VC Mine and Booby Trap Signs
from Professional Knowledge Gained from Operational Experience in Vietnam, 1967
The VC use natural and man-made materials to mark mined and mine-free areas. The signs are not standardized, but knowledge of the general types of signs used can permit detection of a danger area.
A stick or length of bamboo broken at right angles and placed on a road or trail has been found to mean there are VC booby traps or mines 200-400 meters farther ahead.
A stick or piece of bamboo lying parallel to the road or trail can mean that the area is mine free, but don't count on it.
Three sticks or three stones, one on each side of the road and one in the center means "do not use the road."
To mark spike pits, three sticks are tied together to form a tripod. These tripods are placed directly over the spike and are generally taken away upon the approach of allied troops.
Booby trapped or mined areas are marked by an arrow nailed at the top of a post one meter high. The arrowhead points to the mined or booby trapped area and the "feather" end of the arrow designates the safe area. The "arrows" are generally removed upon the approach of allied troops.
A mine or booby trap is sometimes indicated by four tufts of tall grass, tied in knots, each tuft at the corner of a meter square. The mine or booby trap is in the center of the square.
A stick, shaved flat on one side, approximately one-half meter in length, is stuck in the ground at a 45 degree angle with the flat portion of the stick facing skyward. This stick indicates that there is a mine one meter forward and on line where the flat side of the stick enters the ground.
Other types of mine and booby trap indicators used by the Viet Cong are:
The VC may use different signs in different areas or may even change the meaning of signs, but one rule will not change:
IF YOU OBSERVE OBJECTS IN AN UNNATURAL PLACE OR POSITION, TAKE CARE!