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Viet Cong Stand and Fight at Ap Bac in South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

Jan. 3, 1963 - Communist guerrillas stood their ground and inflicted major damage on a substantially larger force of South Vietnamese regulars yesterday and today in the village of Ap Bac in the Mekong Delta. Then the guerrillas slipped out of the area before reinforced Government troops could encircle them. An estimated 300 Communists withstood awesome air attacks and turned back several charges by the Vietnamese armored personnel carriers. The Viet Cong simply refused to panic and fired with deadly accuracy and consistency. The South Vietnamese regulars, in the eyes of one American observer, lost the initiative from the first moment, never showed much aggressive instinct, and consequently suffered heavier casualties than they might have had they tried an all-out assault of the Viet Cong positions. “The Viet Cong were brave men,” one American officer said. “I think any officer would have been proud to have commanded that unit. My God, we got a fix on one machine gun position and made 15 aerial runs at it. Every time we thought we had him. Every time that gunner came right back up firing.” The U.S. Army identified today three of its men killed yesterday southwest of Saigon. They were Capt. Kenneth N. Good of Hawaii, Sgt. William L. Deal of Mays Landing, N.J., and Specialist 4/c Donald L. Braman of Radcliffe, Ky.

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