Foe Repulsed in Cambodia, Saigon Says
SAIGON, South Vietnam, Friday, May 28 (AP) - In a surge of heavy fighting
reported yesterday in eastern Cambodia, North Vietnamese troops stormed into the
town of Snoul but were repelled by South Vietnamese forces with the aid of
American airpower. The South Vietnamese reported that they had also beaten back
four attacks on Snoul's environs.
Snoul, a rubber-plantation town, is on Route 7, one of the main arteries
leading from Cambodia to Saigon and the southern part of South Vietnam. The town
was captured by a United States tank force a little more than a year ago during
the big allied drive into eastern Cambodia, and its defense was taken over by
South Vietnamese troops at the end of last June.
56 of Foe Reported Killed
Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Minh, commander of South Vietnam's forces in Cambodia,
said his troops were seeking to hold the key eastern highways there to block
North Vietnamese infiltration into Saigon and 11 surrounding provinces. Saigon
headquarters said 56 enemy soldiers were killed in the latest fighting over
Snoul, which began soon after day-break Wednesday and continued into yesterday
morning. The assault on the town reportedly was made by a North Vietnamese
battalion of up to 500 men, some elements of which reached the town's
Initial reports, probably incomplete, listed 4 South Vietnamese soldiers
killed and 12 wounded in two ground attacks near Snoul. "It is possible that
there are still some small groups of enemy in Snoul," a Saigon military
spokesman said, "but the fighting is now over."
In all, eight South Vietnamese task forces totaling 18,000 to 20,000 men are
reported deployed along Route 7 and two other major routes in eastern Cambodia,
1 and 15.
Foe Said To Fail Again at Snoul
Saigon Reports Stopping Attack for 2d Day
SAIGON, South Vietnam, Saturday, May 29 (AP) - A new battle for the eastern
Cambodian town of Snoul was fought yesterday and allied forces said they had won
it. Driven out of Snoul on Thursday, North Vietnamese troops attacked again
yesterday morning, precipitating a three-hour battle with South Vietnamese
soldiers about a quarter of a mile west of the town. Saigon headquarters said
the bodies of 99 enemy soldiers had been counted afterward, and aerial observers
estimated that 120 soldiers also had been killed by United States and South
Vietnamese air strikes about a mile northeast of Snoul.
The North Vietnamese have been attacking in the area since Wednesday. Snoul,
10 miles from the South Vietnamese frontier and 90 miles north of Saigon, is in
the area that allied forces swept in their thrust into Cambodia more than a year
Saigon Reports 8 Killed
South Vietnamese losses in yesterday's fighting were officially put at 8
killed and 18 wounded, but reports from the scene said the toll was much higher.
Enemy Reported To Capture Snoul
Saigon's Task Force, Badly Battered, Said to Flee With Many
SAIGON, South Vietnam, May 31 (AP) - North Vietnamese troops reportedly drove
a South Vietnamese task force today from the Cambodian town of Snoul, which
United States troops captured more than a year ago. The South Vietnamese
apparently were badly battered. Reports from the field said that the Saigon task
force of up to 2,000 men fled Snoul with scores of wounded. As they fought their
way across Route 13 toward the South Vietnamese border 10 miles to the south,
they were reported to be disabling artillery guns and destroying some of their
trucks and armored personnel carriers.
Field reports said that the task force had not been resupplied because roads
had been washed out by monsoon rains. Many of the vehicles were said to have run
out of fuel. There was no firm count on casualties, but it was reported that
more than 100 South Vietnamese wounded, some awaiting evacuation several days,
had been lifted out of rear areas by both South Vietnamese and United States
The retreat from Snoul opens up a supply route for the North Vietnamese,
giving them control of portions of Routes 7 and 13 that lead into the northern
provinces of South Vietnam's Military Region III. This region includes Saigon
and 11 surrounding provinces and shares 231 miles of border with Cambodia. Snoul
is 90 miles north of Saigon.
Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Minh, commander of Military Region III, said a week
ago that his forces were effectively blocking the infiltration of North
Vietnamese troops and supplies into the region. General Minh also said that he
planned to keep his task forces operating along Route 7 even during the current
rainy season. Several other task forces still remain along portions of Route 7
to the west of Snoul and along Route 15, the Saigon-Pnompenh artery.
Two North Vietnamese regiments from the Fifth Division, with up to 4,000
troops, are massed in the Snoul area, according to latest intelligence reports.
Two battalions of North Vietnamese troops, as many as 1,000 men, were reported
to have attacked Snoul last Wednesday in the heaviest assaults in three months
against the South Vietnamese defenders. There has been heavy fighting since
Enemy Casualties Reported
Field reports said that the remnants of the South Vietnamese armored column
retreating toward the border had been attacked by North Vietnamese troops seven
miles southeast of Snoul. There were no casualty reports available from the
field, but a bulletin from headquarters in Saigon said that 54 North Vietnamese
troops had been killed and 15 weapons had been captured. The bulletin said that
16 South Vietnamese soldiers had been wounded.
Saigon Denies Rout by Enemy at Snoul
By IVER PETERSON, Special to The New York Times
SAIGON, South Vietnam, Wednesday, June 2 - The South Vietnamese task force
that withdrew from the eastern Cambodian town of Snoul on Monday is still inside
Cambodia, a Saigon spokesman said yesterday. The spokesman, Lieut. Col. Le Trung
Hien, denied reports that the Government troops had been driven under heavy
attack from the rubber-plantation town, which is 10 miles from the South
Vietnamese border and 90 miles north of Saigon. He described the pullout as a
"realignment" caused by the coming rainy season and not enemy pressure. He
estimated that during the withdrawal more than 700 North Vietnamese troops had
been killed by American and South Vietnamese planes and helicopter gunships and
by South Vietnamese tanks. The enemy, he said, was attacked along Routes 7 and
13, which were also the lines of the South Vietnamese withdrawal.
Losses Put at 6
Colonel Hien put the South Vietnamese losses during the pullback at six men
wounded. [Reports from the field, The Associated Press said, quoted South
Vietnamese troops as saying that about 200 of their men had been killed or
wounded Monday as they fought the North Vietnamese Fifth Division while
retreating from Snoul.]
"The withdrawal was part of the whole plan of operation in Cambodia during
the rainy season," Colonel Hien said through an interpreter. He later said that
the withdrawal had been "preplanned," adding that Government troops had
similarly been pulled back from Snoul at this time last year as the summer
monsoon season got under way. The South Vietnamese Army's principal interest in
the area surrounding Snoul lies in preventing the enemy from infiltrating into
old bases areas just across the border in South Vietnam.
Colonel Hien said that there would be further realignments of the South
Vietnamese Army positions in Cambodia in preparation for the rainy season.
[While he stressed that the Government troops who had left Snoul were still in
Cambodia, The Associated Press said that, according to reports from the field,
they had pulled back across the border to Locninh.]
Colonel Hien said it was possible that some battle-damaged South Vietnamese
armored personnel carriers, tanks and trucks had been destroyed by Government
troops in Snoul as the pullout began rather than let them fall into enemy hands.
[Reports from the field, quoted by The Associated Press, said 80 tanks, armored
personnel carriers, jeeps and trucks had been left behind by the South
Vietnamese, who also reportedly destroyed 12 artillery pieces.]
U.S. Comments on Pullout
WASHINGTON, June 1 (AP) - Jerry W. Fredham, the Pentagon spokesman, said
today that the South Vietnamese had intended to withdraw some main combat units
from Cambodia with the onset of the rainy season. The withdrawal, he said, "appears from here
to be orderly and according to their plan."
Heavy U.S. Raids Reported Near Snoul
SAIGON, South Vietnam, Thursday, June 3 (AP) - Responding to a South
Vietnamese request, hundreds of United States bombers and helicopter gunships
struck at what were reported to be troops of three enemy divisions in eastern
Cambodia yesterday. The heaviest attacks, informed sources said, were aimed at
the North Vietnamese Vietcong Fifth Division, which captured Snoul, a rubber
plantation town 90 miles north of Saigon, from South Vietnamese troops on
Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Minh, commanding the South Vietnamese forces in
Cambodia, called for all available United States air support to help keep the
enemy division from pushing into South Vietnam. Snoul is only 10 miles from the
border. A force identified as the enemy's Seventh Division, west of Snoul, was
also attacked. In addition, B-52's reportedly bombed what was believed to be the
headquarters of the enemy's Ninth Division on the Chup rubber plantation, 110
miles northwest of Saigon, and 55 miles northeast of Pnompenh, the Cambodian
capital. It was from the Chup plantation that enemy troops moved southward and
attacked Cambodian soldiers on the eastern approaches of Pnompenh on Tuesday.
Delayed, reports indicated that the South Vietnamese, in withdrawing from
Snoul on Monday, suffered severe casualties. The South Vietnamese command said
here in Saigon that 74 members of the Government task force that had held Snoul
were missing in action.