South Viet Nam: A Time of Blood

A Viet Cong attack on Americans is typically a brief hit-and-run affair: the enemy usually runs as soon as the surprise wears off and U.S. units start hitting back with concerted firepower. The siege at Plei Me last month seemed a notable exception to the rule, as Communist troops in force stood their ground in a prolonged fire fight. But again last week, in two fierce engage ments near the "Iron Triangle" north of Saigon, Viet Cong troops surprised U.S. Army units — and then stayed around to boldly slug it out.

The First Mistake. For the U.S., one of...

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