As giant American B-52 bombers and other aircraft blasted North Vietnam's main port of Haiphong on Sunday, for the first time in nearly four years, the ground war south of the demilitarized zone continued without any let-up.
South Vietnamese ground forces in tranches; South Vietnamese armoured vehicles moving up; South vietnamese armoured troop carriers and tanks firing; injured soldier; dead North Vietnamese; other North Vietnamese surrendering, being searched.
South Vietnamese troops are encountering stiff resistance from well entrenched Communist soldiers south of Dong Ha. Saigon Rangers, matched by armour, are trying to break through North Vietnamese battle-lines, less than two miles from Highway One. At first field commanders though they'd run into a reconnaissance team; they later round that numbering about seven-hundred men. Armoured personnel carries led the initial probes. The North Vietnamese fought stubbornly, but Saigon soldiers steadily gained ground. In some cases they moved too fast: second line troops found bunkers where Communist soldiers were hiding and still able to fight. They bombarded the enemy bunkers line with heavy machine-gun and tank fire. Infantrymen did the same with M-16 rifles and hand-carried machine guns...
The onslaught is calculated to break the Communists without losing troops in heavy ground fighting. Commanders say this tactic has been successful. South Vietnamese casualties have officially been described as light since the fighting started. There's no accurate count, but North Vietnamese ??? believed to be much higher....
These North Vietnamese soldiers surrendered after bombardment by the full complement of allied fire power but only because they'd run out of ammunition. Their compatriots were more typical: they were shot down trying to escape.
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Background: As giant American B-52 bombers and other aircraft blasted North Vietnam's main port of Haiphong on Sunday, for the first time in nearly four years, the ground war south of the demilitarized zone continued without any let-up.
South of Dong Ha -- in the extreme north of South Vietnam - Saigon troops encountered stiff resistance from well entrenched Communist forces.
On Sunday the Communists were being pushed back, but more North Vietnamese were being moved south all the time, and even bloodier battles are expected before the question of who will control South Vietnam's northern provinces is settled.
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