Vietnam Photos: Cu Chi

Photos Taken by Edwin E. Moise, January 1986

In Cu Chi district, there were some tunnels open for tourists to crawl through, and a very small museum devoted to the famous tunnel system. It had maps of the area, and tunnel diagrams.

Map of Cu Chi District during the war. Orange, according to the legend, is strategic hamlets. The large blue blob approximately in the center of the district is the Cu Chi Base Camp, the headquarters of the U.S. 25th Infantry Division. The orange blob with a blue circle in its center labelled "Chi Khu Cu Chi," southwest of the base camp, about halfway from the base camp to the border of the district, is the town of Cu Chi. The faint red line running northwest-southeast through the town, with strategic hamlets strung along it, is Highway 1.

Same, blown up to much larger scale:

Our guides said this diagram was General Westmoreland's version of the way the tunnel system was structured. They said it was silly. Any tunnels that were below the level of the water in the canals in the vicinity would have been flooded, and the lack of internal compartmentation would have made the system far too vulnerable to enemy attack.

The guides said this was how the tunnel system was actually structured, above the water table, and with more frequent doors and barriers separating sections from one another.

This is the tunnel entrance that our group of Americans went into. We crawled a relatively short distance underground. I got the impression that the tunnels through which we crawled had been recently dug for tourists, cleaner and probably a bit larger than the average wartime tunnel had been. In the group of Americans I was with, only one person got claustrophobic and had to back out fast, which suggests that the Vietnamese had judged pretty well how much bigger than wartime size they should make the tunnels they dug for tourists.

Road, viewed either from that entrance or from the exit where we came out.

A room where meetings could be held, open to the air but a few feet below ground level.

This meeting room had direct access to the tunnel system.

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c.v. for Edwin E. Mo´se

Photos taken by Edwin E. Moise are copyright © 2004, Edwin E. Moïse, and may be reproduced only with permission.

Revised August 9, 2004.