Posted by So....? on December 15, 2003
In Reply to: Spider hole posted by Fred on December 15, 2003
: : : : "Spider hole" suddenly jumped into the news yesterday.
: : : : It is apparently a military term that has been around for awhile but can't seem to find the when or why of the phrase.
: : : My morning paper (Dec. 15, 2003) carried a USA Today article by Bill Nichols, Tom Squitieri and Dave Moniz. It said "A 'spider hole' is a very tight camouflaged hiding place. The name comes from World War II when the Japanese used the holes to launch ambushes."
: : : I would guess that maybe it came from the trapdoor spider.
: : http://mamba.bio.uci.edu/~pjbryant/biodiv/spiders/Bothriocyrtum%20californicum.htm
: William Saffire says this about spider holes in today's New York Times:
: This ["spider hole"] is Army lingo from the Vietnam era. The Vietcong guerrillas
: dug "Cu Chi tunnels" often connected to what the G.I.'s called "spider holes" --
: space dug deep enough for the placement of a clay pot large enough to hold
: a crouching man, covered by a wooden plank and concealed with leaves.
: When an American patrol passed, the Vietcong would spring out, shooting.
: But the hole had its dangers; if the pot broke or cracked, the guerrilla could
: be attacked by poisonous spiders or snakes. Hence, "spider hole."
So....Encarta calls it a sniper position and Safire says it is an attack position. The original trapdoor spider used it as an attack position. Will yesterdays news add "hide-out" to the definition(s).