Government forces came under heavy Communist fire on Sunday (April 15) when they tried to re-occupy a previously held position about 14 air miles (22 kms) south of the beleaguered city of Phnom Penh, capital of the Khmer Republic.
GV Deserted Highway Thirty
SV Government troops advance up highway & through forest (3 shots)
SV Dog howling in forest
SV Soldier in forest
SV & CU government forces in defensive positions (7 shots)
SV A.P.C. advances through jungle alongside highway (3 shots)
CU Machine gun on A.P.C firing (3 shots)
CU & SV Soldier fires gun, A.P.C. continues firing (2 shots)
SV Government troops waiting
SV Cows walk up highway
SV Government troops being attacked. Bullets around their foxhole
SV A.P.C. advances firing
SV Government troops under attack
SV & CU Government troops advance to village past burning building (3 shots)
SV & CU Troops in defensive positions around wrecked village (2 shots)
SV Woman soldier fires into building
SV Government troops walking through village (2 shots)
LV & SV Government troops running from village as communist troops open heavy fire (3 shots)
SV Badly wounded man helped back by his comrades
SV & CU Government troops giving covering firs with mortar as wounded man is helped along highway (4 shots)
Initials BB/1900 ESP/2148
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Background: Government forces came under heavy Communist fire on Sunday (April 15) when they tried to re-occupy a previously held position about 14 air miles (22 kms) south of the beleaguered city of Phnom Penh, capital of the Khmer Republic.
Troops advanced until they were nearly trapped by Communist forces, and then had to retreat rapidly under heavy fire. The area, by Highway 30, has been contested several times in the past few days. Fighting was continuing at many points around Phnom Penh.
Military reports say that a further two North Vietnamese engineer battalions have moved into place to the north of the surrounded capital, after a long march from the north east of the country.
About 40 Communist battalions are tightening their grip on Phnom Penh and setting up rocket sites within range of the city. More than 12,000 Communist troops -- almost equalling the strength of the Government forces -- are now said to be concentrated within a day's journey from the Khmer capital.
But on Sunday three oil tankers beat the Communist blockade on the Mekong River and crossed into the Khmer Republic with desperately needed fuel for Phnom Penh. they carried about a fortnight's supply of rationed fuel.
Fierce fighting raged on the banks of the Mekong River on the border over the weekend. A large force of South Vietnamese Rangers was reported to have crossed half a mile into Khmer territory on sunday (15 April). But around the city of Phnom Penh the battle for each deserted village continues -- with mortar and heavy machine gun fire.
SYNOPSIS: On Highway Thirty, fourteen miles south of Phnom Penh, government troops advance. On Saturday they were driven back from the same area. On Sunday -they tried again.
Fighting has been continuing at man points near the Khmer Republic's surrounded capital. About forty Communist battalions have been tightening their grip - and setting up rocket sites within range of the city. Military reports say that two battalions of North Vietnamese engineers recently moved into place near Phnom Penh after a long march.
There are now twelve thousand communist troops concentrated within a day's journey of Phnom Penh. It is the greatest assembly of communist power since the war started three years ago. Their numbers almost equal those of government forces.
Government forces were firing into suspected communist positions just ahead. The communists opened up from there a few minutes later.
As the Government forces advanced under light fire towards a deserted village, a house was still in flames. The villages are empty now and the people have left for the safety of the city. For days roads had been crowded with refugees.
Beyond the village, communists had laid an ambush. suddenly they opened up from the front and one side with heavy fire.
And the Government forces are beaten back again in this area. Later on Sunday there was better news for the people of Phnom Penh. Three tankers had broken through the blockade with much-needed fuel for the city.