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South Vietnamese Forces Rout Reds at Xom Dinh

Feb. 20, 1963 - South Vietnamese forces, supported by rocket-firing, American-piloted planes, and helicopters, routed a battalion of Communists today and killed at least 50 Viet Cong guerrillas. The battle took place at the hamlet of Xom Dinh, about 140 miles south of Saigon. Vietnamese rangers and infantrymen were reported pursuing the remnants of the Viet Cong force long after nightfall. The Communists had attacked two Government military posts in Chuong Thien province yesterday, killing three militiamen and blowing up three blockhouses. They were sighted by an Army observation plane early today and took refuge in the jungle hamlet, digging foxholes and trenches. American-piloted B-26 bombers and AD-66 fighter planes were called in. They pounded the guerrillas with bombs and rockets while South Vietnamese troops moved up by helicopter and over land. Involved were six heavily armed Marine Iroquois helicopters, 10 U.S. Army H-21 troop-carrying helicopters, four companies of Vietnamese rangers, and a Vietnamese infantry battalion. The huge, banana-shaped H-21 helicopters flew two of the Ranger companies into battle, while the other Ranger units and the infantrymen closed in by land. (Pictured below, U.S. military adviser Lieutenant Joe Clement gives one of the South Vietnamese soldiers he works with a few pointers on how to improve his accuracy with the M-2 carbine).

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