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 Driving to Trap Vietcong" by Neil Sheehan, Special to the New York Times. The article had the following subheading "U.S. Lands a Third Battalion on Quang Tin Battlefield - Enemy Proving Elusive." Saigon, Dec. 10--The United States Marines landed a third battalion today in a Vietcong stronghold in the Quang Tin foothills. The battalion quickly joined in a drive to encircle the Vietcong guerrillas and drive them from the area. But American military spokesmen said it would be very hard to trap any force in the open rice-paddy country, about 25 miles south of Danang. The new battalion brought to regimental strength - more than 2,000 men - the United States Marine force committed to the Quang Tin battlefield in 24 hours. As the latest troop helicopters landed, the marines clashed briefly with the Vietcong guerrillas. The enemy soon broke off the fight and withdrew. Casualties on both sides were termed light. Five times previously this year, South Vietnamese Government troops have tried to penetrate the Quang Tin foothills, where the Vietcong have been entrenched in an elaborate network of foxholes and bunkers. Each time they have been driven back with heavy losses. Yesterday, after two days of furious fighting between Government and Vietcong regiments, two battalions of United States marines landed south of the main battlefield and drove northward. According to reports received here, the Vietcong then withdrew from their positions and retreated inland to the southwest. Other sketchy reports said that the latest marine arrivals had become involved in a heavy fight almost immediately on landing and that the fighting was continuing this afternoon. But a spokesman here said that so far as he could determine these reports were incorrect. He said late reports spoke of only sporadic contact. All three marine battalions in the Quang Tin area are reported to have come from the Marine base at Chu Lai, to the south on the coast of the South China Sea. One of the first two battalions fought a short but sharp engagement with the guerrillas shortly after its arrival. A military spokesman said 27 Vietcong guerrillas had been killed and one captured along with 40 suspects Marine casualties were called light. United States Air Force and Marine Corps fighter-bombers continue to pound Vietcong mortar and automatic-weapon positions with bombs, napalm and 20-mm. cannon shells. The pilots reported having faced heavy ground fire. More than 200 missions have been flown against the Vietcong since Wednesday when the Quang Tin battle began. In other ground action today, a guerrilla force estimated at two battalions tried to overrun a district headquarters at Duc Pho, near the coast in Quang Ngai Province. Government defenders drove them off. The Government casualties were called light, and Vietcong casualties were unknown.

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


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