Christian and Moslem forces continued their fierce battles for the control of strategic towns and villages in the Lebanon on Wednesday (31 March).
GV Mountain pass (2 shots)
SVs Christian troops preparing for battle (3 shots)
SV Armoured car moving out of town
LV Village (2 shots)
MV Troop commander issuing instructions to mortar unit and planning trajectories
SV Troops firing mortar and smoke rising from village (3 shots)
SV Troops getting out of armoured car (5 shots)
SV Moslem soldier firing field gun at town (3 shots)
CU Empty cartridges on ground as cannon firing continues (8 shots)
Initials CL/1847 CL/1910
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Background: Christian and Moslem forces continued their fierce battles for the control of strategic towns and villages in the Lebanon on Wednesday (31 March).
Fighting was particularly heavy in the mountain town of Bolonia and the village of Kahali.
Christian troops from the regular Lebanese Army are defending vital mountain passes near Bolonia, but are coming under heavy pressure from the Moslems.
About 120 men with a few vehicles and even fewer heavy weapons are holding a 20 mile front which includes passes that lead to the coast and the heart of Christian territory.
They've already had to retreat once, but can not afford to pull back much further. If leftist forces capture the mountain roads it will mean a route for their tanks, armoured vehicles and heavy weapons to be driven into Christian strongholds.
They're shelling nearby Moslem positions with mortars, but ammunition is already running short.
The village of Kahali is typical of the renewed Moslem assaults on Christian held areas. The embattled village is under persistent attack from cannons and field guns stationed in nearby villages.
Armoured cars and machine-gun mounted jeeps have also been brought in by leftist troops who are preparing to launch a full scale direct attack on the village.
SYNOPSIS: The vital mountain passes that lead to Lebanon's coast have gained new importance in recent weeks. The roads that lead throughout the mountains to the sea also lead to the heart of Christian Lebanon.
Christian forces see the roads as the key to the defence of their strongholds. In the town of Bolonia, some 120 men from the third infantry unit of the regular Lebanese Army are defending a 20 mile front with a few vehicles and even fewer heavy weapons.
Leftist Moslem forces now control the village of Matei -- some 20 miles from Bolonia. It was captured after a heavy assault on rightwing positions and the Christians were forced to retreat.
The colonel in command of these troops uses a mortar unit to shell the village of Matei for a few hours each day. Trajectories are plotted carefully -- ammunition is precious.
The unit is hidden away in a discussed quarry in the mountains. Troops say the mortar fire is effective in keeping the leftist forces pinned down.
The leftist assaults have gained new strength in recent weeks and their push against Christian strongholds has been unrelenting. Their bombardment of the village of Kahali is typical of the recent trend in the civil war. Kahali, a once real stronghold for the Christians, has been pounded by Moslem field guns.
Cannons have been placed in high positions all around Kahali and the leftists man them throughout the day.
People who are still living in Kahali believe that Christian soldiers there will be able to withstand the pressure and hold the town. But they, like all civilians in the Lebanon, are still hoping for a break through in negotiations and a rapid return to peace.