Cambodia Table of Contents
The smaller of the two noncommunist resistance groups, the Armée National Sihanoukiste (ANS) owed allegiance to Sihanouk. It was the armed adjunct of FUNCINPEC, which rallied Sihanouk supporters clustered on the Thai border. The force was formed in June 1981, by consolidating the Movement for the National Liberation of Kampuchea (Mouvement pour la Libération Nationale du Kampuchea--MOULINAKA--see Appendix B) and at least two other armed groups of Sihanouk supporters grouped on the Thai border. These groups existed at first in conditions of near penury, their members poorly armed and equipped as well as half starved. Following the proclamation of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, international support consisting of armaments, supplies, and other nonlethal aid, principally from the ASEAN countries and from China, began to transform the ANS into a more effective movement. In about 1986 to 1987, it became the principal noncommunist insurgent force by default when the KPNLAF slipped from that position because of its internal leadership dispute.
No authoritative figures for the personnel strength of the ANS were available in the late 1980s. The most frequently cited totals ranged from a low of 7,000 to a high of 11,000 combatants. The former figure was quoted by Sihanouk, the latter by Sihanouk's son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, some time afterward. In late 1987, Sihanouk also declared that the ANS maintained "8,500 fighters permanently inside Cambodia." (This number would not necessarily include headquarters, staff, and support elements on the Thai border.)
The ANS was organized into a command structure and maneuver elements. The command structure was headed by the commander in chief of the ANS, who was assisted by both a chief and a deputy chief of staff. In 1987 the positions of commander and of chief of staff were held concurrently by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and that of deputy chief of staff by Major General Prince Norodom Chakrapong, both middle-aged sons of Sihanouk. Maneuver elements consisted of battalions, grouped under the first through the sixth brigades. There were, in addition, four independent regiments, at least one reportedly composed of Khmer Rouge deserters who had rallied to Sihanouk's cause, and five independent commando groups, each composed of about seventy personnel.
Following the Vietnamese dry-season offensive of 1984 to 1985, the ANS made a major effort to deploy its fighters away from the border camps and more deeply into Cambodia. In 1987 according to Sihanouk, ANS combatants were deployed in five Cambodian provinces, including Batdambang and Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey on the western border with Thailand. Limited deployments also were reported as far east as Kampong Thum.
Photographic evidence indicated that the ANS, like the KPNLAF, was equipped principally with Chinese weapons. This included AK assault rifles, light machine guns, RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) launchers, and recoilless rifles. ANS combatants were dressed in a panoply of uniforms, some of them of ASEAN origin. These included camouflage fatigues and (T -shirts), visored caps, and combat boots. Indications of rank were not evident on uniforms; however, ANS members sometimes wore plastic-laminated chest pocket badges bearing a photograph of Sihanouk and a noncommunist Cambodian flag.
Data as of December 1987