United States' policy, with regard to troop withdrawals from South Vietnam, has centred on the proposition that South Vietnamese forces would fill the gap left by the Americans.
GV Danang market street (2 shots)
SV Woman with child begging.
SV Refugee with child in street.
GV Helicopter being loaded.
SV U.S. Troops watching.
GV Helicopter away.
GV & SV Combat troops repairing armoured personnel carrier. (4 shots)
GV Phantom jets taxiing and taking off (4 shots)
GV Artillery emplacement
SV & CU South Vietnamese fusing shells.
LV South Vietnamese loading and firing artillery.
GV South Vietnamese vehicles retreating along road (2 shots)
SV South Vietnamese troops along road (2 shots)
SV Troops resting (2 shots)
SV PAN Young platoon commander, speaking over radio.
SUC Phil Brady on camera.
Initials VS/20.53 VS/21.22
Orig on 7591/71
THIS FILM WAS SATELLITED TO NEW YORK FOR SHIPMENT TO LONDON AND SUBSEQUENT SYNDICATION TO VISNEWS SUBSCRIBERS. PHIL BRADY'S SOUND ON FILM COMMENTARY IS COMPLETE WITH THE FILM AND MAY BE USED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: United States' policy, with regard to troop withdrawals from South Vietnam, has centred on the proposition that South Vietnamese forces would fill the gap left by the Americans. In the past year, President Richard Nixon has stepped up the rate of troop withdrawals, and there are indications of further increases to come. In some areas, however, the handover of responsibility to the South Vietnamese government forces is not going as smoothly as anticipated.
This film report comes from National Broadcasting Company reporter, Phil Brady, on assignment in South Vietnam. His description of South Vietnamese attempts to defend the area, near Danang and the demilitarised zone, do not seem to bode well for the United States' policy of "Vietnamising" the war.
SYNOPSIS: Danang lies in the northern part of South Vietnam and it is the country's second largest city, and these days its getting bigger. Recently, thousands of Vietnamese from the countryside have come here. They fled because the American troops, who protected them, have packed up and gone home.
There are eighty-five thousand American soldiers in this part of Vietnam, called Military Region One. By the end of this year, there will be about half that number -- most being support troops.
Those combat troops still here do not do much fighting anymore, Outfits like this cavalry troop, spend most of their time fixing their equipment, before they leave.
American air forces are being cut too. U.S. officers said the South Vietnamese have enough aircraft to fill the gap, but they are not so sure they will. One officer pointed out that American pilots average fifty sorties per day, around the clock. the south Vietnamese cannot match this, because they will not fly after dark -- a time when the enemy moves its supplies and attacks government positions.
These guns at Firebase Carroll are part of the government's first line of defence. This firebase, and others like it, on top of mountains along the demilitarised zone and the Laotian border. But the North Vietnamese have already taken several of these outposts, and their shelling is slowly creeping forwards, and it is taking its toll.
This government artillery battery was not advancing -- it was retreating. It was set up in the open and unprotected, and began shelling enemy positions in the mountains. An hour later, the enemy replied with mortars that the government troops did not know were there. Shocked and punished by the enemy's fire, the South Vietnamese retreated. But war boils down to the men who fight it, and these troops of the First Division are some of the best the South Vietnamese have. They spearheaded the invasion of Laos and fought some of the most savage battles of that company, and they still have not recovered from it. Now pressed to fight again, they are beginning to show the signs of the strain. This company was shelled by the enemy shortly before this film was taken. Their commander was seriously wounded and their executive officer disappeared, leaving young platoon commander in charge.
The fact that the communists are on the offensive so soon after the Laos invasion has everyone worried. Instead of stopping the North Vietnamese for six months, the allies have only delayed them for two. If this is a sign of what the enemy can do, or of what is to come, then the situation here is not good. But unlike before, it is a situation that the South Vietnamese are going to have to handle by themselves. And it is a fight that no one is sure they are going to win. Phil Brady, N.B.C. News, in Military Region One, South Vietnam.