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South Vietnamese Forces Have Killed 5,000 Red Guerrillas Since January

Oct. 10, 1962 - Since U.S. military aid started arriving in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam Jan. 1, Government forces are estimated to have killed about 5,000 Communist guerrillas (pictured). The Communists, in turn, have sent in about that number of replacements. The Viet Cong’s ability to rebuild its forces despite increased Government mobility indicates the difficulty of the war ahead. The Viet Cong operates at three levels. The first is what the Americans call “hard helmets” — tough, disciplined, veteran troops, uniformed and deeply indoctrinated. The second group is the district or provincial force, a sort of paramilitary outfit with a hard-helmet cadre that can be called together but does not stay together. Finally, there are village guerrillas, who are strictly local in operation and are the newest recruits. According to American sources, when a hard helmet is killed, his place is taken by a member of the middle force. A village guerrilla is moved up and the Communists then recruit a youth from a peasant hut. Contrary to some reports, the Communists in the Mekong Delta region are recruiting just as effectively as they have in the past. They make their greatest effort among peasant youths and are strikingly effective in areas of great poverty. The Americans note that the Viet Cong has easy access to the peasants and that its propaganda efforts are rarely matched by the Government.


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