New York Times information

For date 651210


Primary service involved, US Marine Corps
Quang Tin Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Quang Tin
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Marines in Quang Tin Fight." Saigon, Friday, Dec. 10 (AP) - The United States Marines were thrown into action yesterday to help the South Vietnamese force battling a Vietcong regiment in Quang Tin Province, south of Danang. Helicopters lifted the marines into battle after a Saigon Ranger battalion was virtually demolished Wednesday. Marine sources said the Leathernecks had killed 26 Vietcong, including two women. United States casualties were described officially as light. In the ground war, meanwhile, South Vietnamese Government and Vietcong regiments fought in a confused and furious battle in Quang Tin Province, about halfway between the United States coastal enclaves at Chu Lai and Danang. An American military spokesman said late in the afternoon that the fighting was still intense. The forces engaged have been of more than regimental size on both sides - 2,000 men in a Vietcong regiment - and the South Vietnamese casualties have been heavy. [United States Marines were subsequently thrown into the battle from Danang. The Associated Press reported. Page 14] A correspondent at the scene said that Government infantrymen and Ranger units had run into a wall of fire form Vietcong mortar and machine gun emplacements as they tried to sweep through the enemy positions. One South Vietnamese battalion, sent to reinforce the units that made the initial contact was said to have been so hard hit that it was forced to break up into small guerilla teams and retreat. A group of 20 Government soldiers, accompanied by two American advisers, was apparently cut off. American and South Vietnamese fighter-bombers continued to rake the enemy with bombs, napalm and cannon fire. By late afternoon pilots had flown 115 missions over the area in the heaviest concentration of air power since the Ia Drang River valley campaign last month. The battle of Quang Tin is being waged amid rice paddies and foothills about 355 miles northeast of Saigon. The area is about 20 miles inland from the South China Sea. A South Vietnamese outpost, called Vietan, one of the few islands of Government control left in the area, lies close to the battlefield. The outpost has been under almost constant attack by the Vietcong for two weeks. Five times this year, Government troops have tried to break into the Vietcong stronghold in the Quang Tin foothills, believed to be a base area for two full-time Vietcong regiments. Each time the enemy has driven them back. The latest fighting erupted Wednesday afternoon when a large South Vietnamese force - perhaps as many as 2,500 men - began pushing through the foothills on a search-and-destroy mission. A Ranger unit was the first to be taken under fire; it was struck by automatic-weapon fire about 1 P.M. About 7 P.M., a battalion of 500 government infantrymen ran up against a Vietcong unit in the dark. A second battle developed, and into continued for more than two hours. Just before dawn, the battlefield erupted again in mortar and small-arms fire.

The source for this information was hrvnmoon.avn supplied by Les Hines 02/02/2000


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