Monday, December 15, 2003

It's been bugging me (excuse the pun) all day. What the fuck is a spider hole?

A bolt hole, a rabbit hole, yes. But a spider hole?

This evening I finally looked it up.

It seems that during the Vietnam war the Viet Cong built an intricate network of mud tunnels -- the Cu Chi Tunnels -- stretching more than 200km and connecting command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapon factories. Dug out of hard laterite by hand tools without the use of cement, the network was never discovered.

Depending on who you believe, they were called spider holes either a) because the network of tunnels stretched out like a spiders web or b) because the exteriors were camoflaged to looks like spiders nests or c) because they were actually full of poisonous spiders. You can see a picture of one here and here.

William Safire in the NY Times has more.

So now I know.


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