The Cu Chi Tunnels: Travelling By way of Time and Historical past


It’s dangerous sufficient to stay in cramped quarters with none electrical energy, how rather more in a tunnel shared with hundreds of different individuals. Inconceivable because it sounds, however this was how greater than 16,000 Vietnamese lived for a few years in what’s now often called the Cu Chi Tunnels throughout their battle with America between 1956 and 1975.

They aren’t your common tunnels, however a really advanced community of tunnels which served as hospitals, residing quarters, communication and provide routes, in addition to storage areas for the weapons and meals of the Viet Cong guerrillas. They had been constructed with out utilizing any refined machines or instruments however solely crude instruments and human resilience. The Viet Cong guerrillas started constructing them throughout their resistance in opposition to the French within the late 1940s. Its authentic function was for communication between villages with out getting detected by the French military. In 1960, nonetheless, Vietnam’s Nationwide Liberation Entrance started excavating and lengthening the tunnels. The tunnel system was very strategic contributing to the victory of the North Vietnamese Military in opposition to the Individuals.

Most of those secret tunnels had been constructed beneath American bases. Its significance was not solely restricted to army functions but in addition grew to become the hub of the Vietnamese neighborhood life because the Individuals burned and destroyed villages. Every thing proceeded as regular for the Vietnamese in these tunnels the place lovers met, {couples} received married, youngsters went to high school, and performances had been held.

All was not regular, in fact. The Vietnamese needed to face the challenges of residing in cramped quarters the place ants, scorpions, vermin, and toxic centipedes thrive. Apart from that, they must ration every thing as a result of meals, water, and even air had been scarce. More often than not, they solely received out of the tunnels at evening to scavenge something that may be helpful for the neighborhood whether or not they had been provides or meals. At instances when the Individuals bombed and infiltrate villages, they needed to stay in these claustrophobic quarters for what appeared like limitless days. These residing situations made illness, particularly malaria, rampant. In reality, it has turn out to be the second main explanation for dying among the many Vietnamese throughout that point. Apart from that, a lot of the tunnel inhabitants had severe instances of intestinal parasites.

Whereas the Cu Chi tunnels had been a haven for the Vietnamese, it grew to become a supply of frustration for the Individuals. They’d tried numerous strategies of detection and infiltration which had been all a failure. The American troops performed giant scale operations burning villages, bulldozing jungles, and destroying rice paddies. They deployed planes which sprayed chemical compounds to defoliate the areas burning it afterwards. By way of all these offensive assaults, the Vietnamese guerrillas, together with the remainder of the villages, remained secure and secured of their tunnels. Regardless of this, solely 6,000 Vietnamese from the unique 16,000 tunnel inhabitants had been capable of survive after the battle.


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