A South Vietnamese relief force, making slow progress towards the embattled town of An Loc, engaged North Vietnamese troops in close ground fighting along Highway 13 last Friday (2 June).
A South Vietnamese relief force, making slow progress towards the embattled town of An Loc, engaged North Vietnamese troops in close ground fighting along Highway 13 last Friday (2 June). Further north, U.S. aircraft flew support for government troops in their successful attempt to recapture Kontum airfield.
The action along Highway 13 was fought 5 miles (8 kilometres) north of Chon Thanh. It involved close combat with South Vietnamese Rangers and units of the 21st Division attempting to dislodge North Vietnamese troops defending well-fortified trench, tunnel and bunker positions on both sides of the road.
The fighting was fierce and both sides were close enough to throw hand grenades. Despite heavy air and artillery strikes, the South Vietnamese found the communist troops still able to put up stiff resistance.
On the same day further north, U.S. bombers flew in support of South Vietnamese troops counter-attacking around the defence perimeter of besieged Kontum, the provincial capital in the Central Highlands.
The heavy airstrikes cleared the way for the government's recapture of Kontum airfield which was overrun by the North Vietnamese two weeks ago. The lose of the airfield had forced the defending South Vietnamese to rely on air drops for needed supplies.
SYNOPSIS: In South Vietnam last Friday, there was more bitter fighting on Highway 13 as a South Vietnamese relief column continued its alow progress toward the town of An Loc, surrounded for weeks now by North Vietnamese forces.
The fighting took place five miles north of Chon Thanh. South Vietnamese Rangers and infantrymen battled North Vietnamese troops holding out in heavily fortified trenches, tunnels and bunkers.....
The fighting was fierce with both sides in hand grenade range of each other.....
Despite heavy air and artillery strikes made against them, the North Vietnamese clung to their positions on both sides on the highway. Even under close ground attacks like this they refused to budge.....
The South Vietnamese have been trying to clear this section of the road for the past two weeks. But they've run up against determined communist resistance every yard of the way.
One South Vietnamese soldier inspected a communist-thrown grenade which failed to explode.
Meanwhile further north in the provincial capital of Kontum, South Vietnamese defenders recaptured the city's airfield overrun by the communists two weeks ago. Troops found the airfield littered with the shattered remains of American transport aircraft, knocked out in the original communist assault on Kontum.
The South Vietnamese counter-attack around their defence perimeter was aided by heavy U.S. air strikes which cleared the way for the advance.