Flotilla Caught In VC Crossfire

Saigon (UPI)

Viet Cong guerrillas sprang a deadly ambush Saturday on a flotilla of eight U.S. Navy boats ferrying South Vietnamese marines down a river deep in the Mekong Delta, killing three Americans and wounding nine.

One Swift boat exploded in a ball of flames and two others were heavily damaged. Casualties among the government marines on the boats were reported to have been "light."

U.S. spokesmen describing the battle said the flotilla had little chance to escape the crossfire of machine gun, recoilless rifle and rocket grenade fire that poured from the banks of the Duong Keo River, 172 miles southwest of Saigon. One of the 50-foot fiberglass (huh?) boats plowed onto the beach and exploded when flames reached its ammunition locker.

The swifts returned a barrage of .50-caliber machine gun and rifle fire and called in artillery strikes. AC47 "Spooky" gunships also buzzed into the area and attacked the Communists with rapid-fire machine guns.

The Red unit fought back for about an hour with small arms, automatic weapons and rocket grenades. They finally retreated, leaving behind 24 bodies and an assortment of weapons.

 

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This page was last updated on:  December 07, 2008 at 14:37