In the Vietnam War the Viet Cong developed a network of underground tunnels, which was used to launch surprise attacks on the enemy as well as acting as a shelter for the military and civilians alike from the aerial bombardment.
I visited two complexes of tunnels at Vinh Moc close to the north/south divide just north of the Ben Hai River and Cu Chi near the Mekong Delta in the south.
Our Guide Demonstrates How The Viet Cong Could ‘Disappear’
Vinh Moc Tunnels eventually reached depths of thirty metres, well away from the US bombs that were at best able to penetrate around ten metres underground. They were constructed between 1965 and 1967 into the limestone substrata.
They were then inhabited until 1972 and at the height of their use housed over sixty families. It is even said that seventeen children were born inside the tunnels!
In fact the network housed a complete subterranean village civilisation with homes, shops and healthcare facilities.
The Vinh Moc tunnels are much bigger than their Cu Chi cousins, enabling visitors to stand up straight and avoid a feeling of claustrophobia.
Their total length is nearly 2,000 metres with six entrances to the tops of hills and seven entrances to the South China Sea meaning plenty of escape routes if they were ever required.
Two Of The Entrances
In the event the tunnels remained intact and every villager survived the conflict.