Tunnel Rats During The Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War was long, bloody, and brutal because of the new warfare introduced to the US soldiers along with the unfamiliar terrain. The Conflict lasted from 1955 to 1975, throughout that time new roles were introduced into the US ranks one being the dangerous position of a tunnel rat. Tunnel rats were tasked with the dangerous role of navigating themselves through tunnels used by the Viet Cong.
Some of the tunnels were made during the time that France occupied Vietnam and the rest were built during the Vietnam War against the US in the end, there were over 40,000 miles of underground tunnels. The tunnels provided shelter, storage, temporary hospitals, communication, and the chance to launch a surprise attack giving the Viet Cong a significant …show more content…

Once selected many of the tunnel rats had to go through extensive training to prepare them for the difficult missions they would go on in the future. They were introduced to a new style of warfare, tunnel warfare, which they would specialize in. The training primarily consisted of quick thinking, adaptability, and high situational awareness. The recruits then had to learn how to navigate their way through the narrow tunnels, detecting traps set by the enemy, and engaging in close-quarter combat. The newly acquired skills would help the US tunnel rats counter the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army …show more content…

The tunnel rats would face various challenges on their missions for instance the constant risk of an enemy ambush, hidden booby traps, and the possibility of running into the enemy. The tunnels would naturally be infested with snakes, spiders, and other small creatures. The enemies then would pick deadly animals like the bamboo pit viper as another way to detect unwanted guests (DC News). The small space limited the soldier's ability to see and added an uncomfortable amount of heat further straining the soldiers both physically and mentally.
This new form of warfare had a huge psychological toll on the tunnel rats. The constant threat of danger paired with the uncertainty of what dangers lay ahead mentally drained the soldiers. Many soldiers had higher levels of stress and anxiety. Even with these challenges the tunnel rats demonstrated a great amount of resilience, determination, and commitment to their mission.
Tunnel rats played a big role in the war by disrupting the enemy. One of their main objectives was to gather information on the Viet Cong's activities. They would restlessly search for things like maps, documents, weapons, and other information that would give away the enemy's operations. By gathering this valuable information the tunnel rats provided insight into the Viet Cong’s movements, supply routes, and tactics which significantly helped aid the US

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