5 Scariest Booby Traps of the Vietnam War
The Viet Cong troops made sure to keep American soldiers alert by setting traps wherever and whenever possible. Take a wrong step, and you could suffer significant consequences. One of the most notable ones was “The Tiger Trap.”
This “death from above” device consisted of an 18-inch board with pointy spikes lined with metal and weighted with bricks. It was hung from tree branches and triggered by a tripwire stretched across the path or underneath the trap. It would fall unexpectedly on an unassuming American soldier’s head, rendering him unable to continue on his mission.
The “spiked log” was even more destructive. It reached 10 feet in length and was often lined with metal spikes. The device was set up like a pendulum. When triggered, it would swing rapidly from side to side, targeting multiple soldiers.
Simple spike boards were also used. These were placed in a shallow pit and consisted of a treadle board with metal spikes on the front side. When a soldier stepped on one, the spiked end flew up and struck him in the face or chest, at 100 miles per hour. Some of the spikes were over a foot long.
Another variation, the bear trap, had spiked slats on both sides of a board. When triggered, they would clasp together with a rubber band. Between the spiked slats was a thick bamboo log that, when removed, would allow the rubber band to slap the device together and impale its victim.
The Viet Cong even resorted to deploying the mace, a medieval device consisting of a spiked concrete ball, drum or box suspended in a tree on the end of a rope. When the tripwire was pulled, the mace would swing across a path.
Further trap techniques included the use of bamboo whips, grenades, and window and door traps. Historians estimate that booby traps caused 11 percent of American casualties in the Vietnam War. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, perfectly summarised the problem in 1969 [QUOTE] “The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.”