Cu Chi Tunnels Facts

Cu Chi Tunnels Facts
The communist Viet Cong (VC) Army was essentially a guerilla force and therefore relied on non-traditional tactics when they faced the Americans and South Vietnamese. Head to head battles were discouraged, especially against the Americans, in favor of hit and run tactics and the use of non-conventional weapons such as traps and improvised devices. The VC were also forced to improvise in terms of supply lines and bases. Along the border of North and South Vietnam, the VC developed an extensive tunnel system known as the Vinh Moc to receive supplies from the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and to use as bases. They did the same in South Vietnam in the Cu Chi district near Saigon. The Cu Chi tunnels proved to be very effective against the Americans and their allies, providing the VC with safe places where they could plan attacks, retreat after battles, store weapons and other provisions, and give medical treatment to their wounded soldiers. The Americans and their allies attempted to destroy the tunnels through heavy aerial bombing campaigns but were unsuccessful.
Interesting Cu Chi Tunnels Facts:
"Tunnel rat" was the term used for American, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers who went into the tunnels in search of VC soldiers and/or caches. The Australians and New Zealanders were (ANZACs) were often overrepresented as tunnel rats per their numbers in the Vietnam War.
Tunnel rats were usually only sent into the tunnels with a pistol and flashlight.
The Cu Chi tunnels and other tunnel systems in Vietnam were first started during the Indochina War in the late 1940s.
Entrance to the tunnels was usually hidden in a hut or small house or in the middle of the jungle under brush.
The tunnels were usually only big enough to crawl, which made going through them even more difficult for tunnel rats because the average American, Australian, and New Zealander was/is bigger than the average Vietnamese person.
The Cu Chi tunnels cover about seventy-five miles of area.
The Cu Chi tunnels were equipped with ventilations systems, rooms that served as dormitories, kitchens, medical rooms, and weapons and food cache rooms. The tunnels also had direct access to rivers.
Life in the tunnels was tough for the VC. Besides the obvious claustrophobia, malaria, parasite infections, and respiratory infections were common.
VC soldiers also had to share the tunnels with poisonous snakes, scorpions, and other nasty critters.
The U.S. and its allies attempted to destroy the tunnels in Operation Crimp in early 1966. The operation involved heavy aerial bombings by B-52s, but failed to do significant damage.
The tunnels, especially their entrances, were usually heavily booby trapped.
The second major operation to neutralize the tunnels took place in early 1967 and was known as Operation Cedar Falls. It was basically a land based operation and involved forcibly relocating the civilian population in the district to another district, but the VC just stayed and hid in the tunnels.
Two sections of the Cu Chi tunnels have been converted into tourist destinations. One section even has a shooting range where you can see what it's like to fire a Vietnam era M-60 machine gun.

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