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Viet Cong Employ Primitive but Effective Weapons

June 17, 1963 - In an era of modern weapons, U.S. forces in South Vietnam are finding primitive weapons a source of constant, dangerous harassment. The Communist Viet Cong guerrillas (pictured) are not equipped with helicopters or rockets, although they have fairly good small arms. But they also are proving that a rusty nail can put a soldier out of action as completely as a bullet from a modern rifle equipped with telescopic lenses. An article in Airman, the official publication of the U.S. Air Force, describes the creation by Viet Cong troops of a “primitive, limitless arsenal — ingeniously devised and effectively used.” “Four or five rusty barbed spikes — about six inches long — are embedded in a piece of wood about three inches apart,” M. Sgt. James A. George of the Air Force’s Pacific Headquarters reported. “These foot traps are hidden in rice paddies and swamps, just beneath the water levels. They’re as potent as mine fields and can put a man out of action immediately — sometimes permanently. Needle sharp, they will impale a bare foot and can penetrate the soles of G.I. combat boots.” The Viet Cong forces are also using ancient crossbows and simple homemade mines made of sheet metal containers packed with TNT. “Crude and simple, but they kill,” was the sergeant’s observation.


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