The U. S. Command announced yesterday it launched the heaviest aerial bombing attacks on North Vietnam in three months over the weekend. Word of the raids, called "protective reaction strikes," was withheld until Tuesday, a spokesman said, "mostly for security reasons."
In Laos, no major new fighting was reported nor was there any report of progress by the 16,000 South Vietnamese troops who began the "incursion" February 8.
South Vietnamese army headquarters acknowledged severe losses to a ranger battalion overrun by North Vietnamese troops on a hilltop six miles inside Laos Sunday. A communique said of the 450 men in the battalion, 100 were killed, 145 wounded and 78 missing.
The command also reported that fighting had picked up in eastern Cambodia, where they reported having killed 140 Viet Cong troops. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird said yesterday South Vietnamese troops may soon be involved in heavy fighting in Cambodia as well as Laos.
In Washington, a caucus of Democratic senators voted 31-8 to seek total withdrawal of U. S. troops from Vietnam during the current session of Congress.
And in Ft. Benning, Ga., Lt. William L. Calley Jr. admitted yesterday that he had ordered the mass execution of unresisting Vietnamese men, women and children and fired at civilians himself in My Lai nearly three years ago.
"They were the enemy, not people," Calley testified. "I acted as I was directed....And I do not feel I was wrong in doing so, sir."