Booby traps give a numerically inferior and under-equipped force a tool to inflict casualties while avoiding direct contact with superior enemy forces. This is especially useful in areas the enemy controls much of the time.
Even rumors of or the appearance of the existence of mines, booby traps or IED’s will often inflict significant psychological effects. This is true whether it be a small group trying to gauge whether or not it is worth the risk to loot or plan a home invasion, or enemy combatants. Suspecting booby traps in an area drastically changes SOP, planning, movement and morale because it will:
- Deny access to key terrain objectives,
- Degrade morale, crushing the enemies resolve and instilling fear in their ranks,
- Slow movement, causing the enemy to slow movement or leave lines of drift altogether,
- Rob the enemy of the element of surprise,
- Buy time to escape or prepare defenses,
- Can be very inexpensive,
- Can be very low tech and improvised largely from resources in your environment,
- Reveal enemy positions, patrols, ambushes, strategy and tactics,
- Avoid direct contact with superior enemy forces,
- They do not have to be lethal to be effective. Less-lethal booby traps will not kill your own people if they slip up, but still serve as a deterrent.
- Inflict casualties, especially of a magnitude decreases unit combat effectiveness. When fighting groups of enemies, it is more effective to cause inflict casualties who need to transported to rear areas, removing multiple litter bearers from battle and requiring substantial treatment, care and medical supplies to treat.
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