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The general thinking is that it is good to be tall and hefty.
But during the Vietnam War, (1954–75), that was a conflict that pitted the Viet Cong, against the government of South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States, the Viet Cong turned this thinking around on its head.
They used their small size to create a competitive advantage. They created underground tunnels and living spaces that were large enough to accommodate the small Vietnamese people but too small for the large Americans to enter. The design was based on the this very difference that created an advantage for one side and a barrier for the other.
The Cu Ci Tunnels are one of the military examples of the brilliant Viet Cong guerilla strategy in which they exploited their body size and turned it into a competitive advantage.
A few pictures:
1. The Jungle:
2. The booby traps:
3. The tiny easy-to-conceal tunnel openings that allowed just one small man in:
Concealed with a few leaves!
And here he comes out again!
4. Air vents:
5. The Tunnel itself
The strain I felt during the 10 minute underground walk – partly a “duckwalk” or crouch – told me that I was the wrong size / wrong fitness level to be venturing into Viet Cong territory.
Seeing the ingenuity of these tunnels and the various tools and devices they had used to conceal their presence right underneath the American Base camp made me think that this was not a battle they could have lost!
The guide spoke of an American Tourist who had been a veteran during the Vietnam war and he asked not only to see these tunnels but also to meet any war veteran who had fought on the Viet Cong side. With life having moved on for both sides, such a meeting was easily arranged and the two chatted through an interpreter.
In the course of the conversation they asked each other where they had been stationed. And the story was that while the tourist had celebrated some special event on the American camp, the Vietnamese solider was right beneath that camp – living in stealth!
What a coincidence!
Cu Ci Tunnels are a MUST-SEE for anyone remotely interested in wars and battles and military strategy and that sort of thing!
The Principle of Competitive Advantage – The Brilliant Cu Ci Tunnels of Viet Cong
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