Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fearsome Vietcong Booby Traps !

Just to re-focus, we were still at the Cu Chi Tunnel Complex and some of us
had just finished trying out the M16 rifle at the shooting range. I'm glad that we actually had
the chance to have that experience over in Vietnam, right in the heart of Vietcong country.
As I see it, the country so devastated by death and destruction caused by war is steadily regaining
its footing and balance, albeit slowly.
While, I was crawling in the tunnel, I could not capture any snapshots of the inside. The space was just too cramped within.
I managed to locate this wartime picture ( below ) showing a US soldier inside a similar tunnel.
Notice it was so cramped that he had to sit on his M16 rifle, the barrel jutting out from under his
Some of these troops who went on 'search and destroy' missions of these hidden tunnels were
nick-named "Tunnel Rats" by their comrades.

Did he make it out alive? Many were bobby-trapped inside.

NVA picture showing young VC girls laying booby traps for
their enemy.

A victim of a Vietcong booby trap lay seriously injured,
attended to by his platoon medic and comrades.

Most of the Vietcong booby traps were originally used for
ensnaring animals of the jungle. Bamboo especially was very strong
as stakes and pointed spears and was plentiful in the jungle.
Even young boys and girls were taught how to make simple yet
effective traps.
Where metal is available, some parts of the trap may be made from it.

All the traps were cleverly camouflaged by a deceptive cover which was
similar to the debris on the footpath or grassy slope. One wrong footstep
was all it took and the Law of Gravity always did the rest. Many of the victims
were seriously incapacitated for life, if they survived. Most did not.
And it is just too gruesome to show pictures of such victims on a blog!

This particular trap is most vicious. If an enemy walks into
it, either one or both his legs would be trapped in the middle of
this spiked clamp. Look how long each spike is. The damage and
pain the victim suffers is unimaginable.

Many of the traps are laced with poison on the spikes.
They also put human waste on it so that the victim's wounds
would be contaminated.

Most of the booby traps are hidden in the footpaths
and jungle trails, on grassy embankments and near the
base of trees where tired soldiers tend to take a rest or
take cover under enemy fire.
But some traps catch the unsuspecting victim from above.
This is one of them. It is set off by a hidden tripwire on the ground.
When a soldier's foot accidentally touch the wire, the delicate "catch"
is released and the trap is activated in seconds.
Two heavy spiked trestle come towards each other from opposite direction
catching the poor victim in the middle ( sandwiched ).
Something quite similar to what I have just described was featured in the Vietnam period
war movie "The Green Berets", released in 1968, starring hugely popular American movie
hero JOHN WAYNE and David Janssen.
Unk Dicko have seen practically all the movies about the Vietnam War, including this one.,
some together with D2.
When I was doing this blogpost, I asked D2 if she could still remember the movie we saw
back then around 1969... she forgot most of the synopsis but said she still can recall vividly
the booby trapped scene. It was sheer horror!
Scenes like those and others were deliberately scripted into the movie as the reasons behind making that movie were political. Back in the US, the Anti-War Movement and Protest were growing louder by the day...led by not only civil, social and human rights leaders but by an increasing band of celebrities like Jane Fonda and company.

So the Pro-war faction which was staunchly anti-communist made a decision to produce a film
about the ongoing conflict in Vietnam. They hope it would show the American people why
they need to be engaged in Vietnam.
John Wayne was fiercely patriotic, completely anti-communist and agreed to be the producer
of the film.
The film enjoyed quite some success when it was released.
But there were many contentious issues which remained till this day.

After seeing all these deadly booby traps and all the reminders of the terrible war
that was fought right where we stood...everyone was lost in their own thoughts!
It is a sobering reminder to all of us in this present day that WAR should be avoided
at all cost.
Negotiations, Talks and where that fail allowing the United Nations
to use its approved Courts to arbitrate and the only alternative to WAR.
Just like our issue with M'sia over Pedra Branca.
Years of top-level meetings failed to resolve the issue.
And some dangerous politicians ( not S'poreans)
were making use of the lack of progress to "whack" their own leaders as useless, cowards,
scared of S'pore etc.
Some people advocate that you need war to have peace.
That is a Fallacy!
The price of Peace is not War, never had been.


PChew said...

Arbitration is possible between two neighbouring countries. It is not possible with big power interferenc. It happened in Korea, Vietnam and Irag.

unk Dicko said...

War is often use as an excuse by stronger powers to serve many different purposes...depending on their internal hidden AGENDA.
Some use it to test their improved weapons and armanents systems in real battle conditions.
When those weapons proved their worth, there is much to gain economically...when orders start pouring in.
There seems to be a historical cycle for wars associated with some"warlike" countries more than others.