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This ambition is confirmed in one of particular documents revealed here by DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources. It displays the avid study by Palestinian planners of the huge tunnels the North Koreans built in the 1970s under the fortified line dividing the two Koreas. This interest makes the current Israeli drive into Rafah all the more urgent and the problems still ahead daunting:
Tunnels have not been big winners in military history. As I cast my mind back in time, I can think of only a few examples of tunnels playing a key role in a campaign.
General Ambrose Burnside dug a huge tunnel under Confederate lines during the Civil War and exploded a bomb to break a Confederate front. Huge disaster, killed mostly his own men.
UK & US POWs relied heavily on tunnels in escaping from German camps in WW2. Tactically successful, but no strategic impact.
Vietnamese built huge tunnel network in South Vietnam. Tactically successful, but they still had to wait until the US left to win the war.
In WW1, despite huge "digging" orientation of war, it was not tunnels, but shock troops (Schosstruppen) and tanks that finally broke stalemate.
Tunnels basically seem to be have been tactically useful, but not dispositive. THere are good reasons for this.
Tunnels, by their nature, are underground. The enemy is aboveground. Victory requires defeating the enemy's main force.
War is usually won by maneuver. Tunnels offer limited capacity for maneuver.