The commander-in-chief of the Khmer Armed Forces -General Sesthene Fernandez (pronounced sos-t???n fer-nan-days) has taken?
long-running shot of General Sosthene Fernandez (pron. sos-tain fer-nan-days), commander-in-chief of Khmer Armed forces, as he watches frontline activity, replies briefly to questions from subordinates. Another general, littaye Suon (pron. lit-teye soo-on) comes into picture in wider view just beyond Sosthene. Sosthene wears 2 stars.
O??? ???vation plane overhead - circling frontline position 300 metres ahead.
General ???th Suong (pron. it soong). commander of 1st iniantry division (the troops involved) on field phone, wearing dark glasses, standing at back of jee???
high shot looking down on group of generals - pan/zoom to look across wide expanse of open plain, with frontline about 300 metres ahead.
AP??? (armoured personnel carrier) fires 106mm cannon - note: it is immediately under fire in return, but maybe not seen clearly.
AP??? fires 50-calibre machine-gun at insurgent frontline 50 metres ahead.
soldier carries many 60mm mortar shells over shoulder like bunches of bananas.
APC on move. see later shots on reel 2 for other shots of APC's on move.
soldier in frontline fires 60mm mortar from small bunker.
artillery and mortar shells landing in insurgonts' positions about 100 metres on.
helicopter gunships dive over ???hmer frontlineline positions and release rockets (see puffs of smoke) at insurgents' lines just on a little.
choppers wheel as they fire machine-guns - mini-guns in bank of four (rasping sound)
solider carries a number of M72 one-man rockets to frontline.
T2??? ???/bombers bombing insurgents; rear positions about 500 metres away - much ??? ???lling skywards - couple of strikes seen from start.
much smoke rising from more airstrikes, APC seen in foreground.
wounded soldier seconds after being hit by mortar from other side - he collapses to ground as friends try to support him, he is wounded in throat.
wounded soldier gets emergency bandage on ground, APC comes up behind, soldier placed on stretcher and carried to APC and placed inside, APC takes off.
couple of shots of APC's crossing open ground typical of this battle area.
soldier riding on APC.
maybe there last couple of shots will cut in earlier F???S
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The commander-in-chief of the Khmer Armed Forces -General Sesthene Fernandez (pronounced sos-t???n fer-nan-days) has taken over personal command on the northern front only 10kms from Phnom-Penh city.
This is in keeping with a new policy expounded by Fernandez himself, that the most senior Khmer High Command officers should take field command on vital fronts as an example to their troops and the people that they are determined to fight on, and prepared to risk their lives.
Altogether there were six high-ranking generals at the frontline command post, which was set up less than 300 metres from the fighting.
Commander of the troops in action was General ???th Suong (pron. it soong), who leads the 1st infantry Division.
Light observation planes kept the generals informed of the situation in a visual sense - which was possible on this occasion due to the open plain on which the battle is being fought.
Despite the open country, there was still enough cover for the insurgents to dig themselves in to heavily fortified bunkers.
They seemed to have an unlimited supply of mortars and anti-tank rockets, and used them freely. The command post of General Fernandez took three rounds which landed less than 50 metres from the galaxy of generals - one only 20 metres from General Fernandez himself.
The government forces, however, were also well supplied, and "bunches" of 60mm mortars were carried to the front, where they were launched from shallow one-man bunkers by an individual soldier, or soldiers. The armoured personnel carriers were also in the forefront, and in fact were ahead of some of the troops, firing their giant 106mm cannons and heavy machine-guns - in this case the 50-calibre machine-gun standard on the AR's.
Overhead, the air force, in their newly-acquired role of close support, pounded the insurgents' positions with their T28 fighter/bombers, followed up by helicopter gunships, which launched rockets into the dissidents bunkers, then strafed them with mini-guns - banks of machine-guns (4 in each bank) - making the unreal "rasping" sound familiar to frontline soldiers on both sides The Khmer artillery - commanded directly by General Littaye Suon (??? Littaye Suon) (chief artillery officer for the Khmer Army) from only 300 metres back - pounded the insurgents; frontline only 100 metres ahead of the Khmer govt. AR???s.
The dissidents, however, were hitting back. Incoming mortars and small rockets landed constantly all along the line, inflicting casualties.
The wounded govt. soldiers were evacuated immediately - also a new policy put into action over the last few weeks - i.e. to evacuate wounded from the frontline immediately - whether under direct fire or nor.
All these factors: the presence of the highest-ranking commanders at the frontline; the close support of the armoured units and airforce plus artillery; and the guaranteed quick evacuation of wounded from the battlefield ... have had the effect of inspiring the Khmer govt. forces to greater efforts. They have never been under such constant and heavy attack, and at the same time they have never fought better. The entire operation on this northern, north-western, and western front(s) is not only to drive the insurgents back, but to clear the rocket-launch area here. It is from this general area that the latest rockets have been launched against Phnom-Penh.