The Sapper

From April to August of 1969, the base perimeter at Quan Loi was hit repeatedly with North Vietnamese Army - NVA ground probes. The element which seemed to always lead these attacks was a special unit of the NVA called Sappers. These Sappers would crawl through the concertina wire on the base perimeter and then either make way for the other troops or wreck havoc on their own. Following a ground probe in May of 1969, several of these individuals surrendered under the "chieu hoi" program.

One of them "volunteered" to demonstrate the techniques used to infiltrate our concertina wire. I was not really invited to watch, but I thought it would be interesting, so I went.

The demonstration was set-up on the south side of Alpha Battery 6/27th Artillery at Quan Loi. When I got there, the individual was just beginning to crawl through the outer wire. He crawled through this and then began to crawl through the inner wire. All of us present watched in awe as this individual penetrated our defenses with relative ease. Perhaps the most profound statement made all during the demonstration was about half way through it when someone said in a quiet whisper, "Holy Shit". The time elapsed for the entire demonstration - 63 minutes.

Gary Graham    


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Note the Sapper in the Wire  - Photos by Gary Graham



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