored and transport vehicles, and long-range artillery pieces. In 1969 secret deliveries of modern U.S. small-arms arrived in Laos, and were initially only given to the Laotian Royal Guard and airborne units; standardisation in U.S. fully-automatic infantry weapons in the RLA and the irregular SGUs was completed by 1971, replacing much of the older weaponry. Captured infantry weapons of Soviet and Chinese origin were also employed by elite commando or airborne units and the irregular SGUs while on special operations in the enemy-held areas of north-eastern and south-eastern Laos.
During the early phase of the war, the Pathet Lao likewise was largely equipped with WWII-vintage French, Japanese, American, British, German, Chinese, and Czechoslovakian weapons either pilfered from French colonial forces during the First Indochina War, seized from Laotian FAR units or provided by the Vietminh and subsequently by North Vietnam. As the war progressed, these obsolete weapons began to be partially superseded by more modern Eastern Bloc military hardware, including semiautomatic and fully automatic small-arms, artillery pieces, armored and transport vehicles, and aircraft of Soviet, Chinese and Hungarian origin, mostly being channelled via the North Vietnamese. Although the Pathet Lao standardized on Soviet and Chinese weapons and equipment by the early 1970s, its guerrilla forces continued to make use of captured enemy stocks until the end of the war.
Received from the U.S. Government, used by government officials and military officers.