Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Cu Chi tunnels

During the American war, the villagers of Cu Chi decided to resist their liberation and fought against the Americans that controlled much of the south of Vietnam. They literally went underground and dug out the now famous Cu Chi Tunnels.

The tunnels served as storerooms, workshops, kitchens, dormitories and command centres. They were small, cramped, dark and booby trapped - not an inviting place to chase the enemy - and gave the Vietnamese guerillas an enormous advantage in their struggles against the Americans.

Nothing there...

...unless you know where to look.

These small, dark holes are the uninviting entrances to the tunnels.

Imagine being an all-American GI, in full gear, being told to pursue the enemy down into these tunnels. The Vietnamese are much smaller (see the last photo here for an example of the size difference between us and our guide, or look at 'Harvey and his tailor' below) and made good use of this size difference.

The long-abandoned victim of a delay mine, this American tank was stopped in its tracks by the villagers. Notice the pitiful impressions left on the tank armour by the rifle rounds - and hence their use of tank-killing mines.

The mines were made from unexploded shells that the Americans fired at the villagers. They cut them up and reused the explosive charge, adding shrapnel shards for maximum effect.

Harvey emerges from the tunnels, sweating profusely. It's very hot down there, hot and dark and very uninviting. And we didn't even have to carry our own lights, or deal with enemy fire or scorpion-box booby traps, just crawl 100m on our hands and knees throught tunnels specially widened for the benefit of us oversized tourists.


Post a Comment

<< Home