The last United States bomber raid in the Khmer Republic ended on Wednesday (15 August), with the American "planes continuing a heavy pounding of Communist-held areas up to the last minute.
GV smoke rising from bombing, while government troops watch "planes (4 shots)
GV Plane overhead, as troops watch on, zoom in to smoke rising
GVs pan damage and bombed areas (2 shots)
CU and SVs Khmer artillery firing and tanks advancing (4 shots)
GV troops advancing.
LV and GV B-52 coming in to land
SV aircrew near "plane"
GV & CY bomber and bombs
SV pan from airmen to B-52
Initials AE/4.20 AE/4.39
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Background: The last United States bomber raid in the Khmer Republic ended on Wednesday (15 August), with the American "planes continuing a heavy pounding of Communist-held areas up to the last minute.
Military activity had been low for several days, except for the bombing. The United States command and government leaders claimed the bombing severely hampered the guerrillas. But the Communists claimed the bombers' final strikes had little effect.
The raids were ordered halted on 15 August by the United States Congress, which shut off funds for the bombing.
The giant B-52's will remain at their bases in Thailand, the largest of which is Utapae, to act as a deterrent to the Communist forces in neighbouring Cambodia. The United States command said they would be brought in again in retaliation if the continuing flights of reconnaissance aircraft were attacked.
SYNOPSIS: The final hours of American bombing support for the Khmer Republican forces brought heavy attacks on the Communist-hold areas near Phnom Penh on Tuesday and Wednesday. The American "planes continued strikes up to the deadline for cutoff set by the U.S. Congress.
Khmer troops continued their sorties into the surrounding countryside in an attempt to secure the capital from an attack after bombing halt.
The several tons of bombs dropped in the final hours was intended to dislodge the Communists from positions in towns north of Phnom Penh. Military activity was low during the final days before the halt, but there was speculation there would be a major Communist offensive after.
Though the government of Marshal Lon Nol were still seeking a peace settlement, Khmer artillery continued to pound at the areas where the Communists were believed staging their offensive.
The bombing role of the Americans has been taken over by the small, antiquated Khmer Air Force.
To bolster troop strength, the government introduced conscription just before the bombing halt.
The last American bombers landed at Utapas base in Thailand on Wednesday, ending ten years of air war in indo-China -- an air war in which the United States used three times the munitions spent in World War Two.
The air war over Vietnam ended January twenty seventh with the ceasefire there. The Khmer bombing was halted because of the Congressional decision t cut off funds. But there have been warnings they could be used again if reconnaissance flights are attacked.