The new resurgence of fighting in South Vietnam has continued to move closer to the capital, Saigon.
The new resurgence of fighting in South Vietnam has continued to move closer to the capital, Saigon. Yesterday (August 18), Communist and Government force exchanged heavy fire over an area that extended to within 15 miles (25 kms) of the city.
Communist forces have used tanks closer to the capital than ever before. And the shells of PT 76 tanks knocked out during fierce fighting were to be seen along Road 20, north-west of Saigon.
Officers in this sector admit to losing 180 men killed or missing in the fighting, which developed after a Communist attack on a small outpost held by South Vietnamese militia. Government troops moved in to reinforce the outpost and a full scale battle was joined.
Government troops said they knocked out five Communist tanks, and claimed that the operation had relieved pressure on Saigon, at least for the time being. But at the same time yesterday, Government troops were suffering a severe blow with the loss of a further district capital, Minh Long, far to the north-east of Saigon.
SYNOPSIS: South Vietnamese and Communist forces were locked in heavy fighting in several areas of South Vietnam over the weekend. It was at its closest to Saigon here, on Road Twenty, north-west of the capital. At times, the battle approached to within fifteen miles of the city. In this sector, government reinforcements came to the aid of a militia outpost which had come under heavy attack. The government troops backed up their claim of military success with a haul of captured weapons.
They claim they had knocked out five tanks during the fighting -- and this is reportedly the closest that Communist tanks have ever approached to Saigon.
The total number of Communist troops killed was not immediately available. But Government forces admitted to at least a hundred and eighty of their own soldiers killed or missing in this one battle. Here, they said, they had relieved Communist pressure on Saigon -- at least for the time being. But the battle was raging with continuing ferocity in several other areas. And the weekend brought a major reversal for government forces, when they lost another district capital -- Minh Long, three hundred miles to the north-east. Altogether, over five-hundred outbreaks of fighting were reported in South Vietnam during the two-day weekend period.