July 16, 1961 - South Vietnamese Government troops crushed a Communist guerrilla force today in the bloodiest battle since South Vietnam gained independence from France in 1954. More than 185 guerrillas were killed and many wounded in fierce fighting that followed the surrounding of a 500-man Communist force in marshlands 80 miles west of Saigon. The Government's losses were 12 dead and 64 wounded in a battalion of 700 men. The battalion had lain in ambush for two days. When the guerrilla force arrived, it was pinned down and cut in two with a pincer movement. Part of the Communist force fled north and was almost completely wiped out by army machine gun nests. Another part bolted south to a river area, but only a few men were able to reach waiting boats under heavy fire from Government troops.
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