The Khmer Military Command was this weekend claiming its most important victory in more than a year of war after capturing a North Vietnamese command post on the Mekong's east bank, near Phnom Penh.
GV Aerial View of Phnom Penh
GV Aerial View flying over Mekong River
GV Aerial View of bomb craters
GV Helicopter landing (2 shots)
GV Helicopter lands as wounded rush to aircraft (2 shots)
GV PAN helicopter takes of, PAN to wounded left behind
GV Helicopter lands and other wounded rush forward (3 shots)
Ground to Air - jets make bombing attack (4 shots)
GV Helicopter lands and casualties run forward (3 shots)
SV Children and soldiers watch as casualties fight towards helicopter (5 shots)
GV Helicopter takes off
GV Aerial View landing zone
GV Aerial View Mekong River
GV Wounded transferred to ambulance at Phnom Penh airport (3 shots)
Initials OS/2300 OS/2315
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Background: The Khmer Military Command was this weekend claiming its most important victory in more than a year of war after capturing a North Vietnamese command post on the Mekong's east bank, near Phnom Penh.
The battle for the swampy sanctuary area had been going on for a month. And despite the Khmer success, the fighting is far from over. On Thursday, Visnews cameraman Neil Davis flew with Khmer medical helicopters on a relief mission to the besieged post of Prey Bang, in the heart of the marshland.
It was a seven hour operation, ferrying 200 wounded out of the area in the face of fierce North Vietnamese ground fire -- at one stage U.S. and South Vietnamese jets were called in for a bombing strike to silence the opposition to the helicopters.
SYNOPSIS: The North Vietnamese advance on Phnom Penh has been halted. So claimed the Khmer Military Command this weekend. They said a swampland battle on the Mekong River's east bank was their biggest victory of the war. But the missions of the medical helicopters showed the cost the Khmer forces had paid for their victory. These helicopters -- medevacs as they're called -- on Thursday flew to the relief of the besieged post of Prey Bang, n the heart of the marshland battle area.
The walking wounded and their dependents rushed to get aboard the helicopters. Many casualties had been without medical treatment for five days. Many others had died five days. Many others had died during the interim. It was a hazardous operation, with the helicopters flying in the face of fierce North Vietnamese ground fire. So bombing strikes by American and South Vietnamese jets were called in.
Khmer wounded totalled about two-hundred, plus casualties among the dependents who accompany the troops, some of them children. The soldiers fighting for the marshland are the elite Khmer Krom -- expatriates born and trained in South Vietnam who have now returned to fight for their country. Their achievement, according to the Khmer Military Command, had been to overrun a North Vietnamese command post about a dozen miles from the capital. In Thursday's fighting, nearly two-hundred North Vietnamese were said to have died, and about ten-thousand men of the Ninth Division had withdrawn from the marshlands.