I was recently in Vietnam on business, and took the opportunity to visit both the tunnel complex and small arms display at Củ Chi, and the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City proper. With only a half-day to spare, I focused on SALW, ammunition, and ordnance, as well as getting in a little range time. Vietnam still features an astonishing range of materiel left over from the War, and there are some interesting odds and ends on display around the country.
The War Remnants Museum (formerly known by the catchy, historically-balanced name “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government [of South Vietnam]”) contains a wide range of small arms, light weapons, ammunition, and ordnance as used by both sides in the Vietnam War. The courtyard also contains an interesting variety of captured American tanks, APCs, and aircraft. Whilst many of the exhibits are labelled accurately, there are a few that are either inaccurately described, or not labelled at all. I will cover the small arms in another post, however there were a number of interesting ordnance items, in particular an interesting range of cluster bomb submunitions.
This BLU-24/B submunition was labelled simply as “Bom cam” or ‘smooth orange bomb’. BLU-24/B bomblets are small, cast iron submunitions about the size of a baseball. They are spin-armed, and spin-decay fired; essentially, they arm when they spin fast enough, and detonate when they cease rotating at high speed (i.e. hit something). They are filled with 119 grams of Cyclotol, in this case a 70/30 mix of RDX and TNT.
This next, closely related, submunition was labelled as “bom cam khía”, or ‘striated orange bomb’. It is, in fact, a BLU-24C/B jungle/all terrain bomblet. The body of the -24C/B is constructed of grooved, fragmenting cast steel, rather than the cast iron of it’s relative. It weighs about 200g more than the BLU-24/B, and contains 125 grams of Cyclotol. It is also spin-armed and spin-decay fired, however it will also detonate upon contact with water or mud. As you can see, it also features a plastic cover, designed to ensure the aerodynamic stability of the grooved bomb.