The United States navy has assembled an armada -- codename "Task Force 78" -- to sail to North Vietnam to clear the mines laid during the war.
The United States navy has assembled an armada -- codename "Task Force 78" -- to sail to North Vietnam to clear the mines laid during the war. This official U.S. Defence Department film shows four minesweepers leaving Subic Bay in the Philippines after practice.
Naval experts say the mine-clearing operation will introduce a new era in anti-mine operations. for the first time a major scale, many new techniques will be used. They are mostly airborne methods of clearing mines, including the use of helicopters to tow detonating "baits" across the waters where the mines were laid.
SYNOPSIS: The minesweeper USS force prepares to get under way, as the United States and North Vietnam discuss final details of the operation to clear the mines sown off North Vietnam.
Admiral Brian McCauley watched the preparations. He's the commander of Task Force 78, the armada which has been assembled here in the Philippines to carry out the clearance operation. The number of mines to be cleared has not been disclosed.
The minesweepers are just some of the wide variety of boats in the Task Force. Helicopters will also be used, and naval experts have been talking excitedly of a new era in mine-clearing techniques.
The Task Force will be carrying out the first major operation using recently-developed methods. The mines which the United States dropped into the waters of North Vietnam included various types. There are many ways of detonating them -- they will react to the sound of a ship's propeller, the presence of metal in the water, and some will even explode through the slight pressure of a vessel passing nearby. So clearing the mines will be a difficult and detailed operation.
These minesweepers sailed to North Vietnam ahead o the rest of the armada. Their job is to clear the waters where the simplest types of mine were dropped, to clear anchorages for the following fleet. Then , more sophisticated devices will be used to clear to more complicated mines.