Vietnam: Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels

Vietnam War was in many respects what’s now called “assymetric warfare”. An extensive network of tunnels north of Saigon and other parts of Vietnam went to hundreds of miles and the 121km Cu Chi portion of tunnels has been preserved as war museum. Viet Cong combatants lived in these tunnels for days, coming out at night to attack the US troops every chance they could. The US tried to unsuccessfully bomb the tunnels out of existence but didn’t succeed. Going into the tunnels was nearly impossible for Americans since the passageways and entryways were so tiny – an average American couldn’t squeeze through. (I tried getting into one of the entry holes, and even hips didn’t go in, not to mention shoulders – am I fat?) (Some wider portion can be crawled through for short distances if you are not too claustrophobic). US troops even trained special brigades of tiny soldiers called “tunnel rats” which went into the tunnels in pursuit of Viet Cong, but the latter quickly boobytrapped the tunnels with spiky body-maiming Indiana-Jones-style traps. Some of this brutal stuff is on display. All in all, tunnels were a significant part to the eventual communist victory in the war, although the numbers of dead in the tunnels were second only to battlefields – diseases and bombs took a massive toll.