Fuel supply ships struggled to get through to the Khmer Republic capital of Phnom Penh over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8) as the city starved of petrol while the supply ships were ambushed and prevented from getting through by communist forces attacking from the river banks.
GV Supply ship down Mekong river
GV Same ship on river
GV Gunboat down same stretch of river
GV Wrecked ship in river PAN TO supply ships
CU Bullet holes in ship's side
SV Sailor on deck and GV supplies unloaded (2 shots)
SV Vehicles queue for petrol in Phnom Penh.
CU Motor-cycle filled with petrol
SV Black market petrol being sold
SV PAN Motor-cyclists queue for petrol
Initials BB/0111 WLW/JB/BB/0121
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Background: Fuel supply ships struggled to get through to the Khmer Republic capital of Phnom Penh over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8) as the city starved of petrol while the supply ships were ambushed and prevented from getting through by communist forces attacking from the river banks. Only 10 of 19 ships managed to reach the Khmer border on Sunday -- one freighter was set ablaze and sunk, while the rest of the convoy scattered and eight ships fled back downriver towards the safety of South Vietnamese waters.
In the Khmer capital, squeezed by communist forces blocking all land-routes into it, petrol was in short supply and hundreds of motorists and motor-cyclists queued for rationed supplies. On the black market, petrol prices quadrupled.
United States military aircraft were providing support for shopping trying to teach the besieged capital.
SYNOPSIS: The shipping supply convoys trying to reach the besieged Khmer Republic Capital of Phnom Penh up the Mekong River over the weekend had a hard time. They were ambushed by communist forces from the river banks, and of nineteen ships in this convoy only ten broke the communist blockade, despite patrolling Khmer gunboats and air support from United States military aircraft.
A Khmer Republic gunboat......
....and a ship sunk by communist fire. While ten got through, the remaining eight -- apart from this one -- turned back and fled to safety in the Mekong's South Vietnamese waters.
Some of those that did get through to Phnom Penh were damaged....
.......but some essential supplies were unloaded to relieve desperate shortages in the besieged capital, which had no land routes left open.
Fuel was in very short supply in Phnom Penh, among other essential commodities. Motorists and motor-cyclists queued up to get what was left.....
......while on the black market the price was quadrupled.
Bur even the supplies that did get through were only a temporary measure. Each ship that reached Phnom Penh, for example, could only bring two days supply of petrol.