Vietnam War B-52 bomb craters in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam.
Above Photo: Water-filled B-52 bombing tracks run across the landscape at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam.
On a recent BACK-related research trip to Vietnam, I visited the magnificent Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
Of course, I didn’t go there just to hunt for B-52 bombing tracks, but as I climbed a mountain in this beautiful area of Vietnam, in order to visit some war-related caves (I’ll write about them separately), I turned around to admire the view and was suddenly struck by how many bomb craters I could see.
They’re there because the jungle-clad limestone mountains of Phong Nha run very close to the border with Laos. During the Vietnam War the caves riddling the limestone were used as bomb shelters, hospitals, ammunition dumps, for storing supplies and as rallying points for North Vietnamese troops about to set off down the nearby Ho Chi Minh Trail.
As such, the mountains and caves were pounded daily during the war, and around cave entrances I saw scorch marks from napalm and high explosives, with many broken rocks lying around outside from massive explosions; all of which attested to how much attention this region received from US planes during the conflict.
It’s impossible to imagine now, except when you glimpse some of the hidden relics from the war that still litter the landscape in Vietnam. If you look hard enough, you’ll always find them.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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