Road clearing operations are becoming a staple of Vietnam war.But while American and government forces?
Air view of ground near highway
Man looking at ground
Fires on ground
Marine walking next to burning debris
Marine fires into bunker
C.U. Soldiers putting on armoured vests
Soldiers getting into jeep
C.U. Soldier putting clip in gun
Moving shot, soldier in jeep past camera
Moving shot, jeeps alongside road
Jeeps moving down road
Sign: "Welcome 173 Kontum", passes overhead
Personnel carrier moving down road
Planes on airfield
Helicopter on side
Different angle, helicopter on side
Closer view of wreckage
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Background: Road clearing operations are becoming a staple of Vietnam war.But while American and government forces were clearing Highways 14 and 21 of Viet Cong, the guerrillas opened a mortar barrage on the Bien Hoa Airbase damaging a number of aircraft.
In the operation on Highway 21, which runs from Nha Trang, on the coast, to the highlands city of Ban Me Thuet, over a thousand Vietnamese Marines were airfield by helicopter into a Viet Cong controlled area near the highway.Before the troops landed, F-100 jets and Skyraiders pounded the suspected guerilla positions.Then armed helicopters went to work with their machine guns and rockets.Finally, ground forces conducted a bunker-by-bunker search.No Viet Cong were found in the initial phase of the operation, but the government forces were continuing the offensive to open the highway.
At Kontum, in the central highlands, one of America's toughest units was called upon to clear Highway 14.Members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade move out in 50 trucks along the highway, expecting any minute to run into Communist ambushes, mines, barricades or blown-up bridges.
But the trip from pleiku took only two hours and there were no incidents.The first convoy to reach the beleaguered in five weeks was greeted only with banners strung across the highway welcoming them to Kontum.
While these highway-clearing operations were proceeding without opposition, the Viet cong struck in another area.Communist mortars pounded the big American-Vietnamese base at Bien Hoa, 15 miles south of Saigon for 15 minutes.There were some wounded, but no deaths.
The barrage damaged about 20 aircraft, including helicopters, observation planes and Skyraiders.
An attack on the base last November was more successful for the Viet Cong.In that attack 27 B-52 bombers and other aircraft were destroyed or severely damaged.