Cu Chi Tunnels

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Cu Chi Tunnels Vietnam War How it Started In order to combat better-supplied American and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, Communist guerrilla troops known as Viet Cong (VC) dug tens of thousands of miles of tunnels, including an extensive network running underneath the Cu Chi district northwest of Saigon. Soldiers used these underground routes to house troops, transport communications and supplies, lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underground to safety. The tunnels were also used by Viet Cong as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous guerrilla fighters. (History Channel) The secret tunnels, which joined village to village and often passes beneath American bases, were not only fortifications for Viet Cong guerillas, but were also the center of community life. Hidden beneath the destroyed villages were underground schools and public spaces where couples were married and private places where lovers met. There were even theaters inside the tunnels where performers entertained with song and dance and traditional stories. (Kaushik) How it Ended While Army engineers faced a daunting task in destroying these systems, they nevertheless had developed a number of methods for doing so. The least effective was by mechanical means, as bulldozers and plows could not displace any but the shallowest of tunnels. Flooding also proved ineffective because the Viet Cong had dug additional wells deep inside to prevent the tunnel complexes from becoming saturated. An even less desirable method was for volunteers from special engineer tunnel demolition teams (who became known as “tunnel rats”) to enter into the tunnels to clear them out the hard way. Most effectively, engineers used acetylene for destruction of tunnels with less than 7 feet of over-burden. Four

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