Refugees, affected by some of the Indochina war's most severe fighting, have been streaming south along Highway 13 towards Saigon.
SV Refugees arrive in truck
SV Man pushes motorcycle with trailer and belongings
SV Second man with family on motorcycle
SV S. Vietnamese troops with armoured troop carriers along road
SV Soldiers off carrier (2 shots)
Soldier washing from helmet
Soldiers eating and drinking
Initials BB/1400 JH/AS/BB/1430
This material was satellited from Hong Kong on Monday.
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Background: Refugees, affected by some of the Indochina war's most severe fighting, have been streaming south along Highway 13 towards Saigon. Many came from An Loc, the besieged provincial capital 56 miles (90 Kms) north of Saigon. And on Monday (24 April), the North Vietnamese opened a new front in its offensive in South Vietnam, seizing control of the main Government command post in the Western Highlands and scattering South Vietnamese troops.
Although the South Vietnamese were still holding An Loc on Monday against an estimated 8,000-man communist force, the war has become too much for many of the civilians. Even after they leave the area around the battered provincial capital, they run the constant risk of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacks along Highway 13--the only road south.
Government troops check the refugees as they come south in case they turn out to be disguised Viet Con or North Vietnamese soldiers trying to smuggle arms into Saigon.
Some of the refugees say they've been travelling on Highway 13 for three or four days.
The main task of the South Vietnamese troops on Highway 13 is reportedly to keep the road open for supplies to be moved to their regimental base, 45 miles (72 Kms) from Saigon. Even if there are only small groups of communist forces in the vicinity of Highway 13, they keep large numbers of South Vietnamese troops busy.
An additional problem for government commanders is that many of the soldiers on Highway 13 may reportedly now have to be moved to counter the new communist offensive in the Western Highlands.
SYNOPSIS: Refugees were still moving south towards Saigon along Highway 13 on Monday. They've been coming in large numbers, many from the besieged provincial capital of An Loc, 56 miles north of Saigon. Although Government troops were still holding the town on Monday, the war had become too much for man civilians in the area. So they tried to head for the capital. But the danger's not over when the refugees get to Highway 13. All along the road, there's constant threat of attack by Viet Cong or North Vietnamese forces. And many of the civilians have been killed. Refugees who get through are checked by South Vietnamese troops in case they're communists smuggling arms into Saigon.
But the major task of these South Vietnamese troops is now reportedly to keep Highway 13 open as far as their regimental base, 45 miles from Saigon. The movement of supplies is vital to the government soldiers. But the problems of government commanders were intensified on Monday when the North Vietnamese opened a new front in its offensive in the south. They seized control of the main government command post in the Western Highlands and scattered many of the defending South Vietnamese soldiers. Many of the soldiers trying to keep Highway 13 open may reportedly now have to be moved to counter the new communist attacks. This will make the government commanders' jobs tougher and could leave the refugees open to even more attacks on the road to Saigon.