Spider Hole

A spider hole is U.S. military parlance for a camouflaged one-man foxhole, used for observation. They are typically a shoulder-deep, protective, round hole, often covered by a camouflaged lid, in which a soldier can stand and fire a weapon. A spider hole differs from a foxhole in that a foxhole is usually deeper and designed to emphasize cover rather than concealment.

The term is usually understood to be an allusion to the camouflaged hole constructed by the trapdoor spider. According to United States Marine Corps historian Major Chuck Melson, the term originated in the American Civil War, when it meant a hastily-dug foxhole. Spider holes were used during World War II by Japanese forces in many Pacific battlefields, including Leyte in the Philippines and Iwo Jima. The Japanese called them ‘octopus pots.’ On 13 December 2003, U.S. troops in Iraq undertaking Operation Red Dawn discovered Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein hiding in what was characterized as a spider hole in a farmhouse near his hometown of Tikrit.

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