Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Incredible Photos of an Intense Firefight in Vietnam, April 1970

Vietnam War veteran James Speed Hensinger has released incredible night-time photographs he took of American troops opening fire on a Viet Cong sniper who had been firing on a U.S. Army camp. Hensinger was just a 22-year-old paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in April 1970 when a Viet Cong sniper began spraying automatic rifle fire on Hensinger's base in Phu Tai, near the coastal city of Da Nang.

For more than four decades, Hensinger kept these incredible photographs to himself, not releasing them to the public until now. "We were pissed off at taking Viet Cong sniper fire from the mountain above us several nights in a row. 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." He recalls.

It was on this fated night that Hensinger set up his Nikon FTN camera to take long exposures to capture the firefight. Each shot includes 15 to 60 seconds of gunfire. The resulting images reveal spectacular beams and explosions of light that trace rounds that have been fired from M60 machine guns, 40mm Bofors auto-cannons, and a .50-caliber machine gun. After the massive attack, Hensinger says, "We sent out patrols during the day, and found a blood trail one morning. Otherwise, we never found him."

Self-portrait: Hensinger was 22 and had been deployed with the 173 Airborne Brigade.

(via Mail Online)

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