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Viet Cong Wipe Out Two Strategic Hamlets in Northern Portion of South Vietnam

Nov. 25, 1963 - Communist forces have wiped out two strategic hamlets in the northern portion of South Vietnam in massive attacks, military sources said today. More than 1,000 of the mountain tribesmen who defended the hamlets were reported missing. The setbacks, which came after 48 hours of heavy guerrilla assaults, were the worst the Government has endured since January. Whether the tribesmen were captured, fled into the mountains, or joined the Viet Cong could not be determined from the meager details available in Saigon. Strategic hamlets are fortified villages to which Vietnamese in rural areas have been moved, often against their will. A main aim of this program is to provide a refuge where villagers cannot be persuaded or forced to support the Viet Cong. The Communist attack began Sunday morning against the hamlets of Dak Rode and Polei Kobay. They are near each other in mountains where South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos meet, about 250 miles north of Saigon. In a separate development, U.S. officials announced that the wreckage of an American combat plane missing for 10 months had been found on a mountain 220 miles northeast of Saigon. The body of the pilot was identified as that of First Lieut. Clayton A. Fannin of Tacoma, Wash.

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