During the fierce war days, with the help of two combat police officers, I had the opportunity to travel around Cao Bang battlefield from Thong Nong through Ma Dem pass to Tra Linh, from Trung Khanh through Ma Phuc pass to Ha Quang, and Quang Hoa.
With a Zenit camera and 20 Orwo film rolls, I captured the heroic local militia and self-defense forces who smashed the attacks of the enemy, firing dozens of tanks and collecting hundreds of weapons and war tools.
Cao Bang in the northern border defense war 40 years ago:
Bang Giang bridge in Cao Bang town was destroyed.
Trung Khanh hospital was devastated.
The neighborhood of Cam Garden, Cao Bang town, was demolished.
A Buddhist temple in Cao Bang town was destroyed by Chinese forces.
As a witness to the war, I painfully captured the brutal destruction and killing by the Chinese troops.
Until now, I still cannot forget lines of people running away, and the image of a little girl carrying her younger brother piggyback. The two starving and tired children were then taken care by local people.
On the way from Hoa An down national road 3 to Tai Ho Sin bridge, I saw a three-year-old girl crying at her mother lying motionless. Both of them were then taken by a female soldier onto a command car which passed by.
Vietnamese soldiers march to Cao Bang front.
A combat unit of the army of Trung Khanh district.
On the way to the battle, she saved a child’s life.
A combat unit of the army in Tra Linh district.
The artillery of the self-defense force of Tinh Tuc factory, Nguyen Binh district.
In search for the enemy in Nuoc Hai town, Hoa An district.
Chinese tanks destroyed by Vietnamese troops in Say village, Nuoc Hai town, Hoa An district.
A Chinese tank captured in Say village.
A Chinese tank was destroyed right after it reached Na Toong hill in Cao Bang town.
A Chinese tank shot fire by Vietnamese soldiers in Say village.
Giving first aid to prisoners at Cao Bang front.
Escorting a prisoner to the rear.
Tay militia women in Phuc Hoa district, Cao Bang province deliver food to soldiers on the battlefield.
A nurse from Phuc Hoa hospital with Tay militia women transfer war invalids to the rear.
By Manh Thuong