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The term "Punji" sticks itself first appeared in the 1870s, during the border conflicts in the North East Burma between the British Indian Army and the Kachins tribes, which used the sticks in their guerrilla operations and, subsequently, "enriched" the English language with this name. "Punji" sticks were deployed in the preparation of traps, ambushes or to complement various defenses. In the preparation process, the stake itself were often sharpened and, in some cases, rubbed with toxic plants or frogs, often even with feces, to cause infections in the wounded enemy.

The Americans answered with using steel plate inserts in the form of separate insoles that was slipped into the "jungle" boots. This concept was tested in 1963, and too many users developed blisters or had problems with the fit of their boots when using such slip-in protective insoles. For example, during the war in Vietnam Colin Powell, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, was injured by "Punji" sticks trap. His "jungle" boots were not protected by the steel plate, and when his foot fell into the trap at an angle, and the "punji" stake just penetrated his instep, having punctured his boot out-sole entirely.

After numerous widely reported incidents of May 1966, the specification was revised, and the issue Jungle boots were fitted with a stainless steel plate inside the boot's sole (as an integral part of the sole construction) to protect the wearer by this "spike protective" feature.

So the nomenclature for such boots became "Boot, Combat, Tropical, DMS with Spike Resistant Sole Shield".

The process of changing the standard leather boots for the "jungle" boots in Vietnam was not so fast.

One should also mention that the conventional leather combat boots remained in service until the end of the Vietnam war in rear areas, or wherever the "jungle" boots were not applicable for any reason, for example for pilots and other U.S. Air Force staff, for which fire hazard precluded the use of nylon.

The U.S. Air Force personnel and some soldiers of the other units preferred to equip their "jungle" boots with attachable "zippers", which allowed quick pulling the boots on and off. Such "zippers" were designed for jungle boots and were used during the Vietnam war.

US "Jungle" Boots with "Vibram®"-type out-soles

The "jungle" boots ("Boot, Combat, Tropical, Mildew Resistant") were developed by U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in the framework of military specification MIL-B-11431, publish date: September 6, 1951-09-06, the last revision of which is MIL-B-11431C of March 31, 1960.

The First Pattern "jungle" boots went in production circa 1962. The manufacturer's info and the date of production at that time used to be located on a white textile tag that was sewn into the tongue of the boot.

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