In South Vietnam, the month-long Communist offensive continued on Friday with the capture of another government outpost.
In South Vietnam, the month-long Communist offensive continued on Friday with the capture of another government outpost. One of the centres of the fiercest fighting was around Tay Ninh provincial capital.
Here, the Government lost three outposts during the week in a campaign regarded as a Communist attempt to isolate yet another provincial capital.
The main fighting has been southwest of Tay Ninh. On Friday, and outpost fifteen miles from the town fell after an attack by Communist troops supported by tanks. Only 47 of the 120 militiamen defending the post are reported to have returned to government lines.
Earlier, the main highway from Tay Ninh to Saigon, 60 miles (95 kms) to the south had been cut, and though government forces have since reopened it, travel to the provincial capital is still reported difficult.
SYNOPSIS: The grim, face of South Vietnam, supposedly at peace. Refugees flee from a new centre of fighting that erupted last week around Tay Ninh, sixty miles north-west of Saigon. As these scenes were filmed on Friday, government forces had just lost three outposts guarding the approaches to Tay Ninh, in that appoarted to be a Communist campaign to isolate yet another provincial capital. The refugees fled in an effort to try and find areas of comparative safety.
Earlier in the week, the main highway from Tay Ninh to Saigon had been cut, and though government forces subsequently reopened it, travel was still reported dangerous and difficult. Friday's news was that a militia outpost had fallen to a combined force of communist infantry and tanks. Air support was called in, and the refugees watched helplessly as the fighting engulfed their own village, Suoi Da.
After news that the Communists had moved into Suoi Da, government forces counter-attacked -- and the village burned.
The third of the government outposts to fall earlier in the day had been defended by a hundred-and-twenty militiamen. Only forty-seven of them were reported to have returned to government lines. In the counter-attacks, government heavy artillery and armour was deployed to back up the air strikes.