Война во Вьетнаме, длившаяся почти 18 лет, велась главным образом между северо-вьетнамскими войсками и южновьетнамской армией, поддерживаемой американскими силами. По сути, это противостояние было частью холодной войны между США с одной стороны и Советским Союзом и КНР, поддерживавшими коммунистическое правительство Северного Вьетнама, с другой.
A U.S. B-52 stratofortress drops a load of 750-pounds bombs over a Vietnam coastal area during the Vietnam War, Nov. 5, 1965. (AP Photo/USAF)
Wounded U.S. paratroopers are helped by fellow soldiers to a medical evacuation helicopter on Oct. 5, 1965 during the Vietnam War. Paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade's First Battalion suffered many casualties in the clash with Viet Cong guerrillas in the jungle of South Vietnam's «D» Zone, 25 miles Northeast of Saigon. (AP Photo)
Советское руководство в начале 1965 года приняло решение о предоставлении Демократической Республике Вьетнам (Северный Вьетнам) широкомасштабной военно-технической помощи. По оценке председателя Совета министров СССР Алексея Косыгина, помощь Вьетнаму во время войны обходилась Советскому Союзу в 1,5 млн рублей в день.
Для ликвидации партизанской зоны в январе 1966 года США решили провести операцию Crimp, для которой выделили 8 тыс. военнослужащих США и Австралии. Оказавшись в джунглях Железного треугольника, союзники столкнулись с неожиданным сюрпризом: воевать, по сути, было не с кем.
Снайперы, растяжки на тропах, неожиданно возникающие засады, нападения из-за спины, с территорий, которые, казалось бы, были уже (только что!) зачищены: вокруг происходило что-то непонятное, а количество жертв при этом все росло.
Вьетнамцы сидели под землей и после нападений опять уходили под землю. В подземных городах залы были без дополнительных опор и рассчитаны они были на миниатюрную конституцию вьетнамцев.
Ниже план-схема реального подземного города исследованного американцами.
Куда более крупные американцы с трудом могли протиснуться в ходах, высота которых обычно была в диапазоне 0,8—1,6 метра, а ширина составляла 0,6-1,2 метра. Никакой очевидной логики в организации тоннелей не было, они намеренно строились как хаотический лабиринт, снабженный большим количеством ложных тупиковых ответвлений, усложнявших ориентирование.
Партизан Вьетконга на протяжении всей войны снабжали через так называемую «тропу Хо Ши Мина», пролегавшую через соседний Лаос.
Америкосы и армия Южного Вьетнама несколько раз пытались перерезать «тропу», однако не вышло.
Кроме огня и ловушек «туннельных крыс» могли поджидать также змеи и скорпионы, которых партизаны специально натравливали. Такие методы привели к тому, что среди «туннельных крыс» была очень высокая смертность.
Из нор возвращалась только половина личного состава. Их даже вооружали специальными пистолетами с глушителями, противогазами и прочим.
«Железный треугольник», местность, где были отрыты катакомбы, американцы в итоге просто уничтожили бомбардировками Б-52.
A U.S. paratrooper moves away after setting fire to house on bank of the Vaico Oriental River, 20 miles west of Saigon on Jan. 4, 1966, during a «scorched earth» operation against the Viet Cong in South Viet Nam. The 1st battalion of the 173rd airborne brigade was moving through the area, described as notorious Viet Cong territory. (AP Photo/Peter Arnett)
Women and children crouch in a muddy canal as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai in Jan. of 1966, about 20 miles west of Saigon, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Horst Faas, File)
U.S. Army helicopters providing support for U.S. ground troops fly into a staging area fifty miles northeast of Saigon, Vietnam in January of 1966. (AP Photo/Henri Huet, File)
First Cavalry Division Medic Thomas Cole, from Richmond, Va., looks up with his one uncovered eye as he continues to treat a wounded Staff Sgt. Harrison Pell during a January 1966 firefight in the Central Highlands between U.S. troops and a combined North Vietnamese and Vietcong force. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
Weary after a third night of fighting against North Vietnamese troops, U.S. Marines crawl from foxholes located south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Vietnam, 1966. The helicopter at left was shot down when it came in to resupply the unit. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
Pfc. Lacey Skinner of Birmingham, Ala., crawls through the mud of a rice paddy in January of 1966, avoiding heavy Viet Cong fire near An Thi in South Vietnam, as troops of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division fight a fierce 24-hour battle along the central coast. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
U.S. troops carry the body of a fellow soldier across a rice paddy for helicopter evacuation near Bong Son in early February 1966. The soldier, a member of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, was killed during Operation Masher on South Vietnam's central coast. (AP Photo/Rick Merron)
Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division carry a wounded buddy through the jungle in May 1966. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division carry a wounded buddy through the jungle in May 1966. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
A young paratrooper with a mud-smeared face stares into the jungle in Vietnam on July 14, 1966, after fire fight with Viet Cong patrol in the morning. He is a member of C company, 2nd battalion, 173rd airborne brigade. (AP Photo/John Nance)
A U.S. Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter comes down in flames after being hit by enemy ground fire during Operation Hastings, just south of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam, July 15, 1966. The helicopter crashed and exploded on a hill, killing one crewman and 12 Marines. Three crewman escaped with serious burns. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Pinned down by Viet Cong machine gun fire, a U.S. medic looks over at a seriuosly wounded comrade as they huddle behind a dike in a rice paddy, near Phu Loi, South Vietnam, August 14, 1966. (AP Photo)
A U.S. infantryman from A Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry carries a crying child from Cam Xe village after dropping a phosphorous grenade into a bunker cleared of civilians during an operation near the Michelin rubber plantation northwest of Saigon, August 22, 1966. A platoon of the 1st Infantry Division raided the village, looking for snipers that had inflicted casualties on the platoon. GIs rushed about 40 civilians out of the village before artillery bombardment ensued. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Empty artillery cartridges pile up at the artillery base at Soui Da, some 60 miles northwest of Saigon, at the southern edge of War Zone C, on March 8, 1967. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Three American marines sleep atop ammunition boxes during a pause in the fighting at Gio Linh on April 2, 1967, just south of the demilitarized zone in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
A wounded U.S. soldier of the 1st Infantry Division, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, receives first aid after being rescued from a jungle battlefield south of the Cambodian border in Vietnam's war zone C, April 2, 1967. A reconnaissance platoon ran into enemy bunkers, and their recuers were pinned down for four hours in fighting that left 7 U.S. dead and 42 wounded. (AP Photo)
U.S. Marines of the 3rd Battallion, 4th Marines, crouch in the cover of a pagoda entrance as their patrol moves through a village along the Ben Hai river in the southern sector of the DMZ in South Vietnam, on May 22, 1967. The pagoda walls are richly decorated with images of dragons and snakes. (AP Photo/Kim Ki Sam)
American infantrymen crowd into a mud-filled bomb crater and look up at tall jungle trees seeking out Viet Cong snipers firing at them during a battle in Phuoc Vinh, north-Northeast of Saigon in Vietnam's War Zone D on June 15, 1967. (AP Photo/Henri Huet, File)
Medic James E. Callahan of Pittsfield, Mass., gives mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dying soldier in war zone D, about 50 miles northeast of Saigon, June 17, 1967. Thirty-one men of the 1st Infantry Division were reported killed in the guerrilla ambush, with more than 100 wounded. (AP Photo/Henri Huet)
William Morgan Hardman is interrogated by North Vietnamese military authorities in front of Hoan Kien Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam on Aug. 24, 1967. Hardman, a U.S. pilot, was captured after his plane was shot down. (AP Photo)
U.S. troops move toward the crest of Hill 875 at Dak To in November, 1967 after 21 days of fighting, during which at least 285 Americans were believed killed. The hill in the central highlands, of little apparent strategic value to the North Vietnamese, was nevertheless the focus of intense fighting and heavy losses to both sides. (AP Photo)
Two U.S. military policemen aid a wounded fellow MP during fighting in the U.S. Embassy compound in Saigon, Jan. 31, 1968, at the beginning of the Tet Offensive. A Viet Cong suicide squad seized control of part of the compound and held it for about six hours before they were killed or captured. (AP Photo/Hong Seong-Chan)
South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem, also known as Bay Lop, on a Saigon street, early in the Tet Offensive on Feb. 1, 1968. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)
A U.S. Marine shows a message written on the back of his flack vest at the Khe Sanh combat base in Vietnam on Feb. 21, 1968 during the Vietnam War. The quote reads, «Caution: Being a Marine in Khe Sanh may be hazardous to your health.» Khe Sanh had been subject to increased rocket and artillery attacks from the North Vietnamese troops in the area. (AP Photo/Rick Merron)
American soldiers take shelter in a sandbagged bunker as North Vietnamese rockets hit the U.S. Marine base at Khe Sanh on Feb. 24, 1968. (AP Photo/Rick Merron)
An American C-123 cargo plane burns after being hit by communist mortars while taxiing on the Marine post at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam on March 1, 1968. (AP Photo/Peter Arnett)
U.S. Air Force bombs create a curtain of flying shrapnel and debris barely 200 feet beyond the perimeter of South Vietnamese ranger positions defending Khe Sanh during the siege of the U.S. Marine base, March 1968. The photographer, a South Vietnamese officer, was badly injured when bombs fell even closer on a subsequent pass by U.S. planes. (AP Photo/ARVN, Maj. Nguyen Ngoc Hanh)
As fellow troopers aid wounded buddies, a paratrooper of A Company, 101st Airborne, guides a medical evacuation helicopter through the jungle foliage to pick up casualties during a five-day patrol of Hue, South Vietnam, in April, 1968. (AP Photo/Art Greenspon)
A helicopter full of Marines heading out on patrol lifts off the airstrip at the Khe Sanh combat base on June 27, 1968 in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
U.S. 25th Infantry division troops check the entrance to a Vietcong tunnel complex they discovered on a sweep northwest of their division headquarters at Cu Chi on Sept. 7, 1968 in Vietnam. (AP Photo)
A South Vietnamese woman mourns over the body of her husband, found with 47 others in a mass grave near Hue, Vietnam in April of 1969. (AP Photo/Horst Faas, File)
At a hilltop firebase west of Chu Lai in Vietnam, a huge army «Chinook» helicopter prepares to lift a conked-out smaller one to a base for repairs, April 27, 1969. The firebase was named LZ West and was manned by the troopers of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade forming part of the American Division. The smaller helicopter — a Huey UH-ID — had developed engine trouble so its crew chief called in the local aerial towing service. One sturdy nylon strap to the chopper's winch and the two were off. (AP Photo/Oliver Noonan)
A small boy holds his younger brother and looks at the remains of what was once his village, Tha Son, South Vietnam, 45 miles Northwest of Saigon, Vietnam on June 15, 1969. He and his family fled the village when Viet Cong troops infiltrated. Counter-attacking allied troops used artillery and bombs to push the Viet Cong out. The allies had told the people to leave their homes before the barrage began. (AP Photo/Oliver Noonan)
A medic lights a cigarette for Spec/5 Gary Davies of Scranton, Pa., awaiting evacuation by helicopter from Ben Het in South Vietnam where he was wounded, June 27, 1969. (AP Photo/Oliver Noonan)