5 US planes dam­aged in Reds’ dar­ing raid

The Asian Age - - News -

Saigon: Dar­ing Viet Cong guer­ril­las stormed Can Tho air­field in the Mekong Delta to­day and de­stroyed at least five US air­craft with Satchel mines, in­formed Amer­i­can mil­i­tary sources re­vealed.

The sources said the guer­ril­las first shelled the air­base, never cen­tre of South Viet­namese and Amer­i­can mil­iary ac­tiv­i­ties in the vast rice pro­duc­ing area, killing eight US ser­vice­men and wound­ing 15.

The pre- dawn at­tack cost the Viet Cong with five dead as they raced away from the airstrip un­der cover of ma­chine gun fire, scat­ter­ing grenades and mines be­hind them as they went.

The sources said that the guer­ril­las poured into the airstrip fol­low­ing the shelling and made straight for a clus­ter of Chi­nook Twin- Ro­tor He­li­copters. They at­tached ex­plo­sive charges as US sol­diers charged across the air­field to dis­perse them.

The airstrip was cov­ered in de­bris and un­ex­ploded grenades after the guer­ril­las with­drew and was not cleared un­til the af­ter­noon.

The sources said, how­ever, that it was op­er­a­tion gain and dam­age to the run­way was neg­li­gi­ble.

Sev­eral other air­craft were slightly dam­aged in the shelling but none badly, the sources said.

They could not give an ex­act fig­ure of the num­ber of planes hit.

Can Tho, sit­u­ated 100 miles South­west of Saigon, is in the same area where nine US sol­diers were killed and 17 wounded when their post was stormed by guer­ril­las yes­ter­day. — Reuters

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