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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War

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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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  #1  
Old 24 Apr 12, 04:58
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VC Tunnel System?

I'm going to be careful here because I can't imagine this would have been a very pleasant experience but in case someone doesn't mind sharing their knowledge; did any of you guys have any experience with the VC tunnel system?
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  #2  
Old 24 Apr 12, 07:59
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Where the terrain allowed it, tunnels were extensively used by the VC for a variety of uses from shelters, to ambush bunkers, to storage bins. I have seen and been in all three.

And, you are correct. Being the "Tunnel Rat," the person given a 45 and a flashlight to clear one, can be a dirty and very dangerous job as booby trapping them was all too common.

The ones in the Iron Triangle area were well built with escape routes, doglegs to thwart grenade attacks, and living areas with beds and tables. They were quite difficult to search and destroy them all.

One near Cambodia was found stocked with tons of supplies including communications equipment that we made use of and a NVA commander's private stash of two cases of Hanoi Wine.

The occupied ones resulted in the death of several of my buddies one as a result of a John Wayne attack by a lifer Sargent when the VC inside tossed the grenade back out.
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Old 24 Apr 12, 08:13
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I only played the part of a "Tunnel Rat" once during my tour of duty in Vietnam. I felt extremely vulnerable while inside that tunnel, but fortunately for me it was unoccupied.
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Old 24 Apr 12, 08:27
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I've met a few that claimed they played the role but I never once listened to their stories.
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Old 24 Apr 12, 09:42
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Thanks guys for your comments...
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Old 24 Apr 12, 09:59
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I had a Vietnamese student here who had actually lived and worked in an elaborate tunnel system for much of his childhood. He said there was even a schoolroom as well as many other facilities down there so that they rarely went to the surface.


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  #7  
Old 24 Apr 12, 10:28
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In a meeting on 02/07/1968 Zhou Enlai suggested to Ho Chi Minh the following:
Quote:
In the meantime, you may construct underground galleries, which are different from the simple underground tunnels, in three or four directions [around the enemy], and use them for troop movement and ammunition transportation.
Were there such "underground galleries" ?
The Chinese might have dug those underground galleries in during the Korea War and at Dien Bien Phu.
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Old 24 Apr 12, 15:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phieu View Post
In a meeting on 02/07/1968 Zhou Enlai suggested to Ho Chi Minh the following:

The Chinese might have dug those underground galleries in during the Korea War and at Dien Bien Phu.
First, the Cu Chi tunnel system existed far longer before 1968.
Second, i'm pretty sure the Chinese combat engineers did nothing at Dien Bien Phu except some Chinese advisors who played no leading role.
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Old 24 Apr 12, 16:05
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May you have to ask her late father how Rung Sac and Cu Chi tunnel were able to exist year by year even next-door to Saigon.

Ly Nha Ky, born 1982 in Vung Tau, the last daughter of a Vietcong fought as Rung Sac commando (đặc công Rừng Sác).

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Old 24 Apr 12, 18:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miska-iloveyou View Post
First, the Cu Chi tunnel system existed far longer before 1968.

Please note: "underground galleries (maybe 5 or more times wider), which are different from the simple underground tunnels" at Cu Chi
Quote:
Second, i'm pretty sure the Chinese combat engineers did nothing at Dien Bien Phu except some Chinese advisors who played no leading role.
Quite wrong.
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  #11  
Old 25 Apr 12, 07:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phieu View Post
Quite wrong.
I didn't go through any moment of those wars. However during my childhood i was told or heard a lot of stories narrated by alive vets from Dien Bien Phu. Sure, they are all North Vietnamese, and participated as porters, combat engineers, artillerymen ..........
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Old 25 Apr 12, 09:39
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Quote:
Specific support provided for the Dien Bien Phu campaign would include planning, logistics, engineering advisors, trucks, rocket and 75mm recoilless rifle battalions, and Soviet Katyusha Rocket Launchers or “Stalin Organs.” A combined headquarters was established as the Dien Bien Phu Campaign Command with General Giap as Commander in Chief with Chinese General Wei Guoqing as General Advisor. [36]

Giap wrote years after the battle that “I felt there needed to be a meeting with the head of the team of friendly military experts who was also present. Generally speaking, relationships between us and friendly military experts ever since the Border Campaign had been excellent. Our friends had given us the benefit of their invaluable experience drawn from the revolutionary war in China and the anti-US war in Korea.” [37] It is interesting that in his account of the battle Giap makes no mention of Chinese material support or advice and planning assistance provided throughout this decisive last battle of the First Vietnam War. The Chinese advisors, such as General Wei Guoqing, are not identified or given any credit by Giap. Perhaps this is understandable given that one of the Chinese advisors would write later that “The greatest shortcoming of the Vietnamese Communists was their fear of letting other people know their weaknesses. They lacked Bolshevist self-criticism.” [38] The siege of Dien Bien Phu was to last 8 weeks with China providing 8,286 tons of supplies, including 4,620 tons of petroleum, 1,360 tons of ammunition, 46 tons of weapons and 1,700 tons of rice from supply depots 600 miles away. [39]

Chinese advisors would be involved at all levels during the battle including digging in the all important Vietnamese artillery into shellproof dugouts, experience learned the hard way in the hills of Korea. [40] In effect the battle of Dien Bien Phu would be planned and assisted by Chinese advisors and fought with Chinese trained, equipped, supplied, transported and fed PAVN troops in a military soup to nuts manner. This support is rarely mentioned as a contributing factor to the Vietnamese victory in 1954 but should be acknowledged in analyzing the battle.
http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...sesupport.aspx
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Old 25 Apr 12, 09:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miska-iloveyou View Post
I didn't go through any moment of those wars. However during my childhood i was told or heard a lot of stories narrated by alive vets from Dien Bien Phu.
Excellent post; very informative (to me anyway).

As a Combat Infantry Platoon Leader, who personally went through a small portion of this war, I am very interested in your opinion and perspective of what you have been taught as an individual from today's Vietnam.

Would you mind telling us how old you currently are; and of what gender (male or female)?

Are you currently attending school/university or working in some capacity of a professional nature?

As for the "Gallery" tunnel complex(s) mentioned by Phieu, it appears these type of complexes were never constructed anywhere in S. Vietnam; nothing more then a "concept".

My Infantry Platoon troops (while I was in Command) never went down into any tunnels. We would report what we found and most the time just blow the entrance and continue on with our mission. If our "rear" Command wanted to go snoop around, that was their business and then we (my Platoon troops) didn't blow the entrance; our "rear" support folks would use other folks to play "tunnel rat". I for one, would have been hard pressed to order any of my men down into one of those holes; I would have certainly had a verbal debate with my Captain and/or any other Commander giving me an order to send one or two of my men underground.



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Old 25 Apr 12, 17:17
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Originally Posted by KEN JENSEN View Post
As for the "Gallery" tunnel complex(s) mentioned by Phieu, it appears these type of complexes were never constructed anywhere in S. Vietnam; nothing more then a "concept".
Agreed. And the reason is there were no Chinese diggers in South Vietnam and the Viet Cong laborers were not as capable as the Chinese who did it in Korea and DBP. The French were always wondering how their air force was not able to interdict the VM flow of supplies from the storage area of Tuan Giao to DBP. The secret night lie on these underground galleries dug by the Chinese laborers. Their existence seem to be still a classified matter.
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Old 26 Apr 12, 07:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEN JENSEN View Post
Excellent post; very informative (to me anyway).

As a Combat Infantry Platoon Leader, who personally went through a small portion of this war, I am very interested in your opinion and perspective of what you have been taught as an individual from today's Vietnam.

Would you mind telling us how old you currently are; and of what gender (male or female)?

Are you currently attending school/university or working in some capacity of a professional nature?

As for the "Gallery" tunnel complex(s) mentioned by Phieu, it appears these type of complexes were never constructed anywhere in S. Vietnam; nothing more then a "concept".

My Infantry Platoon troops (while I was in Command) never went down into any tunnels. We would report what we found and most the time just blow the entrance and continue on with our mission. If our "rear" Command wanted to go snoop around, that was their business and then we (my Platoon troops) didn't blow the entrance; our "rear" support folks would use other folks to play "tunnel rat". I for one, would have been hard pressed to order any of my men down into one of those holes; I would have certainly had a verbal debate with my Captain and/or any other Commander giving me an order to send one or two of my men underground.



Well, actually i'm male 28 and now working as assistant of director of a joint stock company for constructing various types of soundproof & heat-insulating windows. That doesn't however prevent me from paying my interest in military history of 20th century.

As for the battle of Dien Bien Phu where the US involvement official appeared for the first time, i managed to get a quote from diary book of Col. Pierre Langlais, French Vice-commander at Dien Bien Phu 1954: "Facing the fact at Dien Bien Phu, surely that the Chinese aid support is only a drop of water compared with the waterfall of materials the Americans gave us. "

http://baodientu.chinhphu.vn/Home/Di...0105/30662.vgp
“Ở Điện Biên Phủ, nếu người ta muốn nh́n thẳng vào sự thật, th́ ắt phải thấy rằng viện trợ cho Việt Minh chỉ là một giọt nước đặt bên cạnh ḍng thác vật tư của Mỹ đổ vào cho người Pháp chúng ta”.

I do not attempt to downplay the Chinese role of aid support at Dien Bien Phu. My point is focused on all the drops of sweat and each drop of combat blood shed there on the Vietminh side were genuine Vietnamese. There is no Chinese participation in digging trenches or making logistics. Absolutely no Chinese casualties in combat, while there were two US pilots died and another one wounded at Dien Bien Phu.

Last edited by miska-iloveyou; 26 Apr 12 at 07:07..
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