NVA/VC Booby Traps - Wargaming the use of booby traps in the boonies


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Wargaming the use of Booby Traps in the Boonies


Booby-Traps and mines were of such importance that no game set in Vietnam can be complete without them and their constant threat of instant death or mutilation. Booby-Traps can be divided into four broad categories for convenience: non-explosive, explosive, anti-vehicle, anti-helicopter. Many of the devices can fit into more than one category.

This information is most valuable to wargamers who play the VC or NVA as a guide, to players who specialise in the USA and its allies to show the threat and to the umpire who needs a ready reference to spice up the play.

The system is based on a sketch map with the sites of the major concentrations of traps and mines marked and any "specials" - buried 105mm shells etc - marked accurately. The rest is up to a dicing-and-card system.

The area of operations is divided up, by the umpire, into zones:

 

ZONE CHANCE OF TRAP (d10)
Minimal Risk 1
Low Risk 2
Medium Risk 3
High Risk 4
Maximum Risk 5

In each zone the chances of a squad or minor unit being liable to encounter a booby-trap or mine is expressed as a number. Throw equal or less than this number on one d10 and the umpire consults the appropriate incident card and rolls his die. He then has the victim throw a die and consults the correct booby-trap card. The situation is now described to the players, together with any dicing required. The umpire should not reveal too much and he must remember that booby-traps caused severe delays in addition to casualties.


INCIDENT CARDS

 
DIE OPEN COUNTRY TRAILS CLOSE COUNTRY VILLAGE
1 Long Grass Punji Pit Swinging Man Trap Hooch Door
2 Disturbed Earth Spiked Ball Trip Wire Log Pile
3 Punji Pit Log on Trail High Grenades Rice Sacks
4 Long Grass Pull on Leg Low Grenades Barrel/Drum
5 Disturbed Earth Cord on Trail Punji Pit + Sniper Matting
6 Punji Pit Punji + Sniper Punji Man Trap Baskets
7 Fallen Log Trip Wire Low Grenades Crate
8 Disturbed Earth Disturbed Earth Punji Pit Bamboo
9 Long Grass Log + Sniper Bamboo Whip Rubbish
0 Sniper Sniper Sniper Ammo Box

The wording of each potential incident can be expanded e.g. on the trail (card 2) and a roll of 4 "The point man of the squad feels a pull on his leg. He freezes and passes word back by hand signals. What does the squad leader want to do?" In a village clearing operation the squad throws a 0. "The leading grunt has noticed a US Army ammo box lying outside a hooch. He indicates its location to you. He is a short timer and is unwilling to investigate."


BOOBY TRAP CARDS

Card 1 - Long Grass

 
Die Nothing Real Set Off Discovered Remarks
1-2 1-2 3+ 3-8 9+ Toe Popper
3 1-3 4+ 4-8 9+ Toe Popper
4 1-4 5+ 5-6 7+ Small AP Mine
5-7 1-3 2+ 2-4 5+ Punji Trap
8 1-2 3+ 3-5 6+ Punji Trap
9 1-2 3+ 3-4 5+ Trip Wire
0 1-2 3+ 3-6 7+ Large AP Mine

Card 2 - Log on Trail

 
Die Nothing Real Set Off Discovered Remarks
1-2 1-5 6+ 6-7 8+ Punji Pit
3 1-2 3+ 3-6 7+ Small AP Mine
4-5 1-2 3+ 3-5 6+ Small AP Mine
6-7 1 2+ 2-4 5+ Punji Trap
8 1-3 4+ 4-7 8+ Punji Trap
9 1 2+ 2-4 5+ Large AP Mine
0 1 2+ 2-6 7+ 2 Small AP Mines

Card 3- Punji Traps

 
Die Nothing Real Set Off Discovered Effect
1-2* 1-6 7+ 7-8 9+ Wound
3-4* 1-3 4+ 4 5+ Cripple
5-6* 1-2 3+ 3-4 5+ Cripple
7-8* 1-4 5+ 5-6 7+ Cripple
9 1 2+ 2-7 8+ Wound
0 1-3 4+ 4-8 9+ Cripple

*Poisoned if even number thrown

Card 4- Disturbed Earth

 
Die Nothing Real Set Off Discovered Remarks
1-2 1-6 7+ 7-8 9+ Small AP Mine
3-4 1-3 4+ 4-5 6+ Large AP Mine
5 1-2 3+ 3-4 5+ Punji Trap-Cripple
6 1-4 5+ 5-6 7+ Punji Trap-Cripple Poison
7 1-5 6+ 6-8 9+ Small AP Mine
8 1-6 7+ 7-9 0 2 Small AP Mines
9-0 1-3 4+ 4-6 7+ Punji Pit - Cripple Poison*

*In Jungle = Swinging Mantrap

Card 5- Trip Wire

 
Die Nothing Real Set Off Discovered Remarks
1 1-5 6+ 6-7 8+ Single Grenade
2 1-3 4+ 4-8 9+ Double Grenade
3 1-2 3+ 3-6 7+ Bow-poison*
4-5 1-4 5+ 5-6 7+ Double Grenade
6-7 1-6 7+ 7-8 9+ Single Grenade
8 1-8 9+ 9 0 Bow-poison*
9 1-7 8+ 8-9 0 Claymore
0 1-3 4+ 4-7 8+ Quad Grenade

*Jungle or Gap only: otherwise Single Grenade

Card 6- Jungle Specials

 
Type Nothing Real Set Off Discover WIA KIA
Swinging man Trap 1-3 4+ 4-7 8+ 1-3 4+
Spiked Ball 1-2 3+ 3-6 7+ 1-4 5+
bamboo Whip 1-2 3+ 3-8 9+ 1-4 5+
Punji man Trap 1-2 3+ 3-5 6+ 1-3 4+

Note Vietnamese, Koreans etc Subtract 1 from effect die roll.

Card 7- Sniper

 
Die Nothing Real Fires Discovered Range
1-2 1-3 4+ 4+ 8+ 7"
3 1-2 3+ 3+ 9+ 7"
4-5 1-3 4+ 4+ 9+ 8"
6 1-4 5+ 5+ 8+ 12"
7-8 1-3 4+ 4+ 9+ 6"
9 1-4 5+ 5+ 7+ 9"
0 1-2 3+ 3+ 9+ 4"

 NOTES REGARDING SNIPERS

  • If the sniper is discovered the squad can take evasive action, but count as partially surprised.
  • The sniper is always heavily camouflaged and, even when firing, is difficult to see.
  • He may be positioned in a spider hole, a bunker, a trench or behind a tree, etc.
  • He may have a tunnel trapdoor close by for his escape.
  • Snipers do not hang about to die if they are alone. They will shoot and evade unless they are part of a larger force.
  • Several snipers may attack a patrol in sequence.

Card 8- Booby Trap Effects

 
Type Burst Hits STR Remarks
Toe Popper Nil 1 -2 Treat KIA as WIA
Small AP Mine 2" diameter d6/2 -4 round up
Large AP Mine 3" diameter d6 -2  
Grenades
Soviet/Chicom 4" diameter d6-1 -4 1=dud
US WWII 4" diameter d6 -4
US Frag 4" diameter d6 -3  
Claymores
Soviet/Chicom 60 degree 6" 2 xd6 -1  
60 degree 6-12" 2d6-2 -3
US 60 degree 8" 3d6 0  
60 degree 8-12" 2d6 -3
Bow Nil 1 -3 Poison

The umpire should feel free to alter some of the effects for particular traps. Of course the larger devices such as the buried bombs and shells should have a reduced effect from that of a correctly delivered bomb or shell. For example a buried 105mm shell would have a much reduced danger area but its strike power would not be so badly affected -it may even be increased by the amount of debris thrown up as well. It will also be noted that there is a column headed "nothing". This is included so that the umpire can inflict delays and bring a bit of role play into the situation.

The point "grunt" of a patrol comes across a trip wire. The umpire consults any special abilities that the figure may have, is he a trained patroller, is he a Green Beret, is he a short timer, etc? These factors would govern his reaction to his find. The umpire finds that he is a short timer and so is nervous about being blown away with only two weeks left in the 'Nam. He throws a 9 - he thinks it's a claymore! He throws again. This time a 4. Although there is nothing there the umpire decides that he is not going to play a hero. "There's a claymore wire here!" he calls. The squad leader must react as he sees fit. A LRRP might, with the same throws, have called, "There's a trip wire connected to a dummy mine" once he had investigated. Or, "It's OK. Just a vine snagging my boot!" Or he may just say nothing and keep going.

The purpose of these traps was to inflict casualties and delay. They can be used in a wargame this way. The grunts start to move slower, take more care where they drop into cover and generally get frustrated.

These rules are designed for use with actions fought at platoon or squad level where the complications of booby-traps are acceptable. If you want to fight large scale battles they should still be included, but you may need to try to simplify them.

The Village Card is dealt with in In the Villes

 

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See Also:

NVA and VC Booby Traps

Source:

Alan AD Hamilton, The Village War in South Vietnam, Wargames Illustrated n. 24, August 1989


 

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