The battle for the Khmer Republic capital of Phnom Penh switched to the outskirts of the city on Tuesday (29 January), as government forces tried desperately to dislodge Communist artillery positions.
LV PAN APC through trees
LV Team firing mortars
LV Mobile gun fired from jeep
LV Mortar team with radio operator
LV APC manoeuvring
CU Observer with binoculars
LV & CU APC firing both guns (3 shots)
SV & CU Crewmembers reloading (2 shots)
GV APC moving
GROUND TO AIR Aircraft flies over
GROUND TO AIR PAN DOWN FROM aircraft TO smoke pall
SV & CU Wounded soldiers assisted by others (2 shots)
CU PAN Wounded soldier walking
SV Wounded in APC
SV APC moves off
SV PAN Wounded taken away in jeep
Initials BB/2135 TM/MR/BB/2202
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Background: The battle for the Khmer Republic capital of Phnom Penh switched to the outskirts of the city on Tuesday (29 January), as government forces tried desperately to dislodge Communist artillery positions.
The Khmer High Command rushed troops into the capital from four provincial cities to fight insurgent gunners, who've used captured American-made 105 mm field guns to direct steady artillery fire against Phnom Penh. In just over a week, more than 100 people have been killed and 200 wounded.
The government estimates 3,000 communist insurgents are still entrenched around the capital. Western intelligence sources in the capital claimed on Wednesday (30 January) that about 23,000 anti-government insurgents had encircled the city. They are trying to push closer to Phnom Penh to put important government and military buildings into the range of their field guns. A High Command spokesman said government troops had been unable to locate the field gun emplacements.
Khmer Air Force war-planes and helicopter gunships were seen pounding suspected guerrilla positions throughout Monday (28 January). But one military observer said American reconnaissance had indicated the guns were tucked deep in fortified bunkers to protect them from bombs.
Thousands of people fled from the southwestern sector of the city on Tuesday and slept in the streets of Central Phnom Penh in anticipation of more assaults. A United Nations spokesman said the U.N. had begun evacuating the families of some of its personnel stationed in Phnom Penh.
The former Cambodian chief-of-state, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, now nominal leader of the Peking-based "government-in-exile," stated in Hanoi that "the battle for Phnom Penh, the final battle in the Cambodian war, has started."