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Punji Sticks were sharpened bamboo branches that were used by the Viet Cong as its toxic terror sticks. Sometimes the sticks were smeared with feces in order to spread infection throughout the wound. On the show, Punji Sticks were placed in a pit where a falling pig carcass fell on top of the sharpened sticks inflicting many wounds. It was also placed on a ball of mud to form a huge Morningstar. The wire was tripped, the "mace" will fly towards the enemy and kill him.


  • 3 feet
  • Poison: Human feces
  • Sharpened heated bamboo
  • Hidden: normally under false floors, within grass or under dog poop
Vietnamese trap 1


Booby Traps accounted for 10% of US casualties in the Vietnam War, however most Booby Traps were not designed to be lethal. Instead, they were to seriously injure or permanently cripple soldiers, as the VC knew that the US troops would waste time and resources carrying the injured back to a hospital and waste money trying to revive them, while a dead person would simply be buried in a grave. Also, the VC knew that if Americans saw returning veterans mutilated from the war, then the war would lose popularity.

The VC also used Punji Sticks combined with barbed wire to create protective fences against enemy troops. [1]

Elephant Grass was tall enough to hide massive Punji Sticks capable of crippling landing helicopters.

Less than 1000 US soldiers died from Punji Sticks, but the soldiers who survived these traps were normally crippled for life. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was signed on April 10, 1981. Protocol II: Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices declares Punji Sticks to be outlawed by the Geneva Convention. The Vietnam War was a major influence to the signing of this document.


However, the Flammenwerfer 41 used by the Nazi SS was given the edge over the Punji Stick booby traps, in part because the traps could be set on fire by the flamethrower.


  • Punji Sticks were also used against the Mongolian Invasions of Vietnam. They varied from normal sizes to some large enough to disable ships (these were used underwater). This helped the Vietnamese under the leadership of General Tran Hung Dao defeat the superior Mongol Army in the many attempted invasions. Tran Hung Dao would later write his military strategies down in several books, which the Viet Cong studied in the Vietnam War to fight the USA.
  • In addition to the pit and morningstar traps that were seen on the show, which were some of the most commonly used traps, the Viet Cong also used other kinds of booby traps.
    • The Viet Cong would make drop pits filled with Bamboo Pit Vipers inside their tunnels, so that US tunnel rats might get bitten when they were searching the tunnel systems.
    • The Swinging Man Trap: The swinging man trap was a weighted beam that was pivoted and had a pressure plate. When the pressure plate was pushed down, the spiked end would swing upwards with enough force to impale the enemy.
    • The Bamboo Whip: The 'whip' was a long and flexible bamboo pole that was fitted with sharp spikes that were a foot long, the bamboo pole would be pulled back into an arc using a catch attached to the tripwire. When the wire was tripped, the catch gave out and sent the spikes into the enemy.
    • The Tiger Trap: The tiger trap was very similar to the morningstar trap, only instead of a swinging mace the trap was a man-sized plank that was weighted with bricks and full of barbed metal spikes. When the wire was tripped, the plank would quickly fall down onto the enemies head.
    • The Viet Cong would also make Crossbows that were hidden within the bush and attached to a tripwire, when the enemy stepped on the tripwire, the crossbow was triggered, firing a bolt into the enemy.
  • Booby traps similar to the Punji Sticks have been used by criminal gangs, such as drug cartels.
  • Vlad the Impaler was known to have used man traps very similar to Punji Sticks against the larger Ottoman army when Mehmed II attempted to invaded and conquer Wallachia.
  • Aztecs managed to use Punji Sticks against the Conquistadors, primarily by hiding the sticks underwater.
  • The Punji Sticks are the only booby trap weapons on the show to not use any explosives.

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