Khmer troops today (June 14) lost the vital cross road of Srang to communist forces.?
Khmer troops today (June 14) lost the vital cross road of Srang to communist forces. Government troops had reoccupied the city on Saturday (June 12).
A vital backroad link to Highway 4 just 40 kms southwest of Phnom Penh, Srang fell to the communist forces Thursday night (June 10) at a cost of at least 90 government troops and family dependents their highest announced loss toll of the war.
The inexperienced Khmer defenders broke ranks and ran when the communist forces succeeded in cracking the perimeter defences.
Led personally by Brigadier General Sostain Fernandez, the swagger-stick carrying commander of the military region, Khmer troops regained Srang. This film by Visnews cameraman Neil Davis shows the scenes of devastation the troops found on the long road back.
SYNOPSIS: The communists killed at least 90 Khmer troops when they overan government defences at Srang on Thursday night (June 10).
Led by swagger-sticked General Sostain fernandez these Khmer troops, with an information-bearing Buddhist monk, were assigned to recapture the road link just 40 kilometres southwest of the Khmer capital of Phnom Penh.
Leaving the mainroad less than five kilometres from Srang, the soldiers made their way with care through rice paddies and hamlets. The main road may have been mined. And mine detectors are not plentiful in the Khmer arsenal.
Refugees streaming down the road are stopped, searched and questioned. Many of these have come from Srang and provided the government forces with the latest information. The march continues through the paddies. The war is coming closer as a body of a Khmer defender is found less than two hundred metres from the overrun compound.
Official government figures said that more than 90 Khmer troops fell in the defence of Srang on Thursday night. The figures did not include the civilian dependents of the soldiers. The ill-trained Khmers broker ranks and fled when the communists broke the perimeter of the encampment. Most of those killed died in their efforts to flee. Inside the camp....utter destruction....Two 105mm artillery pieces were destroyed -- two others had been carried away -- and bodies and clothing and personal belongings were strewn through the area. The communists were gone.
The recapture operation a success, General Fernandez on a motorcycle leads an armoured column in search of an enemy who has disappeared. All that remained for the occupiers was the burial of the dead, the evacuation of the wounded and reinforcement of the compound against a new enemy attack. It came today (Monday June 14) sooner than expected. Srang is once again in communist control.