About three thousand refugees and villagers have been leaving the South Vietnamese village of Ha Lam, under attack from North Vietnamese heavy artillery.
MV Refugees by road outside village (2 shots)
SCU Soldier looks at wife as she weeps (2 shots)
SCU Couple helped by by-standers
SV Refugees with belongings (2 shots)
CU & SV Villagers prepare to leave (4 shots)
SV Militiamen leave town in bus (2 shots)
MV Soldiers (2 shots)
MV Military truck along road
SV PAN Villagers leaving (3 shots)
"Ha Lam had been filled with refugees from the Que Son valley. These people had fled in the face of a division-size North Vietnamese assault into the valley. This soldier and his young wife had just learned from local authorities that both their families had ben wiped out when the North Vietnamese attacked Que Son district town. they had escaped, but both their parents, grandparents, all their brothers and sisters had not. The government had assured them that they would be safe here, but then the North Vietnamese began shelling Ha Lam with 130 millimetre artillery. Since heavy artillery fire usually is the prelude to a ground attack it created a mild panic. Most of the villagers and the refugees decided to leave. One reason why they no longer felt safe was because some of the local militiamen were seen leaving town, taking their belongings with them. These men were supposed to defend the town - not leave. Some soldiers did stay behind especially if the price is right. The driver of this army truck was bribed by a local merchant to let him use the truck to haul his goods away. By day's end just about everybody who was in Ha Lam had left - more than three thousand people. Since the North Vietnamese offensive began four and a half months ago, this has become a very familiar scene.
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Background: About three thousand refugees and villagers have been leaving the South Vietnamese village of Ha Lam, under attack from North Vietnamese heavy artillery. The bombardment - in which 130 millimetre guns were used by the communists - was seen by South Vietnamese military experts as a prelude to a major infantry attack.
The Government had told the refugees - many of whom had fled to the village from Que Son valley - that they would be safe in Ha Lam, but a mood of near - panic was brought about when militiamen detailed to defend the village were seen leaving. The communist attack brought the usual personal tragedies: one Vietnamese soldier and his wife learnt that all their relatives - parents, brothers and sisters on both sides - had died in the bombardment.
Some Soldiers did stay on - provided the price was right - and one local merchant bribed the driver of an army truck to take his goods away for him.