Lt James Deloney explains how the B-52
bunker bombs killed with shock effect

The comment about our enemy digging in did give us big problems.  It could also be their demise, too.  The B-52’s dropping the 750 pound bombs caused huge shock effects killing the enemy without putting a scratch on the bodies except for the blood running out of every cavity in their bodies, i.e., nose, eyes, ears, mouth, etc. 

During the big battle on 19 November 1966, the Inf Bn Co came out the night of 19 Nov66 and asked me, as the senior FA fire support officer (1LT) on site, what I recommended to hit the NVA with in their bunkers.  I said B-52’s with their 750 pound bombs with fuse delays.  Reason, the explosions blew such huge craters in the ground that their bunkers would be useless cover, especially if we hit them with fuse delays on the bombs to penetrate the triple canopy provided by the huge trees over their bunkers before the bombs exploded.  Also, the shock effect from the bombs exploding killed them in their bunkers without having to blast the bunkers into pieces. 

It worked.  The Inf Bn Co had us pull back about three miles to our base camp.  Then he called in the B-52’s.  The first strike was off target a little, so the B-52’s were given corrections and called in the second time.  "Spot on" as we say.  Three days later, they sent an infantry rifle company back in to survey the damage.  Our company was hit so bad on 19Nov66, that they did not send us back into the battle site.  Dennis Munden told me he did go in to survey the site.  He told me that they discovered 166 bodies, and the NVA had been pulling the dead and wounded out of the battle site for three days trying to get them back into Cambodia. The enemy did not want us to discover the damage we did to them, a psychological effect to us if we could not discover casualties.  Dennis said they had stuffed bodies in the bunkers and left them, and men in their bunkers when the bombs hit them never moved because the shock waves killed them instantly. 

Another example was when our forces blew up a NVA cave in the mountains near the South China Sea.  I was flying over the site when our engineers set off the 1,500 pounds of C-4 (so I was told later) at the mouth of the cave.  We, the pilot and me, were in a Birddog aircraft.  The explosion surprised the hell out of us.  At first I thought it was a nuclear explosion because it was the biggest explosion I had ever seen.  The cloud appeared much larger flying right above it than I could capture with my camera.  The NVA used the cave for a hospital and other war supplies.  I never did hear exactly what damage done.  I can just imagine the shock produced in the cave with that large of an explosion set off at the mount of the cave. 

I believe the two examples above are what we called “superior” fire power.  If possible, sometimes it was best to withdraw our troops from the battle zone and hit the enemy with the heaviest fire power we had.  Then they would scatter.

James A. DeLoney
King 61


Comments from Danny Yates, Arty Surveyor 

Danny Yates witnessed the explosion described above: Just to add a footnote to Jim Deloney’s comments concerning Operation Green Lightning, he mentions “the biggest explosion” he had ever seen in the mountains near the South China Sea.  Our survey team was there with the 1/14th Infantry Regiment at the time.  We were so close to the explosion that all the CS gas that had been pumped into the cave was sucked out, and we were caught in it.  Nasty stuff.  B-52’s would later level that mountain so there could not be an investigation as to whether women and children were in the cave. 

They were. 


Webmaster Note: The Chu Pa would not likely have been an effective use of the bunker bombs due to the extensive elevation involved.  Likewise, the
                              sheer amount of square footage to be bombed would have exhausted any bunker bomb inventory.

Back to War Stories