A new outbreak of bitter fighting on Highway One is over more seriously threatening the southern defences of the city of Phnom Penh, capital of the Khmer Republic.
LV Bombs dropping beyond village
GV Villagers fleeing (4 shots)
SV Army officers looking at map (3 shots)
SV Soldier on field telephone
GV Armoured personnel carriers move off into battle zone (NOISE) (3 shots)
SCU Prime Minister In Tam speaking to officers watched by villages
SV In Tam driven off in jeep
LV Bombs dropping beyond village, in foreground villagers working in fields
Initials BB/0315 RS/AH/BB/0410
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Background: A new outbreak of bitter fighting on Highway One is over more seriously threatening the southern defences of the city of Phnom Penh, capital of the Khmer Republic.
On Thursday (August 2) fighting was reported only four miles (6 kms) to the south east of the capital as Communist forces again reduced the Government military control over the strategic Highway One.
Phnom Penh residents watched as United States F-III fighters attacked insurgent positions. The fighting is so close that the 'planes were beginning their dive-bomb attacks over the city.
The new fighting has sent a new flood of refugees streaming into the already over crowded city.
The riverside resort town of Koki only II miles (18 kms) along the Highway from Phnom Penh began to empty as the war reached it at last.
The heaviest fighting in the area was three miles (5 kms) away at Key Roth where Communist and Government troops were engaged in battle near a plywood factory.
On Friday (August 3) Government reinforcements were rushed to Highway One to encounter Communist troops who were attacking at three points along a 15-mile (24 kms) stretch of the road.
Communist forces are now pressing in an are around Phnom Penh broken only by a sector from the north to the Mekong River in the South East.
But on Saturday Government troops with heavy U.S. air support recaptured three miles of the vital highway, although the road from Koki to Veal Shau, which is only four miles (6 kms) south of the capital is still Communist held.
Observers believe that the final push by the Communist forces against Phnom Penh will not come until after August 15 when American bombing operations are due to stop.
The United States Defence Secretary James Schlesinger recently said it was highly doubtful if the Phnom Penh Government could survive without air power.
SYNOPSIS: A few miles to the south of the Khmer capital Phnom Penh, United States F-III fighters have been dive bombing Communist positions in bitter new fighting on Highway One.
The fighting is now so close to the capital that the fighters begin their dives over the city itself. The new fighting has sent a fresh stream of refugees towards the safety of the already overcrowded capital.
The riverside resort town of Koki, eleven miles from Phnom Penh rapidly began to empty as the war reached it at last.
The town had been a last weekend haven for Phnom Penh residents.
Government forces found themselves faced with severs fighting only four miles away from the capital -- and with a much reduced control of the strategic highway.
There was also heavy fighting three miles from Koki, where Government and Communist forces were looked is battle near a plywood factory.
Reinforcements were rushed to the Highway area to the south east where Communist troops had got to within three miles of the capital.
The Communist forces are now pressing in on an are around Phnom Penh, broken only by a sector from the north to the Mekong River in the south east.
The government Command said Comments troops were attacking at three points along a fifteen mile stretch of highway, and that the new fighting presented a grave threat to the security of the capital.
On Friday the Khmer Prime Minister In Tam inspected the military situation for himself when he visited front line troops.
The next day Government troops with heavy American air support recaptured three miles of Highway One.
Observers believe the Communists will not make a final push against Phnom Penh before August the fifteenth when American bombing is due to cease.
And without American airpower, the U.S. Defence Secretary James Schlesinger said recently, it was highly doubtful whether the Phnom Penh Government would survive.