Booby traps were along with mines was a fairly common defensive and ambush weapon used by both sides. They are particularly frightening weapon, no warning just an explosion and shrapnel tearing and maiming. Private John Gurnick of 3 Platoon, W3 Coy was killed by such a device.

I lit a smoke and settled back
And thought of that wire across the track
Of the mighty bang like a thunder clap
That marks a Viet Cong booby trap
Such a small device so simply made
Just a piece of string and a hand grenade
A careless foot or an unwatched arc
And the Viet Cong had made their mark
Of the poor lead scout without his feet
And the cover scout just a lump of meat
The whine of the mortar as it's zeroed in
The first of a holocaust that's about to begin
Of the voice of the sig on the company net
Above the rain of the Vietnamese wet
As he told the Sunray what went wrong
Of the cunning trap of the Viet Cong
The moan from the scout as he lies in pain
Soaking wet from the pouring rain
The Dust Off chopper as it came and went
And the signals received, answered and sent
The thoughts of the scouts suffering mates
As they contemplate their own life fates
By morning it will be a nightmare dream
And who knows what the next bang will mean
It's said war's hell but combat's worse
At least it' something at which to curse

Peter M. Anderson, W3 Coy, 1969-70

Read more about Peter Anderson's Vietnam experience here.

Reference: 

© Peter M. Anderson. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: 'Booby Trap - Poem', URL: http://www.vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/booby-trap-poem, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Sep-2013