• Short Summary

    Government forces in the Khmer Republic are continuing to retreat on several fronts around the capital of Phnom Pehn.

  • Description

    Government forces in the Khmer Republic are continuing to retreat on several fronts around the capital of Phnom Pehn.

    Fighting is going on despite the recent formation of a new government in the Republic (formerly Cambodia) with representatives of both the old government of Prince Souvanna Phouma and the Communist Khmer Rouge. With heavy commitments on various battlefronts throughout the country to confront both insurgents and North Vietnamese regulars, the government has been unable to reinforce hard-pressed units near the capital itself. New fighting began on Thursday (10 April) only 17 miles (29 kilometers) southwest of the city along Highway Four. Troops of the 13th Infantry Brigade which includes many boy-soldiers in their early and mid teens were rushed to the area.

    A total of 200 government troops faced a well-entrenched insurgent force along a front more than a half a mile (1 kilometer) long. Despite being supported by Armoured Personnel Carriers armed with 106 milimetre cannon, the government troops were outnumbered and were forced to retreat under heavy fire. Casualties were heavy. For some of the younger soldiers, aged 11 to 14 years old, it was their first action. Two of the youngsters were wounded. After a day of fighting the government forces retreated to regroup and evacuate their wounded. However, they were soon to move into the battle again as government forces are still seriously depleted by heavy fighting in the Port Town of Kampot and in the Oudong region north of Phnom Penh.

    The Khmer new year began on Saturday (13 April) and even heavier attacks and further advances by the insurgents are expected by the Phnom Penh government.

    SYNOPSIS: Casualties on the government side were heavy, including injuries to some of the youngest soldiers. Cameraman Neil Davis was wounded in both legs as he filmed this battle to dislodge the insurgents.

    Then the only reinforcements could again be soldiers of eleven years, dwarfed by their helmets and rifles.

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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