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Vietnamese Tunnels Gave Us Fits Trying to Find Them | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Vietnamese Tunnels Gave Us Fits Trying to Find Them

We are used to hearing the saying that history repeats itself; well, sometimes it does just the opposite of what you would expect. As circumstances have dictated in the region, our relations with Vietnam are now warming up as much as they have in a long time. That seems strange after fighting a bitter war with them less than 50 short years ago. Relations have improved so much that after President Obama’s trip there this month he stated they were now free to buy arms from the USA. Let’s hope we don’t go to war with them again anytime soon if they do purchase weapons from us in the future.

With the Chinese trying to claim just about everything in Asia to the west of the International Date Line, it’s no wonder they have alienated such onetime allies as Vietnam and the Philippines. Much of the equipment the North Vietnamese used in the Vietnam War either came from China or the Soviet Union. But here we are; times have changed and our once-hated enemies are now talking trade, business ties and weapons sales with us.

The Vietnam War was a strange war in many ways. We used the most advanced equipment that was available at the time, like fighter aircraft, tanks and helicopters, while at the same time the North Vietnamese used stealth, cunning and built massive tunnel systems to hide in. These tunnels were responsible for many American deaths as the enemy could come up from anywhere as there really were no front lines.

A tunnel door closed (left) and open (right)
A tunnel door closed (left) and open (right)

Trying to find and eliminate these tunnels was no easy task. Oftentimes the only reason our forces knew they were there was after an attack and it was too late. The Army, Air Force and Marine Corps tried several different means to find the North’s tunnels with no luck. Out of desperation, they were even willing to try using “Divining Rods.”

Yes, we are talking about the age old art of using and L-shaped or Y-shaped rod that is rumored if used right to be able to find such things as water, underground caves and other subterranean structures. The art which is also called “Dowsing or Witch Rods” had long been rumored to work in several places around the world.

Why did Americans try it in Vietnam? With the damage the Viet Cong’s tunnel systems were inflicting on our troops, the Pentagon put a major emphasis on finding and destroying these massive tunnel networks in the North. It is actually a defense contractor that suggested trying to use this form of pseudoscientific practice.

Despite the fact that throughout history there was no concrete evidence that “divining” actually worked, the frustrated Marine Corps actually trained a full squad on the art of using the practice. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, we were never successful in finding any tunnels with it. If the war had gone on any further, who knows, we might even have tried voodoo dolls.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned here from the North Vietnamese. That is that, even though we have sophisticated drone aircraft, smart weapons and a host of other space age technologies to use in combat, sometimes it is plain and simple cunning, smart planning and cohesiveness that will get you victories on the battlefield.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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