20 pictures of the Vietnam War not seen in history books


A South Vietnamese artillery position


In this 1972 picture we can see a South Vietnamese artillery unit composed of one Howitzer gun, plenty of ammunition and no objective… Clearly the South Vietnamese troops are slacking having tried the gun several times, as is shown by the spent shells you can see on the left. Of course they might have been taking a break.

Saigon in 1968

This is a street in Saigon, in 1968. It was taken during the war but, probably to portray some of the South Vietnamese capital back home. It inadvertently caught the conflict between two women. If you observe the woman in pink is casting an angry glance to the woman wearing white. Conversely the woman in white has an angry face, the face someone makes involuntarily when you just happen to come across someone nasty. Who’s the victim? This picture was taken before the Tet offensive. As I’m sure you know… Chaos would ensue soon for both of them.

General Nguyen Cao Ky and his wife

This is the man whom the US backed from 1965-67 a pilot trained by the French when the country was still Indochina. He had  reputation as a womanizer and for his brash behavior. He fled to the United States when Saigon fell.

Refugees under fire in 1968

Refugees under fire, run for cover where there is none. The boy carries a bag of rice over his head which will feed him and his family for several days if he manages to keep it intact. His mom also run behind him carrying his sister. That bag of rice is very important. It’s food for weeks…

Shoe shine boy has a high-noon snack

This shoe shine boy has his high-noon snack consistent of food he bought on a sidewalk restaurant. He’s using a spoon rather than chopsticks. The Vietnamese –like most Southeast Asians– have a three-hour nap or siesta after this meal. Everyone in the city takes this nap, and it’s a custom older than Buddha it appears.

Pulitzer photo from Vietnam war

This photo won a Pulitzer and it’s not hard to see why. A South Vietnamese soldier on the left holds a gun to the head of a Vietcong operative. The picture was taken just a jiffy before the weapon was fired.

South Vietnamese delivered from certain death

This photograph from Associated Press in 1971 show South Vietnamese troops just leaving a US helicopter, after having been evacuated from Laos. The US sent droves of helicopters to Laos in an attempt to save South Vietnamese forces from total annihilation.


Budhist monks escaping the riot police

Buddhist monks protested incessantly during the Vietnam War. There were some peaceful protests to be sure, but countless protests turned into riots. This picture was taken as they escaped the riot police.

Students overturning a police jeep

These students overturn a police jeep previously torched by a molotov cocktail. This is a wire photo sent from Saigon to Associated Press headquarters (hence the low contrast). It was taken in Oct 3, 1971.

North Vietnamese girl turned guerrilla

A North Vietnamese girl wearing rubber sandals and carrying a bolt-action rifle. Many of these women were outstanding snipers.

American G.I. Enduring pain from a combat wound

 An American soldier, recently injured, endures pain whilst awaiting the helicopter that will take him to receive treatment. He’s biting on a stick to avoid shouting due to pain.

Boats evacuating refugees

 Boats are seen here filled with refugees as they abandon the city.

Wounded Vietnamese Ranger is carried to a helicopter

This Vietnamese ranger was wounded on both legs during combat with the Vietcong. He was found by newsmen hiding among the leaves of a rubber plantation.

Defending Saigon

Yes, we all know how that ended up. Saigon was eventually lost. This picture might have been taken during the last minutes, as secret documents were being torched at the US embassy.

Blown to bits

A South Vietnamese soldier watches as an artillery shell hits a sniper-infested hut and it’s blown sky-high. The bits of corrugated tin from the roof look as if they’re being torned by a tornado but it’s only because the timing of the photographer was excellent.


A marine with his M79 grenade launcher, calculates the precise angle at which to shoot at the enemy positions across the river Perfume on the North Bank. They dare not leave their their foxhole because the North Vietnamese had been attacking with machine gun and mortar fire.

Children love chewing gum

 A US Marine tries some Vietnamese with these children, who ask for chewing gum or food. The barbed wire protects the troops from –among other things– these children who are sometimes little thieves.

War is a terrible thing

 After a battle with the Vietcong, both the American soldier and the woman with the straw hat cannot hide a profound sadness. The Vietcong was specially violent in small villages such as this one, near Bong Song, 290 miles northeast of Saigon.

This is Hanoi Hannah

 This is Trinh Thi Ngo, better known as “Hanoi Hannah” the Vietnamese woman who engaged in psychological warfare against American troops on the radio, in perfect English. She would welcome US Navy ships coming into port, detailing crew details and destination, or list US casualties in the war. US Armed Forces Radio sometimes censored  information that they deemed could have a detrimental effect on moral, as a result US troops sometimes relied on Hanoi Hanna for information. She still lives in Vietnam  in Ho Chi Min city (formerly Saigon) and she still gives the news.

 US Army troops on a jeep drinking beer

This picture taken in 1968 shows US Army troops on a jeep drinking  beer as they travel into the jungle. It looks as if it was just taken out of a Vietnam movie.



21 of 21