Khmer Government forces are still fighting to reopen Highway Five - the road from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the important rice-growing area of Battambang.
Khmer Government forces are still fighting to reopen Highway Five - the road from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the important rice-growing area of Battambang. The Communists cut the road more than two weeks ago, and the battle is now centred about twelve-and-a-half miles form Phnom Penh.
Highway Five is a vitally important supply route, for most of the rice for the capital is transported along it. Many of the villages along the Highway are now deserted as people have moved nearer to the relative safety of Phnom Penh.
In the battle the regular troops have been reinforced by detachments of civilians militia - many of whom were Khmer Rougo fighters who defeated to the Government side. They use whatever weapons are available which often include the ones they defected with. They are earning themselves a reputation for being particularly good at hand-to-hand combat.
In the following film, the Communist bunkers were less than 50 metres (55 yards) away. Further up the road, the Communist forces had isolated three Khmer Government companies.
SYNOPSIS: The battle for Highway Five - the vital rice road to the capital of the Khmer Republic, Phnom Penh - still continues after more than two weeks of bitter fighting.
The road was cut by Communist forces earlier this month, and Government troops have bene trying to reopen it. The rice for Phnom Penh is normally transported along the road from the rice-growing area of Battambang, and therefore it is an important supply route for the Government to keep open. These troops are civilian militia who are augmenting the regular Army forces.
Many of them are deserters from the Communist side, and they have to use whatever weapons are available. Several of the guns they use are the ones they brought with them when they defected. In this section of the battle, the Communist bunkers were only fifty-five yards away, but further up the orad, Communist troops had isolated three Khmer Government companies.
The Communist defectors among the civilian militia are earning themselves a reputation for hand-to-hand fighting, though their artillery experience is often inadequate - if not dangerous.