is in Prey Veng
, in the province of Prey Veng
. In 1972
, the 22nd Brigade, under the command of
Colonel Thack Chan, launched the Operation Soriya I, fighting its way
all the way to Rumchek. So then the 1st Brigade, under the command of
Colonel Ith Suong, launched into follow-up operations and won victories
on every battlefield.
At that time a battalion of the 48th Brigade, the
"Tiger Head," Brigade, was wiped out. Every last one of them was killed,
a whole battalion completely annihilated. Those who tried to make a run
for it fell into Yuon ambushes. The annihilation went on for three days
and three nights. They called for artillery support, but it didn't help.
At that time I was on the right flank. The 48th
Brigade was on the right flank, but only one battalion was wiped out.
The Yuon did not attack in my direction. They attacked only the 48th
Brigade. They had engaged the entire Brigade and set up ambushes
everywhere, and I could not go to their aid.
I could not go to their aid also because I was myself
being strongly attacked from behind. The engagement continued for three
days and three nights. We called for American air strikes to help us,
but the strikes were ineffective. The bombs all fell way beyond our
So in the end, the Yuon came in and massacred every
last one of the survivors. At that point, the battalion had run out of
food and ammunition. So a whole battalion of the 48th, of the "Tiger
Heads," was killed.
After that happened, I fought forward again, but we
were thrown back because we had run out of troops. All of our big-shot
commanders had been writing all of these reports saying that there were
so many troops here and so many troops there. But the fact was that they
were lying to Sosthene's
After the apparent victory of Soriya I, the first
phase, Soriya II, the second phase, began. Soriya II pushed forward as
far as the Phumi Kompong
high school. I was in a fort dug in inside the
perimeter of the Phumi
military post. I stayed dug in there for seven
days and seven nights.
On the first night, the Yuon shelled using 75mm. They
shelled using 75mm. They shelled into the compound of the military post
and of the school. The shelling started with 75mm and 122mm artillery.
The first rounds scored direct hits on our artillery. At that point, the
troops panicked and ran out towards their various defense lines.
About 3:00, there was the roar of tanks, of five
tanks, of five T-54 tanks, which were being driven right up over the
road. One cut through a paddy field smack towards our position. At this
point, the troops didn't know there were any M-113s. Then they heard the
sound of an M-113 about 100 meters away.
They saw the M-113, which was flying the Khmer Republic
flag. All of my troops
thought that our own armor had come to the rescue and stood up to
welcome the M-113, shouting, "Long live the Khmer Republic
!" The guy on top of the M-113 opened up with
his machine gun, "budda-budda-budda-budda," and tossed a couple of
grenades, tearing them all to pieces. Every one of the soldiers who was
standing was dead before he knew what was happening.
Realizing that this was a Yuon armored personnel
carrier, the rest of the troops ducked into their bunkers and foxholes.
Our anti-tank guns opened up, but without effect, because the crews
really didn't know what they were doing. The armor made its assault
right on top of the command post of Thank Chan and Lt. Col. Chin Oh.
Both of them ran for their lives. They didn't care
what happened to their troops. But the troops continued to resist. Six
Vietnamese, their infantry, who were on the M-113, were killed by our
gunfire, tumbling to the ground. We kept our fire on the M-113, and it
The second night, the night of the next day, two M-113s
came. They came together as a pair, like a pair of yoked oxen. They were
making a frontal attack directly against my line. I was there with 1st
Lt. Seang Ho Ling. I was the chief of a section in charge of defense of
our artillery position, right in the schoolyard.
Then their T-54s came, trying
to simply overrun our position with a frontal assault. We heard fire,
"bang! bang! bang!", but we didn't realize it was the sound of a T-54.
We thought it was just a .50 caliber machine gun.