The amazing tunnels
Cu Chi Travel Blog› entry 28 of 41 › view all entries
August 15th, 2008 – by: semiperipatetic
The whole structure was dug by hand, digging against hard clay over the space of 25 years. The network was completed during the American War, when its length reached an impressive 250 kilometres. The tunnels consisted of 3 levels of extremely narrow passages, wide enough only for flexible Viet Cong to crawl through, making it impossible for American soldiers to fit in, even if they ever located their entries which had been carefully camouflaged.
In an attempt to fight against the Viet Cong, the U.S. army carpet bombed the whole area to no avail. When the craters formed by the B52 bombings were deep enough to destroy one level, the guerrillas would move deeper to the second level. The tunnels were ventilated and the tip of the ventilation was camouflaged as a termite mound. When the U.S. army used dogs to identify these openings and spray toxics down the pipe, the Viet Cong responded by putting clothes of American soldiers at the other end, confusing the dogs.
Another impressive feature of the tunnels was that they were full of booby traps. Since the Americans deployed a lot of locals in search of the tunnels entries, even if someone ever made it inside, it would be highly unlikely that they would survive. At the end of every fleet of stairs was a hole full of spikes. For anyone crawling in the darkness, it was impossible to know where these traps were. Also, since the local water was polluted due to American defoliants, the tunnels also had wells, some of them 20 metres deep.
In the event of a large scale invasion of the tunnels, an escape route provided a path to the river, where the fighters could swim to safety.
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