A few charred ruins in a wilderness of devastation are all that remain of Quang Tri City.
GV Devastation around Quang Tri
LGV & SV Troops move through devastated area (2 shots)
SVs Troops through wreckage of houses (2 shots)
SV Troops in area of North Vietnamese bunkers (3 shots)
SV Soldiers in trench (2 shots)
SV Armoured personnel carrier
SV Carrier PAN TO wounded being carried towards carrier (2 shots)
SV Captured weapons being carried to carrier (3 shots)
SV Soldier brings in captured weapons
CU Soldier trying captured gun
SV Soldier with captured rifles watching dead being brought in
SV Bodies loaded aboard carrier (2 shots)
SV Mortar shells being thrown out of bunker
CU Shells being stacked TILT UP TO mortar
SV Mortar being fired
GV PAN Devastated area.
Initials VS/20.57 TH/PW/BB/1830
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A few charred ruins in a wilderness of devastation are all that remain of Quang Tri City. Yet fighting between the North and South Vietnamese continues to rage.
Latest reports described 2,000 government marines trying to clear areas to the north of the city as a prelude to launching an assault on the communist-held Citadel.
The government operation was a reaction to a heavy North Vietnamese bombardment of their position during previous days. Saigon sources said that they suspected the North Vietnamese were using new heavy artillery for the first time on South Vietnamese sail.
The result of the fighting -- vividly illustrated in this coverage by cameraman Kim So -- has been to reduce the area round Quang Tri to a lunar landscape of utter desolation.
SYNOPSIS: Fighting around Quang Tri City, just below South Vietnam's border with the North, has reduced the outskirts to a wilderness of devastation. Yet the major battle still has to be fought. Reports at the weekend spoke of Saigon Government troops trying to clear an area to the north of the city prior to launching an attack on the communist-held Quang Tri Citadel.
When these scenes were filmed on Thursday, the South Vietnamese troops were just regrouping after taking a heavy pounding from North Vietnamese artillery. Saigon said that the barrage included hundred-pound shells--though to be the heaviest in the North Vietnamese arsenal. They were being fired form heavy calibre howitzers being used on South Vietnamese soil for the first time. There was also intense ground fighting, during which Marines claimed they killed a hundred North Vietnamese. Later, they rounded up captured weapons.
In the same battle, the South Vietnamese say they lost seventeen killed and forty-two wounded. Throughout the course of the earlier bombardment, over eleven-hundred shells and rockets had been fired against South Vietnamese positions.
After the dead had been recovered, the artillery duels started up again. By the weekend, Saigon was claiming that another fifty North Vietnamese had been killed in the battle for the charred remains of Quang Tri City.