US Cluster Bomb?

Clearing out my store room and found some old items.

The first (orange) item came out of the Eglin AFB range in the late 1970s or so. It could easily have dated from the 1960s. Lots of development was done at Eglin so it could be a test item and not something that entered production. The largest diameter is roughly 50mm. What is it???

The second item is a cluster bomb that I recognize from Vietnam and Thailand, but is much smaller than the ones I remember. It is blue so inert. Reportedly came out of an Eglin Range scrap dump. The nose cap was found at the same time!



the second look like a reduced " BLU 61"

Lew, the orange one is the dummy variant of the MK118 HEAT submunition m(having an own propper designation of course).
Used in Vietnam and last time I know of it was used in Kosovo in 1999/2000 (stocks with expired shelf life - safed lots of disposal costs)

The blue one (attention: NO, blue does not mean inert, it just means practice and can contain the full range of explosives!) is one of several types looking very similar.
Here it would help if you could give us the diameter.

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Sorry, I meant to include that. It is 40mm diameter.

My mistake. You are correct, blue means practice and intended for use with training. The EOD guys on Eglin burn things that are “live” but other things just go into a landfill which is where mine was found. One of my more daring Sargent use to enjoy exploring the range and gave me these as a “gift”.

I later discovered he had liberated an M48 tank from the range. In about 1978, about a dozen M48s, or perhaps more were delivered to Hurlburt Field, an aux field to Eglin with a dock behind the Officers club on the inter-coastal waterway. They sat behind the Hurlburt Officers Club and about two blocks from officers housing. My sons and most other neighborhood kids use to climb on and in them for about a month before they were moved. it turns out they were eventually parked near the fence on the Eglin Range. “My” Sargent, after I had gone to another job, had bought a small farm along the fence of the Range, and cut himself a private entrance which he used to search for interesting things. He ran across these tanks not far from jhis far and widened his entryway and used his tractor to drag the tank into his backyard and put a sheet-metal shed over it. Years later, one of my Sargent’s from the squadron sent me a photo of the tank with it’s proud new owner sitting on the top.


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Ok, the about 40mm could be of the M38 or M40 family. Mainly developmental or limited production types (at least I do not know of actual use). Though the one here is slightly different from known M38 / M40 types, so I assume it to be experimental.
Very nice item you got there!!!

Nice, I wish it would be so easy to get a tank here!
Let alone the problem of the hull and turret being considered war weapons…

@EOD Here you go Alex:

Be sure to post pictures :)

Darren, well, yes, this is all left to EU citizen these days…

Though I think I better do not start to chase tanks now - at least not more than I do anyways by runninig larger phoro sessions in museums and military installations etc.

Lew, the blue item was experimental, I’ve only seen a few of them, a couple in private collections and a couple in the storage area of the Air Force Armament Museum. I know of no identification or documentation on this particular piece. Unfortunately the museum’s storage materials were gutted a few years ago to provide training materials for the EOD school. A lot of rare pieces that are not on display have been lost. If you ever decide to release yours I would be interested.
EOD the M32/38/40 series was fielded, for both rocket warheads (Honest John etc.) and dispensers. You can see the dispenser loadings in the Picatinny submunition guide. I’m at work right now and I’m speaking off the top of my head, but I believe it was printed around 1980. I’ve seen the submunitions in the field at a couple of locations, both White Sands and at Ft. Sill. I’ve got a couple of range recovered pieces from Sill, items that dudded out and broke on impact, the fuze remaining with one hemisphere and leaving the second hemisphere recoverable. The aluminum was pretty low grade and corroded fairly rapidly, leaving the steel balls exposed. I’ll see if I can get some pictures taken this weekend.

This Chieftain is standing in my backyard, Alex. It’s property of the shopkeepers of “The Little American”, some tool & dumpstore in the neighbourhood, here. I doubt it’s legal but who cares…

USSubs, See my PM!



Wow I didnt know they still exsisted, been years since ive been, never knew they got a tank!

Jeff, thank you for clarifiying this one! I did not expect you to be around here and answer so I came up with my best guess.

For all others:
Here a BLU-26 in Vietnam (in 1998). Not much left and the steel balls can be clearyl seen while the aluminum is merely to be guessed about. The inner sphere is the HE charge.

Derk, no doubt one may have something alike.
Here in Germany you have to have the gun cut and at least 1 square meter of armore to be cut out and replaced with thin sheet metal so you can be shot with a pistol.
This is only the legal part from the German side, but then there is also rules as per CFE NATO states and in particular Germany is adhering to. Means as per CFE the tank has to be demilled by removing the engine and cutting out the suspension lugs for it and filling the engine section with concrete, or cutting out a cube of about 1x1x1 meter including the bearing for the drive sprocket on one side.

Here such a butchered PT-76 at Putlos range (Germany) in 2007:

I think that the latest reported use was in North Sinai, 2017. They also used expired lots.

Fede, that is late indeed!
Sinai you say? Who used them?

They are attributed to the Egyptian air force.

I have a “fond” memory of the -26s from 1969. An flight of four F-4D’s with two canisters of BLU-26s and 4 AIM-7s and two AIM-9s were trying to land at Udorn at about 0400 and we had a lot of very small little thunder storms coming through. The command post reported the flight had landed. I was running maintenance control and looking for aircraft we could turn quickly for the morning sorties. Three of the aircraft turned up at their revetments but we couldn’t find the 4th. I drove the ramp looking for it without success when the command post called and reported a large fire about a couple of miles off the end of the runway. I joined up with a fire truck and some security vehicles and we headed out into the rice paddies. It turned out that one of the pilots got too busy looking for the runway between little storms that he wasn’t paying attention to his decent rate. He bellied into the rice paddy with his gear up about about two miles from the end of the base. When they hit the paddy the backseater ejected about the same time the only tree in a quarter mile took off the righy wing so the ejection created a fuel fire that followed the aircraft through the paddies as it bounced along. Eventually the front seater got out and he and the back seater were sitting on a paddy dike when they remembered the warheads in the AIM 9s and 7s and backed away another 100 yards. and watched the aircraft burn.

We finally got there before the sun came up but the sky was beginning to lighten so we could see a bit. As we walked toward the aircraft which had about burned out, I noticed these round 2" bare spots in the rice which was about a foot tall. Then I notice a spot where something had taken a bite out of the dike. and I realized that the two CBUs must have come off as the F-4 touched down and the BLUs had tumbled along behind the aircraft. I watched the dike VERY closely as I walked and saw probably 20 BLU-26s along the dike, mostly stuck in the side but some on tip in the footpath. We stopped and regrouped and carefully make our way to the aircraft, but we returned to the road later another route that avoided the BLUs. When it got light it was an impressive sight to see the strip of rice paddies covered with bare spots!

EOD spend quite a bit of time in tnose paddies, and put flags on all the live GLUs they could find, but every evening the BLUs under some of the flags would disappear. I never figured out what the Thai’s were doing with the “stolen” BLUs but as far as I know none ever hurt anyone, Thai or American! All I got out of the whole mess was a very intense memory. Lots of respect for the EOD guys who found and cleaned up those BLUs out of the paddies.

Unfortunately, a week later the front seater was shot down and killed over Laos. About 7 years ago his remains were recovered.