FM 5-31-Boobytraps, A 1943 War Dept field manual, this army publication is heavily illustrated and contains procedures for assembling, using, detecting, and removing booby traps. It covers principles, doctrine, planning and installation, equipment firing devices, demolition materials including small missile construction techniques, miscellaneous boobytraps from improvised materials, and methods of detecting, clearing, and disarming boobytraps. Originally marked restricted, this is a very scarce title in good condition. 364 pages, 6×9″ softbound. Some card covers are missing. A nice little read!
Boobytraps Training in the Army
Booby traps are used in war to slow down enemy troops or cause injury, damage, and death. They are also employed by guerrilla groups or criminals to catch and maim people. They are triggered by various means, including pulling or pushing on a trip wire, a foot stepping on a plunger, or a person lifting an object that appears harmless. While booby traps can be effective in warfare, they are not always the best choice. They can attract civilians, and if they are attached to items protected under international humanitarian law (IHL), they could violate the rules.
The use of boobytraps has been controversial for many years. It is not uncommon for civilians to be injured or killed by boobytraps in a war zone. Some countries, like Russia, have been accused of indiscriminately using boobytraps during their operations abroad. Some boobytraps are also used for entertainment, usually disguised as everyday objects that people naturally want to use or possess. This can include exploding cigars, packets of chewing gum, dribble glass, and Snake Nut Cans, designed to explode when thrown or stepped on.
These types of booby traps are often called “practical joke” traps. They are a fun way to pass the time but can also be dangerous. As part of their training in the army, boobytraps are taught to soldiers who are in special operations units. These include the SEALs and Green Berets. In addition to learning how to build and lay boobytraps, they are also trained to detect them and know how to remove them quickly. This makes them a valuable skill for any soldier, especially when working in an area of uncertainty or danger. Although boobytraps are legal in some situations, they should not be used indiscriminately. Those responsible for setting them should be aware of the implications and not be afraid to face legal action if they break the law.
Field Manual 5-31 (FM-31) Chapters
FM 5-31: Booby Traps Field Manual, A Guide to the Construction and Employment of Booby Traps, is a military manual that provides guidance on constructing and using booby traps in a tactical setting. The manual is divided into several chapters, each covering different aspects of booby traps, including their design, construction, and employment.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Bobbytraps: This chapter provides an overview of the manual, its purpose, and the importance of booby traps in military operations. The chapter also outlines the legal and ethical considerations that must be taken into account when employing booby traps.
Chapter 2: Planning and Coordination This chapter focuses on the importance of planning and coordination when employing booby traps. It provides guidance on planning and coordinating booby trap operations, including selecting targets, establishing safe areas, and coordinating explosive ordnance disposal teams.
Chapter 3: Types of Booby Traps: This chapter provides an overview of the different types of booby traps that can be used, including mechanical, electrical, and chemical devices. It also provides guidance on how to select the appropriate type of booby trap for a specific tactical situation.
Chapter 4: Design and Construction This chapter provides detailed guidance on designing and constructing booby traps. It covers topics such as the selection of components, the assembly of the trap, and the testing and evaluation of the trap.
Chapter 5: Employment This chapter provides guidance on how to employ booby traps in a tactical setting. It covers topics such as the traps’ placement, the traps’ activation, and the use of decoys and diversions.
Chapter 6: Safety Precautions: This chapter focuses on the importance of safety when employing booby traps. It provides guidance on how to minimize the risk of accidental injury or death to friendly forces, noncombatants, and civilians.
FM 5-31 is a comprehensive guide to constructing and employing booby traps in a tactical setting. While the use of booby traps in warfare is controversial, it is important for military personnel to be aware of their potential use and to have the knowledge necessary to employ them safely and effectively.