Trusting in Tripadvisor I booked a tour of the war sites around Hue and the DMZ with Mr Trang. He was a translator with the US forces (MACV) during the war. I gave him a few secret handshakes to check his military credentials, which we sound, but he did try to tell me NZ troops just did key point protection and didn’t go on patrol. I think V Coy would have something to say about that.
Our first stop was a church at Quang Tri
Yes I put my finger in the bullet holesThis reminded me of the weapons effect display at Combat School. I think the large holes are 66mm rockets.
Next was the war cemetary. The whole highway out of Hue has many military cemetaries but the national one occupies 5Ha.
This is just for North Vietnamese Army soldiers – not VC or ARVN. The South Vietnamese get nothing.
After that we passed through Com Thien base (nothing left) on to Doc Mieu. Just before the site is a tank from the 1st Indochina War, then the site itself.
Now site of this statue and a post office
The site selection was obvious – it’s on the last hill before the DMZ, with nothing but rice baddy in between. However standing at the top you can’t actually see because they’ve planted trees. All the battle sites are like NZ in being made from earth, so little remains.
Artillery position at Doc Mieu
We went to the former DMZ.
Reconstructed bridge from north to south
The propaganda speakers on each side are still there. I asked my guide what he thought about the whole thing. He’d been coy with the Chinese woman around, so when she walked off he said, “We didn’t want the North to take over. They were commies.”
There’s a small museum here with some interesting relics.
It may be from the worng side, but look at those mudguards!Items improvised from downed aircraft parts.US sensor bombs. The ends are rubberised flexible antennaeThey DID write on their helmets! It's mostly places he's been, with only a small thing about peace.
After that we went to the Vin Moc tunnels. These aren’t as touristy as the ones at Cu Chi, but have been preserved with concrete.
Trench systemAA position and bay used for landing suppliesIn the small museum. Note the top - To be or not to be. What would Shakespeare have said? Note the caption here! They know soldiering!
The tunnels have 3 levels and had about 300 people in them, who would work on fields during the day. 13 children were born in them while they were in use.
They are larger than the ones at Cu Chi – about 1.6-1.9m high. I could walk straight in most of them.
The white is camera flash. The walls were dark earth.The meeting roomA tunnel entrance. It has been reinforced but the size is original.
On the way back we had lunch then I asked to stop at Hai Long to see the bunkers. We just stopped at the side of the road.
- Overrun after the US left.
Was the tour worth doing with a private guide? Probably not, but my companion did get more out of it than I did since she knew barely anything. On some of the sections you could see the craters from bombs and the effects of defoliants. The sites aren’t even as good as some NZ Wars sites, and that’s saying something!