Assorted Tunnels and Bomb Craters (3)
final part my tips with more pictures
Walking around the complex, you will be shown many kinds of tunnel entrances and ventilation shafts that are camouflaged as ant hills. most of the tunnel entrances can only fit an average vietnamese so that the US army commisioned skinny and slim troops plus the troops of the south koreans and thais and australians to go and fight inside as "Tunnel rats".
Just 65km (40 miles) northwest of Saigon, the Cu Chi area lies at the end of the Ho Chi Minh trail and was the base from which Ho Chi Minh guerillas used to attack Saigon. As a result the whole area became a "free fire zone" and was carpet-bombed in one of many American "scorched-earth" policies since It is part of the "Iron Triangle". But the residents of Cu Chi took their war underground, literally, developing a network of tunnels that, at its height, stretched as far as Cambodia and included meeting rooms, kitchens, and triage areas -- an effective network for waging guerilla warfare on nearby U.S. troops. The U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division was just next door, and there are detailed maps denoting land that was either U.S.-held, Vietcong-held, or in dispute.
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Vietnam War museum
Vietnam War museum at Cu Chi you can see all about the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, also known as National Liberation and American soldiers and Vietcong (often abbreviated to BC, and according the NATO alphabet pronounced as Victor Charlie) was a communist resistance and guerrilla group in South Vietnam at the time of the Vietnam War.
The Vietcong began with infiltrations from the end of 1959 by the Vietminh. This happened to North Vietnam Viet Minh fighters who fled from South Vietnam in special units to take and in South Vietnam to infiltrate. They joined the guerrilla groups fighting there against the government of Ngo Dinh Diem and formed the Vietcong (National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam).
The name is derived from the Vietnamese Vietcong name for a Communist (Việt Nam Cong San).
The term Vietcong by the army of the United States frequently used, and the term is even many years after the end of the Vietnam War (1975) widely known. The ruling is a life of its own, the letters "NG" at the end of a word is pronounced like an "M". One would actually have to speak of Vietcom. American films have led to the Vietcong word is pronounced exactly as it is written.
The American soldiers thought a few months to fight but soon deteriorated in many years. One of the reasons that the VC to the Americans could offer are the Americans remained hidden underground tunnels. The soil of southern Vietnam was in fact soft and clayey and therefore could in the wet season easily dig tunnels that are stable and do not collapse. The best known is the tunnel complex of Cu Chi.
The tunnels could have an input from a well or even through an invisible entrance through the water. If there's a corridor was exposed, were guerrilla fighters long gone by another corridor. Explosives in the hallways throw did not help the many bends, and through the doors and traps in the hallways it did not help the tunnels full of poison gas pumps. The U.S. military had therefore smaller soldiers who were trained as soldiers tunnel ("tunnel rats"). This was a dangerous task because one never knew exactly where the Vietcong in the hallways was. Moreover, the Vietnamese booby traps laid out.
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Cu Chi Tunnels
After the end of World War II, Vietnam was again a colony of France: French Indochina. Opponents of the French regime, the communist Viet Minh fighters, which began with the digging of a tunnel complex northwest of the capital, Saigon. After the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the defeat and departure of the French troops heralded, these tunnels by the communist fighters from North Vietnam maintained with a view to the upcoming battle with South Vietnam.
In 1965, when America massively intervened in the conflict between the North - and South Vietnamese, gave the leader of the North, Ho Chi Minh, which the Americans also known as "Uncle Ho" or Uncle Ho was called, the command to the existing tunnel complex significantly expand and a haven for communist rebels from the south, the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army to make.
The focus of the tunnel network was in the district of Cu Chi and extended over 300 km of underground passages. If the position of the groundwater levels were allowed dug, often connected by doors with booby traps were secured. The corridors were narrow, often followed a zigzag pattern and had often turns explosion protection. Frequently there was a passage in U-shape filled with water was used to prevent the spread of poison gas against going into the tunnels (water trap). The tunnels were littered with all sorts of traps for intruders to dispel: grenades, sharp bamboo sticks, poisonous snakes, false passages that led to a guerrilla armed to the teeth ... And if that were not enough deterrent was there were again a lot of animals from the jungle in the tunnels found a good home.
The tunnels were a world unto itself: there were underground work areas where unexploded American ordnance was converted into booby traps, hospitals with operating room, bedrooms and dining rooms, meeting rooms, weapons and food stores and even theaters where the fighters poetry was recited or theater was played.
The living conditions for the guerrillas in the tunnels were incredibly hard. The air to breath was bad, despite the ventilation shafts were dug to the surface. Food was often inadequate and spoil quickly in poor conditions. It was crawling in the tunnels of pests, mosquitoes and parasites that often led to irritation of the skin at the underground fighters. Many had also suffered from a serious lack of vitamins and sunlight. The tunnel fighters spent nearly always the day by underground at night to leave their shelters and struggle to conduct. The tunnels allowed the communist fighters to the battle with the American soldiers and then to disappear into nothing, often to the surprise of the Americans.
After several operations began the American commanders the existence and importance of the tunnels slowly to see. The soldiers discovered more and more entrances to the complex, often through the use of smoke grenades were thrown into a tunnel entrance. The colored smoke spread in a part of the tunnel and was sometimes in the neighborhood back above the ground, which makes a new entry could be found.
Attempts were made to the tunnels to blow with explosives, but this did not have much success because of the hardness of the substrate and by the many bends in the tunnels that the effect of explosions downplayed. Moreover restored the destroyed the Vietcong tunnels quickly. The Americans sent trained dogs in the tunnel to the guerrillas out to hunt, but these animals were almost always slain by the communist fighters or by the numerous booby traps in the tunnels were made. The American genius has repeatedly sought a tunnel filled with tear gas so the Vietcong to the surface. However, this was unsuccessful because the tunnels were usually equipped with passages that could be sealed with water locks that the diffusion of gas from underground went.
Finally sent the American commanders ordinary soldiers in the tunnels to the Vietcong to hunt. These soldiers were usually not motivated to make their lives on the line to put in by the narrow dark tunnels to climb. They therefore tend quickly to come up with the message that the tunnel led nowhere. It was therefore clear that, if one actually fight the communists in the tunnels would enter into an appeal to an exceptionally kind volunteers should be done: the tunnel rats.
The tunnel rats were all volunteers, they were so unlike the ordinary GI be motivated for their job. Many of them were of Mexican or Puerto Rican descent, their small and frail physique was a benefit in the narrow tunnels. The tunnel rats were highly regarded by the troops because they testified of exceptional courage. They went after all the struggle with the enemy one-on-one in the dark claustrophobic world of tunnels filled with booby traps, armed only with a pistol, a knife and a flashlight. In the narrow tunnels, there was indeed no room for a machine to crawl around. Some tunnel rats communicating with the outside world via a phone or walkie-talkie, but most chose to operate in total silence to the slightest sound to be intercepted.
The tunnel rats were usually landed by helicopter as the regular troops had discovered a tunnel entrance. They crawled into the tunnel complex than looking for communists and documents that might contain potentially useful. The tunnel rats had their own rules and codes and she drew not hesitate to go against orders to respect these codes. The camaraderie between these men was so great that they never a dead colleague left behind in a tunnel, even with the risk of their own lives.
The tunnel complex of Cu Chi was really damaged when the U.S. Air Force began the massive area bombing with B-52 Stratofortress aircraft. The carpet bombing by the B-52's over the area were ejected churned the ground and brought to parts of the tunnel complex at the surface while other pieces collapsing under the heavy rain of bombs.
Today part of the tunnel complex converted into a museum. It has been enlarged and widened the corridors to allow visitors easier to move. The rest of the tunnel complex is no longer used.
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VISITNG HERE !!! FIRE A KALASHNIKOV AK47
Visitors can , and many do when visiting the Tunnels at Cu Chi Military Complex , Fire live ammunition from a Kalashnikov AK 47 rifle , This rifle was the weapon of choice used by the North Vietnamese Liberation Army in their fight agains US and Allied forces....These are very reliable and were then., the most popular weapon used by the northern army..
The cost of the chance to fire one of these is not cheap ,and is closely controlled by an army officer..
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As well as the tunnels, you can also fire various weapons such as an AK-47, M16, M60 or Magnum 44 where each bullet costs between 20-25,000 VND but for a minimum of 10 bullets.
Take a short one !
If you go down to a restored and extended Vietkongs' tunnel, I think the shortest tunnel is enough. There is very hot, humid and also tight.
B52 Bomb Crater
This large crater was created by a bomb from an American B52 bomber when they carpet-bombed the area in the late 1960's. They managed to destroy substantial sections of the tunnels.
In the pic there is a secret entrance to the tunnels. ALmost impossible to westerner to get in through these holes.
This is a last american tank that was destroyed with delay mine in Cu Chi area.
I think that it was 1975.