Beleaguered An Loc, the South Vietnamese provincial capital that blocks the North Vietnamese advance on Saigon, was yesterday (Saturday) preparing for a major battle.
Beleaguered An Loc, the South Vietnamese provincial capital that blocks the North Vietnamese advance on Saigon, was yesterday (Saturday) preparing for a major battle. Communist forces had already overrun Loc Ninh, 12 miles (19 kms) away, and had cut Route 13 top Saigon.
Yesterday, the only way into An Loc was by helicopter -- and that's how VISNEWS cameraman Kim So and Russell Spurr got there, to bring back this exclusive film of the strategic town.
At the same time, Government troops launched a major push up Route 13 to reinforce An Loc, which the defenders have been told to hold at all costs. communist ambushes had prevented the reinforcements from reaching An Loc earlier today.
Film of the defenders and the helicopters which link An Loc with the outside world has been satellited from Hong Kong. We apologise for the poor quality of the telerecording.
SYNOPSIS: Fifty miles north of Saigon, a major battle looms at the provincial capital of An Loc. When this exclusive film was shot on Saturday, the town was already cut of by a strong force of North Vietnamese troops backed by tanks. The only way in was by helicopter.
The previous day, the rubber plantation town Loc Ninh less than twenty miles away had been overrun by communist forces. Defenders of An Loc were sure it would be their turn next and prepared for a major battle in an effort to halt the communist advance on Saigon. The Government called on the defenders to hold the town at all costs, and prepared to send in strong reinforcement including units of President Thieu's Palace Cuard.
Meantime, the injured were still being brought in from the Loc Ninh battle the previous day. News for the An Loc defenders, meantime, was grim. An estimated two-thousand North Vietnamese backed by tanks, were reported to have surrounded the town. Sporadic mortar attack started.
American B-Fifty-Two bombers and fighter-bombers pounded the surrounding jungle in an effort to break the communist advance. Helicopter gunships also patrolled the area, shooting up anything that moved. But the South Vietnamese reinforcements pushing north up Route Thirteen towards An Loc were ambushed before the beleaguered town. Twenty-four hours after this film had been satellited to the West, the government columns still hadn't broken through the communist ring surrounding An Loc.