Thursday, July 25, 2024

From the Archives, Fifty years ago, April 4, 1973 | Heavy U.S. bombing in Cambodia

Saigon, April 3: American warplanes, including every available B-52 heavy bomber and F-111 fighter bomber in Southeast Asia, launched their heaviest raids of the war in Cambodia overnight in apparent efforts to force the communists into a peace settlement, reliable sources reported to-day.

The sources said the bombing was widespread and appeared to go beyond simple tactical support for ground forces. They compared it to the aerial campaign against Hanoi and Haiphong last December which was aimed at forcing North Vietnam into a peace settlement.

Military sources said some of the giant bombers, along with fighter bombers, flew in support of Cambodian Government troops on an offensive in the Kirirom plateau, southwest of Phnom Penh.

Communist mortar batteries to-day shelled the isolated provincial capital of Takeo in Southern Cambodia killing or wounding 10 civilians, the military command in Phnom Penh reported.

The command spokesman confirmed that the district town of Chambank, 39 kilometres south of Phnom Penh, was evacuated by Government forces yesterday. About 50 Government paratroops were trapped inside the town when it fell.

In Washington the State Department justified American military support to Cambodia on the ground that the Phnom Penh regime was an “ally in the sense it has been fighting a common enemy for the past three years.

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