A South Vietnamese Airforce helicopter gunship attacked a Viet Cong controlled hamlet in the Mekong Delta on Thursday (8 Feb) while a Visnews cameraman was filming village life.
SCU Child paddling sampan
LV Village a edge of water
SV Sampan approaching shore
SCU Depot in village with NLF flag
SV & SCU Villagers armed with guns (4 shots)
SV People walking through field with flag on long pole (3 shots)
SV People near village carrying flag
SV Water-filled bomb crater
SV Field PAN to village buildings
SV PAN..People in village
SV Armed men crossing stream (2 shots)
SV Armed men walk into field
LV Helicopter flies overhead
SV Villagers run to bunkers (2 shots)
LV Helicopter firing
SV Men running for cover
Initials ES. 2255
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Background: A South Vietnamese Airforce helicopter gunship attacked a Viet Cong controlled hamlet in the Mekong Delta on Thursday (8 Feb) while a Visnews cameraman was filming village life.
The cameraman, Neil Davis, said the villagers scattered when the helicopter banked over the hamlet and started firing. Viet Cong soldiers escorting Davis, pushed him behind a building to keep him out of the line of fire which continued for half an hour.
Davis located the hamlet in the Mekong Delta region just sixty miles southwest of Saigon. He was escorted by an old Vietnamese farmer he met on the main highway to the Viet Cong hamlet, via a sampan ride through the Delta's vast canal system.
All along the river bank, Davis saw Viet Cong flags flying from houses and huts. He said none of the soldiers he saw wore the legendary Viet Cong black pyjamas. Most wore tattered black trousers and blue shirts. They looked like the hard working sons of farmers.
Some had captured United States M-16 rifles. But most carried Russian or Chinese-made AK-47 rifles.
During his 24-hour stay with the Viet Cong, Davis drank tea, shared a meal, chatted about the mysterious West, ran for cover with them during the attack and listened to artillery bombardment of another hamlet in the middle of the night.
SYNOPSIS: A sampan ride through the network or waterways of South Vietnam's Mekong Delta is the only way to locate many of the Viet Cong controlled hamlets in the country.
Visnews cameraman Neil Davis was greeted by several villagers when he found their hamlet on Thursday. Some carried captured United States guns. But most had Russian and Chinese AK-47 rifles.
These Viet Cong soldiers operate in an area of the Delta region 60 miles southwest of Saigon, and just two miles from a main highway.
Many of the hamlets in the Mekong Delta show the scars of years of artillery and aircraft bombardment.
Villagers crowded around the Visnews cameraman as he filmed and sampled life in their hamlet.
None of the soldiers Davis saw were wearing the legendary Viet Cong black pyjamas. Most wore tattered black trousers and blue shirts. They looked just like hard working farmers sons. Then a faint noise was heard as a South Vietnamese helicopter flew overhead.
Suddenly it banked and started firing. Villagers scattered, many of them finding cover in bunkers. The helicopter continued the attack for half-an-hour before it left.