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Viet Cong Battalion Launches Major Ambush

Feb. 6, 1963 - A Viet Cong battalion trapped a Government force in thick mangrove forest in the Ca Mau province today and nearly wiped out a company of regular troops. It was one of the worst ambushes in the last year. Government sources put the losses at a minimum of 34 dead, 27 wounded, and 7 missing. At least 18 rifles and 4 automatic weapons were seized by the Communists (pictured). Meanwhile, a B-26 bomber with two Americans and one Vietnamese aboard crashed and burned in mountains about 20 miles north of Pleiku — the second such bomber crash in a week. Rescue troops were searching tonight for possible survivors. In the ambush, Government troops, moving in three major columns within binocular view of one another, advanced from a rice field toward a tangled mangrove area. Communists hidden in the mangrove trees let them approach and then opened up at close range. Small parties of Communists kept two of the companies pinned down, while a major portion of 300 well-armed Viet Cong guerrillas tore up the third company of Government troops. The attack was quick and brutal, and by the time air cover arrived to aid the Government troops, the Communists had fled. No Communist casualties were left behind.


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