Tunnel rats in the Vietnam war
(1st Nov 1955 - 30th April 1975)
Communist forces started digging tunnels in south Vietnam in the late 1940s during the first Indochina war against French colonial rule. When the Vietnam war (AKA the second Indochina war) broke out, the tunnels had now evolved into a large complex system. In the tunnels were hospitals, storage for supplies, kitchens and HQs.
The N.V.A and Vietcong went underground into the cu chi tunnels where the Americans bombed the area. As well as providing shelter, the tunnels helped the N.V.A and Vietcong launch ambushes and sneak attacks. As well as deploy booby traps close to known enemy positions.
To clear these dangerous tunnels, brave infantrymen from Australia, New Zealand, America and South Vietnam volunteered for this stressful job. And their role will give them the nickname “Tunnel Rats.”
Volunteers were short at 5’6” and under because their height is ideal for the claustrophobic conditions.
The “Tunnel Rat” would be lowered down head first with only with an M1911A1 pistol, a flashlight and a combat knife. He would listen for any movement, followed by a second man who would radio to surface to map the tunnels. The Tunnel rat’s 1911 and it’s large .45ACP round caused a blinding muzzle flash and a noise in the confined space, which could cause temporary deafness. To solve this, they would improvise with their own suppressors, or civilian revolvers. As part of these search and destroy missions, Tunnel rats would locate enemy intel, and place C4 on weak points so everything would be destroyed. Enemys are not the only threat, they could encounter booby traps like spiked punji sticks, poisonous gas, and released snakes and scorpions.
When encountering N.V.A and Vietcong, Tunnel rats were instructed not to fire five to 6 rounds in a row because it would alert the enemy that they were about to tactical reload.
The role of the Tunnel rat was one of the most stressful and nerve breaking jobs in the entire Vietnam war.
Sources: Simple history on YT, Wikipedia, Historykey, pininterest.#vietnamwar #history #usarmy #historic #historical #vietnam #war #warhistory #tunnelrats #military #militaryhistory