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punji stick

One or more spikes made out of wood or bamboo, which are placed in a pit in the ground and concealed by camouflaging it with natural objects, such as dead leaves, as a kind of trap. Traps with punji sticks were widely deployed by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, sometimes with the spikes rubbed with toxins of plants or of poisonous frogs to inflict severe infection of the wound. Also more sophisticated traps were sometimes made, consisting of a wooden framework covered with metal pins, nails or spikes, and a folding, swaying or rolling mechanism. One infamous method that was used is known as the fish trap and consists of a simple pit in which punji sticks were placed in the sides, pointing somewhat downward at an angle and named after the funnel-shaped spikes of a fish trap (fig.), which ensnares any victim that walks into it and making it near-impossible to quickly free the victim, at least not without causing even greater injuries. A metal cage with downward pointing pins, based on the same principle –but quicker to deploy– also existed (fig.). Other traps in which victims got easily stuck included the sticking trap (fig.), the rolling trap (fig.), the window trap and the so-called klipping aronnit trap (fig.). In addition, punji sticks or metal spikes were sometimes attached to heavy blocks of wood that were hung from a cord and that would swing towards the direction of whoever activated the trap by stepping on its release mechanism. Replicas of traps with punji sticks as were used by the VC can today still be seen at the war museum near the Cu Chi tunnels (fig.), in the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City.