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Mines And Booby Traps
HEADQUARTERS, 3RD BRIGADE TASK FORCE
25th Infantry Division
APO San Francisco 96355
5 August 1967
SUBJECT: Mines and Booby Trap
1. The 3rd Brigade Task Force, 25th Infantry Division has encountered almost every type of enemy soldier present in Vietnam; from a hamlet guard in Duc Pho District, Quang Ngai Province, to an NVA officer in the highlands of Kontum. Probably the least recognized and most dangerous enemy is the farm hand by day who has been trained to cleverly place a mine or booby trap designed to kill or maim South Vietnamese civilians and Allied soldiers.
2. This paper has been prepared from the reports and experience of the direct support EOD Team from the 184th Ordnance Battalion.
3, Unless each individual is aware of the threat, the “Silent Soldier” will exact a high price in friendly lives.
4. General: There are and have been readily discernible patterns in the enemy's method of employment of mines. They are as follows:
(1) Location - Simply put, mines and booby traps will be placed where common sense says they will do the most damage. For example, a mine designed to destroy an armored personnel carrier would have the best chance for success placed at an obstacle such as a stream where an armored vehicle had previously passed. Enemy intelligence is continuously looking for patterns to friendly movements.
(2) Marking - In some instances, the enemy have marked danger areas with symbols known to the local inhabitants. There are no indications that there is any universal system of marking and, in most instances, the people of the hamlet or village are ordered by the VC leaders to stay out of a certain area without any reason given.
b. When? - Friendly forces can expect an increase in booby-trap and mining incidents as the enemy regular forces are defeated and driven away. Any time a friendly land location is established and regularly used, the enemy loses face. The enemy then tries to prove his fighting ability to the people by employing mines, booby traps, and ambushes.
c. Who? - Sappers and their trained intelligence gatherers must locate their base close enough to the target to provide quick access to and constant surveillance over the target area. The intelligence gatherer may be an old woman living along the road or children selling soda. If at all possible, the sapper who is to set the mine will personally observe the target.
d. How? - The enemy intelligence gatherers are looking for only one thing-patterns of friendly action. For example, on a certain stretch of unimproved road most big trucks (U.S. Army Trucks) heading north must ease onto the road shoulder to pass. Therefore, a 30 - 40 lb explosive pressure device placed in the shoulder would surely destroy a large vehicle. Other patterns of our actions have been exploited by the enemy.
5, The enclosed line drawings are of mines and booby traps discovered by the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division and the 39th Engineer Battalion.