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A tripwire is a passive triggering mechanism, usually/originally employed for military purposes, although its principle has been used since prehistory for methods of trapping game.

Typically, a wire or cord is attached to some device for detecting or reacting to physical movement. From this basic meaning, several extended and metaphorical uses of the term have developed.For example, the Berlin Brigade stationed in the divided city of Berlinmarker during the Cold War was given the mission to be the "tripwire" for a Sovietmarker incursion into West Germanymarker. "...but what a tripwire we were!!!" posted on the Berlin Tankers web group 21 August 2005, retrieved June 16, 2008:
To conclude, I will again agree that we were a trip wire for World War III, but what a great tripwire we were.
If an invasion had ever occurred we would have innevitably lost, but the price that the enemy wold have paid to take Berlin would have crippled them.

Military usage may designate a tripwire as a wire attached to one or more mines — normally bounding mines and the fragmentation type — in order to increase their activation area. Alternatively, tripwires are frequently used in boobytraps, whereby a tug on the wire (or release of tension on it) will detonate the explosives.

Soldiers sometimes detect the presence of tripwires by spraying the area with Silly String. If the string falls to the ground there are no tripwires. If there is a tripwire, the string will be suspended in the air without pulling the wire. It is being used by U.S. troops in Iraqmarker for this purpose.


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