Jacob Guzdek Did booby traps contribute to the war effeort for the VC? Yes, I believe they helped a lot as the VC used booby traps as a big advantage over the US in Vietnam I believe that booby traps helped the VC “win” the war over the US The US did not know the terrain of the Vietnam forests so the VC hid these traps well and killed many American soldiers U.S. troops were moving fast, so I knew they did not have any idea the booby traps were there. Suddenly I heard some booby traps explode. They were reckless and careful when they moved which resulted in more booby trap deaths. (Ewell, Julian. SHARPENING THE COMBAT EDGE. 1976) “They didn't always kill…, but they were always physical and psychological disablers…” (Sarlin, Ray. One Step from My Grave! . 2003.) This quote is saying that even though the booby traps did not always kill the soldiers they infected them with diseases or just injured them enough to keep them out of battle. This hurt the soldiers moral because they weren’t able to fight. This graph describes the number of booby trap incident relevant to the time of day and if they were neutralized or if their were casualties. You can see how many booby traps incidents occurred everyday. U.S. troops were staying too close together during movement. U.S. troops move single file, too close together, causing many booby trap casualties. The soldiers should stay together but more spread out to prevent these casualties. (Ewell, Julian. SHARPENING THE COMBAT EDGE. 1976) “The effect mines had on fighting spirit was devastating.” (Sarlin, Ray. One Step from My Grave! . 2003.) This was very true because the soldiers couldn’t really defend themselves from mines. Just not knowing where they could be left an effect on the soldiers because they were so focused on mines they weren’t focused on actual fighting. METHOD OF DETECTION OF ENEMY MINES AND BOOBY TRAPS Method, number, percent Visual, 503, 66.4 Detonation, 221, 29.2 Mine Detector, 13, 1.7 VC Mine Marker, 4, 0.5 Scout Dog, 4, 0.5 Informant, 3, 0.4 Other, 10, 1.3 Total, 758, 100.0 This shows all the ways that the US detected mines and booby traps and how they stopped them. But, still over 240,00 soldiers died from land mines and booby traps. When rice planting time came around at the beginning of the wet season the enemy did not rig booby traps in the rice paddies so as to avoid casualties among the farmers tending to their livelihood. In a short period of time our booby trap neutralization rate increased from less than 50 percent to over 70 percent. Not only did we increase the percentage of mines and booby traps detected without detonation, but by emphasizing proper ground formations we were able to reduce the number of casualties per detonation, thereby protecting our most important asset-the soldier. (Sarlin, Ray. One Step from My Grave! . 2003.) “Mines clobber morale because they are unseen, and there's no way to fight back.“ (Sarlin, Ray. One Step from My Grave! . 2003.) This id true because no one knew when they could step on one and you were defenseless because when you least expect it, you will set one off. LOCATION OF ENEMY DEVICES Location, Number, Percent Jungle, 274, 36.1 Trail, 154, 20.3 Rice Paddy Dike, 101, 13.3 Canal or Stream Bank, 83, 11.0 Rice Paddy, 71, 9.4 Road, 35, 4.6 Open Field, 21, 2.8 Intersection of 2, 3, 4, or 6, 10, 1.3 Structure, 9, 1.2 Total, 758, 100.0 This chart shows the location of booby traps found by US troops. This shows again that the booby traps could be anywhere and because the American soldiers did not know the terrain, they were at risk at all times. Anti-personnel mines are intended to kill or wound personnel with shrapnel or blast. In fact, wounding is often the goal, because it takes more men out of combat to look after the victim. There are numerous varieties and they are designed to operate on the lowest pressures. There were three main types of fragmenting AP mines used in Vietnam, Bouncing Betty, Claymore and Soviet POMZ-2 mine. The VC put their own feces on punji sticks just to infect the soldier who stepped on them. (Ewell, Julian. SHARPENING THE COMBAT EDGE. 1976) "Once you make a false step, a hundred lifetimes cannot redeem it.“ (Sarlin, Ray. One Step from My Grave! . 2003.) This quote represents the mines and booby traps in the forests. One wrong step by any member in the company and the whole company is dead or injured. TYPE Of FIRING DEVICE Type Number Percent Tripwire, 549, 72.4 Pressure, 124, 16.3 Unknown, 27, 3.6 Cmd Electric, 24, 3.2 Press/Electric ,8 ,1.1 Cmd Pull, 1, 0.1 Other, 25, 3.3 Total, 758, 100.0 This is the distribution of how the booby traps were set off. This shows how many different ways the VC set off the traps and this was to their advantage because they kept the American soldiers guessing. General Statistics– Vietnam Casualties 11% of deaths and 15% of wounds were caused by booby traps and mines 2% of wounds were caused by punji stakes I believe this represents just how much booby traps and mines contributed to the war effort for the VC. Improvised mines or boobytraps are normally made from any materials available at the time. They might consist of regular munitions like grenades, unexploded artillery rounds or airdropped bombs rigged with a trip wire, pressure switch, command detonator or other means. Alternatively, they could be non-explosive, like a punji pit or swinging spiked log. This again shows the many different traps used by the VC. Ewell, Julien. "Sharpening the combat edge." /www.history.army.mil. Department of the army, n.d. Web. 10 Jun 2012. <http://www.history.army.mil/books/Vietnam/Sharpen/inde x.htm>. Sarlin, Ray. "One step from my grave." www.ichiban1.org. N.p., 2003. Web. 10 Jun 2012. <http://www.ichiban1.org/html/stories/story_49.htm>. "Vietnam war weapons." www.vietnamwar.net. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jun 2012. <http://www.vietnamwar.net/VWweapons.htm>.