History 22/03/20 “Tunnel rats”: how Americans fought under the ground in Vietnam

the Americans called the Vietnam war “hell’s disco in the jungle”. About it removed a lot of movies and have written hundreds of books, but the truth about the war will remain only in the memory of those who survived.

Domino Theory

the Vietnam war was the longest local war of our time. It lasted almost 20 years and very costly for US. Only between 1965 and 1975 was spent 111 billion dollars. Only military action was attended by over 2.7 million US servicemen. Vietnam veterans make up almost 10% of their generation. 2/3 of Americans who fought in Vietnam were volunteers.

the Necessity of war was due to the “Domino theory”. The United States seriously feared that the “Communist contagion” could spread to the entire Asian region. Therefore, it was decided to make a preemptive strike.

guerrilla war

the Jungle of steel for American soldiers and officers of the Bane. Many have called this the war – “Infernal disco in the jungle.” They were hampered by logistics and served as good shelter for the Vietcong. 100% humidity, hundred-degree heat, swarms of insects, snakes, worms, and parasites. All of this had to deal with.

the Americans were ill-prepared for a guerrilla war. For the Vietnamese it was already the third consecutive war, and they perfectly mastered the experience of the previous two. The lack of military supplies to the Viet Cong successfully compensated for by the ingenuity and hard work. In the impenetrable jungle they set bamboo traps and bombs filled with the American gunpowder from unexploded ordnance, established the “Vietnamese Souvenirs.”
the War was underground. Vietnamese guerrillas had dug a network of underground utilities that had successfully been hiding. To deal with them in 1966, Americans have created special units, called “tunneland rats”.

It was a very difficult task to smoke the Viet Cong out of the ground. In addition to fire and traps “tunnel rats” could have waited also snakes and Scorpions, which the guerrillas specially incited. Such methods have led to the fact that among the “tunnel rats” was a very high mortality rate. The holes returned only half of the whole.

“Iron triangle”, the area where you had dug the catacombs, the Americans in the end just destroyed by bombing B-52.

Military experiments

the Vietnam war was for the United States ground to test new weapons. In addition to the famous Napalm, destroying entire villages, the Americans also “ran in” chemical and even climatic weapons. The most famous case of application is the last operation “Popeye”, when the transport of the USA sprayed over strategic territories of Vietnam yodit silver. From this amount of precipitation has increased three times, roads washed away, fields and villages were flooded, communication was destroyed.

With the jungle, the us military also acted radically. Bulldozers uprooted trees and topsoil, and on top of the stronghold of the rebels sprayed herbicides and defoliants (“Agent orange”). This seriously disrupted the ecosystem and in the long run led to mass diseases and infant mortality.


on average, American soldiers spent in combat 240 days a year. That’s a lot. Such “productivity” provided by helicopters. Helicopter “Iroquois” (UH-1) has become one of the symbols of this war. Helicopter pilots often saved the soldiers from the environment, sometimes the pilots had to maneuver right into the jungle, lifting the plane by the “lawnmower”, breaking the rudders and screws.

the Number of us helicopters to grow at an unprecedented rate. In the spring of 1965 some “Iroquois” there was about 300 cars. By the late 60’s in Indochina was more helicopters of the us than the armies of all States. Some “Iroquois” was 2500.

“Iroquois” was a lot, but savedeniem they were not always. Low load capacity and low speed that made helicopters are easy prey for the gunners and missile. Happened crash for reasons almost random nature. There were cases when the pilots were wrong, the helicopter “led” and it crashed.

According to the calculations of M. V. Nikolsky over 11 years of war in Southeast Asia, U.S. helicopters made 36 million departures, flew 13.5 million hours, antiaircraft fire damaged 31,000 helicopters, but only 3,500 of them (10%) were shot down or made an emergency landing.

Such a low ratio of losses to number of sorties unique for aircraft in heavy fighting— 1:18 000.

the Fifth column

During the Vietnam war the United States became the victim of the Golem, which themselves have generated media. By the mid 60-ies of the role of television and the press reached its historical apogee. Americans showed the war in the air, could not call them in protest.
American community leaders, the press, TV, cinema has invested considerable resources in diskreditatsii image of their country. Mohammed Ali refused conscription became a national hero. Deserters became the guests of the TV show, veterans upon return waited of public contempt. Among pacifists it was considered a feat to spit in the face returning from war soldier.
the American media, pacifists, actors, musicians and journalists have become a “fifth column” that the United States failed.


During the Vietnam war, the army dwindled, not only from the bullets of the rebels. Many of the recruits just did not want to go into the army and running from the authorities, the war was widespread desertion. In addition, the Vietnam war became more and narkoojee. Drug abuse in the army was another factor that crippled the fighting capacity of the United States.


Vietnam Veterans overcome the “Vietnam syndrome”. Coupled with public pressure, many people were driven to suicide.

Russian Seven

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