Khmer Republic troops have met their first heavy resistance from communist forces during their push along vital Highway Six.
Khmer Republic troops have met their first heavy resistance from communist forces during their push along vital Highway Six. The operation, code named Tchenla Two, is designed to relieve the provincial capital of kompong Thom which has been encircled by communist forces for more than 16 months.
SYNOPSIS: Khmer Republic troops involved in Tchenla Two, an operation to break the hold of communist encircling the provincial capital of Kompong Thom, have encountered their first strong opposition since the operation began.
Highway Six is one of the most strategic routes in the Republic. It links major towns and carries the bulk of the country's supplies. Control of the Highway means virtual control of the centres of population. Towns like Kompong Thom rely heavily on ground routes. After facing a barrage of shells from communist guns near the village of Thum Pasat, about 75 miles (170 Kms) from Phnom Penh, the Government troops moved in. Casualties on both sides were heavy.
The communists have controlled the area around the provincial capital since May last year. The monsoon season prevented any full scale attempts by the Government forces to dislodge them, but with the rains easing, they consider the time is now right. The operation is a two pronged attack. One group of troops is moving up Highway Six while another is pushing along Route 21. The two forces hope to meet near Kompong Thom for a final assault.