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South Vietnamese Troops Routed in Viet Cong Offensive

Dec. 1, 1963 - A handful of South Vietnamese held an outpost for six hours against an onslaught by a battalion of heavily armed Communist guerrillas early today, but every defender of the outpost was left killed, missing, or wounded. When the fighting was over, there were 42 civil guardsmen slain, 15 wounded, and 3 missing. “It was one of the bloodiest messes I have seen,” said a U.S. advisor returning from the scene of the battle. “But it was a tremendous testimony to the will to fight of those civil guards.” Fifteen persons in the families of the civil guardsmen were also killed. The attack began at midnight and ended at dawn. American observers estimated the guerrillas’ losses at 50. The Viet Cong carry their dead away from battle areas when possible. The post is about 60 miles northwest of Saigon, on the edge of Duong Minh Chau, a major Communist stronghold. The guerrillas shelled the post with 100 to 200 rounds from a mortar and also used a recoilless rifle. The defenders lost 20 weapons. Government forces began a pursuit operation using armored vehicles and aircraft, but there was no report of contact.

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