The Secret Weapons Cellar

Bài thuyết minh du lịch tiếng Anh: Đường hầm vũ khí bí mật giữa lòng Sài Gòn

In 1967, Saigon resident Tran Van Lai began digging a hidden cellar beneath his home on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, in Saigon’s District 3. Lai was a secret operative for the Viet Cong and used the cellar to amass an arsenal of weapons and explosives in the lead up to the deadly Tet Offensive, a large-scale, finely coordinated surprise attack on US and South Vietnam forces that took place up and down Vietnam.
On the evening of 30 January 1968, an undercover assault team arrived at the narrow house on Nguyen Dinh Chieu. They quietly gathered their weapons and headed towards their objective, the southern gate of the Independence Palace (now the Reunification Palace). Their attack failed, as did so many others across the city, although the Tet Offensive was considered a success by Ho Chi Minh and his commanders, and many historians now see the Tet Offensive as the beginning of the end of US militiary involvement in Vietnam.
Like several other historically significant sites like this, the cellar is now open to the public. Find the narrow alleyway at 287 Nguyen Dinh Chieu and head to the house at humber 70. The alleyway, which connects Nguyen Dinh Chieu with Vo Van Tan Street, is often crowded with a small street market as buyers and sellers bustle through on motorbikes and bicycles. The house is therefore quite easy to miss amidst the action.
The entrance hall now contains a small display (largely written in Vietnamese) outlining the story of the cellar, along with various artefacts from the war to show how weapons were covertly transported around the city during the US occupation. When you’re ready to head underground, try to find the cellar hatch first, then have the caretaker open it for you.
Descend the concrete stairs to find a cool, confined space fully decked out with maps and secret documents, a rack of rifles and rocket launchers, and crates of hand grenades, pistols and bullets, much as it would have looked at the time.
Some untold stories - how to dig the tunnel

A Historical Relic on Saigon Commandos

Forty years have gone by. A secret cellar in a house in District 3, southern Ho Chi Minh City, has become a historical site due to its significance during the war. Nearly three tonnes of weapons were kept in the cellar by Saigon Commandos to attack the Presidential Palace during the Tet Offensive in 1968. It is one among many untold valuable exhibits that manifest the brilliant feats of the Vietnamese people and army in their fight for national reunification that became true on April 30, 1975
The house No. 287/70 is located between two lanes each running to Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Vo Van Tan Streets, with a ground floor of about 37m2 (14.9m long and 2.5m wide). The host is Tran Van Lai (Nam Lai) who has the nickname “Mai Hong Que”. He bought the house in 1966 and for three years till 1968 he dug the secret cellar.
In those years, Nam Lai worked for the Presidential Palace as a contractor, and because he used to go to the U.S. Operations Mission (USOM) for project bidding, he was called Nam U-SOM. But at the same time he undertook secret activities of the Saigon Commandos’ Security Unit.
To dig the cellar, Lai moved his wife and children to live in Go Vap, saying he had to repair the house’s toilet and water sewerage. Working in day time and digging the cellar at night, he put the dirt into boxes, put them into car and drove to the far off district of Binh Chanh to dispose of it. After seven months of working, the cellar was built 2 meters long, 1.2 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. It had four exits, and its walls and floor were covered with thick layers of cement to prevent moisture.
Inside the cellar, there were four round frames connected with the water discharge pipes which were large enough for a person to get through. The cellar’s cover, placed near the stairs, was made of six pieces of bricks glued together. On top there was a bolt to fasten the cover. To open it up, just pull the bolt by a ring, then a person can get into the cellar.
When the cellar was completed, the Security Unit was entrusted to transport weapons and hide them there. A hollow timber container was made by Tran Phu Cuong (nicknamed Nam Moc), a commando from Saigon, and was transported to Phuoc Hiep Commune in Cu Chi District. The weapons were put into the container which was carried by a cow cart to the assigned point (the whole process went on like a trade deal). Then the container with the weapons inside was transported to a car with a license number EC 6045 and driven by Nguyen Van Bao (Ba Bao) to the secret cellar in Nam Lai’s house.
The car used to arrive at Lai’s house late in the evening to avoid his neighbors’ curiosity and inside the container there were different kinds of weapons such as guns, rifles, cartridges, bazooka B40 and explosives.
On January 31, 1968 (early second day of the lunar New Year of Mau Than), 15 commandos of Unit 5 came to house No. 287/70 to get the weapons. They departed the house in three cars and one Honda motorbike to drive to the Presidential Palace. Under the command of Truong Hoang Thanh (Ba Thanh), they performed bold attacks on the palace. Later, although the house was occupied by the enemy, the cellar was still kept secret.
A corner of the cellar containing about three tonnes of weapons of the Saigon Commandos
in house No. 287/70 on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Road, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
used to attack the Presidential Palace in 1968.
Admission to the weapons bunker is free, although a small tip of one or two dollars for the caretaker will of course be gratefully received.
287/70 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
Note: The house is often closed for lunch between 11am and 2pm.

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Không có mô tả ảnh.Trong hình ảnh có thể có: trong nhà và ngoài trờiTrong hình ảnh có thể có: một hoặc nhiều người, trong nhà và ngoài trờiTrong hình ảnh có thể có: trong nhàTrong hình ảnh có thể có: 1 ngườiTrong hình ảnh có thể có: một hoặc nhiều người, mọi người đang ngồi và ngoài trời

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