Fighting on the Khmer Republic's Highway Five, which leads out of the capital to the northwestern province of Battambang, pricked up early on Friday (14 December) morning Government forces tried to edge along the Mekong river bank, to force communist soldiers further back along the road.
Long Shots APC's firing 106mm cannons on road Several shots soldiers firing M-16's & 30 cal. Soldier firing m-79 grenades while others shelter Troops move up road and take cover behind bank Various sequences troops firing grenades and m-16 rifles from forward position
APC moves up and opens up with 50 cal. cannon Various shots troops sheltering under incoming fire
More shots troops firing Various cutaways others taking cover under fire Soldiers reloading magazine clips under fire Captain Thath Cha (wearing sunglasses, flak jacket a green beret) running forward and throwing hand grenade
More shots Captain Cha talking on radio, firing m-79 grenade launcher and directing troops under fire
APC's firing 50 cal, machine cannons and 106 mm several shots troops running forward and throwing hand grenades
LS APC's firing on road
Soldiers firing from nearby APC's
APC's firing cannons and 106 mm's
Troops move forward alongside road bank
Soldiers run to bank and take cover (run on)
Various shots troops firing grenades from M-79 Launchers and other shots M-16's and 30 cal.s being fired
The commander of the reckon group, Captain Thath Cha, wearing sunglasses, green beret and flak jacket. Use Various shots of him from both rolls to make short sequence
Other soldiers throwing hand grenades and standing in the open to fire small- arms weapons
Soldiers resting while speridle fighting continues
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Background: Fighting on the Khmer Republic's Highway Five, which leads out of the capital to the northwestern province of Battambang, pricked up early on Friday (14 December) morning Government forces tried to edge along the Mekong river bank, to force communist soldiers further back along the road.
The Khmers had been reinforced overnight by soldiers from the crack Seventh (7th) Brigade. They also had a squadron of ???rmour, equipped with 106 mm recoilless refiles a direct-fire weapon used with deadly effectiveness against communist bunkers and fortified emplacements.
Immediately after the armour had drawn return fire, the Seventh (7th) Brigade commander ordered a Reckon team to pinpoint the closest communist positions.
They managed to make only a few yards before running into heavy fire.
The fighting was thick and fierce with both sides pouring in fire from small-arms weapons and light machine-guns.
Captain Thath Cha, the field commander of the Seventh's (7th's) reckon group, displayed extraordinary leadership during the fighting. While remaining in constant touch with field headquarters by radio, he continued to direct his group's fire into the communist positions. It was Captain Cha who called for hand-grenades to clear pockets of resistance which had withstood previous barrages of M-79 and small arms fire. He ran forward under fire to throw the first grenades himself.
The men under his command followed his lead and soon levelled the area immediately in front of their positions.
The Khmers had gained only twenty yards, but - is one officer later said - every yard is vital when the communist forces are within twenty kms of Phnom-Penh. ??? Highway Five.