Military Review

Tunnel rats during the Vietnam War (history in photos)

45
Tunnel rats during the Vietnam War (history in photos)

Tunnel rats called American, Australian and New Zealand soldiers who climbed into Viet Cong tunnels (soldiers of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam) to kill any enemy there, gather any information, collect weapon and finally destroy the tunnels by laying explosives in them. The unofficial slogan of the rats was the Latin slogan “Non gratum anus rodentum”, which means “Not worth a rat ass.” Crawling through the tunnels required nerves of steel.





Initially, the tunnels began to dig during the war with the French for independence, but soon with the appearance of the Americans, their network quickly grew. Volunteers from nearby villages dug tunnels with hoes and baskets. The laterite clay, in which the tunnels were dug, has a dull reddish color and dries to a state of stone in the dry season. But during the rainy season, this clay is very soft and easy to work with. The natural feature of the lateritic clay to dry to the strength of the stone makes it excellent (if this definition is generally applicable to clay) as a material for laying tunnels

The passes themselves never broke through perfectly straight lines, rather they were made at angles of at least 60 degrees and no more than 120 degrees. This made firing at them impossible and helped to reflect the blast wave from a grenade thrown into the tunnel.




Tunnel systems (where the groundwater level allowed) had several levels, each level was separated by a watertight hatch that isolated the rest of the system from smoke, flooding, etc. In fact, these hatches could not be detected; a person standing in front of such a hatch could easily believe that the tunnel ends in a dead end, although in fact he could lead to a huge system with many passes. These passages could in turn lead to underground ammunition depots, kitchens, bomb shelters, hospitals, storerooms, workshops, latrines, and even theaters where political performances were staged.





The Viet Cong also dragged the bodies of their dead comrades under the ground in order to bury them in temporary graves when it became impossible to bury them on the ground due to the presence of the American and Australian military. After the body was dragged under the ground, it was buried in the fetal position in the wall of the tunnel and covered with a thin layer of clay.





The common practice of the American troops with the aim of forcing the enemy to leave the tunnels was to seal the entrances or throw more tear gas grenades in order to smoke out the Viet Cong.

When the American troops began a massive search and destruction operation of the Viet Cong in the forests of Bo Ho northwest of Saigon, they suffered serious losses, but the enemy usually disappeared when the Americans began their pursuit. Later it turned out that the Viet Cong used complex tunnel systems for movement and ambushes.

The sergeant of the Australian army, pursuing the Vietnamese, climbs into their tunnel (photo below).





In the tunnels, soldiers faced serious dangers, the most famous and insidious were mine traps, pressure bombs, traps with pointed stakes, snake traps (Viet Cong tied a snake, such as bamboo kuffia, which differed in hemotoxin poison [blood poisoning] to the ceiling, bushes so that bit an unsuspecting enemy in the neck, face, or hands. The Viet Cong hid snakes in backpacks, crates, etc.) and, finally, simple mines.

Also, the enemy arranged an ambush. In addition to the usual ambushes, some tunnels had special holes in the walls, through which the Viet Cong pushed the stakes and pierced any uninvited guest.

Sometimes the Viet Cong waited for the enemy at the secret hatches and entrances to the tunnels and then killed him with stakes, axes, knives, in general, everything that was at hand.

Some non-lethal dangers included flocks of rats, spiders and famous Vietnamese fire ants. Yes, in the end, you could easily get lost in the maze of tunnels!





Upon detection of the entrance to the tunnel, the soldiers checked the surrounding area for any traps and surprises and neutralized them when detected, and then a grenade was thrown at the entrance of the tunnel.

Then the "pioneer" was lowered into the tunnel headfirst, while comrades held him by the legs. In his right hand he usually held a pistol, and in his left a flashlight. He could see any Vietcong and probed the walls and the ground for traps and mines. A rope was tied to it so that in case of an unforeseen situation it could be pulled to the surface. Then a second person climbed into the tunnel.

The first specialist conducted a constant search for traps and signs of manifestation of enemy activity, while the second person studied the soil and overlying layers of rock with the aim of calculating the amount of TNT intended for the destruction of the tunnel.

They listened to the enemy, listened to all sounds, including the sounds of movement and the sounds of cocking or pulling checks from a grenade.




The main task was to kill the enemy, so the soldier instructed not to shoot 5-6 once in a row, as this indicated to the Viet Cong that the tunnel rats should now reload their pistols.

Then the tunnel was searched, looking for maps, documents, any sources of information, pulled out all the weapons and ammunition found in the tunnels.

After stripping the tunnel and leaving it, the “rats” took explosive charges C4, returned to the tunnel, laid them in the bends of the tunnel and supporting sites in the calculated amount. Then, from a safe distance, the charges undermined and thereby destroyed the tunnel.



It’s just impossible to imagine feeling when you crawl into a tiny hole and you don’t know what is waiting for you, where it leads and what dangers await around every turn. Deep respect and admiration for those who are steep enough to be a tunnel rat!

Materials used:
www.thebrigade.com
warfactsandtactics.blogspot.com
www.wikipedia.org
45 comments
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  1. Lyapis
    Lyapis 15 February 2016 07: 09 New
    32
    The deepest respect and admiration for those who are cool enough to be a tunnel rat!

    Indeed, the case when the "rat" does not sound like an insult. Even just to get into such a tunnel requires a lot of courage. And to fight there, you probably need superhuman skills in general.
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 08: 17 New
      28
      Quote: Lyapis
      Indeed, the case when the "rat" does not sound like an insult. Even just to get into such a tunnel requires a lot of courage.

      reasonably. There were guys with eggs, you won’t refuse.
      1. DrVintorez
        DrVintorez 15 February 2016 13: 10 New
        +7
        Quote: Zeppelin ml.
        There were guys with eggs, you won’t refuse.

        very much even with eggs! these Americans (and other Anglo-Saxons from the "rats") were really serious fighters! commands respect.
        1. crazyrom
          crazyrom 14 March 2016 04: 13 New
          +4
          You all just forgot a little bit that these rats invaded a foreign country and killed local people nizache that, simply because of the policy. The Vietnamese defended their land, while the rats defended the enemies. Also write what were the brave fascists, how they bravely invaded the USSR and killed our grandfathers.
      2. cdrt
        cdrt 15 February 2016 15: 13 New
        0
        there is a good movie about them. beginning of the 70s. that's called
    2. Megatron
      Megatron 16 February 2016 03: 29 New
      +3
      The pathos of the article and some unsubscribing here is not very clear.
      We heroize the American invaders?

      At this pace, you can even get to the praise of the fascists and ss-sheep, who also had a high military spirit.
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn 16 February 2016 06: 11 New
        +4
        But Th, the Germans really were excellent fighters brave, brave, skillful, but our grandfathers were even braver and fought for their house.
      2. DrVintorez
        DrVintorez 16 February 2016 06: 40 New
        +1
        This is not praise; it is respect for the enemy. The enemy must not be underestimated.
        1. repytw
          repytw 16 February 2016 20: 05 New
          +2
          Let the children of the enemy respect the enemy, and we must respect our heroes.
    3. Sartorius
      Sartorius 18 February 2016 06: 42 New
      +6
      But is it not courage to build and live for years in such tunnels? The Vietnamese, partisans who fought in the catacombs during the Patriotic War. Whatever one may say, the American invaders, the more of them left in those tunnels the better. They didn’t finalize the result with McCain on the face. The attitude of the article is ambiguous.
  2. Good cat
    Good cat 15 February 2016 07: 17 New
    +4
    "Superhuman skill required ..." or total lack of imagination.
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 08: 18 New
      +3
      Quote: Good cat
      "Superhuman skill required ..." or total lack of imagination.

      but what does the imagination have to do with it? Or is it about Call of Duty? laughing
      1. cth; fyn
        cth; fyn 16 February 2016 06: 12 New
        +2
        And I would play in kalavdyuti, it’s a pity they turned away from the WWII, och sorry.
  3. Olfred
    Olfred 15 February 2016 07: 23 New
    14
    rats were rats and stayed. all the same, the Yankees paid for their treachery with thousands of lives, fighting the peasants hi
    1. estixnumx
      estixnumx 15 February 2016 08: 48 New
      16
      Yes, peasants but who fought from the beginning with the Japanese, then with the French, then with the Amers. serious guys were. smile
      1. EvilLion
        EvilLion 15 February 2016 14: 20 New
        +4
        And before that EMNIP 1000 years with the Chinese.
        1. cdrt
          cdrt 15 February 2016 15: 14 New
          +1
          in in. there are such peasants and highlanders that I don’t want to drive the whole story into all the neighbors ...
    2. Lord blacwood
      Lord blacwood 15 February 2016 15: 51 New
      -1
      These peasants knew the area well, while the Americans did not. Plus help from the USSR.
    3. carbine
      carbine 16 February 2016 01: 07 New
      +1
      Quote: OlfRed
      rats were rats and stayed. all the same, the Yankees paid for their treachery with thousands of lives, fighting the peasants

      What, do not like spies, but love only scouts?
      And do not like underwater pirates, but love only the brave submariners?
      Well, well.
    4. The comment was deleted.
  4. cobalt
    cobalt 15 February 2016 07: 42 New
    11
    Thank you interesting article.
  5. common man
    common man 15 February 2016 07: 46 New
    27
    Quote: Lyapis
    Even just to get into such a tunnel requires considerable courage.

    And in order to dig out all these tunnels, and then live there and fight the aggressor does not need courage?
    1. Hon
      Hon 15 February 2016 11: 55 New
      +8
      Quote: man in the street
      And in order to dig out all these tunnels, and then live there and fight the aggressor does not need courage?

      it’s much easier emotionally when you know the tunnel, every nook, you know where the trap is, and where is the shelter, you know how to get out
  6. inkass_98
    inkass_98 15 February 2016 07: 59 New
    +9
    But the Colt 1911 .XNUMX caliber quickly fell out of use among "rats" - in a confined space from the sound of his shot, the eardrums of the hunters themselves burst.
    1. cdrt
      cdrt 15 February 2016 15: 15 New
      0
      there, like, they made special pistols then
      1. Zeppelin ml.
        Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 16: 33 New
        0
        Quote: cdrt
        there, like, they made special pistols then

        QSPR mean? Smoothbore 10mm from the serial S&W mod. 29-2 .44 Magnum. Under the silent munition.
        1. Izotovp
          Izotovp 15 February 2016 22: 23 New
          -3
          Rather, the question is not in sound, the silencer is also placed on Colt, but in the unreliability of the gun itself in comparison with any revolver.
          1. cth; fyn
            cth; fyn 16 February 2016 06: 14 New
            -1
            Colt is unreliable? Hmm ... Or was it a joke?
            1. Izotovp
              Izotovp 16 February 2016 06: 33 New
              0
              No, not a joke at all !!!
              Perhaps this is biased, but this is my personal opinion that I do not impose on anyone. hi
  7. Amurets
    Amurets 15 February 2016 08: 17 New
    11
    Thank you for the article! Very interesting. It is interesting that the old methods and methods of waging war do not die. In fact, this is a kind of underground mine warfare against URs and fortresses, I will object that everything. We have already "buried tank troops, surface and submarine fleets, barrel artillery" So what? Everything has returned to normal. So the underground war with its undermines and mine galleries in certain conditions can return back. The article is definitely a plus. And how hard it is to fight underground is written in this article, and maybe someone will seem like children's books about Volodya Dubinin, about our other soldiers and partisans who fought in the Adzhimushkay, Odessa catacombs and quarries.
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 09: 31 New
      +6
      Quote: Amurets
      books about Volodya Dubinin, about our other soldiers and partisans who fought in Adzhimushkaysky, Odessa catacombs and quarries.

      right. And there were also the "moles" of WWI from the times of trench warfare, which went underground, when the shovel and the pick became almost more important than the rifle) Sappers and mining specialists of Sir Norton-Griffiths received, by the way, 6 shillings a day against 2 from ordinary comfrey In general, deservedly so - the work of the clay kicker cannot be called easy. And, by the way, listening to the tunnels with a stethoscope, in my opinion, is also from the arsenal of PMV) And "listening" with a conventional sapper blade? What about a water-based stethoscope from a flask? Well, I will not say anything about the Messina mine galleries - there is an Australian film)
      1. Amurets
        Amurets 15 February 2016 10: 44 New
        +3
        Quote: Zeppelin ml.
        And what about "listening" with an ordinary sapper shovel?

        I don’t know about the other methods of listening to tunnels, but the fact that the method of listening with a shovel or a spade was used in my opinion in the XNUMXth century. Let it not surprise you, at least the auditory galleries of fortresses are mentioned in the works of Raymund Montekually, at least VV Yakovlev refers to them in his book "The History of Fortresses". To my shame, I first read about other methods in your commentary.
        1. cth; fyn
          cth; fyn 16 February 2016 06: 16 New
          0
          By the way, yes, because counter digging would not be possible, which were common practice.
    2. EvilLion
      EvilLion 15 February 2016 14: 21 New
      0
      The Soviet army in Afghanistan faced something similar.
  8. Zeppelin ml.
    Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 08: 27 New
    +3
    the article’s speech, I think, is about the famous Ku Chi complex near Saigon, from which they kicked the 25th infantry. Now there is a museum complex, but the funny thing is that the original passages had to be significantly expanded for well-fed Euro- and American tourists laughing
    maybe he missed, but the article did not seem to mention the shepherd dogs that the Vietcong learned to suck using American soap and a trophy uniform.
  9. King, just king
    King, just king 15 February 2016 08: 38 New
    -1
    Wow, ypt! Revolvers with factory PBS and factory level with a flashlight !!!

    Nitsche, Vietnam won! Yankee go home, gay!
    1. cdrt
      cdrt 15 February 2016 15: 18 New
      +4
      Quote: King, just king
      gay people!


      in the eyes, after all, I would not say to any of the "tunnel rats" :-))))
    2. King, just king
      King, just king 16 February 2016 15: 05 New
      -1
      Um, strange ... I got 5 minuses and 5 pluses for these two lines. Who will say why such a kipish formed?

      Well, yes, I served in the army intelligence, I liked Revolver. Yes, I'm for the Vietnamese. In the United States allowed same-sex shame - so who are they? So what's the big deal?
  10. Free wind
    Free wind 15 February 2016 08: 46 New
    +3
    There are no fire ants in Vietnam, the homeland of fire ants is South America, although now they are spreading around the world, we do not seem to have this muck.
  11. Monster_Fat
    Monster_Fat 15 February 2016 09: 49 New
    +4
    Those wishing to consider this topic in more detail can watch the excellent feature film "Tunnel Rats" https://my-hit.org/film/3634/
  12. Grigorievich
    Grigorievich 15 February 2016 10: 35 New
    +1
    In Syria, everything is repeated, and in Afghanistan it was.
    Courageous guys who climbed there, especially with their dimensions, unlike the Viet Cong.
    1. alexqazw
      alexqazw 15 February 2016 15: 35 New
      +2
      Send an Indian, they said
  13. Pimply
    Pimply 15 February 2016 11: 33 New
    +1
    Modern version. Special Forces of the IDF Engineering Troops "Yaalom". One of his mouths specializes in "tunnel war". Actively acted during the last operations in Gaza. I had to work with these guys in 2002 - cool pros
    1. Hon
      Hon 15 February 2016 11: 59 New
      0
      Quote: Pimply
      Modern version. Special Forces of the IDF Engineering Troops "Yaalom". One of his mouths specializes in "tunnel war". Actively acted during the last operations in Gaza. I had to work with these guys in 2002 - cool pros

      slightly different level
      1. Pimply
        Pimply 15 February 2016 17: 02 New
        0
        Quote: Hon
        slightly different level

        In what?
        1. The comment was deleted.
        2. testerman
          testerman 16 February 2016 06: 45 New
          +1
          Surely, the guys in Vietnam and Afghanistan went down to the ground with a revolver and a flashlight, without the accumulated experience ... pioneers. The brigade is equipped with the latest technology, operating time from previous conflicts. Based on this, the level is different
  14. testerman
    testerman 15 February 2016 11: 35 New
    +2
    Frederick Forsythe has a book called The Avenger that mentions the guys who served as Tunnel Rats during the Vietnam years. Much of the article is taken from there.
    1. ovod84
      ovod84 15 February 2016 12: 16 New
      +1
      He said right to the point, among other things, a good novel and the film is to him.
    2. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 12: 33 New
      +1
      Quote: testerman
      Much of what is in the article is taken from there.

      and where did Forsyth get it?
      1. cdrt
        cdrt 15 February 2016 15: 20 New
        0
        sort of said that he was familiar with one of the tunnel rats
      2. saygon66
        saygon66 15 February 2016 19: 43 New
        +1
        - Frederick Forsyth is generally an interesting person ... His bigraphy itself is a novel ... He served in the British Air Force, was a member of MI6, made acquaintance with mercenaries in Biafra and Congo ... He writes very interestingly!
      3. testerman
        testerman 16 February 2016 06: 48 New
        0
        Invented the time machine, read this article and vice versa))))))
        1. saygon66
          saygon66 16 February 2016 14: 25 New
          0
          - He himself is still a "dinosaur" - born in 1938 ... Even if you add it to the museum ...
  15. Idiot
    Idiot 15 February 2016 12: 26 New
    0
    Some staged photos. Type with a cigarette is cool. If he smoked in the tunnel, then this is a posthumous photograph. I would like to see the statistics in terms of the effectiveness of their work: how many caches were actually destroyed (I think that the Vietnamese quickly restored everything after the explosions), what operations of the Viet Cong did they disrupt, what losses did they have? The USSR has the only successful experience in the anti-partisan struggle - the liquidation of the Bandera underground in Western Ukraine and the Forest Brothers in the Baltic. What Americans did in Vietnam is optional ...
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 12: 34 New
      +3
      Quote: pft, fkb
      Some staged photos.

      laughing insightfully ...
  16. nivander
    nivander 15 February 2016 12: 26 New
    +1
    Vietnamese tunnels can not be compared with the many kilometers galleries of the North Koreans
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 15: 30 New
      +1
      Quote: nivasander
      Vietnamese tunnels can not be compared with the many kilometers galleries of the North Koreans

      the total length of the tunnels of the Ku Chi complex alone is over 200 km. Do you have data on North Korean? Share it. Then we’ll decide about
      Quote: nivasander
      no comparison
  17. dFG
    dFG 15 February 2016 16: 21 New
    +2
    The material is good and the photo and description but I would like to read more and see not about the brave Americans, but about the very Vietnamese who dug tunnels and fought in them
  18. Vadim42
    Vadim42 15 February 2016 16: 31 New
    +2
    Well done Vietnamese! How many they burned, poisoned, and they withstood.
  19. Valery 1966
    Valery 1966 15 February 2016 16: 33 New
    0
    You can fight against a whole nation, conquer part of the people, but it is impossible to defeat the whole people. And the war in Vietnam showed it. A huge country could not defeat a small country in so many years.
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 15 February 2016 16: 54 New
      0
      Quote: Valery 1966
      You can fight against a whole nation, conquer part of the people, but it is impossible to defeat the whole people. And the war in Vietnam showed it. A huge country could not defeat a small country in so many years.

      no doubt, of course, but the point of the article is not who and to whom, in the end, they kicked my ass)
  20. Kibl
    Kibl 15 February 2016 18: 16 New
    0
    I remember in "Forest Gump" there was such a moment when Hanks was given a 1911 Colt and he climbed into the hole!
  21. Razvedka_Boem
    Razvedka_Boem 15 February 2016 20: 16 New
    0
    The Americans were crushing now .. It is unlikely that now Faberge would be enough to fight like that.
    1. max702
      max702 15 February 2016 22: 43 New
      +1
      Quote: Razvedka_Boem
      The Americans were crushing now .. It is unlikely that now Faberge would be enough to fight like that.

      By and large, this is not necessary .. They never fought for their home, but when it comes to true ... who knows ..
  22. Olezhek
    Olezhek 15 February 2016 21: 22 New
    +1
    Thank you!
    Sorry for the Vietnamese is hard to find.
  23. tforik
    tforik 15 February 2016 22: 59 New
    +1
    The greatest example of great courage and resilience was shown by the Viet Cong!
    These feeble little people did not break before the mighty US military machine.
    Glory to the heroes!
  24. 5234
    5234 15 February 2016 23: 02 New
    0
    Weapons were mentioned, but somehow it slipped, but I would like to be more precise: which one, and why, was used in these operations. Curious.
    The article is good, thanks to the author.
  25. VSkilled
    VSkilled 16 February 2016 00: 03 New
    +4
    The Vietnamese are fine fellows, but the peddlers of "democracy" are not.

    "Rats" is a capacious self-name. Disgusting creatures.

    They came to a foreign land - to establish their own order. Naturally "broken off".

    At the same time, half of Vietnam was poisoned with dioxin. Spit on all the "conventions" on chemical weapons.

    The default "agent orange" - remember this one?

    The pilots who sprayed him died of oncology.

    Well, the Vietnamese have a "full bouquet": and - oncology, and - congenital deformities,
    and much more. For many, many years ...

    Dioxin is a complex poison.

    And one who admires these Amerz rats - must remember that he personally,
    together with the family, have not yet been sprinkled with a hellish composition just because
    the "bad" Stalin "hurried in advance" in time with the development of nuclear weapons.

    However, the one who writes the laudatory eulogies of the star-striped fascists
    surely warm under the wing of "Uncle Samuel" (Uncle Sam).
    1. Zeppelin ml.
      Zeppelin ml. 16 February 2016 09: 23 New
      +1
      Quote: VSkilled
      And one who admires these Amerz rats - must remember that he personally,
      together with the family, have not yet been sprinkled with a hellish composition just because
      the "bad" Stalin "hurried in advance" in time with the development of nuclear weapons.

      However, the one who writes the laudatory eulogies of the star-striped fascists
      surely warm under the wing of "Uncle Samuel" (Uncle Sam).

      stop raving. They got nerds, turning any discussion into a grumbling, similar to this comment. In any forum its stupid hypocrisy fusses.
    2. saygon66
      saygon66 16 February 2016 14: 07 New
      -1
      - For completeness of information: For many years cotton fields in the Uzbek SSR have been pollinated with preparations similar to Agent Orange ... Spraying was carried out from agricultural aviation aircraft ...
      - Cotton was collected by the hands of schoolchildren, students and workers who came to help the collective farms, and the local population used guzapaya (tops i.e.) for cooking and heating (!), And also used water from open sources ...
      1. saygon66
        saygon66 18 February 2016 03: 08 New
        0
        - It's funny how it even ... I picked this cotton from the 7th to the 10th grade ... And then from production ... After the Army, however, "mowed" - it was necessary to study ...
        - Minsuya - justify! smile
      2. The comment was deleted.
  26. infantryman2020
    infantryman2020 16 February 2016 11: 33 New
    +1
    Quote: Megatron
    The pathos of the article and some unsubscribing here is not very clear.
    We heroize the American invaders?

    At this pace, you can even get to the praise of the fascists and ss-sheep, who also had a high military spirit.


    Dear, is it your provocation or just a manifestation of dementia?