National Geographic : 1965 Jan
ORTH VIET NAM L. --- Cease-fire line, July 22, 1954 STATUTE MILES A SpecialForces camps involved in highlandrevolt Highland tribes comprise only five percent of the population but occupy more than half the land,the rugged,forestedbackbone of South Viet Nam. Red shows approximate routes of Viet Cong infiltration. NAT NAL UTEGRAPHI ( APBYJOHN D GARSTC NG.S. SPECIAL MAP SUPPLEMENT W ITH AMERICANS dying in far-off Viet Nam, strange place names have burned into our consciousness-names like Gulf of Tonkin, and Buon Brieng, and Bien Hoa, where Communist mortar fire last November caused many casualties. To enable National Geographic members to follow portentous events in that embattled part of the world, the Society's cartographers worked day and night to prepare a special four-color map of Viet Nam and its neighbors, backed with a complete index to its 1,558 place names. Small maps trace the emergence of today's troubled nations from old French Indochina. This timely map, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, and Eastern Thailand, reaches the Society's 4,475,000 members as an addition to the regular program of United States and World Atlas maps and large wall maps scheduled for 1965. Scaled at 74.3 miles to the inch, the map gives up-to-date information on airfields, highways, and railroads, including Communist North Viet Nam's links with Red China to the north. From this moment I was caught up in a war within a war, the revolt of the mountain people. Few reports of this fateful uprising filtered out of the highlands. But I saw it in all its confusion and terror, and I saw the handful of heroic Americans who-through sheer force of will-turned the tide. I had come to South Viet Nam to report on the United States Army Special Forces there. To see them in action, I had visited Captain Gillespie's isolated camp. In this area the Spe cial Forces employ montagnards,or hill people, as their "strike force." Some 30 tribes inhabit the highlands, many of them straddling the vaguely defined border with Cambodia. The Special Forces have trained and armed almost 10,000 montagnards. Hardy and inde pendent, these troops harry Communist infil trators traveling the Ho Chi Minh Trail and form the backbone of Vietnamese resistance to a Communist take-over of the strategic highlands.