Booby Traps
What are some examples of the sort
of booby traps, used by the Viet Minh
in the Vietnam War?
What is a Booby Trap?
• Used in warfare to kill or seriously injure
• Generally consist of a trip wire
• Usually triggered unknowingly by the
• Hidden from eyesight
• Easy to conceal and simple to set up
In the War in Vietnam, the Viet Minh’s use of
booby traps proved very useful in their campaign
against the Allied forces. Many underestimated
the Viet Minh during the war however their ability
to create intelligent booby traps showed the
world how innovative they could be. Their use of
booby traps was more so used in the war to
injure, rather than kill invading soldiers. This was
because they believed it took more people out of
the war effort to look after an injured soldier,
rather than just taking out the one.
Grenade Trap in River Bed
• Hidden beneath the
surface of shallow rivers
or creek beds
• Involving trip wire
• Blast radius – 10-20m
Grenade Trap in Jungle
Similar to grenade trap in river bed
Safety pins completely removed
US’s litter cans
Trip wire used
Explosions from both
• Blast radius – 10-20m
Many soldiers lost limbs as
a result of grenade explosions.
They also experiences large
wounds and death.
Traps Suspended in
the Jungle Trees
Mace Trap
• Takes out a large number
of soldiers in one hit.
• Concrete ball, drum, box or
large log – spikes hammered
in to outside.
• Suspended in threes
above and concealed.
• Triggered by trip wire.
• Harsh wounds and broken
bones sustained
Spike Traps
Side-Closing Panji Trap (1)
(There are two versions of a side-closing Panji trap)
• One of the most commonly
used booby traps.
• Dug into the ground
so victims fall into it.
• Covered in leaves
sticks to hide from eyesight.
• Wounds to feet
and ankles
Side-Closing Panji Trap (2)
• Bear trap instead
of spike board.
• Two holes, one
below the other.
• Bear trap would
close in around foot and
ankle, then be pushed
further into the skin by
the second hole.
Side-Closing Trap
Two spiked wooden slats.
Large hole below.
Trap held together by large rubber bands.
Concealed by leaves and sticks.
Rubber bands trigger trap to close in on victims body.
The Spike Board
• Trigger – treadle
board (is stepped on)
• Spike board causes
the injury.
• Concealed by sticks
and leaves.
• Strikes victim in the
face or chest.
The majority of spikes
on spike traps were
covered in animal faeces.
This would further harm
the soldiers as harsh bacteria
would get directly into their
wounds. Many
were taken out of
the war
effort because
of these
infections, e.g. gangrene.
Trap Markers
Guerrilla Tactics
When the enemy advances - we retreat.
Able to still attack once retreated.
When the enemy halts – harass.
Psychologically harassing Allied soldiers through the fear of hidden booby traps.
When the enemy avoids battle – we attack.
Could still attack when Allied soldiers retreated.
When the enemy retreats – we follow.
Allowed for continuous attacks and more likelihood of Allied casualties.
Alternative uses for trap –
animal hunting
Traps used in Vietnam War – derivative of hunting
• Perch Spear Trap (similar to spike traps used)
- Spikes attached to sticks held together with
- When trip wire is triggered, spikes fly up
and wound the animal, killing it.
Thankyou. (:
SACE Stage 1
Modern History
Types of Warfare
used in the Vietnam War
Nicole Halsey 11R

Booby Traps - missmcdonnellshistoryclass