The North Vietnamese are now using suicidal warfare tactics in Cambodia. Just after two o'clock?
The North Vietnamese are now using suicidal warfare tactics in Cambodia. Just after two o'clock one morning last week, two companies of naked Communist commandos, their bodies blackened with soot, fought their way into a South Vietnamese task force camp at Kandaoi Chrum in Kompong Cham Province north-east of Phnom Penh.
Dawn rose on a grisly sight. The bodies of 17 commandos littered the camp with another 37 outside. They never stood a chance against the entrenched South Vietnamese who were assisted by Cambodians. But they inflicted severe casualties: 16 dead and 37 wounded on the government side with several tanks and trucks knocked out.
The North Vietnamese were armed with AK-47 machine-guns and used a new type of Russian rocket fired from a tube which fits into the muzzle of the AK-47. They fought tenaciously and got to within seven metres of the command bunker.
Later South Vietnamese helicopters came in to evacuate the dead and wounded to Tay Ninh across the border in South Vietnam. As the helicopters picked up the casualties, South Vietnamese patrols scoured the nearby paddyfields for guerillas.
With the North Vietnamese troops in the area, the Cambodian authorities decided to evacuate Cambodian refugees who had been sheltering in a village near the Kandaoi Chrum task force camp. While the older people were sent to a safer place, the younger men decided to join the Cambodian Army and were driven off to Phnom Penh in South Vietnamese Army trucks to begin training.
During the attack, Visnews cameraman Lucien Coudoux (pronounced Coo-dooks) was in a Cambodian bunker which was twice hit by 82mm mortar shells from the Communist covering fire. A medical officer alongside him was killed.