South Vietnamese soldiers on Monday (28 April) recaptured a bridge leading from Saigon to the Bien Hoa airbase.
SV AND GV Police controlling workers in Saigon going to Bien Hoa (3 shots)
SV Police and soldiers stopping people (2 shots)
SV Refugees going into Saigon
GV People run as Communists fire on them (2 shots)
GV AND SV Injured boy taken away in jeep (2 shots)
SV Ammunition being taken away in trucks
GV Smoke from fighting (3 shots)
GV Army commander arrives at scene by helicopter
GV Helicopter gunship fires rockets (2 shots)
LV Explosion in distance
GV Soldiers Pinned down by communist fire (4 shots)
SV Soldiers fire mortar at Communists (2 shots)
GV Explosion in distance
GV Bridge over river
LV ZOOM IN Explosion
GV Looters at store and soldiers chasing them (5 shots)
Transcript: Brian Barron: "By breakfast time today a large part of Saigon is paralysed. The South Vietnamese army has woken up to find the Communists occupying the main road to Bien Hoa and the coast. Police and military personnel try to prevent people going up the road to their offices and homes. Thousands of Saigon residents work at Bien Hoa -- once one of the largest American bases.
"For this latest batch of refugees the walk from the front line is only a few minutes. For scores of thousands of refugees, Saigon is the last sanctuary.
"Incoming fire -- people run for their lives ... The communist troops are no further than four hundred yards.
"There's a civilian casualty. A small boy has been hit by a bullet.
"With shots whistling around, the South Vietnamese start evacuating their ammunition dump beside the bridge in case it takes a direct hit. The shooting is starting to intensify.
"A helicopter brings a commander of the Saigon garrison who wants to see if the captured positions can be retrieved. With the Government's airforce already busy, helicopter gunships fire rockets to try and dislodge the Communists, some of whom have been using abandoned Government bunkers.
"Encourage by this display of firepower and an apparent advance, we followed the paratroops. Then they're pinned down in a burst of shooting called a firefight. Everyone tries to take cover from snipers' bullets. The South Vietnamese think there are only twenty communist troops holding the other end of the bridge ... but those soldiers know exactly what they're doing.
"It's the old, old story here of the hammer failing to crack the nut. With this battle conducted in full view and earshot of the people of Saigon, they now know that the men from Hanoi are starting to arrive.
"After hours of fighting and all-day effort the bridge is recaptured, and after that this is the result ... wholesale looting. It's the sort of breakdown of law and order that could threaten Saigon itself if there aren't peace negotiations within the next day or two."
Initials CL/0300 CL/0320
EDITORS NOTE: This film includes a commentary by BBC reporter Brian Barron.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: South Vietnamese soldiers on Monday (28 April) recaptured a bridge leading from Saigon to the Bien Hoa airbase.
During the previous night about twenty communist soldiers had captured one end of the bridge and defied all attempts to move them.
South Vietnamese police and solders had to turn back people trying to get to work at the former American base -- one of the largest in the country.
Helicopter gunships were used to help troops move the Communists, who used abandoned Government bunkers for shelter.
Much of the fighting was conducted only a few hundred yards (metres) from where hundreds of civilians were gathered.
At least one civilian was wounded in the fighting.
Soon after the bridge was recaptured, Saigon authorities had another problem to contend with ... looters moved into homes and stores where the fighting had taken place.