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Dangerous Steps: Viet Cong Booby Traps

Jimbo

Elite
Wow. That's some scary stuff.

As I read through the article, I wondered if any of the North Vietnamese troops or regular folks ever got caught by their own booby traps.

I turned 18 long after the draft had ended. Back then my main fear about going to Vietnam was that I would be captured and sent to a North Vietnamese prison camp.
 

BobM

Hellcat
Hello all, here is today's article posted on TheArmoryLife.com. It is titled "Dangerous Steps: Viet Cong Booby Traps" and can be found at https://www.thearmorylife.com/dangerous-steps-viet-cong-booby-traps/.

Very thorough article Mike, thanks for sharing.
VC? Simple minded folks to some others maybe, but still used very effective covert weapons. They used what they had on hand, most anything can be a weapon with that intent. Infection rates could go through the roof and was a main killer with many because of dung and other unseen poisons.
 

Sld1959

Professional
I don't think the North Vietnamese army was that primitive -- they were well armed and well trained by the Russians.
The VC were plenty primitive, I was a couple years too young but I had a lot of friends and family who told horror stories about traps. A friend said that punji sticks smeared with excrement were his worst nightmare when they were patrolling, especially in and around Rice paddies. Anything we left behind was turned into mines, rat cans and everything.

You are right though, There was a difference in equipment and tactics between the NVA and the Vietcong. The Vietcong being comprised mostly of South Vietnamse guerrillas. The NVA fought more organized battles, and compared to the VC were practically professional soldiers. But, the tactics they used on our pows were pretty primitive.
 
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C. Sumpin

Custom
Oh the stories I could tell!

Suffice to say: Saigon will never By God be Ho Chi Minh City to me!

Started at dawn each morning, my job to open Highway 1 ( not what you see today or what I viewed on the news in the late sixties; then it was only a dirt path/road from Nha Trang to Cam Ranh Bay) which Charlie owned in the night. Negative pressure boobies (the ones such as trip wire which must be pulled) not so bad, positive pressure (that kept it set and where releasing the tension caused her to blow) were a nightmare; those I preferred, when possible, to disarm from standoff with the M-14. Had the author been with me he would also have listed piano wire, taut from tree to tree across a speeding jeep trail Adams apple high to the driver.

Water quality for the troops? Got a chapter on that. Dung? Ya. Got a S***** chapter on that too.

Sure I'm biased, no way in hell to lose that "conflict" except that the politicians drug it out with "rules of engagement" until they had milked all their campaign material and when it became a liability then we walked away. How do you lose a war you quit/failed to fight but only "managed" for longevity?

Vietnam Volunteer '65 & "66
II CORP Central Highlands

Vietnam Vets are not Fonda Jane.
 

Bassbob

Ronin
Oh the stories I could tell!

Suffice to say: Saigon will never By God be Ho Chi Minh City to me!

Started at dawn each morning, my job to open Highway 1 ( not what you see today or what I viewed on the news in the late sixties; then it was only a dirt path/road from Nha Trang to Cam Ranh Bay) which Charlie owned in the night. Negative pressure boobies (the ones such as trip wire which must be pulled) not so bad, positive pressure (that kept it set and where releasing the tension caused her to blow) were a nightmare; those I preferred, when possible, to disarm from standoff with the M-14. Had the author been with me he would also have listed piano wire, taut from tree to tree across a speeding jeep trail Adams apple high to the driver.

Water quality for the troops? Got a chapter on that. Dung? Ya. Got a S***** chapter on that too.

Sure I'm biased, no way in hell to lose that "conflict" except that the politicians drug it out with "rules of engagement" until they had milked all their campaign material and when it became a liability then we walked away. How do you lose a war you quit/failed to fight but only "managed" for longevity?

Vietnam Volunteer '65 & "66
II CORP Central Highlands

Vietnam Vets are not Fonda Jane.
Thank you for your service brother. Rest assured many of us greatly appreciate what you did for us.
 

C. Sumpin

Custom
Thank you for your service brother. Rest assured many of us greatly appreciate what you did for us.
You are most welcome Bob.........Have always been proud to have served........and disgusted at the outcome.
And deja vu Afghanistan. We must get the protocols straight and properly limited between the Pentagon and the Administration(s). If the Executive Branch is going to micro manage conflicts (that they should not/can not accomplish and have no expertise in) then close the Pentagon. Let the Administration/Congress authorize military use, then stay the h*** out of the details and allow our fighting personnel who have volunteered to do what only they can do!
 

mwag

Alpha
I served with A Co, 2/5 Cav. As a rifleman and E Co 1/7 Cav (Gary Owen!) In the mortar platoon in 1972. We encontured many of these booby traps, they were the main cause for casualties and deaths, as they knew we were leaving so direct action was rare. I actually picked up a c rat can with a grenade inside ( on police call no less!) but it was old and the handle didn't separate and blow the devise. They often put smoke grenade detonators in them so there was no delay. It's been almost 50 years and that still wakes me up in a cold sweat! That and walking by a 155mm shell with a trip wire running out from the nose, that the sniffer dog missed because the jungle was still burning from the arty prep before we ca'd in. Thanks for the trip down memory lane....I think.....
 

Bassbob

Ronin
I served with A Co, 2/5 Cav. As a rifleman and E Co 1/7 Cav (Gary Owen!) In the mortar platoon in 1972. We encontured many of these booby traps, they were the main cause for casualties and deaths, as they knew we were leaving so direct action was rare. I actually picked up a c rat can with a grenade inside ( on police call no less!) but it was old and the handle didn't separate and blow the devise. They often put smoke grenade detonators in them so there was no delay. It's been almost 50 years and that still wakes me up in a cold sweat! That and walking by a 155mm shell with a trip wire running out from the nose, that the sniffer dog missed because the jungle was still burning from the arty prep before we ca'd in. Thanks for the trip down memory lane....I think.....
Thank you for your service sir.
 

C. Sumpin

Custom
I served with A Co, 2/5 Cav. As a rifleman and E Co 1/7 Cav (Gary Owen!) In the mortar platoon in 1972. We encontured many of these booby traps, they were the main cause for casualties and deaths, as they knew we were leaving so direct action was rare. I actually picked up a c rat can with a grenade inside ( on police call no less!) but it was old and the handle didn't separate and blow the devise. They often put smoke grenade detonators in them so there was no delay. It's been almost 50 years and that still wakes me up in a cold sweat! That and walking by a 155mm shell with a trip wire running out from the nose, that the sniffer dog missed because the jungle was still burning from the arty prep before we ca'd in. Thanks for the trip down memory lane....I think.....
Little brown dudes had some nerve..........go out at dawn to stow the claymore you set at dark last night, facing away from the perimeter of course.......and find that sucker turned toward your camp..................make you go easy on the plunger when the bushes out there whispered in the night............
 
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