They aren’t your regular tunnels, however a very complex network of tunnels which served as hospitals, living quarters, communication and supply routes, and also storage areas for your weapons and food with the Viet Cong guerrillas. They were constructed without resorting to any sophisticated machines or tools but only crude tools and human resilience. The Viet Cong guerrillas began building them in their proof against the French in the late 1940s. Its original purpose was for communication between villages without getting detected with the French army. In 1960, however, Vietnam’s National Liberation Front began excavating and lengthening the tunnels. The tunnel system was very strategic adding to the victory in the North Vietnamese Army from the Americans.

Many of these secret tunnels were built underneath American bases. Its importance had not been only restricted to military purposes and also had become the hub of the Vietnamese community life because the Americans burned and destroyed villages. Everything proceeded as normal to the Vietnamese during these tunnels where lovers met, couples get married to, children visited school, and performances were held.

All wasn’t normal, needless to say. The Vietnamese needed to face the contests of life in cramped quarters where ants, scorpions, vermin, and poisonous centipedes thrive. In addition to that, they should ration everything because food, water, and in many cases air were scarce. Usually, they only got out from the tunnels at night to scavenge any situation that will be helpful for the community whether or not they were supplies or food. If the Americans bombed and infiltrate villages, that they had to keep during these claustrophobic quarters for which appeared like endless days. Those living conditions made sickness, especially malaria, rampant. Actually, it may be the 2nd major cause of death on the list of Vietnamese during that time. Adding to that, a lot of the tunnel inhabitants had serious cases of intestinal parasites.

While the Cu Chi tunnels had been a haven to the Vietnamese, it had been a source of frustration to the Americans. They’d tried various types of detection and infiltration that have been all a dysfunction. The American troops conducted massive operations burning villages, bulldozing jungles, and destroying rice paddies. They deployed planes which sprayed chemicals to defoliate the areas burning it afterwards. Through each one of these offensive attacks, the Vietnamese guerrillas, with the rest of the villages, remained safe and secured in their tunnels. In spite of this, only 6,000 Vietnamese from your original 16,000 tunnel inhabitants had the ability to survive following your war.

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