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:: Volume 33, Issue 147 (12-2014) ::
JHRE 2014, 33(147): 51-64 Back to browse issues page
Documentation of the Underground Cu Chi Tunnels, as Rural Vietnamese Resistant, from a Passive Defense Perspective
Abstract:   (3670 Views)


 Although various aspects of passive defense have been studied in recent years, it appears that the architectural and urban design issues have not been considered thoroughly. The Underground Cu Chi Tunnels which were constructed gradually is known as the most effective measure of architecture and urban planning in passive defense activities. The tunnels were built over a period of 25 years that began sometime in the late 1940s. The Viet Minh built the first dugouts and tunnels in the hard, red earth of Cu Chi (ideal for their construction) during the war against the French. The excavations were used mostly for communication between villages and to evade French army sweeps of the area. In addition Cu Chi was used as a base for infiltrating intelligence agents and sabotage teams into Saigon. The stunning attacks in the South Vietnamese capital during the 1968 were planned and launched from Cu Chi.

To deal with the threat posed by Vietnamese control of an area so near the capital, one of the USA’s first actions was to establish a large base camp in Cu Chi district. Unknowingly, they built it right on top of an existing tunnel network. It took months for the 25th Division to figure out why they kept getting shot at in their tents at night. To deny the Vietnamese cover and supplies, rice paddies were defoliated, huge swathes of jungle bulldozed, and villages evacuated and razed. The Americans also sprayed chemical defoliants on the area aerially and a few months later ignited the tinder-dry vegetation with gasoline and napalm. But the intense heat interacted with the wet tropical air in such a way as to create cloudbursts that extinguished the fires. The Vietnamese remained safe and sound in their tunnels.

This paper consists of three sections. The first deals with reviewing literature on the relationship between urban design and passive defense by introducing instances of underground spaces. The second section includes a theoretical conceptual framework and research methodology based on qualitative data collected through careful observation and in-depth interviews with local people. The remainder of the paper explores the process of tunnel construction in the war and reverse engineering in making equipment and urban passive defense. The paper concludes that the resistance effort in Vietnam was not only achieved due to the faith and courage of its people but also owed its success to the local tropical climate, the traditions of rural lifestyle, and the ability to use architectural and urban planning defensive measures within the underground Cu Chi Tunnels. Through the use of such intellectual defense models, the Vietnamese people proved to be the ultimate winner of the war.

Keywords: Passive defense, underground Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnamese resistance
Full-Text [PDF 648 kb]   (1410 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Applicable | Subject: سکونتگاههای شهری و روستایی
Received: 2013/11/2 | Accepted: 2014/02/25 | Published: 2014/12/6
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Documentation of the Underground Cu Chi Tunnels, as Rural Vietnamese Resistant, from a Passive Defense Perspective. JHRE. 2014; 33 (147) :51-64
URL: http://jhre.ir/article-1-706-en.html

Volume 33, Issue 147 (12-2014) Back to browse issues page
فصلنامه مسکن و محیط روستا Journal of Housing and Rural Environment
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