During a week in which the South Vietnamese have been evacuating several battered fire bases within Laos, they have fought tenaciously to hold on to one particular stronghold.
During a week in which the South Vietnamese have been evacuating several battered fire bases within Laos, they have fought tenaciously to hold on to one particular stronghold. Fire Base "Bravo", only 10 kilometres (6 miles) inside the Laotian border and providing cover for the strategic Khe Sanh base. Reports today (Saturday) indicate that "Bravo" may have had to be abandoned in spite of last-ditch attempt to held-out.
VISNEWS Cameraman Tran Huu Trong, a South Vietnamese from Saigon, has been living with the troops on camp "Bravo" for the last week, and was able to film these scenes at the height of the battle for the defence of the important base.
SYNOPSIS: South Vietnamese heavy artillery firing towards enemy positions in the jungle surrounding Five Base "Brave" in Loos.
Overhead, United States Cebre helicopters provide support to the ground forces by bombing the Viet Cong. Although South Vietnam has been evacuating several battered bases in Laos during the last week, they are fighting tenaciously to hold this important stronghold only ten kilometres inside the Laotian border - because it provides cover for Khe Sanb, the strategic supply base just across the line in South Vietnam.
Bravo had been hit for several days by strong Viet Cong attacks with mortar and fifty-seven millimetres recoilless rifles. Casualties to men and equipment have been high, but no figures are yet available, as survivors reposition to best hold-out.
All around the base are signs of the fierce attacks - upturned armoured vehicles show the violence of some of the explosions. Near the perimeter of the base, tanks and soldiers wait for orders.
Jets from the United States seventh Air Force, keep strafing and bombing the surrounding jungle in an effort to clear out the Viet Cong gun emplacements.
In spite of the massive defences - and what appears to be the burning of many enemy positions in the distance, reports on Saturday, the day following this film, indicate the Brave had to be abandoned in spite of the last-ditch fight to save it. Theses soldiers were among early evacuees who lined the road waiting for the heavy transport helicopters to fly them back to the Sanh along with the wounded.
On this day, some one thousand men of the ARVN first division were prepared for the return to South Vietnam, along with the wounded and the dead.