Viet Nam

Vinh Moc Tunnel

Vinh Moc Tunnel

Vinh Moc is a tunnel system located in Quang Tri, Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, it was strategically situated on the border between North and South Vietnam. The tunnel system was constructed to shield people from intense bombing targeting the Son Trung and Son Ha communes in Vinh Linh district, Quang Tri Province, within the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

American forces believed that the villagers of Vinh Moc were supplying food and weapons to the North Vietnamese Army stationed on Con Co Island, which was impeding American bombers en route to bomb Hanoi. The goal was to compel the villagers of Vinh Moc to vacate the area, but as is typical in Vietnam, they had nowhere else to go. Initially, the villagers dug tunnels to relocate their entire village 10 meters underground, but the American forces developed bombs that could burrow down to 10 meters. Undeterred by these challenges, the villagers eventually dug the tunnels to a depth of 30 meters. Construction of the tunnel system occurred in several stages, beginning in 1966 and continuing until early 1972. The complex expanded to include wells, kitchens, rooms for each family, and healthcare areas. Approximately 60 families lived in the tunnels; as many as 17 children were born underground.

The tunnel system was a success, and no villagers lost their lives. The only direct hit was from a bomb that failed to explode; the resulting hole was repurposed as a ventilation shaft.

During the war in Vinh Moc from 1966 to 1972, the United States Army dropped over 9,000 tons of bombs in the area, averaging 7 tons of bombs per person. However, the local people were unwilling to leave or abandon their homeland. Therefore, they began digging tunnels in 1965 and completed them in 1967 using simple tools over 18,000 days of labor. The total length of the tunnels is nearly 2,000 meters with 6 entrances on hilltops and 7 entrances opening to the East Sea.

Today, the Vinh Moc tunnels are a popular tourist attraction and can be visited through organized tours. In addition to individual tours of the tunnels, they are regularly included in full-day tours starting from Hue to explore the DMZ. Compared to the Cu Chi tunnels, walking through the Vinh Moc tunnels is much more comfortable because they are located in a less humid climate zone, and the tunnel height allows even Western tourists to stand upright.

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