In the Khmer Republic this week, fighting erupted on the east bank of the Mekong River less than 15 miles from Phnom Penh.
In the Khmer Republic this week, fighting erupted on the east bank of the Mekong River less than 15 miles from Phnom Penh. Khmer and Communist forces fought for control of an area of swampland guarding the northern approaches to the capital.
The swampland, which in one place approaches within two miles of Phnom Penh, has more or less been a Communist sanctuary with Khmer forces occupying a number of small garrisons in abandoned villages on the edge.
On film we see Brigadier-General Nou Tho (pronounced noo toe) arriving to inspect one of the garrisons where about 200 troops are based, including several boy soldiers.
For five days, the garrison had endured a Communist bombardment of huge Soviet-made rockets. Now the tired troops were being replaced by reinforcements who were flown by helicopter into the frontline area.
Both sides suffered considerable casualties. Latest reports say the 3,000-strong North Vietnamese force has now withdrawn, but Khmer commanders think the Communists will regroup and return to contest the Mekong swampland.