Government troops began an operation to reopen Highway Four on Tuesday (9th October). The highway?
Government troops began an operation to reopen Highway Four on Tuesday (9th October). The highway is the major overland route linking the capital of the Khmer Republic, Phnom Penh, with the western port of Kompong Som. The Highway has been the scene of frequent heavy fighting since communist forces originally blockaded it last November.
The latest Government reports indicate army advances along the Highway. At noon on Wednesday, troops had moved about one-half mile (700 meters) ahead of their previous day's position. This put them about 40 miles (65 kilometres) outside Phnom Penh.
Some opposition from the communists has been reported,and military sources indicate that there are some four communist battalions in the area.
Now bridges along the government-controlled sections of Highway Four are guarded by heavily constructed bunkers, and troops have installs a barbed-wire fence along the road.
SYNOPSIS: Two squadrons of armoured personnel carriers are giving support to government troops in the Khmer Republic in their operation to re-open Highway Four. The highway, linking the capital, Phnom Penh, with the port of Kompong Som, has been under frequent communist control since last November.
The operation to re-open the Highway began on Tuesday, and troops are reported to have advanced some forty miles from Phnom Penh towards the coast.
So far, resistance from communist forces appears to be light, although a military spokesman indicated there may be up to four communist battalions in the area. Now the government forces are strengthening their positions along the sections of the highway they have regained. Bridges are guarded by well-built bunk and troops have erected a barbed-wire fence along the entire length of the government-held road. The battle for Highway Four has caused property damage as well as loss-of-life.
In Wednesday's fighting, the government claimed twelve communists dead, and government soldier killed. The army also reported it had captured some communists weapons. The commander f the Army's twenty-eight Brigade hopes to have the road reopened very soon.