The most effective weapon against the North Vietnamese strike forces in the current offensive has so far been air strikes -- most of them American.
The most effective weapon against the North Vietnamese strike forces in the current offensive has so far been air strikes -- most of them American. Bad weather has hampered combat air operations supporting South Vietnamese foreign, but whenever the weather clears at Do Nang airbase, American I phantoms and South Vietnam??? fighter-bombers launch their strikes against North Vietnamese positions south of the demilitarized zone.
On the ground, the battle for Quang Tri province is taking a new form. After days of retreat, the South Vietnamese forces are new trying to hold their positions. More than ten thousand fresh troops have been sent north to strengthen the battered 3rd Division.
The reinforcements have been heading for Dong Ha, a small town about ten miles south of the demilitarized zone. Ten thousand people lived there before the invasion, but Dong Ha is now deserted -- the people have fled south to escape the fighting. Dong Ha is now a military town, and has become the front line in the current offensive.
Communist gunners were only five from Dong Ha over the Easter weekend. They laid down heavy artillery barrages and rocket attacks; taking advantage of the low cloud cover preventing retaliatory air strikes. South Vietnamese engineers blew up the only bridge across the Dong Ha River, preventing the communists from moving armour into the town. If the North Vietnamese try to take Dong Ha, it will have to be on foot.
Both the communists and the Saigon government have made claims of victories in Quang Tri province, but the battle has not yet entered of into a decisive phase.