South Vietnamese forces are taking measures to counter enemy activity before the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival in the middle of this month when, according to American and Saigon officials, the Communists are expected to launch an offensive.
Aerials showing bomb craters sin Central highlands
LV Helicopters landing at Ben Het
ARVN Rangers board helicopter
LV Ben Het as helicopter takes off
Children and teacher in school
Tank to and past camera
Aerial Ben Het as helicopter takes off
Two aerial shots of Saigon
Shot from boat as helicopter passes
Patrol boat to camera
Gunner on boat
Tracking shot river bank
Troops laying bared-wire trap in marshes
Troops with dogs patrolling thru long grass
Soldiers in paddle boat
Watchtower PAN to boats tied up
Boats and crew checked
Holmsman on gunboat on river
Tracking shot showing other gunboat on river
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Background: South Vietnamese forces are taking measures to counter enemy activity before the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival in the middle of this month when, according to American and Saigon officials, the Communists are expected to launch an offensive.
The main attack ha been tipped for the Central Highlands where bomb craters bear testimony to the heavy bombing raids to stop the North Vietnamese supply build-up and infiltration.
The base camp at Ben Het - in the tri-border area where South Vietnam, Laos and the Khmer Republic meet - is thought a likely target. But the Montagnard tribesmen who made up most of the firebase's population appear to show little concern at the reported Communist build-up only seven miles to the east.
The role of the Ben Het defenders is termed 'surveillance and interdiction' - meaning preventing the Communists infiltrating and pushing through to the larger cities such as Kontum and Pleiku.
Three hundred miles to the south, around Saigon, it is the navy which is doing much of the work to curb Communist activity. Gunboats are patrolling the myriad of waterways which the Vietcong used to bring in supplies for the devastating 1968 Tet offensive.
The area shown on film is south-east of Saigon - the Kien Giang zone. It is within easy rocketing distance of Saigon: eight miles to the Independence Palace and even less to the big oil storage tanks.
As troops carry out sweeps in the marshlands, the navy stop and search boats for contraband and question their crew about Communist movements -- all with the aim of ensuring that Saigon's population enjoy a peaceful Tet.