the can, thus releasing the safety lever and firing the
A booby trap can be an explosive charge, a
MUD BALL MINE. The safety pin is removed from
nonexplosive device, or other material. Its intended use
a fragmentation hand grenade and replaced with a 10-
is to incapacitate, wound, or kill an unsuspecting person
to 12-inch wire. A base of mud is molded around the
when he disturbs an apparently harmless object or
grenade, leaving the ends of the wire exposed. When the
performs a presumably safe act. Two types are in use:
mud has hardened enough to hold the grenade safety
improvised and manufactured. Improvised booby traps
lever in place, the wire is removed, thus arming the
are constructed from standard firing devices,
grenade; however, the grenade cannot detonate until its
mud case is broken. The mud ball is placed on a trail or
generally used for other purposes. They are placed
wherever enemy troops are likely to assemble or pass,
anywhere troops may walk Stepping on the ball breaks
the dried mud and releases the safety lever, detonating
such as in buildings, shelters, minefields, fords, around
obstacles, and along paths, roads, and bridges.
Improvised booby traps are often attached to some
object that can be used or that has souvenir appeal.
a factory. They are useful objects, such as pipes, books,
Guerrilla forces, particularly in jungle areas, often
or bottled drinks, that explode when picked up or used.
use booby traps that do not use explosives but are
When left scattered about by a retreating force, they
equally effective as casualty producers. All the devices
inflict casualties and cause confusion among advancing
are improvised from locally available materials-nails,
bamboo, ropes, vines, stones, logs, and rubber-to serve
the conditions that prevail at that particular time and
place. The devices discussed in this section have been
encountered on many occasions, but variations of these
Booby traps laid in and along paths and trails are
devices should be expected.
both delaying and frustrating obstacles to foot troops
PUNJI STAKES. Punji stakes are needle-sharp
and patrols. Improvised shrapnel charges use either
bamboo spikes, sometimes barbed or fire-hardened,
pressure-release or pull or pull-release firing devices.
used to injure unsuspecting persons who step or fall on
Pressure-release devices are placed under stones, wood,
them. The pointed ends are often treated with excrement
or other objects, and pull or pull-release firing devices
or poison so the wounds become infected or even cause
are tied to a trip wire stretched across the path.
death. Punji stakes are placed in the ground so they
Fragmentation hand grenades are often used for this
protrude just enough to inflict injury. They are often
purpose. One use is to place the grenade (with safety pin
used on prospective landing zones to wound personnel
removed) under an object, so the safety lever is released
as they jump from a helicopter to the ground. Punji sticks
when the object is moved.
are sometimes used along paths to hamper movement.
Other uses include the following:
Quite often they are placed on the banks of gullies and
streams where troops are likely to jump from one side
GRENADE TRAP. A fragmentation grenade is
to the other. They are also used along roads at the
attached to low underbrush, an anchor stake, or a tree
entrances to villages or at ambush sites.
trunk alongside the path. One end of a trip wire is tied
FOOT TRAPS. These are small pits combined with
to an anchor stake across the path, then stretched to the
fragmentation grenade where the other end is tied to the
spike board plates or punji stakes that are placed along
roads, paths, and trails or wherever foot traffic is likely.
grenade safety ring. A pull on the trip wire removes the
safety ring, firing the grenade.
Spike board foot traps are small pitsthe bottoms of
HAND GRENADE IN CAN. A C-ration can is
which are lined with boards through which spikes have
attached to an anchor stake or tree trunk alongside the
been driven. The top of the pit is camouflaged. A person
path. A hand grenade is placed base first into the can so
stepping on the camouflage material falls through and
impales his foot on the spikes. The pits are usually about
the can retains the safety lever in the safe position. One
end of a trip wire is tied to an anchor stake across the
18 inches square and 12 inches deep. The spikes used in
path, and the wire is stretched across the path and tied
these devices vary greatly, depending on what is
to the hand grenade. The grenade safety pin is then
available. Long nails, unimproved or sharpened or
removed. A pull on the trip wire pulls the grenade from
barbed, are the type most commonly used. Heavy gauge