© Maikel Das 2002

page 1

Vietnam August 1968
Cu Chi district

I counted 5 M-113 APC.

It was my mission to stop every advance toward my village Phu My Hung, winning additional time for the evacuation.

As a communist party secretary I was automatically the political commissar of the defense group of my village.

Beside of my AK-47 I only had two remote controlled mines and a few grenades to stop the Americans.

I detonated the mines and escaped vividly in the tunnel. I hoped that the squad would fall for my trick.

I wouldnít get a second chance.

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The tunnel consisted of a corridor that ended in a one-meter shaft linking a second corridor. This corridor lead up to a similar tunnel system toward the surface.

I squeezed into a niche and waited.

The shark swallowed the bait.

It lasted a few hours until something happened.
Then the sound of landing helicopters told me that the Americans called for reinforcement ­ tunnel rats!

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The first tunnel fighter enounced himself when pieces of earth sledded down and the beam abruptly extinct.

The soldier had to crawl down the tunnel with his feeds first and then turn laboriously, because the shaft hardly one meter deep.

I used this moment of helplessness and shot!

They couldnít throw grenades without endangering their own man. That made my escape possible.

Shit! Get him out! Medic!

I chose my second position in the shaft that connected the first with the second, lower one.

Like expected the Americans were smarter on their next attempt and threw grenades and fired a few salvos first, before the next team entered the tunnel.

I was lucky.
They didnít used gas.

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Now everything depended on an exact Timing.

As soon as they spot the shaft entrance,  theyíd throw a grenade that would tear me apart.

When the first glow of the torch appeared I yanked up my AK-47 and fired the whole magazine toward the light.

The noise was deafening.
The rattle of the assault rifle mixed with the screams of the soldiers.

Afterwards there was silence again. Only the ringing in the ear remained.

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A short time later the fallen soldiers were very slowly and cautiously recovered.

A helicopter landed to collect the victims.

I feared that theyíd blast the tunnel now, but it was already 4.00 p.m. and under no circumstances the Americans would spend the night outside, but return to their base.

They still hadnít discovered the second entrance.

This fact made it possible to keep the opponent still away from Phu My Hung and get out of this at all.

The Americans came shortly after 8.00 a.m. as we were used to it.

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With extreme caution another squad of tunnel rats crawled centimeter by centimeter through the shafts, looking for booby traps.

I was waiting in the third tunnel above them.

The leading soldier probably saw in the last second of his life the grenade that fell upon him and exploded among them.

I just had enough time slams the trapdoor shut, forcing the sandbag on it and throws myself on top of it.

I never knew how many Americans were in the tunnel.

My mission was fulfilled and I escaped undiscovered.

Later the Americans blasted the tunnel system, but didnít cause much damage.

After a few weeks the system was fully operational again.