South Vietnamese War Elephants on patrol in th…

South Vietnamese War Elephants on patrol in the Central Highlands, 1962

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This photo, taken by Howard Sochurek, appears in the March 16 issue of Life magazine. The caption reads: “On the gently heaving backs of four bull elephants, a Vietnamese army patrol starts out into the hilly jungles of central South Vietnam, their weapons at the ready. For generations, warriors in the region rode to battle this way, and both the government and their enemy still use the huge beasts. A man on foot can cover not much more than three miles a day through the dense undergrowth and an elephant can do four times that. But the archaic scene belies the true nature of Vietnam’s savage war. Somewhere ahead of the elephant patrol, the odds are strong that enemy guerrillas with deadly modern arms wait in ambush.[1]