South Vietnamese forces have halted their headlong flight to the South which began with the pull-back from the Central Highlands more than two weeks ago.
GV PAN Soldiers sorting through arms
GV Lorries and APCs along road (2 shots)
GV Soldiers walking through wooded area
Soldier helping old lady along road
GV Tanks along
GV South Vietnamese jets overhead
LV Smoke from bomb on horizon
Initials CL/2302 CL/2326
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Background: South Vietnamese forces have halted their headlong flight to the South which began with the pull-back from the Central Highlands more than two weeks ago.
The important bastion of Xuan Loc, to the northeast of Saigon, has been pounded by up to a thousand artillery rounds a day. ARVN troops have succeeded in holding--and in some places extending--the perimeter...but the pressure on them is again increasing.
With communist gunners commanding the vital Highway. One about ten kilometres (six miles) from the town, the situation for the units still there looks grim.
South-west of Saigon, the communist forces kept up their pressure. Their aim appears to be to cut supply lines rather than attack major towns.
Refugees continue to flee the fighting. Many have made their way from the far North of the country. They thought they had reached safety many times, but the Communists have followed them closely, and they have been forced to move on again.
Some were not allowed to continue their flight. The people of Trang-Bom, about 70 kilometres (44 miles) from Saigon, were stopped on the road south by troops who put barbed wire barricades across the road and--at one stage--fired in the air to disperse the refugees.
In Saigon, tensions have increased as the communist forces fight their way closer. President Thieu has unveiled a new Cabinet as a move to rally the people and boost morale.
He has claimed it contains members of his opposition, but this seems untrue as leaders of radical and moderate groups refused to join it. An anti-government Buddhist who joined an advisory committee found that his Pagoda was talking about excommunicating him.