Tunnel Rats (The Vietnam war) | Summary and Q&A

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November 17, 2017
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Tunnel Rats (The Vietnam war)

TL;DR

Tunnel rats were courageous infantrymen who volunteered for the dangerous job of navigating underground tunnel networks in the Vietnam War.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What were the tunnel networks used for by the NVA and Viet Cong?

The tunnel networks served as shelters, as well as launching points for sneak attacks and ambushes on enemy positions. They also provided facilities for hospitals, storage, kitchens, and headquarters.

Q: How were tunnel rats chosen for this task?

Tunnel rats were typically short infantrymen who could fit in the tight spaces of the tunnels. They volunteered for the job due to its high risks and were selected based on their physical attributes.

Q: What weapons did tunnel rats carry with them?

Tunnel rats carried an M1911A1 pistol, a flashlight, and a knife. They had to rely on stealth and caution as the confined space of the tunnels prohibited the use of larger firearms.

Q: How did tunnel rats handle the dangers inside the tunnels?

Tunnel rats had to navigate through various dangers such as booby traps, punji sticks, snakes, scorpions, and even poison gas. They improvised weapons and took precautions but often faced these risks without wearing a gas mask.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Tunnel networks in South Vietnam began as simple structures but evolved into complex systems used by the NVA and Viet Cong for hospitals, storage, kitchens, and headquarters.

  • Tunnel rats were short infantrymen who entered the claustrophobic tunnels armed with a pistol, flashlight, and knife to search for enemy intelligence and destroy weak points.

  • The job of a tunnel rat was highly dangerous and stressful, involving risks of encounters with booby traps, snakes, scorpions, and even poison gas.

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