Fighting continued in the ancient South Vietnamese city of Quang Tri over the weekend, following the recapture of its central citadel by South Vietnamese forces on Friday (September 16) -- just four days before President Thieu's deadline.
Fighting continued in the ancient South Vietnamese city of Quang Tri over the weekend, following the recapture of its central citadel by South Vietnamese forces on Friday (September 16) -- just four days before President Thieu's deadline. North Vietnamese troops had held the city since May 1.
Casualty figures issued by South Vietnamese military spokesmen said nearly eight hundred North Vietnamese troops had been killed since Friday. Four hundred died in Friday's fighting, and the rest were killed in mopping up operations over the weekend. The same casualty lists said 25 South Vietnamese soldiers were killed during the same period.
The recapture of Quang Tri citadel, symbolic fortress of the only provincial capital taken by the North Vietnamese, followed an arduous 86-day drive on several fronts. South Vietnamese troops penetrated the outer edges of the city several weeks ago, but communist troops fought them street by street until the final battle on Friday -- when they withdrew northwards.
President Thieu, in an effort to speed up the operation, had given his troops a deadline for the total recapture of Quang Tri and other captured territory. The deadline ends tomorrow (Wednesday).
SYNOPSIS: The recapture on Friday of Quang Tri citadel -- the provincial capital's symbolic fortress -- cost over four hundred lives that day alone. As South Vietnam troops marched victorious into the desolate rubble, all that was left of it after an eighty-six day drive against the city, South Vietnamese military spokesmen issued the casualty lists. Four hundred and ten North Vietnamese troops died, they said, against the loss of seven government troops killed.
Mopping-up operations, to clear away pockets of communist troops hiding in the rubble, killed another three hundred North Vietnamese the next day. According to South Vietnamese casualty lists, sixteen more government troops died. The main body of the North Vietnamese, meanwhile, retreated north -- leaving the ruined citadel, and its desolated city, in the hands of South Vietnamese soldiers, just four days BEFORE a recapture deadline issued by President Thieu.
Quang Tri was the only provincial capital to fall when North Vietnamese troops, preceded by heavy artillery fire, swept down through the demilitarised zone in May and pushed out the south Vietnamese in disarray. But the battle for the city, according to reports, may not yet be over -- military experts believe a newly-arrived North Vietnamese division could try and lay siege to it again.