The Cambodian High Command today (Saturday) admitted that it had had advance warning of yesterday's attack by Viet Cong guerrillas on the Phnom Penh airport, and said that it did not have enough men to defend the area.
GV Explosions and flames at airport at night (4 shots)
GV Fires in vicinity next morning
CU Cambodian troops
GV Wrecked aircraft near runway.
Initials RJ/AW/BB/2115 RJ/AW/BB/2055
orig on 957/71
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Background: The Cambodian High Command today (Saturday) admitted that it had had advance warning of yesterday's attack by Viet Cong guerrillas on the Phnom Penh airport, and said that it did not have enough men to defend the area. At least 10 'planes were destroyed and 20 others damaged in the attack. Casualties were listed as at least 50 civilians dead and another 150 wounded.
The attack came in the early hours of the morning. Viet Cong forces made simultaneous attacks on the military installations at the airport and the centre of Phnom Penh. By far the most damage was caused at the airport.
During the two hour attack a huge store of napalm canisters was ignited with a report heard in the city more than miles (8 Kms) away. The attacks were seen in Cambodia as a show of strength by the Viet Cong as fighting in the country increases.
Immediately after the attack, Cambodian troops were drawn up into a thin line around the capital in an attempt to prevent further attacks. However, with a large number of the Cambodian army away fighting for Highway Four the Viet Cong action has put the country's military leaders into two minds.... something which the assault was obviously intended to do.