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June 25, 2013

Incredible Night-Time Photographs of an Intense Firefight in Vietnam, 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.

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.”

The M42 tank fires an opening salvo at the sniper's approximated position with 40mm anti-aircraft cannons.

Hand-launched flares illuminate the hills as soldiers fire M60 machine guns with red tracers. One round can be seen ricocheting near the top of the mountain.

Flares continue to burn as soldiers pepper the hillside with M60 fire.

The M42 sprays the hillside with .50-caliber high explosive machine gun fire.

M60 machine guns join the .50-caliber fire.

The M42 once again opens up with the 40mm autocannons as the M60s and .50-cal continue firing.

James Speed Hensinger.

(Images © James Speed Hensinger)


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