South Viet Nam: Gathering Intensity

uncredited writer, Time, 24 March 1967

The ground war in Viet Nam is intensifying, with mounting casualties on both sides. Aided by a sudden infusion of mortars and fresh weapons, and often impelled by a growing sense of desperation, the Viet Cong have turned more aggressive in the hope of scoring some badly needed victories. With the increase in the U.S. troop levels—which last week reached 427,000—more Americans are ranging through the countryside than ever before, spoiling for a fight. The war’s vicious turn was reflected last week in two sets of statistics.

Saigon reported that in the week ending March 18, casualties for both Communist and U.S. troops reached new highs for the war. A weekly record of 2,675 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers were killed; there is no sure way to count Communist wounded, but they must have been proportionately large. The U.S. lost 211 dead, and suffered 1,874 wounded and seven missing or captured, bringing total U.S. casualties to more than 2,000 in one week for the first time. So far this year, American deaths are averaging 150 per week v. 96 a week during 1966.

Sad as those figures are, they are dwarfed by the enormous bloodletting that has been inflicted on the Communists. The Pentagon announced that since Jan. 1, Allied forces have killed some 19,500 of the enemy, a rate of 1,770 weekly as compared with last year’s average of 1,100. Even so, the Communists keep coming. U.S. intelligence last week put Red fighting strength up by 4,000 men to a total of 286,000, an increase that just matched last week’s U.S. increase of 4,000 new men. When last week’s totals are released this week in Saigon, Communist dead are likely to reach another new high.


Four young students, one a policeman’s daughter would you believe, were responsible for the heinous crime. The quartet told the press their names were Sue, Roger, Richard and Bob.

They said: “We dropped the flour and ran for it. We did it to prove security and the hall was a farce.” [They also claimed] they watched The Beatles’ 1963 performances from the same vantage point.

[The Beatles’ love affair with Bristol’s Colston Hall, Craig Jones, Bristol Post, 20th March 2017]

Newspaper clippings from The Beatles Colston Hall, Bristol gig on 10th November 1964, where they have bags of flour dropped on them from 50 feet during the show. (Look at John laughing in the top one!) 


The Beatles having a pillow fight at The George V Hotel, Paris, c. 27th January 1964. 

“John Lennon said, ‘No, we’ll all look childish and silly.’ They all turned and said, ‘Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, yeah…’

“Paul’s sitting there, drinking a brandy. I stretch out on the settee. John slips away and comes up behind him and hits him with a pillow and that was it. Went on for about half an hour. […]

“What that picture meant was that I was coming to America, [and] that I was not going back.”

[Henry Benson, talking about how he proposed his famous pillow fight picture, a few days before The Beatles would go to the US and become overnight sensations. People, 1st December 2016]

Aren’t these the most adorable photos?!

Pics: Harry Benson. 


Photos of the Beatles taken by Angus McBean at EMI house, London, firstly in 1963 for the cover of the Beatles first album, Please Please Me and in the same location again in 1969, originally intended for the Beatles Get Back LP. The Get Back album was shelved (and later salvaged and turned into Let It Be) so the photo was only used for the Get Back single, and later the Beatles ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ albums respectively. Note the clothing change in the later photos.

Pics: Angus McBean.