Dak To Victory Monument, Charlie Hill
Little to see but historically important
What we say:
The town of Dak To, 47 kilometres from Kon Tum, features a monument to the critical North Vietnamese victory on nearby Charlie Hill. The hill itself is difficult to access, and, in any case, there's nothing there to see. But two North Vietnamese tanks were salvaged whole from the battle remnants -- one Chinese and one Russian-made -- and mounted on either side of the monument in town.
The Russian tank is said to have made a long, torturous journey from Hanoi via the Ho Chi Min trail, through eastern Laos. They disguised the tank by packing the top with soil and live foliage, so it would blend in when surveillance planes flew over doing reconnaissance. The Russian-made tank took the South Vietnamese base completely by surprise and wrought so much damage the Southern army command offered a reward to the soldier who destroyed it. Some soldier apparently succeeded, incinerating the tank and the five soldiers inside. But, he was on the losing side of the war, and his name is lost to history, while the five dead North Vietnamese soldiers are still honoured to this day in a popular song,
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