The North Vietnamese have disclosed that they are training tank crews for action in the south.
The North Vietnamese have disclosed that they are training tank crews for action in the south. The tanks are T-34 tanks armed with 85 mm cannon. The four-man crews are being recruited as volunteers, and given rigorous day and night training. In their spare time they have to grow some of their own food and also help local peasants living near their training camp.
The North Vietnamese say that in the past the tanks have been used as anti-aircraft weapons. Recently it was reported that American and South Vietnam forces had seen North Vietnamese tanks near the Demilitarized Zone.
SYNOPSIS: At a tank warfare training centre in North Vietnam, new tank crews are being briefed for training exercises to prepare them for action in the south. They are mostly young North Vietnamese peasants who are said to have volunteered for the tank units.
Model tanks are used to illustrate the strategy of tank warfare. But when the crews leave the briefing room they climb into real T-34 tanks, equipped with 85 cannon. The North Vietnamese say that these tanks were formerly used as anti-aircraft weapons. Now, with their new crews, they are preparing for modern tank warfare. Training takes them over rough terrain, through jungle and up mountains in all weathers to prepare both the tanks and the crews for battle in the south. In the past American and South Vietnamese ground forces have reported seeing North Vietnamese tanks near the Demilitarized Zone. But none of the reports were confirmed. Nor is it known how many tanks are being got ready for active service.
In their spare time the tank crews have to grow some of their own food and also help in the fields of local peasants living near the training camp. But they still seem to find time to relax, and especially to sing. In quieter moments letters from home compete with the newspapers. A portrait of the late Ho Chi Minh presides over all the past times in the crews' reaction room.