Just after dawn on Thursday (June 8), South Vietnamese marines swept into Quang Tri Province--their biggest counter-attack since the province fell to the North Vietnamese early last month.
LVs Bombs explode in distance (2 shots)
MV & SV Marines through swampland, one drinking from helmet (2 shots)
GVs Tanks and infantry advance across sand dunes (7 shots)
MV PAN Carrier past camera with troops and cameraman aboard
TRAVEL SHOT on board tank, U.S. Adviser Maj. Tully aboard (2 shots)
GV Tanks and troops across sand
LV PAN Cobra helicopter past
GVS & MVS Captured weapons and wounded South Vietnamese (4 shots)
LV Bombs burst in distance
MV Soldier assists old lady
GVs & SVs Troops over dunes and dead North Vietnamese (3 shots)
LV Air strikes in distance
GV, SV & AERIAL Vs Helicopter landing, wounded carried aboard, troops signal in mores, helicopter takes off and away (8 shots)
Initials BB/0200 TH/DW/BB/0245
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Background: Just after dawn on Thursday (June 8), South Vietnamese marines swept into Quang Tri Province--their biggest counter-attack since the province fell to the North Vietnamese early last month.
The thrust was preceded and accompanied by large-scale American and South Vietnamese air strikes. For the ground operations, a total of six marine battalions were involved. Four of them advanced on a 12-mile front, the other two mopped up along the border area.
Visnews cameraman Neil Davis accompanied the 6th Battalion, which spearheaded the attack into the area of swamp and sand dunes known as "The Street without Joy."
The marines, with their tanks and armoured carriers, moved at speed to present a difficult target to the North Vietnamese, Contact was immediate, but at first limited to swift skirmishes. The first casualty was another cameraman accompanying the 6th Battalion--Nguyen Thanh Liem of the Vietnam National Television Station. He's to be glimpsed briefly in this film riding on a troop carrier shortly before his death.
On Friday, the second day of the operation, the 6th Battalion soldiers discovered that they had the "hottest" sector of the Quang Tri operation. By the end of the day, they claimed 79 North Vietnamese killed and over 30 weapons captured, including mortars, rocket launchers and light anti-aircraft missiles.
One of the chief purposes of the operation was to gather information about North Vietnamese troop strength in the province. When the battalion withdrew from the area at the weekend, casualties were light--they were evacuated by helicopter in advance.
SYNOPSIS: Preceded by heavy air strikes, flown by American and South Vietnamese aircraft, Government Marines swept back into Quang Tri province on Thursday. It was their biggest counter-attack since the province fell to the North Vietnamese early last month. A total of six marine battalions were involved, four of them advancing on a twelve-mile front while two others mopped up behind. These units of the Sixth Battalion spearheaded the attack into the area of swamp and sand-dunes known as "The Street without Joy". They moved at speed to present a difficult target to the North Vietnamese. But they soon made contact.
A news cameraman, glimpsed briefly on this troop carrier, was the first casualty. He was killed during a brief skirmish. Also with the battalion was U.S. Marine Major Jim Tully serving as adviser during the attack.
There was constant air support as the marines pressed further along "The Street without Joy"--further north towards the demilitarized Zone. On Friday, the second day of the operation, the battalion found it had drawn one of the toughest zones in the operation. But it captured ever thirty assorted North Vietnamese weapons, including mortars, rocket launchers and even some light anti-aircraft missiles. At the same time, the air attacks continued.
An old woman, one of the few refugees who had not fled from the area, was evacuated. As the fighting intensified, the marines claimed a total of seventh-nine North Vietnamese killed by Friday night. Heaviest opposition came in the vicinity of Quang Tri City.
Prime purpose of the operation was a reconnaissance at speed--to get reliable information about the strength of North Vietnamese forces in the province. Before the Sixth Battalion withdrew, the wounded were first evacuated by helicopter. Battalion casualties were light, with only one soldier killed. After the withdrawal, heavy air strikes were called in against suspected new troop concentrations moving into the province.