Government forces in the Khmer Republic continue to meet strong communist resistance in their fight to reopen highway 5.
LV Houses burning on far rear bank
Gv & SV APCs firing (3 shots)
SCU Soldiers on APC firing machine guns and cannon
SV Soldiers and tank moving into position
Sv Troops advance through jungle
LV & SVs Troops under fire and taking cover (6 shot)
SCU Soldier on field transceiver
SV APC firing 30mm machine-gun into jungle
SV APC firing 30mm gun
GV Smoke from communist position
SV APC firing
SV Troops take wounded soldier to ambulance (3 shots)
SV Dead body, wrapped in rattan matting, carried to ambulance
SV & CU APC machine-gunner firing (3 shots)
SV APC advances with infantry ahead
SVs Troops firing at enemy position (3 shots)
SV APC firing, front armour plating rips off in blast
CU & SVs Troops continue firing at ???emy position ( 4 shots)
Initials BB/0242 AS/PN/BB/0310
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Background: Government forces in the Khmer Republic continue to meet strong communist resistance in their fight to reopen highway 5. The Highway, which links the capital, phnom Penh, with the rice-growing province of Battamborg, has been closed since September.
On Tuesday (12 December), the front-line khmer forces -- some twenty kilometres (twelve miles) north-west of Phnom Penh -- had only one Armoured Personnel Carrier to support their infantry. Their task was to reopen a stretch of the Highway that ran through jungle alongside the Tonlesap river. The government jungle cover. Although the single APC were able to prevent a suspected communist flanking movement, three soldiers were wounded, and one was killed during the communists's mortar and machine gun attack.
By the following day, Wednesday (13 December), the government forces had to retreat three kilometres (just under two miles) down the Highway. However, they received reinforcements, in the shape of armoured support. Several Khmer officers expressed doubts that the road would be reopened in the near future. Communists are dug in on both sides of the Mokong, and while inland areas remain flooded, the Khmers are unable to mount any clearing operation, except along the highway itself.