Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War

Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War

Back in 1970, a Viet Cong sniper began shooting at a U.S. Army camp. Unsure of his location, the troops unleashed a barrage of fire that turned the hillside into a veritable hellstorm. Now, four decades later, Vietnam War veteran and photographer James Hensinger has released the incredible images he took that night.

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All images: James Speed Hensinger/Rex Feat.

Hensinger was just 22-years old at the time and a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. In April 1970, a sniper began spraying automatic rifle fire on his army based in Phu Tai, near the coastal city of Da Nang.

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Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War

The assault on the sniper's position begins with rounds fired from the 40mm auto-cannons on an M42 anti-aircraft tank.

Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War

Flares were then launched into the hills, while a pair of M-60 machine guns in guard towers began to fire. Their tracer bullets can be seen in red.

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Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War

Hensinger is quoted in the Daily Mail: 'The guy would stand up from behind a rock and blow off a clip from his AK47 on full-auto. The sniper was shooting at such a high angle that most of his rounds came through the sheet metal roofs of our hooches. We decided to use a 'heavy' response the next time the sniper hit us."

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Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War

Hensinger set his Nikon camera to take long exposures during the assault.

Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War
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The M42 tank's .50 calliber machines guns let loose.

Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War
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Thousands of rounds were rained down on to the hillside.

Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War
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"We sent out patrols during the day, and found a blood trail one morning. Otherwise, we never found him."

Illustration for article titled Previously unseen photos show a harrowing assault during Vietnam War
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His self-portrait.

[Via Daily Mail]

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DISCUSSION

bangishotyou
bangishotyou

That is just insane. All for one guy too. And that self-portrait. For one second, before I read it was a self-portrait, I totally thought it was a still from Full Metal Jacket of Joker.

I've read that snipers on the battlefield utterly terrify the average soldier, if only because of their innate ability to single out any soldier on the battlefield. Something along the lines of "They're not fighting some unknown, mostly faceless enemy. They're personally seeking you out through their scopes and singling you out for a date with death." I'm not quoting anyone in particular mind you, just a mindset that was described in some of the texts I've read.

Snipers will evoke that kind of response seen in the pictures above, because their ability to directly affect morale is second to none (what with the doling out death on a targeted, individual basis as I referred to above).

If you want to read about a similar response to a sniper during another war then check out Badass of the Week's article on Simo Hayha, which was during the Soviet invasion of Finland (called "The Winter War", and who came to be known as "The White Death" by the Russian Army.