The City's air-raid shelters are being restored and readied for the first time since the regular bombing ended in November, 1968.
Mena and Women preparing new air raid shelters and digging and fumigating old ones. Russian-built tanks. North Vietnamese army on exercises.
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Background: The City's air-raid shelters are being restored and readied for the first time since the regular bombing ended in November, 1968. Although the centre of Hanoi was never attacked, the authorities say they can take no chances with a population which in recent years has doubled to more than a million. Hardly mock heroics. After two years in which the air-raid alarm never sounded here, the sudden fumigating of shelters has a grim immediacy, and must be a depressing sight, for a people who in the worst of the air war had always found that the capital was safe.
The sidewalk potholes, the instant individual shelters which have cement lining and lids, are ready for occupancy.
It is a war far from any end and perhaps the real land war has yet to begin. North Vietnam's stated objective is military sophistication. And to impress this point Hanoi permitted filming of tank units for the first time Soviet 30-ton tanks, their crews trained. It's believed, by Russian advisors. North Vietnam has had these since 1965. But how many it has isn't, of course, revealed. It was claimed that training has been stepped up as a contingency against any further American commando raids.
The officials present at the filming even referred to the possibility of marine landings. The North Vietnamese seem to expect that on both sides only military solution will be tried. Eventually, a central committee member told me, the war "will reach a crescendo and may end with big battles."