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Thread: Button Bombs

  1. #1
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    Button Bombs

    Does anyone have any info on the US submunitions known as "button bombs"? These were an off-shoot of the gravel mine submunition program during the Vietnam War. Varying in size they were typically the size of a US quarter, and about 5mm thick, made of thin, stiff plastic. They could come in several drab colors, OD, tan, etc. They were reportedly manufactured out of Cornhusker Ammunition Plant in Nebraska, like the gravel mines. Years ago I saw a Picatinny-type photo of an ID board, it was part of a display put on by C.S. frrom Rockville, MD. I approached him looking to purchase (if necessary) a copy of the photo, but he said that he had not time for this.

    I have several variations of the munition, but after years of searching still no data. The museum at Picatinny had nothing (now closed). The museum at Aberdeen has nothing. Records from this timeframe in the National Archive remain classified. Anyone?

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    I'm sure you have checked this and would have listed it, but I will ask anyway. Was there a BLU or M numbr associated with them that you know of? There was a guy on Evilbay a year or so ago that was making up sets of dummy gravel mines. He might know, but I will have to look up his address if I can find it.
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    Nope, I've found designations for about 18 models of gravel mines, but no designations for the button bombs. Here is a picture of my button bombs, with the gravel mines for size comparison. Button bombs are upper left and center, gravel mines are the cloth packets on right and across the lower third. Bottom row is BLU-43 - BLU-44s, then the dog-turd transmitter (not my designation) and variations of the Soviet PFM-1s.
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    button button

    Hi Jo, Stumbled onto a wiki about the gravel mines that touches on button as well (that's the only way I can navigate this "modern monstrosity"). Interesting bit on the history of these jewels from Vietnam era...Dano

    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravel_mines"]Gravel mines - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

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    Dano,
    thanks for the info, but as you can see from my photo, the Wikipedia article is mistaking the two. The true "button bombs" are a separate cat altogether. The article is pretty accurate, about 80% correct, which is better than most. But the gravel mines were never labeled as button bombs, its just confusion between the two.

    I used to know an old Air Force ammo loader (461?) who later went EOD (462?), he had experience with the gravel mines in Laos and some experiments with a trial with the button bombs, he was the only person I've spoken with that had actual "hands on" experience with the live items. He was able to clear some of the confusion for me.

    A further informal source was the person that I got my pieces from, a relative of a former Cornhusker employee. He put them on E-Bay, I snapped them up and he said he was surprised I recognized them, most ordnance people mixed them up with gravel mines -

    Still searching, thanks for the help. JO

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    button bombs

    Hi Jo, Yeah I re-read that wiki and obviously only talking about gravel mine, which I did find fascinating, because I did not know such an animal even existed. I did find another site and am 80% sure they mention button bombs (but there's only a 35% of that)..Dano

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/rocky.htm

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    Are these also known as sandwich button bombs?
    If so they produced them at Rocky Mountain too.
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    Pete,
    As far as I know, Rocky only produced chemical weapons, with some related smokes and incendiaries. i've never heard of "sandwich button bombs" but so little info is available that anything is possible.

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    There's a bit on this site about it.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/rocky.htm

    • The manufacture of sandwich button bombs which contained a pyrotechnic mixture of potassium chlorate and red phosphorus from 1965 to 1968
    Not sure if they're the same things??
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    ap

    I think if I read between the lines ok that the button bomb was anti-personnel, with a blast not enough to kill, but hurt. Used to lay down a perimeter to assist in offensive actions and create a blocking tactic to keep enemy from engaging? Dano

 

 
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