Mines and Boobytraps: Enemy Sources of Supply
FMFRP 12-43; Professional Knowledge Gained from Operational Experience in Vietnam, 1969, Special Issue, Mines and Boobytraps, U.S. Marine Corps, July 1989
Mortar rounds, rockets, LAAW'S, grenades, and small arms ammunition abandoned to lighten the load (or improperly secured and lost by fast-moving Marines) have value as the explosive element in boobytraps.
The enemy uses a very limited number of modern machine-produced mines. The majority of enemy mines are handmade by the VC using U.S. duds, discarded ammunition and equipment, and materials thrown away by U.S. forces as trash. Ninety percent of all the material in enemy mines and booby-traps is of U.S. origin. Of all the explosive devices produced locally in VC mine factories, 95 percent are anti-personnel boobytraps.
All dud ammunition is a source of enemy supply . After airstrikes and artillery and mortar missions, enemy salvage teams make sweeps to collect duds. Lighter ordnance is carried away to preparation areas; large bombs and projectiles are broken down and stripped on the spot. In some cases the larger duds are rigged as boobytraps where they have fallen. This is especially true when the enemy feels the strike or fire mission was a preparation for an infantry attack.
However, dud ammunition is not the only source of enemy supply. Carelessly discarded ordnance of all sizes and in any quantity is collected by enemy salvage teams. Mortar rounds, rockets, LAAW'S, grenades, and small arms ammunition abandoned to lighten the load (or improperly secured and lost by fast-moving Marines) have value as the explosive element in boobytraps. Even a single M16 round ejected to clear a stoppage can be used by the enemy.
Additionally, materials discarded as trash and improperly destroyed such as ration, ammunition, beer and soda cans, batteries, waterproof packaging materials, bandoleers, etc., provide the enemy a valuable source of supply to support his mine warfare operations. These items have, on numerous instances, been employed successfully against Marines and their equipment. Thorough police of friendly positions upon departure and complete destruction of trash are mandatory to deny the enemy this source of supply.