Snoul Battle As Reported By The New York Times

Foe Repulsed in Cambodia, Saigon Says

SAIGON, South Vietnam, Friday, May 28 (AP) - In a surge of heavy fighting reported yesterday in eastern Cambodia, North Vietnamese troops stormed into the town of Snoul but were repelled by South Vietnamese forces with the aid of American airpower. The South Vietnamese reported that they had also beaten back four attacks on Snoul's environs.

Snoul, a rubber-plantation town, is on Route 7, one of the main arteries leading from Cambodia to Saigon and the southern part of South Vietnam. The town was captured by a United States tank force a little more than a year ago during the big allied drive into eastern Cambodia, and its defense was taken over by South Vietnamese troops at the end of last June.

56 of Foe Reported Killed

Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Minh, commander of South Vietnam's forces in Cambodia, said his troops were seeking to hold the key eastern highways there to block North Vietnamese infiltration into Saigon and 11 surrounding provinces. Saigon headquarters said 56 enemy soldiers were killed in the latest fighting over Snoul, which began soon after day-break Wednesday and continued into yesterday morning. The assault on the town reportedly was made by a North Vietnamese battalion of up to 500 men, some elements of which reached the town's marketplace.

Initial reports, probably incomplete, listed 4 South Vietnamese soldiers killed and 12 wounded in two ground attacks near Snoul. "It is possible that there are still some small groups of enemy in Snoul," a Saigon military spokesman said, "but the fighting is now over."

In all, eight South Vietnamese task forces totaling 18,000 to 20,000 men are reported deployed along Route 7 and two other major routes in eastern Cambodia, 1 and 15.

Foe Said To Fail Again at Snoul

Saigon Reports Stopping Attack for 2d Day

SAIGON, South Vietnam, Saturday, May 29 (AP) - A new battle for the eastern Cambodian town of Snoul was fought yesterday and allied forces said they had won it. Driven out of Snoul on Thursday, North Vietnamese troops attacked again yesterday morning, precipitating a three-hour battle with South Vietnamese soldiers about a quarter of a mile west of the town. Saigon headquarters said the bodies of 99 enemy soldiers had been counted afterward, and aerial observers estimated that 120 soldiers also had been killed by United States and South Vietnamese air strikes about a mile northeast of Snoul.

The North Vietnamese have been attacking in the area since Wednesday. Snoul, 10 miles from the South Vietnamese frontier and 90 miles north of Saigon, is in the area that allied forces swept in their thrust into Cambodia more than a year ago.

Saigon Reports 8 Killed

South Vietnamese losses in yesterday's fighting were officially put at 8 killed and 18 wounded, but reports from the scene said the toll was much higher.

Enemy Reported To Capture Snoul

Saigon's Task Force, Badly Battered, Said to Flee With Many Wounded

SAIGON, South Vietnam, May 31 (AP) - North Vietnamese troops reportedly drove a South Vietnamese task force today from the Cambodian town of Snoul, which United States troops captured more than a year ago. The South Vietnamese apparently were badly battered. Reports from the field said that the Saigon task force of up to 2,000 men fled Snoul with scores of wounded. As they fought their way across Route 13 toward the South Vietnamese border 10 miles to the south, they were reported to be disabling artillery guns and destroying some of their trucks and armored personnel carriers.

Field reports said that the task force had not been resupplied because roads had been washed out by monsoon rains. Many of the vehicles were said to have run out of fuel. There was no firm count on casualties, but it was reported that more than 100 South Vietnamese wounded, some awaiting evacuation several days, had been lifted out of rear areas by both South Vietnamese and United States helicopters.

The retreat from Snoul opens up a supply route for the North Vietnamese, giving them control of portions of Routes 7 and 13 that lead into the northern provinces of South Vietnam's Military Region III. This region includes Saigon and 11 surrounding provinces and shares 231 miles of border with Cambodia. Snoul is 90 miles north of Saigon.

Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Minh, commander of Military Region III, said a week ago that his forces were effectively blocking the infiltration of North Vietnamese troops and supplies into the region. General Minh also said that he planned to keep his task forces operating along Route 7 even during the current rainy season. Several other task forces still remain along portions of Route 7 to the west of Snoul and along Route 15, the Saigon-Pnompenh artery.

Two North Vietnamese regiments from the Fifth Division, with up to 4,000 troops, are massed in the Snoul area, according to latest intelligence reports. Two battalions of North Vietnamese troops, as many as 1,000 men, were reported to have attacked Snoul last Wednesday in the heaviest assaults in three months against the South Vietnamese defenders. There has been heavy fighting since then.

Enemy Casualties Reported

Field reports said that the remnants of the South Vietnamese armored column retreating toward the border had been attacked by North Vietnamese troops seven miles southeast of Snoul. There were no casualty reports available from the field, but a bulletin from headquarters in Saigon said that 54 North Vietnamese troops had been killed and 15 weapons had been captured. The bulletin said that 16 South Vietnamese soldiers had been wounded.

Saigon Denies Rout by Enemy at Snoul
By IVER PETERSON, Special to The New York Times

SAIGON, South Vietnam, Wednesday, June 2 - The South Vietnamese task force that withdrew from the eastern Cambodian town of Snoul on Monday is still inside Cambodia, a Saigon spokesman said yesterday. The spokesman, Lieut. Col. Le Trung Hien, denied reports that the Government troops had been driven under heavy attack from the rubber-plantation town, which is 10 miles from the South Vietnamese border and 90 miles north of Saigon. He described the pullout as a "realignment" caused by the coming rainy season and not enemy pressure. He estimated that during the withdrawal more than 700 North Vietnamese troops had been killed by American and South Vietnamese planes and helicopter gunships and by South Vietnamese tanks. The enemy, he said, was attacked along Routes 7 and 13, which were also the lines of the South Vietnamese withdrawal.

Losses Put at 6

Colonel Hien put the South Vietnamese losses during the pullback at six men wounded. [Reports from the field, The Associated Press said, quoted South Vietnamese troops as saying that about 200 of their men had been killed or wounded Monday as they fought the North Vietnamese Fifth Division while retreating from Snoul.]

"The withdrawal was part of the whole plan of operation in Cambodia during the rainy season," Colonel Hien said through an interpreter. He later said that the withdrawal had been "preplanned," adding that Government troops had similarly been pulled back from Snoul at this time last year as the summer monsoon season got under way. The South Vietnamese Army's principal interest in the area surrounding Snoul lies in preventing the enemy from infiltrating into old bases areas just across the border in South Vietnam.

Colonel Hien said that there would be further realignments of the South Vietnamese Army positions in Cambodia in preparation for the rainy season. [While he stressed that the Government troops who had left Snoul were still in Cambodia, The Associated Press said that, according to reports from the field, they had pulled back across the border to Locninh.]

Colonel Hien said it was possible that some battle-damaged South Vietnamese armored personnel carriers, tanks and trucks had been destroyed by Government troops in Snoul as the pullout began rather than let them fall into enemy hands. [Reports from the field, quoted by The Associated Press, said 80 tanks, armored personnel carriers, jeeps and trucks had been left behind by the South Vietnamese, who also reportedly destroyed 12 artillery pieces.]

U.S. Comments on Pullout

WASHINGTON, June 1 (AP) - Jerry W. Fredham, the Pentagon spokesman, said today that the South Vietnamese had intended to withdraw some main combat units from Cambodia with the onset of the rainy season. The withdrawal, he said, "appears from here to be orderly and according to their plan."

Heavy U.S. Raids Reported Near Snoul

SAIGON, South Vietnam, Thursday, June 3 (AP) - Responding to a South Vietnamese request, hundreds of United States bombers and helicopter gunships struck at what were reported to be troops of three enemy divisions in eastern Cambodia yesterday. The heaviest attacks, informed sources said, were aimed at the North Vietnamese Vietcong Fifth Division, which captured Snoul, a rubber plantation town 90 miles north of Saigon, from South Vietnamese troops on Monday.

Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Minh, commanding the South Vietnamese forces in Cambodia, called for all available United States air support to help keep the enemy division from pushing into South Vietnam. Snoul is only 10 miles from the border. A force identified as the enemy's Seventh Division, west of Snoul, was also attacked. In addition, B-52's reportedly bombed what was believed to be the headquarters of the enemy's Ninth Division on the Chup rubber plantation, 110 miles northwest of Saigon, and 55 miles northeast of Pnompenh, the Cambodian capital. It was from the Chup plantation that enemy troops moved southward and attacked Cambodian soldiers on the eastern approaches of Pnompenh on Tuesday.

Delayed, reports indicated that the South Vietnamese, in withdrawing from Snoul on Monday, suffered severe casualties. The South Vietnamese command said here in Saigon that 74 members of the Government task force that had held Snoul were missing in action.

generalhieu.com