Although there is now officially peace in South Vietnam, fighting continues. It is inspired by?
Although there is now officially peace in South Vietnam, fighting continues. It is inspired by the desire of both sides to have a better tally of occupied villages when the impartial peace commission records the situation.
Under the settlement, each side can claim territory it can prove to control -- the "leopard spot" pattern, as the scheme is known. But sometimes one side believes the other has snatched a village since the cease-fire date, and itself breaks the cease-fire to regain the territory.
Around Phong Am, where part of this film was shot, several hamlets have changed hands since the cease-fire, and ten civilians have been killed, with at least a dozen wounded. Now four thousand people have left, and a South Vietnamese government flag flies over on empty village. There is no community left, but on the day of reckoning, this will count as a "government" village.
SYNOPSIS: Vietnam is officially at peace. But the fighting still goes on. South Vietnamese Government aircraft are seen here bombing Hoa Hung, days after the cease-fire.
The Government forces say that the Viet Cong have captured some territory since the cease-fire, so they've got to get it back. It's tactics like these that have replaced the heavy war in Vietnam. Possession is everything in the "leopard spot" peace plan. Whoever holds an area can claim it, so neither side will let the other move an inch unchallenged.
At Phong Am village, four thousand refugees are on the move to safer areas. They are people who were moved from their villages earlier in the war, and recently sent back again. But the promised support from Government forces wasn't enough to keep the Viet Cong at bay, and the villagers have to move again. Phong Am village will be empty -- but the Government side is happy. The last flag to fly over it is their's, so they've won it under the rules.